Japanese more difficult than Korean, or vice-versa?

Luke   Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:10 pm GMT
The writing system of Korean is far faster than the Japanese one, but regarding all the rest...which one do you think it is easier to learn?
ahahhaha   Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:16 pm GMT
Who knows...
Leasnam   Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:13 pm GMT
Korean has a large complement of vowel sounds which are often difficult for English speakers to master. Additionally, Korean contains double consonant sounds. The combination of these two factors actually can cause confusion if mispronounced:

eg. taruda = "varies/is different"; ttaruda = "follows"

gos = "soon"; "geos" = "thing"
szep   Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:58 pm GMT
They should be quite similar grammatically.. shouldn't they?
Leasnam   Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:37 pm GMT
<<They should be quite similar grammatically.. shouldn't they? >>

They are, from a macro-analytical point of view.

Focusing a little closer to home there are naturally disctinctions.

Korean still carries some iregularities, such as those arising from vowel harmonies in Old Korean (whether a verb uses '-oss' or '-ass' in the preterite), or from the falling together/falling away of various noun declension morphologies (like nouns using '-(n)un'/'-ga' vs. nouns in '-i' in the nominative)

I would say for an English speaker that Japanese is a little easier than Korean to learn, and probably more fun
J.C.   Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:55 am GMT
When it comes to writing Korean is much easier since everything is written using the hangul (한굴) letters. On the other hand one must memorize about 2000 kanjis to be able to read newspapers and average publications in Japanese.
When it comes to pronunciation Japanese is easier because it only has 5 vowels and is totally sylabbic. Well, at least to a native speaker of Portuguese it's easier.

In a former posting it has been quoted that Korean has double consonants and so is Japanese:
Kata (型:form)Katta (買った: I bought)

The difference is that Japanese doesn't have double consonants in the beginning of the word such as 빨리 (bbar li:fast) and this is still a challenge for me.

Korean pronunciation is sometimes difficult because it uses liaison and one must learn the rules about when letters are pronounced or not.

Either way, any of these languages is pretty interesting to study by people who speak European languages specially because they use the SOV structure and are agglutinating languages.

Luke   Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:49 am GMT
Thanks to all of you!

Yeah, I already started to study Japanese 2 years ago but than I had to drop it so now I'd like to start all over on my own.
I've always known that Korean was a fascinating language too, but if I started with Japanese maybe it's better to keep on doing that.

But one thing I've noticed is that Korean people are very supportive of their language, they are really glad to teach their language to foreigners...maybe even more than the Japanese.
KateBlanc   Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:20 am GMT
I don't find Korean writing easy at all. For example, a foreigner can very rarely write down correctly something they hear for the 1st time. Hangul does not allowed for many combinations of symbols...

As for difficulty (0-10)

writing: Korean 7/10, Japanese 9/10
grammar: Korean 9/10, Japanese 7/10
pronunciation: Korean 10/10, Japanese 2/10
total: Korean 8.7/10, Japanese: 6/10
lec   Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:39 am GMT
10/10, Japanese 2/10

This difference is absurd, particularly for natives speakers of English. They aren't able to reproduce the exact sounds of Spanish either....so Japanese must be harder than 2 for them.
Guest   Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:11 pm GMT
Japanese is easier to pronounce than Spanish.
LivingStone   Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:43 pm GMT
Yup, mainly because there's L/R merger in Japanese.
Leasnam   Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:18 pm GMT
<<bbar li:fast>>

Double 'rr' (sorry don't have Hangul on my keyboard) is pronounced like double "ll", so try pronouncing it "bballi" for the adverb ("quickly"), "bbarun" for the adjective ("fast"). This doesn't help for the double 'bb' I know. Sorry : (
The only advice I can give in regards to double consonants is the double "dd" sound: it sounds kinda like the "dth" sound in English "width", but with the 'th' sounding like a "t"/"d". Otherwise, you just near 'bout have to be Korean to get it right :-)

<<Korean pronunciation is sometimes difficult because it uses liaison and one must learn the rules about when letters are pronounced or not.>>

Yes. And this reminds me of French in a way, but with Korean, sounds can modulate into others depending on placement and/or surrounding sounds. For example, 's' in Korean is pronounced like a "t" at the end of a word, but before an 'i' (even an adjoining particle) it becomes "sh"; before another consonant it geminates that consonant ('s'+'g' = "gg"; 's' + 'd' = "dd", etc); otherwise it is an "s" sound.

So for the same word 'geos' it can be pronounced "geot", "geoshi", "geosul", "geogko/geokko" but the hangul spelling is all the same and reveals it's origin: all sounds having originated from an older Korean "s".
KEVIN   Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:01 pm GMT
The weirdest thing in Korean is there being 3 sounds between B and P.
Leasnam   Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:29 pm GMT
<<The weirdest thing in Korean is there being 3 sounds between B and P. >>

To an English speaker yes, because in English we don't distinguish in spelling between aspired and unaspired sounds (like the 'k' sound in "book" and "kin") because they are regular in where they usually occur in the word. Not so in Korean.

In Korean, you have unaspired 'b', aspired 'p', and double 'bb'
han   Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:28 pm GMT
A person needs to know about 2000 kanji to function on the Japanese society, right? (writing, working...)

What about in Korea, how many hangul are needed?
Also, why'd it be easier to learn hangul rather than kanji?