If you’ve ever tried to learn a second language, you come to realize that it is not a quick, easy process. Much like the hilarious short Video here, I always get nervous when trying to speak in a language that isn’t English.
Learning Spanish, my second language, was a long process. In those years (7 I think) I mostly learned inside a classroom, followed by four months of living in Spain (and a college minor) and the occasional phone app. I’m still not the best at listening and speaking it mostly due to my own shyness and fear I will mess up, but I can definitely read it pretty damn well and I’ll forever be proud of that. Learning a language is a continual process and it’s so easy to lose if you stop trying. Basically, I’ll forever be attempting to keep knowing Spanish and that’s okay because I love languages, especially Spanish.
Throughout the many years of my young life, I have attempted to learn many other languages casually since I knew Spanish was the one I wanted to focus on. German, since my mom was born in Germany and I feel like I should have learned it as a child. Japanese since I love anime and Japanese music. Portuguese since it’s kinda similar to Spanish. Latin because I’m a stereotypical English major. French because I understand a little of it by knowing Spanish.
That all leads to the present, where I have decided that since I’m ingesting so much Korean media and I have a friend attempting to learn it, I might as well attempt to learn a little Korean. This was a very interesting choice since English and Korean are sooooooo different (as you probably had guessed). Also, having Swedish housemates who speak really great English is another inspiration to try.
I started out with my friend teaching me the alphabet, which was super helpful. I then went on to start lessons at TalkToMeInKorean, the best website to use if you want to
learn Korean. I also started writing out Kpop song lyrics to get used to writing out the letters and then the Romanization to see what letters make what sound. While it is very difficult, I’ve found that I really like the language and I’m glad that I am attempting to try to learn it a little bit of it.
I think since this isn’t my first time learning a new language, I am able to pick it up a little more easily than when I was trying to learn Spanish. However, as the tweets I screenshotted over to the right, Spanish and Korean are very different, and it gets very confused when I switch it on to “not English mode.”
Knowing different languages is actually pretty awesome, as shown in these hilarious videos (1, 2). I happen to overhear a decent amount of Spanish conversations since I live in CA, and I always get excited when I’m able to understand what they are saying (I swear I’m not trying to eavesdrop I’m just trying to practice my Spanish!). That, and as a white person, a lot of people assume that I don’t know any other languages besides English, so it is fun to surprise people when they need help. I actually helped a lot of people when I worked at Safeway who didn’t know English and had trouble talking with other employees, which made me feel like all my hard work was paying off in this tough learning process.
The only time I’ve actually used Korean was when I went to Kcon LA this year, (which I should write a blog post for because it was amazing!). My friends and I used it to say hello and thank you to any idols that we happened to meet. When I went abroad, I learned that many people really appreciated when you attempted to speak their language. So, as a way to thank the idols for doing what they do and attempting to speak to us in English, we tried our best to at least get our gratitude across in Korean.
Overall, language learning is fun, at least for me. If I had the time there would be so many languages I would love to learn, but for now, I think I’ll stick to these two.