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It's true; it took me 1.5 years to learn Korean after Japanese whereas
Japanese took me a full three years. Learning Korean was a breeze in
comparison because I could just substitute words and use the exact
same word order. I didn't know that there were any other languages
that closely related to Japanese before I found out about Korean so it
was quite the nice surprise. Thanks to kanji/hanja as well I was able
to guess at the pronunciation of a lot of words when I first came
here, much in the same way that you can sometimes pronounce an English
word with a French accent and oftentimes it'll be the right one.
(democracy, democracy...er, democratie? In Korean: min-shu-shu-gi,
min-shu-shu-gi...er, min-ju-ju-ui? Correct!)

On 6/26/06, Jens Wilkinson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> --- "Donald J. HARLOW" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > The main difference, IMHE, is that it's a heck of a
> > lot easier to
> > teach grammar when it's included in morphology than
> > when it's
> > included in syntax.
> >
>
> It's an interesting hypothesis, and if it's true then
> it would certainly imply that a good IAL should have a
> morphology- rather than syntax-based grammar. But to
> be honest, I'm not sure if it's really a valid claim.
> The only thing I'm pretty confident about is that for
> English native speakers, there are certain languages,
> i.e. French, Spanish, German, that are much easier
> than certain other languages like Arabic and Mandarin
> and Japanese. I saw some figures about how many hours
> the State Department gives people training, and it's a
> big gap.
>
> The thing, though, is that I've also heard that it
> takes less time for Japanese to learn Korean than it
> does for them to learn a Western language. So my
> initial prejudice would be to say that the main factor
> in how long it takes to learn a language is how
> closely it is related to your native tongue.
>
> But I'm not saying you're wrong. If there's evidence
> to support that, I'd be happy to see it.
>
> -Jens Wilkinson
>
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