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Why is, for me, learning new vocabulary harder in Korean than in English or German?

I am doing my homework now! I am learning new vocabulary in English at the moment. But I have this strange thing. I am Dutch. When I learn new words in English, I can learn like 30++ words a day. The same goes for German. In Korean however it takes me ages to cram new words into my mind. Is this because I am novice in Korean? But words are words, so what is the difference? The two reasons I can think of is that: 1, I know hangul, but I still can not read it that automatically as latin writing. 2, if you already have some vocabulary in a language, you can place the new word in the context of what you have already learned. Like example sentence for instance.


Do you have similar experiences, and does it improve when you get less novice? I hope so. My Korean is still at a useless level.



I have this same problem studying Mandarin, it's harder to keep all the characters in your head than a language using the Roman alphabet. I was really stryuggling with my Mandarin, but then I went to China to study and that's where it clicked. I think seeing all the characters on a daily basis just reinforces the words in your mind, maybe you should go to Korea! Haha

Well actually the Hangul writing system is phonetic. There is also romanized Korean, but that is unreadable for me too, since it is based on English, and in Dutch we pronounce the letter differently. I am using a sort of self invented Dutch romanized system, and that does help me.

Cheer up! Why don't you meet korean friend more? Korean friend is very kind and help for you


English, German, Dutch, Swedish etc are germanic languages. So if you speak already one of this languages it is not that difficult to learn new words since those languages are close enough. The same goes for romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French etc). If you already know one of these languages, it is not that difficult to build up your vocabulary very quickly.


But Korean has not relation to those languages, so it is not surprising that it takes a lot of effort and dedication to learn it. If you know already Chinese, you can build your Korean vocabulary quicker since there are many words in Korean that have a Chinese origin (the same way many scholarly words in French come from ancient Greek...)


I  think it is a very bad idea to use romanization when learning Korean. Korean has the marvelous hangeul writing system who was made expressly for the Korean language. Not taking advantage of it, it is in my opinion a mistake. Romanization is only going to slow you learning process. 


And when you go to Korea, it is nice to be able to read the menus and all the signboards...


Even if it is true that you can learn hangueul relatively fast, it takes time and practice to be able to read it fluently  But it is worth the effort.


Good luck with you Korean studies.

I know it would be a help if the words you are learning are a bit equal from the ones you know, but let me show you the English words I am learning at the present, and include the Dutch words. The Dutch won't be that useful for you, but it is only to show that these words are not really equal. Most of them are not. It is because it is probably advanced vocabulary, domestic words are alike sometimes. Nevertheless the vocabulary I am learning now:


to shy away from - niet doen
vast - eindeloos (ruimte)
fleece - vacht/vlies
to haul - slepen, trekken
to vacate - ontruimen, annuleren
edifying - stichtelijk
baffling - verbijsterend
awry - scheef, verkeerd
gargantuan - reusachtig
litigious - twistziek


Only the third word, fleece is pronounced similar to the Dutch vlies. (Although the spelling is totally different, but, what is logical about English spelling hey?)


I agree with you that romanization is evil. I am not using it. I am actually 'line throughing' it in my study papers. Especially the English romanization is totally confusing, since we use the roman letters differently than the English. (Fleece, vlies for example..) I have used my own invented 'Dutch' romanization in the beginning. I can read Hangul, but not fast. It is easy to learn the Hangul signs. But to be able to read and write quickly in Hangul, that is much more difficult. So bassically yes, I also prefer Hangul. But if I see Hangul, and romanization, my eyes are still drawn to the romanization, since, although inaccurate, I can read it faster.

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