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Korean - extremely difficult language?
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taekyun26 #16
Member since Aug 2006 · 7 posts · Location: berlin
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In reply to post ID 10086
Subject: japanese is simple in Phonetics and Phonology
you got very important point about japanese,
yes japanese is really simple, very simple if it is seen phonetically. it comes mainly from the japanese writing system Kana(Hirakana and Gatakana), it is written only horizontally, I mean, you write it from left to right only, as compared with the complex writing system like Chinese and Korean.
Korean has more complex composition and structure of writing, that is, Korean is written both horizontally and vertically, and that makes the Korean-phonetic more difficult. Other than complicated mophological structure, there is also Diphtongs or Diphtongisations, mostly vowel Diphtongisations, which makes Korean not easier for Western-foreingers to learn.
This post was edited on 2008-01-03, 23:00 by taekyun26.
taekyun26 #17
Member since Aug 2006 · 7 posts · Location: berlin
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In reply to post ID 10086
Subject: to Francois
(sorry it is answer to Francois)

You got very important point about Japanese Phonetics and its difference from Korean.
yes Japanese is very simple phonetically,
Japanese has really very simplified phonetical and phonological system.
It mainly comes from its writing system the Kana(Hirakana and Gatakana),
in Japanese they write only horizontally, that is, from left to right, one dimensional, linear.
Korean like Chinese has much complex writing system, or to say it otherwise,
Korean is very complicated morphologically.
You write Korean not only horizontally, but vertically too.
Like this way, Korean has notoriously(?) or interestingly at least two morphological structures(compositions);
horizontal, which is from left to right, and vertical, from top to bottom!
Other than this, Diphthongs and Diphthongisations make Korean acoustically not easier,
not easier especially for Western-foreingers.
This post was edited 3 times, last on 2008-01-03, 23:00 by taekyun26.
Knowledge_Worker #18
Member since Mar 2011 · 86 posts
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Francois, where did you get the number "200.000 [words] in Korean" from?

I am still looking for reliable statistics to compare English, Korean and other languages!...
Nomou #19
User title: Koi
Member since Nov 2007 · 396 posts · Location: Zuhause
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Such numbers should be treated with care - there is a big difference between the number of words of a language that exist and the number of words that are in common use. Also consider that new words are coined every day. Possibly Korean has a bigger lexicon than other languages, since there are many words that have a Korean and a Chinese version, but it probably won't be to an extent that'd make Korean significantly harder to learn. For general information about most languages of the world, there are websites like or .

By the way, I don't agree that Korean is a very difficult language to learn. Like many Altaic languages (even if one might argue whether Korean is an Altaic language at all) Korean is complex in morphology but at the same time very regular, so learners won't have trouble memorizing tons of exceptions. The phonological inventory doesn't consist of uncommon phonemes and has little alternation especially regarding vowels. The script is systematically built, and since it was constructed from scratch with the actual Korean language as a base it's a fantastic representation of Korean. So sorry to say guys, but the idea that Korean is exceptionally difficult to learn is a myth created by some Korean nationalists to make Korean look like a language that's better than others. The subjective difficulty of Korean might differ depending on one's mother tongue, but from an objective point of view it is no extraordinarily complex a language.
orosee #20
User title: Ernst ist anders.
Member since Oct 2009 · 1429 posts · Location: Shanghai, China
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Nach 5 Jahren und 4 Wochen...  :rolleyes:
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