Kicking it up a notch with 漢子 (Chinese Characters)
In some respects, Korean is the easy way out when studying an Asian language. Chinese has those dreaded “tones” which for a non-musical guy like me are really scary. Then there are the thousands of pictograph characters that must be learned. They aren’t letters. Japanese also makes use of the Chinese characters in a major way. Japanese is further complicated by having 2 completely different “alphabets” that are mixed along with the Chinese characters.
To the untrained eye, a Korean sentence like “제가 사과를 좋아해요” (I like apples) looks incredibly daunting, it really isn’t. Chinese and Japanese have a huge barrier to being able to read. Let me betray a secret of Korean: Learning to “read” is really quite easy. Understanding what you read is of course another matter….as it is in any second language. But in Korean, because the reading barrier is so low, one can easy move on to meaning, and the arch nemesis of grammar!
In middle school I studied Latin, which according to Mr. Dare (yes, that is really his name) is responsible for some 65% of English words. So, knowing Latin can really help improve your English vocabulary. Of course Greek also influences English, especially in science and medicine.
The relationship is similar between Korean and Chinese. 70% of Korean is derived from Chinese, and therefore, understanding some basic Chinese characters can really improve your Korean vocabulary. So I’ve bought a new book aimed at helping foreign learners of Korean master 500 of the most common and useful 漢子 in Korean.
You probably aren’t as excited about this as I am, but that’s OK… this is my blog after all.