Tomorrow I have an exam in Hiragana and Katakana on my Japanese class. Yes, I’m taking Japanese this semester because there are no more Korean classes in our university. Japanese, for me, is the next best thing – or so I thought!
I remember I spent just about 6-8 hours memorizing all the 한글 characters. But I’ve spent the last few days of my summer vacation learning Hiragana plus I’ve attended three sessions of our 3-hour long classes and here I am, still struggling. And I haven’t started memorizing Katakana yet. O.o And I only have 6.5 hours left.
At first I find Hiragana really pretty. When I first wrote あいうえお (a i u e o) I was pretty impressed with what I was able to produce. I can’t believe it was me who wrote them on my notebook. I got all excited! Well, I know it doesn’t look really good yet but somehow all those curves give it a fresher look compared to the simple circle-line-square combination of 한글. I was also suprised at how easy it is (as far as Hiragana is concerned) to type it in a computer. But when I started to move on to the next set かきくけこ (ka ki ku ke ko) it gets more complicated. When I reached さしすせそ and たちつてと, I alternately mutterred 짜증 나! and 진짜! on every other character.
And I hate that I keep forgetting them a lot! And I hate it more that when I forget a character, I went blank – like I have no clue at all at how it is supposed to look like. Something that didn’t happen when I was studying how to write in 한글. Because I just can’t figure out why is it that あ か さた doesn’t have any similarities with each other when they all end with the phoneme [a]
I could easily blame it on ageing. Maybe because I was a few years (like 4 years) younger when I studied writing 한글. But I guess it was more of the simplicity of 한글 rather than ageing. Indeed, King Sejong is great! And he has spoiled me a lot!
Also, being a linguistics student, I appreciate how 한글 is actually a representation of the mouth position as you make each the sounds of each characters. It is written on almost every beginner book/lesson I came up with. And, although it didn’t make any sense to me then (since I don’t have a background in linguistics then), now it makes more sense and it’s sometimes my guide to the IPA. And the more I appreciate King Sejong.
And even though it’s easier to type Hiragana as compared to 한글, sometimes I made mistakes and my fingers automatically follow the 한글 layout. Like when I was about to type か [ka] earlier, I pressed ‘r’ and ‘k’ instead of ‘k’ and ‘a’.
There’s still a lot of getting used to. Although sometimes I want to put my pencil down and run to the comforts of the circles, lines and squares of 한글, I’m still excited to try and learn another language.