Not too long ago, I’ve read a very interesting post from Creativity Japanese’ blog that it’s important to maintain interest to learn languages. I can’t help but agree. Especially after
suffering experiencing one semester of struggling towards Japanese.
The fact that I’m enjoying Mandarin makes me think how it is different from my Japanese learning… hmm…
1.) First I didn’t enroll in an integrated class. :p Classes in our university are usually 1.5 hours and conducted twice a week. But for integrated language classes, it’s conducted 4 times a week because we have to finish one module by the first half of the sem, then the next module by the second half. Integrated Korean was so much fun! Having to attend Korean classes everyday brightens up my day. But I was so stressed with our Integrated Japanese class because the pacing was too fast for me. Now, I’m not stressed at all with our Mandarin class since the pace is just right.
2.) I have more time to study – review, practice and study in advance. I have lesser subjects this semester compared to the semester when I took Japanese. I also just need to go to school twice a week, giving me more time to stay at home and study. Plus this semester have a Christmas break. And I used that to slowly review our previous lessons and to study in advanced. In fact, I have finished reading our entire textbook! And even managed to study some lessons online. So I was at ease in class now and can follow the class discussion. In fact, when we were discussing telling date, my laoshi said her birthday very fast in the hopes that none of us could get it. But I got it (my seatmate didn’t ㅋㅋㅋ So I know how old my laoshi is! ㅎㅎ). I often go to my Japanese class unprepared so I was lost in the class discussion
most all the time.
3.) I don’t feel it a ‘hindrance’ in my Korean learning. They say that Japanese is similar to Korean. But I dunno. Instead of finding it helpful, I get confused with similar sounding words. The opposite in Mandarin. I am often thrilled recognizing familiar words with Korean. At the same time I get to understand more about Korean, like words that are based/built from a particular hanja. I was also happy to come across the Chinese lessons in Language Cast. I was actually trying my luck as I search for Chinese lesson podcasts similar to Talk To Me In Korean, but I found the lessons in Language Cast instead. I thought it will be conducted in English, but it was conducted in Korean instead. At first I don’t have enough confidence listening to it. But I decided to try listening. I thought it doesn’t matter if I understand the Korean discussions, I just have to focus on the Chinese sentences. But I ended up understanding 90% or even 95% of the lesson! And it makes me so happy learning Chinese through a Korean class. I can learn Chinese easier and I get to practice my Korean at the same time. Awesome! Too bad they only have 20 podcasts and I have finished all of them. I’m just listening to it over and over now.
4.) I like writing the characters! Of course I love and adore 한글 more than anything else and thinks it’s the best set of characters in the whole world. But the Chinese characters are nice too. I don’t feel anything towards Hiragana nor Katakana (and I’ve forgotten all of them by now!).
5.) Kim Sun Ah speaks Mandarin. Alright, irrelevant! She knows little Mandarin. If it’s really about Kim Sun Ah, then I should’ve learned a lot of Japanese since she’s fluent with it. Well maybe because Suna’s Mandarin is at a beginner’s level so I enjoy listening to her because I can understand her. While her Japanese is so good, I can’t understand a thing.
5.) Fangirling. Alright, that’s more like it. Kim Sun Ah have lots of Chinese-speaking fans. And they have great community websites with tons of goodies. Also Kim Sun Ah just opened her webio account for the Chinese community, so I frequent webio too!
6.) I have a lot of Chinese-speaking friends. All of them are fans of Kim Sun Ah. I also have some very good Japanese friends, but most of them are shy. So I don’t get to practice my Japanese with them because we don’t talk much, and if we do, we talk in Korean! My Chinese friends love talking. Some of them are also learning Korean. And most of them talk to me in English. And they are very enthusiastic teaching me Chinese.
7.) I found a Taiwanese drama that I love so much! Hahaha! I guess I can’t learn a language without watching dramas. Sadly my Japanese learning is just restricted to our classroom. Even though I wanted to watch a Japanese drama, I was too busy then to find time to watch a drama. I’m not into Taiwanese dramas, and just decided to watch one during my Christmas break. And I guess I was lucky to find Drunken To Love you among many others. I love it to death! I learned many words and expressions and even practiced spotting the characters I know from their Chinese captions. It was something I can watch over and over. And I guess that’s an important thing. I’m using it for my listening practice. In fact I’m listening to the audio of this drama right now. 🙂
8.) And lastly, I love my laoshi! She is good and she is so cute and funny too. I also love my seatmate (but she going to leave me soon because she’s going to SNU!!!).