I have been learning Korean for the past few weeks and my sister pointed out one very important factor while studying. As most of you would know, I am a Filipino and my native language is Filipino and my second language is English, which I think I’m somehow fluent in. Now, she told me, “Why don’t you try learning Korean using Filipino?” Well, this is just a suggestion from my sister but it’s actually a really good one.
Come to think of it, all of the Korean language resources I’ve used from online publications to books and dictionaries that I’ve bought are all in English. So I tried to translate the sentences in Filipino and she was right, it was easier. I easily understood what the sentences meant unlike when I use English translations; I still have to think of the grammar rules from time to time.
I guess the reason for this is that, and it’s quite obvious, you use your native language everyday and it is natural for you to have thoughts in your native language. You can easily express them through speech. And of course, you can easily understand others. Even if you are fluent in a certain language, there is still a chance that if you formulate thoughts using that language you will also translate some of it to your native language.
Well, if you have a good vocabulary in that second language, I can find no problem when it comes to the words. The concern that my sister kept on pointing out was the formulation of sentences and thoughts. For me, I find that true since I’m struggling a bit when it comes to formulating my sentences and understanding more complicated and casual Korean sentences and conversations. I can read Hangul or Korean text and I know a lot of words but for a sentence, it’s quite a task to figure out its general idea.
I am using English everyday and since I’m part of a customer service team, I communicate in English for a few hours almost everyday. But even so, I am still thinking in Filipino a lot of times while speaking in English. So as you can see, it may affect the time frame in learning that 3rd or another auxiliary language. The time you’ll be spending in translating it twice may double your learning time if you do it all throughout.
My dilemma now is that I really can’t find any Korean language learning resource that is in pure Filipino and what happened was, as I continued to translate in Filipino, I found myself giving extra effort since now I’m learning Korean using both English and Filipino. It may or may not work for you but you can certainly try it out. As for me, I’ll continue using English in learning other languages since acquiring resources is much easier.