Today I was practicing a bit Korean with the app Drops and saw that they have culture specific vocab too. At first I was intrigued because one of the things I didn’t like about Drops in the beginning was that the vocab is often generic and not culture specific. I really don’t need words like ham, bacon and hamburger when learning Arabic for instance, but culture specific food, or the names of countries like Scotland and Wales (I have nothing against those countries, they’re just not the first things I’d talk about in Arabic), but I’d need the names of Arab countries.
The first culture specific Korean lesson was about K-Pop though. I started it but got bored because the one thing I’m not interested in when it comes to Korea is K-Pop. But I do know that for many people K-Pop is the very reason they started to study Korean in the first place. Drops even offered a course “Study Korean with Amber Liu” (Language app Drops taps K-pop idol Amber Liu for its new Korean course). It has been removed though now, so I didn’t try it out. The popularity of K-Pop baffles me, it’s just not my cup of tea. But it definitely helped to make Korean as target language popular. The same goes for manga and anime when it comes to Japanese. Again, I’m not very interested in that but many people I know who studied the language did so because of their interested in manga, anime and cosplay and even became professional manga translators.
Do you have a similar experience with one of your target languages? An aspect everyone else is crazy about but you couldn’t care less?
I have studied a bit of Korean many years ago and I’m also not a fan of Kpop. I used to watch Korean series and I liked them. And then decided to study Kr and I remember I finished 6 volumes of TTMIK in one month. I practiced reading by reading the lyrics of Korean series’ OSTs. I was so proud of myself being able to Korean. I would listen to some k-pop songs to practice reading and I had some songs I liked or maybe I was just hyped. Studying Kr didn’t last long as I quit around the fourth month. Thankfully, even after many years, now, I still can read the beautiful Hangul and still has a bit idea of their grammar.
I am also not a fan of anime or manga so Japanese is really alien to me. I have only seen maybe 2 or 3 animes before I hopped into studying Japanese. I started around a year ago. I was offered by a company with a free Japanese program, hearing that a native Japanese would be going to teach the class, I just couldn’t let that opportunity slip. The class would sometimes say references to anime and I wouldn’t get any of them. I found out that Japanese and Korean and a bit similar in grammar and some other aspects. They also sometimes sound the same that when I read Japanese, I would think it’s Korean. Aside from a few similar vocabs, they also have similar sounding sentence endings like だ 、よ、and ね。
Anyway, so I was not a fan of anything Japanese before, but now I’m trying to expose myself to anime and manga. Hopefully become an otaku or a weab (no offense). I mean, such passion and love for something, I wish I had some of it. It would be a great help for this journey.
See, I’m so not into Japanese pop culture that I even didn’t know what a weab was. Thanks for teaching me that. And I realised that I mixed up otaku and hikikomori. I didn’t know that otakus are “geeks” and “nerds” who have some big interest in some popular culture like anime, manga or something else. I thought that otaku and hikikomori were synonyms, i.e. otakus being people who don’t leave their house. I have a hikikomori in my Japanese family but I don’t know if he’s an otaku of some sort.
You might be interested in this documentary about hikikomori: https://youtu.be/q9IRmUEsz6g.
Something a bit similar happened when I was learning German a few years ago, in college. Most people in my classes were here because they had awesome cultural experiences in Germany, because they liked TV shows like Tatort, but none of these things truly applied to my personal case. I had already been in Germany and spent some time there, but I wasn’t as enthusiastic as they were.
TBH honest, I decided to boost my German out of pride, because I used to suck at it in high school and wanted to speak it fluently one day. After a few years studying germanistic, I discovered the long and rich History of Germany and Austria, their literature, thinkers (I only knew the most famous ones like Nietzsche or Heidegger) as well as the peculiarities and beauties of the German language. I also spent a wonderful year in a Germany city, cool times I’ll never forget.
German: come for the pride of speaking a “difficult” language, stay for the Sauerbraten, that was my path XD So eventually, I don’t regret I learned German for different reasons. At all!
Right now I’m learning Russian, a lot of learners seem to like the culture and the language, and well, this is also my case. I’m also learning farsi/Iranian (although I stopped doing so on LC specifically) and I have to say I have no idea of what motivates the average farsi learner, so I can’t compare with my situation.