Is it Worth Learning Chinese, Japanese or Korean?

Lately I have been very busy with trying to figure out whether I should learn Chinese or Japanese. That's right folks. While I have previous exposure with these East Asian languages I am still trying to convince myself if knowing how to say more than "Konnichiwa" is truly worth my time.

And I have been using apps to justify my indecision.

I found out that while being able to translate content from one Romantic language to another using apps works so easily because they are all cognates. Even with Portuguese and German I had quite a bit of success.

Enter Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

I realized that translating Romantic languages using the same method doesn't work with these East Asian languages. Here's why:

1. I have to mind the characters. Obviously if my goal is to be able to read, I have to learn what the characters mean first. And that's where the problem starts.

I went and looked for another app that will give me that skill to quickly jumpstart from characters to words already -- like a shortcut -- I have yet to find the right one. I heard someone say that learning Chinese or Japanese isn't exactly difficult. It's just time-consuming. You have that hurdle of first learning the characters: how to read and write them. If you grew up reading and writing with the English alphabet system then you know what I mean.

2. Chinese has tones! If that's not a hurdle yet, then I don't know what else.  Boy am I glad that Japanese or Korean is not as tonal. Whew!. But possibly the one most important reason why these East Asian languages are so difficult to learn is...

3. They are so weird! Their culture is different from ours, and everyone else. That alone can be an obstacle when you are invited to eat in a Japanese home and not realize that you must wait for "Itadakimasu" to be recited first before digging in to your meal.

Now these reasons should not stop anyone from learning any East Asian languages - Chinese, Japanese or Korean for that matter. In fact, these should be the reasons why you must keep learning: To break down cultural barriers, to learn about an extremely fascinating region of the world, and to know how to communicate better.

Don't you just love that concept?

So we're off to a good start.

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