There are many superior things about Korean language – even though I’m using English to spread my words, sorry King Sejong!-, the greatest one is that it is phonetic. It is always, always, or most of times – because never say never, right?- you can just say what it is and there’s ninety percent chance that you might be correct. That is why Korean is one of the easiest languages to learn once you get to know it. But I know the ‘get to know’ is the hard part.

Anyway, but English isn’t.

It failed me countless times. There are too many irregularity. In writing, in speaking. Why a isn’t always [a]? Why i isn’t always [i]? Unfortunately and luckily I’ve learn most of my English on the road, that lead me to have ability to so-so in both spoken and written English. Maybe better in spoken, slightly. Since I committed myself to writing in this nearly perfect second language, I found unlimited difficulties in writing more and more and I’m going to share that with you. I believe you’ve noticed errors on my previous and perhaps in this post. And you all were very generous. You helped me correct the errorS, and let me learn things. I thank you all for that.

 

Can you read the agony in my face?

Words always miss spelled and confusing

I think because of the proximity of position of the key on the keyboard or it’s not easy to spot even though I write incorrectly because it’s so small. And it sounds so similar and spelling is ‘almost’ same! I mean, it sounds exactly the same to me (most of times). Sometimes hard to tell the difference. Well, excuses and excuses.

 

of, if, or

buy, but

route, root

hill, heal, heel (sounds pretty similar, really)

now, not

weather, whether

roof, loop

then, than

thought, though, through, taught, throat

bought, brought

 

 

Words that impossible to actually write

It just doesn’t stick with me! I had to open Google dictionary every single time I tried to use these words. Many words I know are that I picked up from conversations or just in life. So I found myself that I know the meaning and sound of the word but not the actual spelling. Sometimes I had to go through over dozens of ‘word googling’ to find the right spell. (And you should see what I type into the Google window. It’s hilarious.)

 

phonetic (Yes, I had a hard time from the beginning of this post! that’s my writing life)

procrastinating (it took me so long to figure out the actual spelling)

anecdote

inevitably

inspiration (I use it a lot, but somehow I’m always wrong)

deliberately

vulnerable

 

 

Yet, I have few of favourite words too

Because of the meaning, because of the sounds, or just because. It’s a foreign language to me, so I like it sometimes just because.

 

serendipity (because I live by that)

mediocre (not the meaning just like the pronunciation)

peculiar (because I am)

wise / wisdom (because I want to be)

bohemian (love the meaning, love the shape of the word)

apparently (like the situation when I used this word – usually sarcastic)

procrastinating (because I do a lot)

perpetual (After I got to know ‘perpetual motion squad’)

 

 

Oh and I should add few of the newest words that I’ve learn

I have a little page at the end of my journal – it’s a dictionary. I wrote words that I’ve learn, figured out, and used recently. Here are few:

 

exothermic (it’s exo and thermic. wow)

affinity

evangelize (I really like the sound of this word)

lexicon / lexicographer (someone told me that, after I said I keep a dictionary in my journal)

tryst

proverbial

ramification

 

 

I’ve only doing this for just almost two years, and I can’t wait to have more difficulties and problems in English writing! It means there are more things to learn in the future.

Don’t get me wrong, I love English. I do love it dearly. It’s my the first second language that I learn, and I just fell in love with the joy of get to know the foreign languages. It has so much to offer, it’s like a sponge.

So, after you hear all my whining, what do you think? As a native English speaker, do you see what I see (this totally remind me of the song I listened this morning ‘do you hear what I hear’)?

Or, as a second language writer you, do you agree?

 

If you want to give me some tip and experience to share, please do comment! I’m all ears!

58 thoughts on “English, you suck! But I love you dearly”

  1. Hey Juno!

    I agree that English is a difficult language to learn – often my Korean colleagues will ask me about grammar rules, and I’ll confidently state why it is so. Then they’ll say “well what about this, then?” and I’m like “hmm……I don’t know.”

    When to use “the” when using superlatives (biggEST vs THE biggest) was a tricky one…we eventually found out when it needs “the” and when it doesn’t.

    Learning Korean…it’s easy to pick up at first, but once you get to a higher level, those DARNED VERB ENDINGS for tiny little nuances prove to be difficult – 는도고 해도 vs 더라도 vs 기는 하지만 vs 는데도 etc etc – so Korean can be a lil bit tricky sometimes, do!

    Yet, I love the language – 멍멍 is my favourite word. So cute!

    You’re doing a great job in English, too! To be honest, I do notice some mistakes – yet I’ve always been like that, ever since I was a little kid (future English teacher since age 7 haha!) Yet I never think “huh?! what’s she trying to say?” – your blog is one of my favourites to read (now you know where all those Daegu hits are coming from LOL!)

    Stay awesome – 화이팅!

    1. I agree.. when you hit some level of Korean, I can imagine how difficult that would be.
      It is really easy to read, but really hard to use. But I admire your passion to Korean! I mean you are taking the test and everything. How did you do by the way?
      Like what English native speakers said, I don’t think I will be good at Korean grammar test. There are just so many things that I can say.. ‘just because’.
      Language is a mysterious thing….
      Thanks Tom, for all the traffic from Daegu!! 🙂

  2. I think you’re doing great! I don’t know that I would have known that English wasn’t your native language. The part I think would be hardest would be idioms or phrases like it’s as think as pea soup. I mean seriously, who came up with that?

    1. Thanks Miranda! What is pea soup anyway? Speaking of pea, I like the idiom “two peas in a pod”. I had to look it up when someone told me, and I think this is the cutest phrase ever!

  3. Wow! You are doing an incredible job. I can’t believe you have only been writing English for the last two years. I took nearly two years of Japanese and could barely write the equivalent of See Jane run. 🙂

    Trust me, the more you do it and the more you read, the better your English will get. English is my first language, heck I even have a degree in Journalism, but I still use Google regularly to check spelling, definitions and grammar.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Yeah, I remember my first post up for Travedudes.org. It took me aaaaggggggeeeesssss to write just one post up and that was not even a emotional or something. Was a just simple museum post. lol!
      Good thing is that I’m enjoying it, and willing to learn. Can’t wait to start another language. Spanish? German? Russian? Italian? So many great languages…!!

  4. English must be one of the hardest languages to learn coming from a phonetic language background. I think anything that’s also from an utterly unrelated language family is tough. In European languages I can make up words based on common roots and get close enough. In Bahasa Indonesia, unless they’re administrative/medical terms, I don’t have a chance. Well done, though. I like your style of English. Even though English sucks.

    1. Yes, and the pronunciation system is totally different, that was a hard start as well. Korean doesn’t have ‘f’ or ‘ph’ and no different in writing. Well it is made by our King and made FOR Koreans, so it’s unique alright. 🙂
      Indonesian is going to be hard to learn as well. I’ve traveled to SE Asia and picked up some languages on the road but it just didn’t stick with me. Most of people can speak English though, maybe that’s why.
      So, now I know English so that means I can pick up other languages easier than before. I guess?!
      Thanks for the good words Theodora!

  5. English is my first language but I feel your pain. I’m studying for a TESOL certificate and trying to keep track of all of the tenses and irregularities is killing me. I’ll give you that once you learn the characters in Korean reading signs and such is easy (though you still have to learn the vocabulary). My students who know I’ve studied a little Korean always ask me what my favorite word is in Korean and it’s 비행기 I think it’s just because of how it sounds. It doesn’t hurt that I also love what it is.
    I’ve always been impressed with how well you write for someone writing in a second language.

    1. 비행기 is a cute word and a good word to like.
      Thank you for your good words! And I’m really glad that you are studying Korean. I know it’s hard to practice Korean here because every single person wants to talk to you in English, right? 🙂 But it’s good to know local language. Especially minority like Korean. Everybody is so nicer when you approach them with 안녕하세요. 🙂

  6. I have always been impressed with your writing voice. The idiosyncrasies of language can be learned in time, but you already are a good writer without complete mastery of the language. I have noticed a few misspelling and errors, but I always knew what you meant, so I never felt the need to correct because they did not get int the way of the prose. I commend you though because I could never start blogging in another language, and if I did it would be horrible. Je peux blog en français, mais c’etait très horribles. See that was me blogging in French and it was horrible. No one would want to read that.

    1. Dude! You just made me open google dictionary for ‘idiosyncrasies’ but turns out I knew that word! In spoken, not written. So thank you. One think to learn a day! Don’t worry, if you write something in French, I won’t be able to read it. Though, I always wanted to learn French, so that might be a great break for me.
      Thank you for the good words Ted!

  7. You’re doing a really great job for writing in a second language. I’m fluent in Spanish but I don’t think I could write at the level you do with English. I’m a much better speaker. I’m also learning Chinese but I’m finding it impossible to write so I’m sticking with reading and speaking.

    Keep it going! You’re an inspiration 🙂

    1. Thanks Michael. It means a lot to me. You are fluent in Spanish and English and leaning Chinese-one of the hardest language of all time! That’s impressive my friend. I think I’m better speaker than writer and it helps one way or another.

  8. It’s always worth remembering that the vast majority of words in English follow regular spelling patterns :). One estimate plucked from a Google search is 84%. Feel better now :)?

  9. Great job so far! There are a few mistakes here and there with spelling and grammar but as everyone else has already posted, your style of writing is fun and you manage to get the meaning across clearly. And as you say, it’s the continual learning process that makes it so fun. I have lived in Thailand for 5 years, English is my first language and I have spent a lot of money on private lessons for Thai. The result: I was able to get a professional license for my day job but could never imagine writing a blog in Thai. Kudos to you for being brave and writing a blog in a second language!!

    1. Thanks Ray.! I had to be brave to not be embarrassed by my mistakes! I think I spent some money on English education, like a class or two. I was never good. We had English classes in school from mid school but I never cared. It was just ‘I’m fine thank you how are you’ type of English. My previous teachers would be freak out to see me doing English!
      Wow, five years leaning Thai! I was so fascinated by how they write their handwriting. I remember when a hotel staff wrote us a direction on a piece of paper I said ‘wow’ out loud. haha 🙂

  10. There are so many little nuances in the English language, but you do a great job navigating them! I love how you have a list of words you like, I feel the same way when I learn a foreign language, there are just some words I love, love, love the sound of. Somehow those commit to my memory easier! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jillian! Yes, I like my ‘like’ words. There are expressions or words that cannot translate to other languages. Some beautiful Korean words, there is no way I can translate those into English and vice versa. There is no word to explain ‘home’ in Korean. Not a house, a home. like where my heart is. I love the word home, and the meaning of it.

  11. As I learn Spanish I’m always so happy my native language is English. In Spanish everything makes sense and it can always be explained. English is a disaster and a lot of the rules are broken for no reason at all.

    I’m always in awe that you blog in English.

    1. I’ve been looked into Spanish a while ago, (but it didn’t stick with me that long *sigh* I need to come over to Latin America) and I found that’s awfully similar to English in many ways. Still it’s hard but just some parts. Would love to learn Spanish..
      Thanks Ayngelina!

    2. Oh and you know what? I thought of you when I’ve learn the word “evangelize”. I didn’t hear it actually but it sounds like your name. 🙂

  12. I think all of us who speak English and have traveled have realized how frustrating and difficult it can be. I am still amazed that you write in English and take that step to do it. I ALWAYS have admiration for people in other countries who speak more than one language. I think that is awesome!

    So while English can be difficult, most people in this country are truly ignorant when it comes to languages!

    1. 🙂 But I’ve men many Americans who are dearly in love with other languages also, and that’s great. (And a lot of them aren’t for sure.) Since English has a lot of similarities with other languages, it’s a bit easier for them, like they said. It’s a matter of interest I think.
      Thanks Jeremy! I’m grateful to use English so I can share the world with so many friends around the world!

  13. English is a ridiculous language – and I’m English! I agree with all your points here but as I struggle to learn French and Spanish I am at least happy that our verb endings are not so “darned” convoluted.

    Also, like you, I LOVE learning new phrases in different languages (You mention “two peas in a pod.”)

    I like “A puppet in the drawer” to mean pregnant in French.

    And then, I also love discovering that one ridiculous phrase in English (eg “to break the ice” – to mean start a friendly conversation in an otherwise quiet situation where people don’t know each other very well) has matching literal translations in French and Spanish.

    I am, as ever, in awe of people who write in a second language – and use spellcheck on word. Gets rid of most mistakes anyway 😉

    1. oooh excellent recommendation with word. even as a native english speaker i often use word to draft up important posts to make sure i don’t make a full 😉 out of myself regarding spelling or grammar. but words sounding the same but spelled differently (homophones) are tricky. sometimes word doesn’t pick up on ridiculously meaningless sentences because everything is spelled and grammatically correct. i’ve noticed that even people whose education and careers are specialized in the linguistics of their native language still employ some kind of second or third party editing service be it a friend, colleague or someone on the payroll. it definitely pays to have someone who can proofread your stuff.

      1. True!! Even I use spell check, if I wrote a word that actually right but not the one I wanted, it’s impossible to check. 🙂
        Yeah I really want to attend some creative writing courses someday. That would be a really great break for me!

    2. A puppet in a drawer! How cute!! Then if someone is pregnant with twin.. it’s going to be two puppets in a drawer?? 🙂 It is as cute as two peas in a pod!
      Yes I’ve heard the break the ice, it’s kind of cute expression and actually true. A lot if idioms are very cleaver and easy to remember one I got to know them. When I heard curiosity kill the cat’, because I’m extremely curious, my response was ‘I don’t want to kill the cat!’. Oops!
      And glad to know lots of French and Spanish expressions are matching with English! Good to know.

      1. Just in case you don’t know and would like to, the expression “curiosity killed the cat” has a second part to it, so the whole saying goes, “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.” It means being curious can get you into trouble, but finally getting the answer you were looking for makes it all worthwhile. So as long as you got the satisfaction of an answer, you haven’t killed any cats, haha.

        Excellent job writing and learning English, it can be a handful, so keep it up and you’ll know all the little quirks of the language eventually.

  14. Juno… this is a great post!

    It’s tough to write in another language… I can tell as well! For me it’s a bit easier as German is closer to English than Korean. I only read English books. This is something, which really helps me. There are authors, which are quite easy to read like Ken Follet. Do you know his books? 95% of his books are worth to read! 🙂

    1. Thanks Melvin..! I remember that I was surprised that your first language is German. A total surprise. I started reading English books from few years back. Mainly because of Harry Potter.. I just couldn’t wait till translated version came out! Ridiculous reason.. 🙂 It helped anyhow. And I found reading original books are way better than translated versions (almost always). So I read many books in English the one I’ve read in Korean already.
      I’m reading Siddhartha right now but it was originally German so that’s different. 🙂
      I will check out Ken Follet’s books. Thanks! Good reading recommendation is always welcome.

    1. That IS a tricky one, right? It sounds more like ‘definately’ than ‘definitely’. Glad I can understand English so I can read your blog!

  15. Oh I hear ya! My first language is German and I do write in English AND German… as Melvin said German is pretty close to English BUT this language gives me hard times so often. 🙂 I also know the thing with the words sounding similiar but with total different meanings… 🙂 oh well, English you suck… but I love you dearly…

    1. Yes, even if it is similar but it’s totally different language after all! Yes English sucks, many times but I’m grateful to use it, so I can communicate with the whole world! 🙂

  16. I have to applaud you! Your English writing skills have imprived significantly since you first started this blog.

    A is used when the next word begins with a consonant and an is used when the noun begins with a vowel. except u words usually because it sounds wrong. I will send you a tweet to help you with a link.

    Also… when you use “that” it is usually followed by the verb to be == Words that are impossible
    or leave out “that” Words impossible to actually write

    And just so you know English is hard for us too! You are right, many exceptions!!

    Hope this helps you a little 🙂

    1. Thanks Stephanie. You were specially helpful from the beginning of my writing. Using of a and the is really tricky and also me and I, like you said. A lot of subtle differences, that in any languages I assume.
      Really glad to hear that you can notice my improvement. *blush*
      Sometimes it’s really said that I want to say something smart and funny but there’s no way to say it in other language. I love sarcastic jokes and it works better in English than Korean.
      Thanks for the links you sent me!

  17. I can’t believe that you’ve only been writing for 2 years. I’ve lived in the states for 10 years and I still struggle to write in English. Unfortunately, I won’t fare that well writing in Indonesian either – I actually know fewer words in my native tounge. So it’s like I don’t even have a first language. So sad.

    When I was learning English I read tons of books in English. I found reading is the best way to pick up the subtler nuances of how the language is used in everyday life.

    Good luck, Juno. You’re off to a good start.

    1. Thanks Jill! Yes I was trying to read English book when I learn English in school but it wasn’t fun at all. I was really bad at it. But after I got interested in learning English more, everything I read became so more interesting! Still, it will take a long time for all the reading would affect my writing, but I’m having fun so that matters, right? 🙂

  18. AH how interesting babe! your article is a real eye opener! Anyway, we love Runaway Juno.. no matter what ! Even if you see errors on our blog, pls let us know, so we can correct it, no worries:) cheers luv

  19. Juno,

    English is one of the hardest languages to learn. Shaun and I have to open Dictionary.com all the time to make sure we are using the correct word so don’t feel too bad!

    I am god awful at writing. You are doing such an amazing job!

    1. Thanks Erica! In my case, google dictionary and google search are saving me. Well and I can say the same thing when I’m writing in Korean as well. 🙂
      I like your writing style, I like the way you tell your story. 🙂 I’m just glad I can share it all with these so many great people out there, including you!!

  20. Hey Juno,

    Your blog is one of my favourites because it’s so heartfelt and you tell your story well. It’s really brave of you to put yourself out there and write in a 2nd language. You really are doing a great job and creating a really inspiring travel blog. ^_^

    1. Petina, thank you very much. That is really encouraging and sweet. I’m really glad you like my stories. That is what I’m trying to do here. My stories need to be heard, and need to be shared with others, just like any others. That is why I choose to use English to be more global, and I’m grateful that I have ability to do so.
      Looking forward to share more stories with you. 🙂

  21. I have very similar problems with Finnish. some days I wonder if I will ever really understand this language. But it’s fun to learn and once I stopped worrying about the mistakes and just started speaking it, it was much easier.

  22. Hi Kim.I had not realised that English was not your first language, so you can’t be too bad.
    as for English : it’s a language composed of many other languages; German ; French ; Greek and Latin to name a few. Add that together over hundreds of years and words become a mixture or amalgam of different words meaning similar things.
    To confuse matters more American English varies from British English, words have different spellings and meanings.

    1. Hi Chris, it was glad to meet you through #togChat. English is a hard language for sure. The irregularity is very hard to catch. But that’s one of the reason why it’s so interesting. I had some experience of British English and New Zealand English, and the subtlety is very fascinating.

  23. That’s impressive my friend. So sad. Add that together over hundreds of years and words become a mixture or amalgam of different words meaning similar things. as for English : it’s a language composed of many other languages; German ; French ; Greek and Latin to name a few.

  24. A lot of languages are “all rules, no exceptions”. I think English is “all exceptions, no rules” 😉 Because of the history of the language, once you are completely fluent with it (or maybe even now) you’ll begin to recognize words from other languages, and it can be really interesting to see how far it has travelled!

    I think you’re doing really well with English, far better than a lot of native speakers on the internet! By the way, Im not sure if it was intended but this was wonderful: “procrastinating (it took me so long to figure out the actual spelling)”! The very meaning of the word 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  25. English is definitely tricky. I didn’t realize how tricky until I moved here to Germany and started working as an English teacher. I definitely commiserate with my students learning the language. Spelling drives me crazy and I’m a native speaker! lol BUT I didn’t feel bad for them for long, because then I started trying to learn German and that was hard too 😀

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