OWL Magazine Korea

Japanese “Korean Textbooks”

For a while, I attempted to study various foreign languages. Working in an environment where English was used daily for several years, I naturally became accustomed to it, and there came a point where I didn’t need to put in effort to study English anymore.

However, now that I’m no longer in an environment where I use English for work every day, I keenly feel that my English proficiency has decreased significantly compared to before. Because of this, I’ve started to think seriously about studying English again.

At one time, I also studied various languages, including English, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese. If we include languages I briefly encountered, we can even count Arabic and Hebrew.

However, now I’m only minimally studying Japanese among those languages, and I haven’t touched the others at all. I felt the need to first restore my English skills, which have become rusty.

“Korean Textbooks Written in Japanese”

During my time working alongside native English speakers, I was actively studying Japanese. At that time, a newly hired American colleague, unlike others, showed remarkable proficiency in foreign languages. As a Spanish-speaking American from a Spanish-speaking culture, he used Spanish and English at a native level, and in addition, he separately studied Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, becoming a multilingual employee.

I remember his Japanese proficiency being quite good at the time. He even gave me a Japanese textbook he had been studying, which was written in Korean, which was fascinating. It was interesting to see him study both Korean and Japanese using a “Korean” textbook written in Japanese.

“Korean Textbooks from the Japanese Perspective”

Since it was a Korean textbook written from the Japanese perspective, it was an intriguing book that I wouldn’t usually encounter. Of course, South Korea and Japan are geographically close and linguistically similar countries, so there was nothing particularly extraordinary about it.

The Korean textbooks written in Japanese were not significantly different from the Japanese textbooks commonly seen in South Korea. However, the fact that it was “Korean textbooks written in Japanese” itself was an impressive experience.

However, this book didn’t help me much. I was already in a situation where I could speak Korean fluently, so studying Japanese was necessary for me. However, in the content introduced in the book, Japanese was often written mainly in “kanji,” making it difficult for me, as a beginner in Japanese, to understand the pronunciation or grasp the meaning.

Nevertheless, being able to see our language from the perspective of Japan was an interesting experience. Seeing expressions in Korean, such as “hello” and “thank you,” written in Japanese script, “hiragana” and “katakana,” was intriguing.