taobenli (taobenli) wrote in linguaphiles,

juggling languages

I'm a grad student in a social science field and new to this community. I've been studying Korean quite intensively for about three years, though I'm still far from fluent, sadly. I also studied Chinese (Mandarin) as an undergrad and have tried to keep that up at least a little at all times. I lived in Japan for a year and studied it a LONG time ago in high school, but aside from that no formal study. So now I speak Korean quite well, Chinese pretty badly because of lack of practice (but my comprehension is okay), and can barely speak Japanese at all but can understand quite a bit.

My goal is to be effectively fluent or at least very proficient in both Korean and Chinese, as this will be important for my research. (I'll probably spend at least a year in Korea for fieldwork and maybe some time in Taiwan as well). I'd like to be able to read Japanese well and speak it better than I do now, but realize that it will probably never be as strong as the other two because I've barely studied it in a formal setting. Sadly, I think because my knowledge is not solid enough my Korean really messes up my Japanese. (I just visited old friends in Japan and they said that I now speak with a weird Korean accent- great!).

So, what would you recommend doing to achieve these goals? I will be taking classical Chinese this year and I think this will help with my reading in all three languages. For speaking I meet a Korean language partner once a week, and may try to meet a Chinese language partner too, but don't have much more time than that. How can I maximize my time? What has worked for you?


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