Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Good old number nine

As noted in an earlier post, the Pimsleur series has a "tradition" of presenting a comic interlude around lesson number 9. In Sept, I enjoyed the Swedish one. Today, I was treated to one in Korean.

These Pimsleur short courses (10 lessons) are under $20, and really do help train your ear to hear languages... But this Korean series has been pretty hard to listen to: The two speakers have very different voices and I wonder if I'm hearing things right: The male has a breathless style, as though he just ran around the block just before recording the phrase.

On the plus side, with two very different sounding voices, it's easy to place yourself somewhere between the two and be confident you'd be understood.

As a language, Korean is really sounding very much like Japanese - between the politeness levels, the verb a the end, frontloading the sentence, and some of the vocal sounds. A lot closer to Japanese than Chinese for sure. But that said, it has a sound all its own - no mistaking it for anything else!

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