A weird sensation as a heritage learner

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A weird sensation as a heritage learner

Postby nooj » Tue May 15, 2018 6:50 am

My heritage language is Korean (up until 5 my only language and now something I only speak to my family). Now I'm putting myself back into studying it in order to advance beyond my level. When I go to Korean learning forums, there's so much talk about the language by Korean learners, but much less talking in. To someone who grew up in the language, it seems weird how people can talk about like the use of 당신 in detail, but do it all in English and how their book or friend tells them that you have to be careful using it... I had like a feeling of intruding into a discussion where I had no place being.

It's a reason why I don't like to hang around learners and instead I talk to fellow Koreans. It's not about the level of Korean. I'm not saying they're below me!

It's just more like how the language is treated as an object of study...as something foreign to them. I know this is a stupid observation, because it IS foreign to them, but to me that's not how I have a relation to this language. I felt like an outsider to the language learning community.

I realise that I also probably do this with my other languages as well. I try to imagine what a native or heritage speaker of Spanish might think if they enter into a discussion where people are talking about this or that more or less opaque phenomenon in Spanish, usually in English, about something that for us is very foreign but for them is natural.
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Re: A weird sensation as a heritage learner

Postby Axon » Tue May 15, 2018 10:55 am

I wonder if you might be getting this feeling because (correct me if I'm wrong) you have lived most of your life without ever discussing Korean vocabulary and grammar.

Even though grammar instruction in schools is often inadequate, most people speaking the majority language of a community end up knowing something about its grammar just from regular school classes. This is a noun, this is an adjective, here are some simple rules about writing the language down and composing text.

Whereas a heritage language doesn't often get that kind of treatment, since it would have to come from the parents making an effort to educate the child in the "proper" use of the language.

Mandarin speakers can almost always rattle off the fact that "Mandarin has four tones" and give examples, but ask them about the tones of their native topolect and you'll probably get a blank look. Same thing with Russian heritage speakers and case endings, same thing with English native speakers and verb moods.
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Re: A weird sensation as a heritage learner

Postby rdearman » Tue May 15, 2018 11:20 am

Verbs have moods? That explains why my verbs are always in a strop. Grumpy buggers.
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