Discounts in Writing
I’ve been trying to learn some Korean lately. Hangŭl 한글/韓글 is easy enough. It can be learned in a couple hours. Actually I went through that before a visit to Seoul in October. While there with friends I stopped in to a small eatery with a handritten menu. The friends, students of Korean, had some trouble making out the letters. I, oddly enough, did not. I just figured maybe it was because the same strokes in handwritten hanzi 汉字/漢字 get messy in the same ways when used to write Korean.
Then, this past week, I met a Korean named Michael. Figuring that wasn’t his original pre-study-abroad-in-America name, I asked him for his Korean name, which would be Kim Yongsan. I tried writing it out (김용산 金龍山) which apparently is my new party trick (see the ghost write hangŭl) which is a nice addition to the old party trick (hear the ghost speak Mandarin). After throwing some lines on paper I was told I write it well. It’s funny to hear that when a 16-stroke syllable is now a circle and a couple straight lines, but I digress.
Clearly there’s something to be said for writing hangŭl after a few years of writing hanzi. Like learning the bass guitar after mastering classical guitar, perhaps. I have absolutely no experience with hiragana, katakana or any other non-Sinitic, non-Korean writing systems, but I’d be willing to bet the same discounts in writing exist for Japanese. Now if only it would help me write Naxi.
Can anyone vouch for the discount being applied toward kana?