Progress Report

안녕하세요!

Hello everyone. I have been a good girl this past week or so. Having set myself the task of working through the first TalkToMeInKorean workbook I have been doing one to two lessons a day. It helps that I have listened to most of the lessons in level 1 multiple times.  I have completed 18 lessons so far! Yay. Having an easily achievable goal for each day is making it much easier to stick with it. Hopefully that will continue once I start level 2 and its all new information! I am almost up to date with the corresponding vocabulary on Memrise so feeling pretty chuffed there too.

In a bid to find effective ways of language learning I bought an ebook off Amazon called ‘Conquering Babel’ by Claire Handscombe. It’s only short, may be 70 pages but it has several positive points. It has got me thinking about my motivation for language learning. She even has you write down five reasons to refer back to on days when you are lacking the energy to push yourself. One of the most useful points for me has been about setting goals for myself using SMART.

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There are various versions of SMART around, but the gist and aim are the same – setting a specific manageable target to work towards, and breaking it down into manageable chunks. From a language perspective its about what level I want to reach. The goal of most language learners is fluency in the chosen language. This is all very well, but it is immeasurable. How can you tell when you are fluent. Realistically achieving full fluency is a life-long task. Even in our mother tongue we are constantly learning new words and phrases. What does fluent even mean to you? Being able to hold simple conversations, read you favourite book in your chosen language, or like in my case, being able to understand Korean dramas without so much need for subtitles. Having clear steps in mind to work towards your goal makes it easier to measure progress, but also enables you to see what you have achieved, which is great for motivating yourself to continue.

For myself, I intend to put the big picture (of fluency) out of my head and concentrate on smaller tasks, such as finishing individual levels on TTMIK, or a specific text book. If I have only one or two simple but still challenging goals at a time, I might get further in my Korean studies this time. Here’s hoping. 🙂

On a different note my love of the drama ‘Moonlight Drawn By Clouds’ has lead me down another path. A good example of how language learning opens new avenues of interest. Like in most Korean historical dramas, there has been reference to the ‘Analects of Confucius’, so I decided to find out more about Confucianism. Nothing too intense, so I got my hands on a copy of ‘Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction’. It has been fairly easy reading so far. It certainly helps to give a better understanding of how society was run, and also gender roles and expectations. I think anyone who has seen Sungkyunkwan Scandal will have some vague interest in it. I have also found a useful website online containing the Analects, their translation, and also some explanation of the text. A little further reading will be needed I think. It is actually in PDF format so I will probably download it for easier reading.

I have started following a new blog called TwentyThirdStation. They have some fantastic posts on learning Korean. This past week was focused on Korean through Kpop. They broke down parts of the lyrics on a selection songs. While I don’t understand everything I find the challenge of some of the more advanced stuff interesting, and a break from some of the more basic level stuff I am still on which can sometimes be a little boring if I am honest. This keeps things interesting.

Thanks for reading. 안녕!

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New Korean Books!

So for the last few days I have been going over the PDFs for the early levels of TTMIK’s Level 1 grammar and working through the accompanying exercises in the workbook I purchased recently. I have finished the first 6 lessons so far.

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The early lessons are quite basic so it hasn’t taken too long. Even though it’s quite easy I am taking it as an opportunity to practice my Hangul writing. Plus I figure the dictation exercises are really useful. Any listening exercises are useful to me. The books aren’t a bad accompaniment to the lessons actually. I feel it would have been more beneficial to me (book 1 at any rate) if I had been working through the exercises after listening to each lesson for the first time. It would all have sunk in quicker with more actual practice. Hopefully workbook 2 will be better in that way, since I purchased the first 2 workbooks. I didn’t bother purchasing the grammar books as the main grammar points covered are all available for free in the audio lessons and PDFs on their website. The workbooks are available here. I have found a course on Memrise too with all the vocab covered in level 1 to recap since its a while since I finished it.

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Last year I purchased another TTMIK book, book 1 of My Weekly Korean. It contains a selection of frequently used words. The book is split into 12 weeks, with a new word to learn each day. For each word there are multiple sentences of differing complexity levels, so you can see it in use, especially as some can have more than one meaning. E.g. the first word in the book 보다 has quite a few meanings. The main meaning is ‘to see’. However it is used to mean read too, as well as other words.

책을 보다  to read a book

영화를 보다  to watch a movie

애를 보다  to babysit

내일 시험 봐야 되요  I have to take a test tomorrow.

The book is very good. When I got it, it was a bit much for me even though its supposed to be appropriate for beginners. Although all words are translated, and basic grammar structures explained I like to understand how everything works, and why something is the way it is. My mind just works that way. The book doesn’t go that far. I haven’t used this everyday as suggested. Instead I used it as reading practice, dipping in from time. My reading and comprehension is much better now so it would probably be of more use to me now. I will have to add it to my ‘to do’ waiting list 🙂

I have another couple of Korean textbooks I bought; The Sounds of Korean by Mihi Choo and William O’Grady, and Korean Made Simple by Billy Go, but I will wait till I have more to say before writing about them.

My interest in KDramas and the Korean language has naturally lead me to an interest in the country and its history. At the recommendation of Shanna’s review over at hangukdrama.com I picked up a copy of ‘Korea: The Impossible Country’, by Daniel Tudor from Amazon. I am going away this weekend and plan to take it as bedtime reading. I have already read some of the introduction and it is very easy to read so far.

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In an attempt to motivate myself I am toying with the idea of taking part in Jeremy of Motivate Korean’s 90 day language learning challenge. I have been good the last few days, hopefully I will stick with it. I will leave you with his video introducing the challenge for anyone else who needs encouragement.

Stay well everyone, and thanks for reading. I’m off to watch episode 9 of Moonlight Drawn by Clouds. For anyone interested, I have updated my drama list. 🙂

Missing in Action

So I was merrily checking the blogs in my reader when I noticed another friendly reader had started following my blog (thank you!). So I thought I really ought to update my blog. Imagine my horror at discovering it is 2 years since I updated last. I somehow thought it was only a year. Bad enough I know.

So what have I been doing? Korean has still been featuring in my day to day life but I have failed to establish a regular routine, with a set ‘curriculum’ if you will. I have been doing a mishmash of various thing as the will struck. I have yet to finish the Pimsleur audio lessons I purchased. Not because they aren’t good, I just can’t seem to get into them. I will have to try again. I have only done 5 or 6 of them out of the 30. They do help with getting me speaking, and also with my listening comprehension. I am better able to differentiate words in sentences as they start off with the sentences slower and then build up to faster more natural pronunciation. So definitely try again.

I have completed level 1 of TTMIK. I recently purchased their workbooks for level 1 and 2 so that is next on my radar. I have also been using the Memrise app to learn vocabulary. I reckon I know a good 400 or so words at least thanks to that.

I have been watching some videos on YouTube by Margarita. She is working in collaboration with Korean From Zero, anther fantastic online Korean resource I have found. She gives excellent explanations for grammar that is sometimes difficult to understand. They are very informative and stick better in my head than just reading it from a book somehow.

Naturally I have watched many dramas in the last couple of years. I am able to understand parts of what I am hearing now, and not just ‘saranghae’ 🙂 Always exciting when I find I have understood a sentence without realising it. Currently I am watching several dramas; ‘W’ which I am thoroughly enjoying. The writing is so clever and twisty, and well, it’s Lee Jong Suk after all, hehe. I am also watching ‘Moonlight Drawn by Clouds’ and loving it. I enjoy a good gender-bender drama. This is a fun fusion sageuk (historical drama with modern elements – so not totally true to the time period). Only 6 episodes out so far though so am waiting week by week. I have VikiPass so I can watch them as they are released.

So what’s next?

-I intend to review TTMIK level 1 and do the accompanying workbook and then move on to level 2.

-Hopefully restart and finish the Pimsleur lessons.

-Get back into regular use of Memrise to support learning through other sources.

-Try to expose myself to more Korean in audio form e.g. more kpop (what a chore, not :p), and korean podcasts.

That’s enough as a quick update. I will try to do a post soon on the few resources I have purchased recently. 🙂 I will leave you with one of my current favourite kpop songs from the kdrama ‘Doctors’ OST.

 

What have I been up to?

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So since my first post I purchased some Hangul keyboard stickers for my laptop. I also adjusted the settings on my laptop so that I am able to type in Korean. It seems to be working well so far 🙂 I think it looks nice. It also brightened up my keyboard which was difficult to see in the dark before so double plus.

I have been a good girl and made a start on the Pimsleur Korean. I have done 3 and half lessons so far. Its seems ok so far. Plenty of emphasis is put on breaking down the words so you can try and get the correct pronunciation. At the beginning of each lesson there is a short dialogue in Korean. In the first lesson it is all completely new, of course. There after it is revision of the previous units. They continue to use vocabulary learned in the following units so you don’t feel like you are forgetting anything. I am going to repeat the last lesson and a half though as I did it while I was sleepy and also where I couldn’t repeat out aloud after the audio so I can’t be sure of my pronunciation. Not that I am sure of it anyway, lol. Anyway, will keep you posted as to my progress.

I have done a couple more TalktomeinKorean lessons too so I am now about to start lesson 12. I stopped after starting the Pimsleur so as not to confuse myself. The audios are so much fun to listen to. I also discovered that they have some free downloadable worksheets to practice what you are learning in level 1. I was pleased to find them as I was getting tempted to buy their workbook which I can’t really afford at the moment. I don’t really want to spend much more on my Korean studies till I have progressed a little further and justified what I have already spent. I have already caved and bought another book. It was well reviewed on Amazon and online. It is written by a fellow English speaking learner of Korean. It’s called Korean Made Simple by Billy Go. I like that there is quite a bit of explanation. Anyway, we shall see.

I have found a cool computer program and app called Anki that allows you to create flashcards. I have been using it to keep track of my vocabulary from TTMIK. It seems to be working well so far. Its is good practice typing in Korean too.

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I have been trying to improve my Hangul handwriting by copying out the lyrics of songs I like. It’s slowly getting better but is still rather slow going. Step by step I suppose.

I went into Birmingham bullring to meet up with my sisters on Sunday. While I was waiting for them to arrive I amused myself by looking at the foreign language books in Waterstones. It was mostly French and Spanish etc. Look at the meagre selection of Korean books they had! Disappointing. 😦 Just as well I wasn’t buying.

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Until next time, take care all.

First post :-)

So I have just created this blog and I am quite excited  about it. After two years of watching kdramas (Korean dramas) I decided I really wanted to learn Korean. I have of course picked up some of the typical expressions; saranghae (I love you – I think this is the first thing all watchers learn), chincha (really) and aigoo  (expression of annoyance – I use this a lot I must confess, hehe) etc. but I would love to be able to understand so much more. Anyway I made the decision to actually start learning the language. My first choice would have been to take a class but sadly there aren’t any in my town so I started searching online for the best resources and books to use. I came across something called the Pimsleur method. It is taught entirely through audio lessons. It has a lot of good feedback as a language learning method so I decided to give it a try. I took the jump and bought the first 30 lessons. I warn you it isn’t cheap. It cost me around £70. But if it gets me started then great.

Confession time. I have yet to start using it. Oops. I will though. What I have done is scour the Internet searching for free resources. I have found quite a few. I will eventually create a separate tab for resources when I have got to grips with WordPress. Hopefully with reviews so other people can benefit. I have found it so useful reading other people’s reviews and have a good idea of the books I would like to purchase later on in my Korean studies (when I have finished my Pimsleur basically).

One fantastic resource I discovered is talktomeinkorean.com. It is great. It is a free website teaching Korean. The teachers are so friendly and chatty and their audio recordings are fun to listen to and easy to understand.  There are 9 levels so far with multiple lessons per level. Level 1 has  around 25. I’ve already listened to 8 of them.  You feel you are learning something useful straight away. There are also free PDFs you can download to help you understand each lesson.

I actually toyed with the idea of learning Korean a year ago and bought a book on Hangul (the Korean written language). I have since used that to learn Hangul but I don’t think it’s the best book and I can’t vouch for my pronunciation. Hehe.

Anyway, I am hoping this blog will encourage me in my attempts to learn Korean, and also put me in contact with other people who share my passion for Korean and KDramas (I do watch some TWDramas and JDramas as well). Hopefully be back soon having done some actual studying. ;-p