어린이 뉴스

The other day I was reading about random language methods used by various types of language learners. There was one article for people studying Japanese, which introduced a study-friendly method of reading: through news written for children to read. I thought it was a very smart thing to do, so I went ahead and searched for a Korean equivalent: http://kids.donga.com/index.html. I’m not sure if the Japanese papers are better(in terms of the ease factor), but I have to admit, they are not suitable for beginners. Maybe Low-Intermediate to Intermediate would be a good level to read most of the non-technical articles and feel challenged, without being overwhelmed.
As you may have noticed I place a strong emphasis on reading, because I love reading. I read everyday, which is why my reading skills are better than everything else. I am not learning Korean to get a job or study abroad so I don’t have to worry about speaking, a skill I’m not very interested in due to the inconvience it will cause. I can only imagine how hard it is to maintain and even become fluent in speaking a language that isn’t even spoken in your area! I commend anyone who is able to do that, but I’m not up for it.
Anyway, the other day I started listening to weather reports from naver and contemplating whether or not I should also try to listen to the news. Who know’s, I might be able to actually understand it. I tried to listen to one news report, but I was literally on the verge of falling asleep. For some reason, ever since I was a kid watching weather forecasts has been very entertaining, which is why I was able to bear with it in the first place.
Finding 어린이 뉴스 has been a blessing! There are some really interesting articles there! This was one of the articles I read(without a dictionary); it’s about smoking:


오늘도 기침을 하며 코를 막고 지나간다. 엄마와 지하철역에 가려면 편의점을 지나야 하는데 편의점 앞 회사 직원들이 고통의 담배를 피우고 있다. 그리고 아무렇지도 않게 길가에 담배꽁초를 버리고 간다.
도대체 왜 그럴까? 왜 사람들은 담배를 즐기는 것일까? 담배를 피우지 않으면 몸이 아프지 않고 몸 속 장기인 폐도 힘들어하지도 않을 텐데…. 특히 여성은 담배를 피우면 안 된다. 그 이유는 담배가 불임의 원인이 되기 때문이다.

일단, 회사 직원들은 제쳐 두고서라도 우리 이모부와 외할아버지가 금연을 하도록 해야겠다. 이모부는 숨바꼭질하듯이 밥만 먹고 나면 사라지신다. 내가 어렸을 때는 엄마에게 이모부가 어디에 가시는지 물어 보았지만 이제는 안다. 밖에 나가서 담배를 피우는 것이다. 그러나 최근에는 이모부가 귀찮아서 그런지 실내에서 담배를 피우기 시작했다.

외할아버지는 담배와 하루를 사신다. 할아버지는 담배가 없으면 살 수가 없다고 말씀하신다. 내가 외할아버지 생신 때 담배를 그만 피우시라고 몇 번이나 편지에 썼지만 소용이없다. 할아버지의 뇌에서 그 말들은 소용돌이치며 사라지는 것 같다. “휴” 한숨이 절로 나온다.

내가 마법을 가지고 있으면 이 세상에 있는 나쁜 담배를 모조리 없애고 싶다. 담배를 즐기는 사람들은 펄쩍 뛰겠지만 몸에 해로우니 어쩔 수 없다. 얼마 전, 담배로 스트레스를 푸는 사람이 있다고 들었다. 정말 입이 벌어지게 황당하다. 이렇게 발달한 세상에 스트레스를 풀 만한 방법이 없다고 담배로 풀다니…. 그 사람이 누구인지는 모르겠지만 꼭 알아내서 제대로 금연교육을 시키고 싶다.

내가 4학년이어서 금연교육을 직접 하지는 못하지만 이 자리에서 몇 가지 중요한 것만 소개하겠다.

첫째, 스트레스가 쌓이면 운동 같은 다른 일로 풀 것 둘째, 담배를 피우는 아까운 시간에 재밌고 간단한 일을 할 것 셋째, 담배를 피우되 담배꽁초를 길가에 버리고 가지 말 것 넷째, 담배에 의지해 살지 말 것이다.

어떤 사람들은 이게 뭐냐고 말할 수 있겠지만 이 4가지만 지켜도 담배 때문에 일어나는 나쁜 일은 줄어들 것이다. 작은 행동이 어마어마하게 큰 변화를 가져올 수 있다. 무조건 “안 돼∼”라는 말보다는 이런 작은 약속부터 차근차근 지켜나가면 사람들이 담배에 의존하지 않게 된다, 그렇게 되면 간접흡연으로 주변 사람들이 고통 받는 일도 줄어들 것이다.

As you can see above I bolded, and italicized words. The bold words are words I could not guess from context, and the italicized words are words that I felt I understood through the context. There is one pair of words 풀 만한, which is bolded and italicized, which means that I can’t really understand it’s grammatical function in the sentence. ㅠㅠ I’ve never been able to ‘naturally’ understand -ㄹ 만하다, for some reason, I’ll probably study it later.
That was a very interesting article to read, and if you were able to understand it, the author states that he/she is in 4th grade(I think he/she is an elementary student), which explains why towards the end they talk about how their “Utopian Society” wouldn’t have cigarettes. ㅎㅎㅎ I’ll definitely continue to read these, they are very good for learning vocabulary.
Also, another good thing about the website I introduced is that it has a section called 배움터▶신나는 NIE which has many short articles that teaches you about whatever topic is being introduced. One really good ‘series’ is the: 알쏭달쏭 헷갈리는 우리말, which shows you a word or phrase that Koreans often make mistakes on when speaking and even writing, and then correct it. At the beginning of the article they have a short comic skit that puts the word/phrase into context and then on the bottom explains it in Korean, of course. The same thing I said at the beginning of the article applies here, if you’re at the Low-Intermediate to Intermediate level, you shouldn’t have too much trouble understanding it.
That’s all for today ^-^
This post was a bit long, wasn’t it?

Update: I found another wonderful website: http://www.news-i.co.kr. It has a list of different websites for 어린이신문/미디어(Children Newspaper/Media), 애니메션(Animated Cartoons), 만화/캐릭터(Comics) and a few other things. The list pertaining to children media and newspaper seems to generally encompass the biggest publishers, so if anyone interested it, you should definitely check it out.
Here’s a translation of the names to give you an idea of what they are about:
· 소년조선일보(Korean daily chronicles for adolescents)
· 어린이동아(Donga children)
· 소년한국일보(Korean daily chronicles for adolescents(different from the one above))
· 어린이경제신문(Economic Newspaper for Kids)
· 코리아교육신문(Korean Education Newspaper)
· 열린어린이 (…) I’m not sure how to translate this, but if someone could chip in that would be great.

Redeveloping Study Habits

I haven’t been “studying” like I had planned to for about 5 months now. For me studying is sitting down with a textbook and doing work that way, not reading, or listening or even speaking; those are activities that you do to accentuate studying, not replace it. Of course that’s my opinion, and despite being happy that my Korean has dramatically improved for the past few months, I know that if I don’t at least skim through my textbook every once in awhile I won’t improve much. Last week I started chapter one of Intermediate College Korean! Technically I should still be on chapter 16 of College Korean, but based on the vocabulary and grammatical concepts introduced in Intermediate College Korean, I thought it would serve me better to start with that book and then return to where I left off in College Korean. I have completed Chapter 1 and I’m on Chapter two and I really like it so far. I actually know almost all of the grammar introduced in the earlier chapters so right now it feels more like a review/revision of things I have encountered while reading. One thing that I have noticed is that at the end of each chapter there are a lot of exercises and even a Conversational Topics part to compliment the chapter. I’m planning on using these as a weekly “essay-like” assignment for myself because right now a lot of my Korean is passive, and I want to improve my writing skills as well. ^-^ Also, since there are so many exercises, I have borrowed the idea of “breaking them up” like my Trig. teacher does when he give  us worksheets with a lot of questions on it. I think doing a little each day will prove to be better than doing everything in one day. It works in math class, so I hope it’ll work with learning Korean as well.