유치원의 하루(A Day of Kindergarten)

I found this webtoon last week and I’m really enjoying it. It’s basically a comedic webtoon that revolves around things that kids do in Kindergarten. It’s a pretty easy read too, because most of the words are straight forward and there aren’t too many complex structures.

진짜 귀여워~

넘 귀여워~

It’s been my go-to source of entertainment whenever I’m bored or I just want a break from studying or homework.

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Trying to teach kids how to pronounce words correctly: 선생님: “선-생-님” 어린이: “샘-샘-님”

A couple months ago I think I mentioned that I was a bit obsessed with 창백한 말, but I fell off the bandwagon. I kind of got tired the story and so I’m looking for a new webtoon to replace it with an actual continuous plot. So if anyone has any recommendations for good webtoons I would be happy to check them out.

I know this was a pretty short post, but I’ll probably make another one this weekend if I can.

정말 오랜만이에요!

Like the title says, it’s been such a long time since I made a new post. I think it’s been about seven or eight months! Sorry for my absence, there was a reason for that. To tell the truth during that time I didn’t study an ounce of Korean. I just want to say that this post is going to be more personal than about language learning, just so you know. I have been trying to avoid having to address this because I don’t like to admit when there’s something wrong. I was denying it myself at the time and I blamed my absence on books being too expensive, but that wasn’t the real reason. Continue reading

Dictionary

I recently ordered some books from abebooks, which I recieved about a week ago and among them was this book.

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It’s a dictionary! My first physical Korean dictionary. Although I mostly rely on naver dictionary, I just wanted a dictionary that I could use incase we had a blackout again. My town has a lot of blackouts. We actually just came out of one a few days ago, and to make things worse I have been unable to connect to the internet for the last two weeks. I want to be prepared for next time so I’m not stuck just studying with my textbook. In that time I could also continue where I left off in twilight.
I haven’t used it yet, but it seems like a decent dictionary. My only gripe with it so far is that the korean-english side is organized using romanization. It does, however, use hangeul beside the individual words, so its still usable. I wasn’t expecting too much, since I only paided $3 for it. I’ll definetely review it when I get the chance to actually sit down and use it.

Summer~

Summer is practically here, and that means I have loads of free time on my hand, yet again. I will mainly be focusing on my Korean listening skills and building up my Russian. Yes, I said Russian. I don’t know much Russian right now, I have just started a week ago, but I love it so far. What got me interested in Russian were authors such as Tolstoi, and infact I’m actually in the middle of reading the translation of Crime and Punishment(it’s a very good book). I thought that it would be nice if I could read the story in the original language, even if it would take a long time to get to that point. That coupled with the fact that it is cheaper than Korean. I won’t be buying anymore Korean books for a long time, because I feel like I waste too much money on shipping($30 for a tiny package not including the price of the book)! Looking back, I feel like I was ripped off, even though I understand that the labor involved in getting a package across the globe is intense, I just don’t feel as though I can afford to buy any solid Korean books anymore. So I will be working with what I have, which is a good thing, because I will be able to finally finish twilight and 도가니, and it will keep me busy for awhile.

Back to Russian, I have found many printed versions of classical literature and textbooks for a total of $3 including shipping! That’s something that is almost impossible to find for Korean, and I really only dabble in German at this point so I don’t have an active interest in the language itself, besides the interesting courses offered by DeutcheWelle.

Anyway, another reason why I am so excited to learning Russian is that I am also trying out a new method of forced output. I have made it a goal for me to post one thing in Russian on Lang-8 a day, and because I don’t want to end up spamming, it can’t be a half-assed добрый день(Good morning), I have to write real sentences like “I speak a little bit of Russian,” “I am 15, but I am about to turn 16,” and things of that nature. For this of course, I am not using a conventional textbook as a main source, since it would take me months before I would be able to say the following. So far I have been using pimsleur, lingq and importing the sentences from lingq into anki, which has been working better than expected. I learned almost all of the pronouns so far in two out of the six cases, basic conjugation of verbs, negation of verbs and nouns some word order, greetings and farewells all in a week! It’s crazy! If I was using a normal textbook I would only know how to say hello and have a vague sense of how to say “how are you.” So like I said, I am very excited to see where this all takes me. If it brings me to a higher level in reading, writing, and listening (maybe even speaking), then I will definitely transfer this method over to my Korean studies.

My Honest Assessment of What I Really Want Out of Language Learning

I have found that recently I have been pressuring myself to do things that I did not want to do, just because it would “improve” my Korean and German. Because of the fact that outside of pure pleasure, both of those languages are useless to me, I failed to do any of the things in which I told my self I “should” be doing. To be honest, for the past few weeks I have done close to nothing in either language due to this. From the moment I realised this, I knew I had to re-evaluate WHY I am learning Korean and German, especially Korean. Despite this fact, I have not been able to come to a conclusion until this evening in the form of a dialogue(almost like a self interview) that went something like this:
– First of all, before we address this issue, what EXACTLY do you like to do?
– I like sewing, reading, writing, researching things that I find interesting—
– Exactly! You do research on topics of interest to you. In the same respect, that is why you are learning not one, but two foreign languages at the moment. As of late, you have been doing a lot of research on Quantum Science, and Philosophy, but you are not an expert, nor do you possess a concious will to be one. You simply learn as you go, to satisfy your curiosity. If given the opportunity right now, at this very moment, you would continue this search, would you not? If one day you had no desire to do so, however, you would move on, is that not true?
– Yeah…
– This is what we have forgotten. This is why we have temporarily abandoned the study. It is not a nessesity, and it has grown to become a burden. However, our efforts can be salvaged, only if we rid ourselves of the leech-like mentality of “you should do this-and-that!” I can not recall not one instance in which you have muttered such words while reading up about the Theory of Relativity or Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. And while you have not become an absolute expert on either subject matter, you understand all of the key points, and would be able to explain both to someone else comprehensibly. If you will to, you can of course improve your understanding of both and become an expert “by accident.” If you ever become an expert in Korean, German or any other language—as it stands now—it will have to be “by accident,” or you are sure to fail.

I know, I have some explaining to do, but let me start with the pronouns used in that excerpt from my thoughts. Before you make any type of assumptions, I am not, and have not gone crazy. I have no shame in admitting that in my head I refer to myself as “you, I, we,” and sometimes even “she” and “they”(I only use these last two when referring to certain points in my life where I was a totally different person from who I am now, which is pretty rare). This is what happens when you grow up watching fantasy movies where you think you, too, have powers. I only still do it for a few reasons, it makes things sound more urgent(I am more likely to break a promise to “I,” than a promise to “you” or “we”. It’s not because I don’t respect myself. It’s almost like how you would probably be more careful when saying certain things around your new boss than you would around your family or someone you’ve known your entire life), it helps me bring out my “stock answers”(Answers to questions like “what do you like to do” don’t come as naturally to me as it does to others, because I tend to over looks a lot of things, so doing this helps to keep them fresh and it helps me rediscover things I had thought was previously “too simple”), and it just helps things flow better.
—Ramble Over—
Okay, so now that you don’t think I’m completely crazy, let’s get back to language learning. From that I got a few things. Number 1 is that I am learning for the sole purpose of entertainment. Number 2 is that I have to stop saying “I should” and start saying “I want,” and “I wonder” again. Number 3 is to ONLY try to meet the demands of my interests, or lack thereof, whether it means that I want to try something above my level, or move on to something new, in some cases this may mean an entirely new language(I would never fully abandon Korean though, I would just go into “maintain mode” where I only read webtoons that I like and occasionally watch a drama).

I am fully aware of how obvious all of this sounds, but they are so easy to forget and it helps to write it down somewhere. This is why I’m glad I made a blog, so I have somewhere to write down my thoughts that loosely revolve around language learning. Afterall, it is the only type of “self-notetaking” I have ever stuck to and continued to fall back on.

One Year Anniversary!

So as of today it has officially been a year since I started studying Korean! It’s funny how just today last year, I remember being obsessed over memorising hangeul and perfecting the double and aspired consonants before moving on, but then decided to just dive right into the language. Yeah, I don’t count learning hangeul as learning Korean, because Korean is a language, and hanguel is an alphabet.
I never thought I would have gotten to this point, or even that I would stick to it this long! Even though I always told myself “one day your going to be able to understand this[referring to videos and articles in Korean]! It will probably take you about 5 years, but you can do this!” To be honest though, even as those words left my lips, it seemed to distant and unattainable, but even though I’m not at the 5 year mark(I hope I get there!), I am much farther then I expected. I am by no means fluent, nor am I close to that point, but I never imagined myself even daring to pick up a simple comic or watch a short clip in Korean and understand a good portion of it unaided. ^^
I’m actually currently working towards improving my listening skills, and reading as well! Ever since I started learning Korean, reading has been one of the only consistent motivations of my studies, so I’m hoping that soon I’ll be able to pick up a novel, and lose myself in the story. That may sound vague, but I find that sometimes, it’s better to be vague, because not everything goes as planned, and if you set your expectations too high, you will be disappointed. And disappointment is something I want to avoid, as it is a demotivater.
Anyway, If you’re reading this, I wish you luck with your learning, whether it be with a language, or even if you are very devoted to a non-language related hobby!

Quiting Korean

To hell with language learning, I’m done. After nearly a year and I still don’t understand a simple show like Sesame Street! You wouldn’t begin understand how frustrating it is! My friend was right when she said that I’d have better luck learning Japanese! And you know what?
ㅎㅎㅎ다 거짓말이에요. 한국공부 그만두하지 못한데 일생에 의미를 붙였어요. 오늘은 만우절이죠. 티티믹 덕분에 만우절 있는 것을 기억났다가 블로그로 장난글 꼭 하기로 했어요. 어쩌면 저는 썰렁한 농담만 잘 하지만 아직도 해보고 싶었어요. ^^ 좋은 하루 되세용~

Free Reading Material For Any Language

Are you a language learner? Are you tired of spending your precious money on overly expensive shipping? Don’t you just wish there was a way to get free learning materials mailed to your door, free of charge? Well, I have found a solution. Simply email: ThisIsSoNOTaScam@hacker.net, your social security number, and your bank account number, and you will find that books magically appear at your doorstep within 14 business days after emailing us!

Okay, all jokes aside, I have actually found a way to get free reading material. Yes, free, that means no fees for shipping, and no fees for the actually booklet/text. And yes, it is completely legal.

“How,” you ask? Well, have you ever heard of advertising? It’s truely a beautiful thing. To be able to spread innovative ideas and cool gadgets with other human beings, is truely one of lifes greatest wonders! Advertising can lead to an array of different things. For instance free stuff! You know, those refridgerator magnets that you stick on your fridge, or those pamlets/brochures that you never read. You know you always throw them away before the sun sets, don’t lie. Have you ever thought for once that maybe they could be useful to you and your language proficiency? Of course you didn’t, because that’s ridiculious! Or is it?

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If you can read it these are about traveling to Sweden and Norway, but it's still reading practice!

This is what I recieved a few days ago. Like I said, it was completely free, and it was mailed to my house. Actually, this is only a fraction of what is to arrive. If you want to know how I did it, read on.

Just to clarify, you will not be recieving published books such as Harry Potter. Instead, you will be able to get your hands on brochures, pamphlets, trial magazines, and trial newspapers. If you aren’t interested any of the above, then I am afraid that this isn’t for you, but I have found that the language in them can help improve your fluency in a language.

Now, assuming you don’t live in an area where your target language is spoken, here is how you can get your hands on these:

Step 1: What do you want?
– Decide what type of material you want to read. Do you want to read for relaxation? Do you want to challenge yourself? Are you interested in reading about medicine, or new recipes you can integrate into your cooking? It’s good to think about what you want, but don’t overdo it or you will be let down. Depending on how widespread your target language is, there can be a wealth of material to choose from. Please, try to be open-minded, and not too picky. If you happen to be stumped, then skip this step and move on to the next.

Step 2: The Search
– Whether you have or haven’t already decided what you want to read, as long as you have a general sense of what you may want, that is fine, because now your options will truely be unraveled before your eyes. Type in keywords such as: free magazine, free newspaper, free brochure, or free catalogue in your target language. In German, this would be: gratis/kostenlos Zeitschrift, gratis/kostenlos Zeitung, gratis/kostenlos Broschüre, gratis/kostenlos Katalog. If you do not know how to say these in the language you are learning, use a dictionary to help you and check with a native speaker. When you find something that interests you, click on it and check if they mail to your country. If you truely feel like you cannot find anything, despite typing in the appropriate search words, try looking for things such as college brochures, or if you are religious look into magazines about your religion. In extreme cases where material is very limited, have a trusted friend who lives in the target country collect and mail over a few pamphlets, and magazines from free events.

Step 3: Order
– I think this step is self-explanatory. If you have a hard time reading the order form, feel free to use a dictionary.

Step 4: (Optional) After Ordering/While Ordering
– After you request or while you are ordering your stuff you may be presented with the option of recieving free email-based notifications from the company. I suggest that you opt for it. Sometimes there is also an option to recieve even more stuff, outside of the computer, which I always recommend.

More:
• Although this is not completely free, you can get a ton of free or discounted stuff just by buying from small businesses(mainly small bookstores if you want to get reading material) and explaining that you are a foreigner learning the language. I know for sure that in most asian countries, native speakers get really excited when they hear about foreigners learning their language, and are willing to help them even more by giving them more supplies, but this will obviously be different for you if you are learning languages such as Spanish or English, which are commonly dubbed as “easy.” This is even more effective if you are able to chat them up in person.

Well, now that I am all out of ideas,
thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope I helped you. ^^

Happy Learning~

Deleted Anki

I feel like this is a big ‘step’ in my Korean learning journey. I just deleted the app off of my phone. As it stands I have nearly 4500 cards in anki, about 4000 are pure words,another 200 are grammar patterns, and the rest are sentences. It sounds like a lot more than it feels. I have been using Anki for the past few months religiously, and although I feel like it has helped me a lot, my reviews have begun to roll over the hour mark! It’s very tiring, plus I have to stop at one point or another. Using flashcards to learn an entire language is absurd, and that is not what I intend to do. So I decided that now is a good time to start. I’ll still document new words that I come across, but I will only write them in my notebook(which I seldom used), and look over it a few minutes before going to bed, and a few minutes after waking up. I think that’s much more relaxing, and allows for more time spent with actual content, which is what really matters in the end.
So yeah, that was my little update.
-awkwardly ends post-

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:

“콜록콜록!”

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.