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
I recently ordered some books from abebooks, which I recieved about a week ago and among them was this book.
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 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.
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?
– 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.
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.
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!
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~
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?
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.
• 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. ^^