The Little Things Count

안녕하세요! There’s one little way that I keep my Korean learning active, even when I’m too busy or lazy to do actual Talk To Me In Korean lessons, or practice writing in my wonderful big notebook, or when I’m so incredibly tired that I can’t even stay awake to exercise my Korean “ear” by watching Family Outing and trying to pick out words…

Well, I said one little way, but it actually ends up paying off big time. I have gradually put my language settings into Korean. My iPod is in Korean. My iPhone is in Korean. My Gmail account, my Twitter, my Facebook, and even my Skype are in Korean. It sounds scary – what if you try to change settings and delete something, or friend a weirdo, or Tweet gibberish and lose followers? Or, horror of horrors, you can’t figure out how to make your iPod stop repeating a song over and over?

It’s really not bad at all. If you’ve learned the basics of hangul, it actually is a huge help for reading. You’re constantly checking your phone, listening to music, or scrolling through an inbox that seems unending. A fair amount of the hangul that you’re reading is also not even strictly in “Korean.” For example, my iPod says 비디오 for video. “Bi-di-o”. On my phone, I tap the green icon labeled 메시지 (me-si-ji) to check my text messages. But because the other words are all actual Korean words, you begin to subconsciously pick up that 설정 is Setting and 음악 is Music.

I recommend that you don’t throw all your electronics and emails and whatnot into a big wad of semi-understandable Korean, though. Take your time. Put your iPod in Korean, where the worst thing you can do is choose Playlist instead of Artist because you forgot the Korean word. Once you’re comfortable with that, but not too comfortable, put your email in Korean. Your Facebook. Skype. Your phone. Suddenly, you’ll realize you’re surrounded constantly by little Korean lessons.

To be safe, if you commonly have settings that you change on your phone and you don’t want to be caught translating your entire Settings in a huge rush just to tweak something, make a note somewhere with carefully laid out steps of how to change those settings. I wanted to make sure I could check my data usage easily, so I made a note or 메모 on my phone that gave me the steps to checking it. I don’t need the note anymore, and I know all the Korean words involved in the process.

An extra muffin for you: When your email, phone, or iPod are in Korean, chances are that the annoying person who always snatches your phone to play with it or tries to prank you by hacking your email will have a much harder time. I can’t remember all the times someone has grabbed my phone and then, a moment later, handed it back in disappointment because they had no idea how to use it. But for you? Not in English? Noooot a problem. ^_^ 감사합니다!

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