Stroke Order: Hangul’s tribute to Chinese Calligraphy

'Stroke' text created in Photoshop 11


Just like Chinese characters have a specific order to their lines, hangul letters also have proper stroke order. While no one’s going to give you a dakbam (probably) if you draw the bottom line before the top, it’s a good idea to learn stroke order. If you’re going to learn how to do something, why not learn how to do it correctly?

Although at first it’ll be difficult to remember the proper order, and writing with stroke order will slow you down, it’s worth it. Once you get the hang of it, those hangul letters will all but fly off the tip of your pen. It just takes a little practice.

Check out this site which provides images of each step to drawing the correct order for each hangul letter. This other site includes playable clips of writing in hangul with correct stroke order.


Reference Links:


Write BIGBANG’s name in Korean

how to write BIGBANG

Photo from BIGBANG’s Alive Tour in New Jersey, taken by site’s author.
Edited in Photoshop 11.

Starting Smart & Small: Reading in Korean


I recently discovered a wonderful and unexpected resource – the library. While yes, the avid language learner can go search out grammar guides and Korean-English dictionaries, and maybe find a set of old CDs that teach tourist-level phrases, there’s something much, much better hiding in your library.

Children’s books.

That’s right. Cute picture books with simple sentences, simple grammar, simple vocabulary. While there are also lots of chapter books available in non-English languages, children’s books are 대박. Grab those first, and don’t even think about eyeing those bigger books even though you really want to feel accomplished with your level of Korean.

Why? 왜요?

Think about how you naturally learn a language as a child. You learned your native tongue from adults speaking it around you constantly. You might have watched TV shows that solidified what you heard from adults, as well as introduced you to a larger world than your house, backyard, and preschool. But one of the other ways you learned was by reading with an adult. Children who read a lot from a young age tend to have more natural writing skills. If you want to learn to write well in Korean, start small, and start with reading. Even if you think your Korean is relatively advanced, don’t just head straight for the chapter books. If they’re too hard, they might discourage you and you’ll feel frustrated. Don’t give up!

Children’s books still provide a fair challenge – and as a bonus, depending on the book, they introduce you to stories that native Koreans grew up with and still remember fondly. I discovered that my Korean friend and I read the same book as children – yet she read in Korean and I, English. She had me read the Korean book aloud to her and translate it. While I still struggled with some meanings, it was encouraging and I finished the book with a stronger understanding of general sentence structure and a few words added to my vocabulary. Not to mention, I fixed some pronunciation with my friend’s help!

The next time you’re wandering through shelves looking for a good read, head for the foreign titles section, browse through the Korean selection, and choose the easiest-looking picture book you can find. To make more enjoyable, choose one that you read in English as a child – it’ll be more meaningful and since you’ll remember the general story, understanding the Korean will come easily.

Start smart. Start small. And soon you’ll be reading in Korean like, well, a five-year old.

But still, a five-year old Korean reads much better than an English-speaker who can’t even tell which Asian language is written on the cover of a kid’s picture book. Think of it as your first step, your first book as a child that you tried to read by yourself; if you pursue it and practice, your Korean will “grow up” into those big chapter books and open a whole new world. Just like your first language did.

Eleanor Roosevelt

자신이 할 수 없을 거라고 생각하는 일들을 해야만 한다.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was 대박. Quote and translation courtesy of Wise Saying on Twitter.

Abraham Lincoln

무엇을 하든 훌륭한 사람이 되라.

Whatever you are, be a good one.

– Abraham Lincoln

Quote courtesy of Wise Saying on Twitter.

Changing your keyboard for Windows 8


If you have a computer with Windows 8 (I have Windows 7), it’s a bit more difficult to change your keyboard’s input. This article helps explain what changed between Windows 7 and Windows 8 and guides you to the screen where you can change your keyboard’s input language by adding Korean and other languages to its repertoire.

NOTE: A comment on the article says that pressing Win + X opens the “Power user shortcut menu (Device Manager, Control Panel, Command Prompt etc.) and then you can select Control Panel from it”. Another comment explains that rather than clicking on all the different options in Control Panel, put “language” into the Control Panel Search, then go from there.

The “from there” should entail clicking on Add an input method to access the list of other keyboard input languages. Remember to add both Korean and Korean IME.


Richard Bach

꿈은 반드시 그것을 실현할 수 있는 힘과 같이 주어진다. 그러나 이루기 위해서는 노력해야 한다.

-리처드 바크

You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.

-Richard Bach (famous American writer)

Courtesy of Hwangssabu’s Twitter.

Anki Flashcards Review


Anki is a fantastic resource for the language-learner (and even for the regular student overwhelmed with facts to learn about cellular process, calculus definitions, and historical dates). Anki calls itself “friendly, intelligent flashcards” for a reason; the program is a free download that remembers what you’ve forgotten, what you’ve remembered, and everything in between, and creates a unique review system based on how quickly and how accurately you recall information.

b5Anki has rather dull appearance, but its selling point is its function: helping you learn what you struggle with the most. And it does that very, very well.

When you open the program on your computer after downloading, you will have an empty program. You can download pre-made flashcard decks for free by going to File, Download, and Shared Decks. Depending on the deck, you can even download audio extensions and files to help with pronunciation of the words and phrases you’re learning; however, I prefer using Anki purely for reading and comprehension rather than downloading extra audio files. Anki also offers the option of creating your own notecards; (warning: personal opinion again) I prefer using pre-made decks because the platform for deck creation is unwieldy and time-consuming to make a deck work properly. It’s not impossible; it’s just not for the impatient student. Also, the pros of making a deck on Anki outweigh the cons – it’s way better and more effective to study with Anki than regular physical notecards or other free flashcard programs.

Once you have downloaded a deck, it will appear in the program.

Open it and you find different settings for studying. b2










The flashcards, as flashcards often do, capitalize on repetition. But this repetition is smart and effective repetition. As you go through the cards, the program brings back cards that you’ve forgotten more frequently than cards you’ve remembered. It also takes into account how long it takes you to click Show Answer.













The conclusion: Anki is a great flashcard program. It’s free. It’s smart. It uses your time effectively because it doesn’t waste time reviewing information that you already know, and focuses instead on what you struggle with. While I dislike making my own decks and how boring the interface itself looks, this is a great language-learning resource. There are tons of free, pre-made decks of Korean vocabulary, grammar, Hangul, practice sentences, hanja, etc. as well as lots of other stuff that might interest you. And if you don’t like it after downloading and trying it, then just delete it from your computer!

An extra muffinAnki is a free program, but it has to support itself somehow. Proceeds from its Anki app and donations from users help it stay free. If you really like Anki on your computer, consider paying the creators back and getting yourself the Anki app.


Lloyd Alexander

낙관적인 태도는 목표 달성에 필수불가결한 요소이며, 용기와 진정한 발전의 토대다.

– 로이드 알렉산더

Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.

-Lloyd Alexander

Courtesy of Hwangssabu’s Twitter. Follow him here.

Write Daesung’s name in Korean (BIGBANG)

Write Daesung's name in Korean (BIGBANG)

강 대성
Kang Daesung
Photo from BIGBANG’s official Facebook page.
Edited in Photoshop 11.