언어 교환 스타일: Finding an online language partner

안녕하세요!

Finding an online language partner seems oddly like speed dating, where you greet and assess each other’s language level through some short, rapid messages and get a sense of who the other person is. I’ve gotten familiar with the routine. College student, male, already gone to 군대 (served mandatory military time). English teacher, female, looking to improve her already excellent English. Business man, forties, looking for no, nope, gone, blocked.

gandalf

It’s called the creepy side of the Internet. 

“한국말 진짜 잘 하시네요. 어떻게 배우셨어요? 한국인 척 하지마세요.”  Continue reading

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Manhwa Mania (sort of)

안녕하세요!

This summer has been full of preparations (mixed with far too much stress and madness) to go to Korea and almost no true, consistent studying of Korean. The one reassurance that my Korean abilities haven’t completely fled comes from my nightly manhwa time.

만화 (manhwa) – a glorious method of reading delightful comics for fun under the thin disguise of “studying Korean”.

When I began reading manhwa, I only really read Penguin Loves Mev because even that simple and sweet story was difficult for me to read in Korean. Each short sentence had a cute, comical illustration that helped me figure out the meanings of words I didn’t know – but I struggled through one chapter at a time, and I translated infrequently but with great effort, dissecting the grammar and asking my language partners about the usage of some words.

Sometime last fall, I got a new phone and discovered that Naver Webtoons has an app (I’d always read Penguin Loves Mev on my laptop). While I was exploring how to use the app, I became interested in trying other manhwa. As much as I loved Penguin Loves Mev, I wanted to challenge myself more (and I generally like fiction/fantasy/adventure). I bookmarked a few new manhwa to try and quickly became fascinated with 천년구미호 (1000 Year Gumiho).

There are lots of reason to read this manhwa. I absolutely love mythical creatures and legends, so anything about a nine-tailed fox (gumiho) from Korean myth – there are related legends in other Asian countries – is sure to grab my attention. I could also extol the virtues of the illustrations and plot….but this post is about language learning.

Time to put my study face on. And study James McAvoy’s beautiful face.

 

The other reason I love this manhwa is because of the language itself. It’s set in modern-day Korea, so there’s slang and modern colloquial conversations, but since it incorporates lots of ancient mythical creatures, these characters converse in old, historical Korean: very formal and often very different from what you’d hear a friend say to you. It’s an awesome mixture of old and modern Korean and I learn new things in every single chapter.

One of the best things about this manhwa is that the story is so interesting that I never can read just one chapter at a time. I often read at least five, even if it takes a long time, but this is a huge improvement from me struggling through one chapter a night (if that). I’m motivated to continue reading and practicing Korean because I want to know what happens next.

Don’t misunderstand; I definitely don’t understand everything in each chapter, but I’ve vastly improved since last fall when I began reading manhwa again. I can tell that my speed and comprehension has picked up enormously, and the more consistently I read, the better I am at Korean in general.

And, you know, it’s just so funny sometimes. The chicken is probably my all-time favorite character.

cheonnyeon

Yes that wondrously evil-looking face is the face of doom. A chicken. Technically a rooster. Ah, well.

There are beautiful moments of comedy that make me burst out laughing, scenes of angst and romance, and entire chapters full of action and danger. And then there are scenes where someone FINALLY MENTIONS that one of the evil guys has a hairstyle that makes his head look like a 송편 (songpyeon) which is a traditional Korean food. Check out the head of the guy on the left and compare it to the picture of songpyeon.

cheonnyeon 2

Do you read any manhwa? Let me know if you have a favorite or if you’ve also enjoyed reading 천년구미호. Woohoo for reading!

And 감사합니다 for reading this^^

 

지금 재생 중 (because 괜찮아, 사랑이야 (It’s Okay, That’s Love) is a fantaaaaaaastic new Kdrama that finally confronts the stigma about mental illness as not being worth the same care as physical illness. Also because this song is really pretty):

나는 학생이다: Turning Laziness into Education

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I’ve been spending a lot of time watching endless clips of 나는 가수다 (Naneun Kasu-da. trans: “I am a Singer”) and Immortal Song 2 on YouTube. They are music shows that feature singers who perform their own renditions of Korean oldies and I think they’re absolutely phenomenal. I’m a music lover to my very core and these old songs and these incredible singers affect me so deeply.

But let’s be honest. Watching YouTube clips for hours at a time isn’t quite conducive to attaining Korean fluency – unless I incorporate a studious attitude!

The greatest boon of Korean broadcasting to language learners like myself is its penchant for Continue reading

Nominated to Yonsei (and other achievements)

오랜 만이에요!

It’s been a while. You’ve gotten prettier….ah wait, those are the opening lines to Monster. Ahem. Life’s been busy! I mentioned this in a previous post but I applied to an exchange program with Yonsei University in South Korea. About a month ago, my university accepted my application and forwarded it with a recommendation to Yonsei. And so now I wait until April 30th for the official news – although everyone tells me not to worry because everyone who passes the initial application to the program through my university is accepted.

But still. 긴장! 긴장! I feel like I have little Running Man variety show subtitles floating about my head whenever I talk to someone about it. It’s not official until it’s official.

Continue reading

오 my goodness, what time is it?

안녕하세요…I admit that the title is cheesy. But the topic of 오 (o) and what it means is exciting! At least to a word nerd like myself.

 

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Dissecting Korean Quotes

사진 3 (2)

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Recently, I’ve been particularly interested in dissecting famous sayings/quotes in Korean. Or not so famous ones. Any quotes in Korean, in general, are super interesting. I’ve always loved ‘collecting’ sayings in English – I absolutely adore Quotables and I even buy the cards just for myself. When I said collecting…I mean it. I do actually collect quotes.

20131026_225235 Continue reading

Speaking in Subtitles

오랜만이다! 잘 지냈어요?

I haven’t written a new post in quite a long time – and it was a long time before that post that I’d last written a post. I really need to get my act together and start actively blogging again. I thought that if I ‘took a break,’ I’d be blogging again in no time – once I had more time.

Image not mine.

And yes, college has been busy, life has been crazy, endless midterms and papers are all very awful, but it’s no excuse to ignore what I really love: writing, reading (in English) and studying Korean. And I’ve been ignoring them all far too much.

Something that has come to my attention over the past several months is what my best friend and I like to call ‘speaking in subtitles.’  Continue reading

Running Man Word Learning Thing!

not mine

오래간만이에요!

So, yes, I’ve been missing for about 5,000 years. 나는 바빴어요….아직 바쁜데…But now I’m back!

Sup 내 친구

Sup 내 친구

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Leonardo da Vinci

Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.

목적 없는 공부는 기억에 해가 될 뿐이며, 머리 속에 들어온 어떤 것도 간직하지 못한다.

– 레오나르도 다 빈치

Leonardo da Vinci

Courtesy of Hwangssabu on Twitter.

You’re probably not surprised that this is what I’m listening to…the whole album is fantastic! Hey, did you know Seungri can speak Japanese? Yeah. In the midst of his busy schedule, he learned a language. And perhaps he needs some work on his English, but at least he’s working on it! You should get back to studying Korean now.

my 왜 of language learning

Do you ever pause and wonder why you’re doing something? What’s the point of continuing something? Maintaining focus and motivation while also keeping momentum is extremely difficult, and inability to do so can kill a passion if the passion isn’t strong enough to actually be called a passion. Continue reading