Recently I went on a road trip to attend a beautiful family wedding – however the road trip itself was not beautiful. It was awful. It stormed the entire ten hours it took to drive there (it was supposed to take just under eight hours), a flipped hazmat truck caused a massive backup, and at one point the fog was so dense that we couldn’t see any of the other cars around us. I sat in the backseat with my Korean notebook, reading through my notes, hoping we wouldn’t die due to rainy weather and crazy turnpike driving, and wishing I had something I could really concentrate on besides thinking I-refuse-to-die thoughts and staring at the road signs and passing semis.
Aha! I began counting the signs in Korean.
If you’ve ever formally studied a language in school, you’ve probably dealt with the usual awful assignment: Copy each of these vocab words/phrases x-times in insert target language and x-times in insert native language. Well, that’s great. You memorize the word for the test and then promptly forget it.
So what’s the point in memorizing for a test? This is language-learning; hopefully you’re remembering for life.
But memorization isn’t all bad. Go ahead and memorize – just remember that the point is to keep remembering, so memorizing it in one sitting isn’t going to do any good. You have to keep using the word, keep practicing it in conversation, writing, listening, etc.
This is how I feel when I’m using new vocabulary.
For the summer, I’m coming up with a vocab learning plan Continue reading
I seem to have a propensity to put my Korean foot in my mouth whether it’s because I mix up words, misunderstand, or completely misspell a key word. My most recent mistake was Continue reading
I seem to have a propensity for making awful mistakes while learning Korean. If you think of either an inappropriate or an extremely simple, everybody-knows-this word, I’ve probably already used it accidentally in a conversation with a language partner. The mistake I’m focusing on in this post is one that I must blame entirely on my lazy Google Translate ways. I have brought dishonor on my language-learning.
In one of my early conversations with an italki language buddy on Kakaotalk, we were discussing college. He told me that studying in college would help my Korean. I replied with,
“그죠? ^_^ 흥분해요~”
“Right? I’m excited*~”
I hadn’t already known the word for ‘to be excited,’ so in my haste to reply, I had grabbed the phrase from Google Translate. If I’d gone to Naver‘s online dictionary or used my Naver app for it, maybe I’d have already known what he was about to say.
“haha 흥분해요 usually means sexually excited.”
If you search 흥분 in Naver’s dictionary, you discover that not only does the word have several usages meaning excitement, agitation, upset, to be thrilled, but it also turns up as parts of phrases that mean to arouse and to stimulate.
Talk about being an awkward conversationalist. You’re jealous of my mistake-making abilities, aren’t you? Have you made any awkward mistakes while learning a language? Or do you know how to properly tell someone in Korean that you’re excited (to hear good news, to do something fun, to try something new)? Please leave a comment!
If you know a little bit about Korean culture and how Koreans generally refer to each other with titles based on their relationship and gender, you’ll probably be very disappointed in this failure of mine. It’s a mistake on something so elementary (and you know I just wanted to use that word instead of basic—makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes—don’t judge me) that I cringe every time I remember reading the comment on my italki post.
A while ago, I wrote an italki post about how my sister and her husband just bought their first house. I was extremely excited as I began to type.
And with the third word, I already made a mistake and essentially changed my gender.
오, 오, 오오오오오~!!!! 이거 봐?!
What is nuna, you ask. Allow me to explain. Nuna is the name given to a close older sister or female friend of a guy.
Just so you know, my friend, I am female. In Korean, I should call my older sister eonni. 언니.
Perhaps you don’t think this isn’t that bad of a mistake but I was extremely embarrassed.
(Not to mention I used the wrong version of irang/rang to link my sister and my brother-in-laws titles, and his title was also wrong because it should’ve been 형부 for a girl calling her brother-in-law. But you don’t need to know that I did that. It’s just my personal insult to injury. Oh thanks, brain. You da best.)
Have you made any mistakes while language learning?
Everybody makes mistakes. The point is that you’re supposed to learn from your mistakes. I’ve decided to start posting about mistakes that I make on my journey of learning Korean (and I’m learning Japanese, too!) in order to help myself not make them again – and to help others not make them in the first place. Continue reading
A while ago, I stumbled across a neat little webcomic site created by another Korean language learner. Korean Comics is composed of several short scenes with a couple characters. All of the Korean used is very simple and easy to follow (I read this comic when I’d only been studying Korean for a couple months and understood most of it); however, for words or phrases that you’re unfamiliar with, the creator added notes. You can check out the vocabulary for each scene on a separate page, read the entire web comic with English notes beneath each picture, or read it all without any English notes at all to challenge yourself. Continue reading
One of my favorite quick-reference sites is linguanaut. It has over 50 languages available, but I use it for Korean and Japanese. (Depending on the language you’re looking for, it has even more than just what the Korean section includes. For example, the Japanese references include a category just for famous Japanese sayings, which is pretty neat!) Its Korean section includes: Continue reading
Have you been looking for a way to practice your target language? Whatever the language might be (with the exception of some really far-out, ten-people-in-the-world-speak-it languages), you can probably find a native speaker on italki. italki is a site dedicated to connecting you to the people you need. Continue reading
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.