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.

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.


Learn Korean iPhone App Review

learn korean app

안 녕하세요! Well, the world has changed. You used to have to carry around a heavy little pocket dictionary in foreign countries to help explain to a local how you have no idea where you are. These days, we have access to wonderful apps like Learn Korean on the iPhone that will even speak the words aloud FOR you. No worrying about mispronunciation.


The breakdown: Learn Korean is an application in the Apple App Store. It has numerous categories: Greetings, General Conversation, Numbers, Directions & Places, Transportation, Eating Out, Time and Date, Accommodation, Shopping, Colors, Cities and Provinces, Countries, Tourist Attractions, Family, Dating, Emergency, Feeling Sick, and Tongue Twisters. The number of phrases in each category ranges 20+ and some have more than 60. Tap once, and each phrase includes the written hangul, romanization, and English translation. Tap a phrase twice and listen to a native speaker’s audio recording. Hold a finger on a phrase and copy either the hangul or the translation. Press the heart to the side of a phrase and save it as a favorite for a quick list at the bottom.


Here are some screenshots of the app in action.

Use the search option to quickly look up phrases.

Learn Korean app search

Add phrases to your favorites list for easy access.


Learn Korean app favorite phrases


Swipe through the many categories to find exactly what you’re looking for wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.


Learn Korean app categories


Tap once for the hangul and romanization, twice for the Korean pronunciation.


Learn Korean app tap


Some of the categories have little useful tips!


Learn Korean app tip


Toggle the play phrases automatically button to switch your preferences if your pronunciation is already excellent. Also, check out cogent’s other language apps. I have their full LearnJapanese app! And for first-time users, a quick glance through the Tips section is very helpful.


Learn Korean app tips


Here are some phrases from the Eating Out category.


Learn Korean app Eating Out


Overall, this is a really great app to use, whether casually or seriously. If you’re waiting in line, on a subway, AT Subway, or anywhere, you can just plug your headphones in and go over a few phrases. You can download the free version with access to Greetings, General Conversation, Numbers, Directions & Places, Transportation, and Eating Out, but to get the rest of the categories, as well as automatic updates with new phrases, you have to pay $4.99 for Learn Korean Pro. If you’re not going to rely heavily on this app, don’t bother, but if you really enjoy the free version, then just don’t buy four iTunes songs and spend your moolah on a couple hundred Korean phrases instead. And p.s., you’ll definitely enjoy access to the Tongue Twisters section.


감사합니다! 또 봐요!

Learning Korean: TTMIK and Livemocha are Fantastic (Baby!) Language Learning Resources

Created in Photoshop 11

(Don’t want to read my wordiness? Click here and here.)

So you’ve learned to read and write in Korean. You forget a letter now and then and you feel like a child struggling through simple sentences – but cheer up! Everybody has to read that way in the beginning. You’re about to get much better, and the way you’re going to do this is by learning Korean words, phrases, grammar, and culture.

Different people have different methods for how they learn. Some people need to see, some need to hear, some need even more interactive material. To learn Korean, you need all of the above. In this post, I’m going to introduce some of the best language resources that I’ve used to learn Korean.

1. You should head over to Talk To Me In Korean and explore. They have countless audio, PDF, and video lessons available for free, not to mention they recently (per the time of this post) came out with textbooks! I recommend that you subscribe to them on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The more regular language-learning sources you have, the more you will remember even when you’re scrolling mindlessly through your news feed.

TTMIK currently has several levels of lessons, each level with about 20 or more audio lessons that range from five to twenty minutes in length. Download these lessons individually for free or in bulk for cheap and save them to your Automatically Add to iTunes folder. (Music>iTunes>iTunes Media>Automatically Add to iTunes) and then listen to them on your iPod or computer anytime. Start with Level 1 Lesson 1. Play the first audio lesson, pull out that Hangul notebook and open up the corresponding TTMIK PDF from their website. The teachers are very funny, helpful, and real – these are people who genuinely want to help you! You’ll enjoy their lessons and discover that learning Korean isn’t as hard as you thought.

In summary: TTMIK provides extensive language material (audio, PDF, textbook, video) for completely new students to linguaphiles aiming for fluency.

There’s so much to Talk To Me In Korean that I’ll discuss all their available resources in a later post. Please wait for it! ^_^

But if you use no other resource to learn Korean, then use TTMIK. They’re the best I’ve used, and while other sites provide excellent things here and there, TTMIK is the all-around winner so why bother with anything else.

2. Livemocha is a huge and growing language site for people across the globe. Sign up for a free account, choose your native language and the language(s) you want to learn, and start learning! The site first introduces phrases in Korean by associating them with pictures captioned in the target language (ie a woman waving while a voice rolls out of your speakers with a nice loud annyeonghaseyo! and 안녕하세요 appears beneath it) but it expects you to already know Hangul. Livemocha, unlike TTMIK, doesn’t provide a method of learning Hangul.

Following the phrase introduction, Livemocha users review through mini-quizzes that test their memory with written, spoken, and visual cues. An image of a woman waving appears, and the option of 안녕하세요 pops up as one of the answer options. A voice cheerily speaks hello in Korean, and the woman waves from one of the answer options. Once every question has been answered the next step is a test.

There are two tests for each lesson. The first is written. A simple prompt will be given (Introduce yourself / Write six sentences saying what something is (house, a dog, a man, a woman…) / Describe six objects.).. and then the user enters the writing submission. Likewise, each lesson provides the user with a small piece to read aloud (for Korean, it’s provided both in Hangul and in romanization). It’s necessary to have a microphone for this so that you can record your audio submissions. After completing either exercise, the user submits and awaits a review. The beauty of Livemocha is that native Korean speakers review your submissions. You’re getting real people here. Real Korean speakers who know what they’re talking about and they know it better even than the cut-and-dry Korean phrases that Livemocha just drilled into you.

In summary: Livemocha’s greatest claim to fame is that native speakers tell you what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right. You might even be lucky and meet a Korean speaker learning English. Exchange Skype names and start chatting! Don’t be shy. Or at least, be shy but be shy while typing in Korean. PS, you get to review the English submissions of other language speakers on Livemocha, too.

But hey. Listen up. All these resources are no good if you don’t practice. Doing a lesson each day or every few days isn’t enough. I like italicizing things. Write some Korean on the side of some notes from another class. Make a couple note cards* and flip through them between classes, while waiting in the check-out line, and not while driving. Murmur phrases at appropriate times without freaking out the poor passerby who has no idea that you are speaking Korean. Before you fall asleep, recall the new grammar and vocabulary you learned today. Because practice is that important.

Learn it, know it, use it, or lose it.

the write way to learn hangul


(Don’t want to read my wordiness? Just use these links: Hangul Basics & Read, Write, and Pronounce Korean.)

WRITE IT. (And yes, my title is written incorrectly as a bad pun. Deal with it.) That’s the right way to learn Hangul, and eventually Korean. Unless you’re solely intent on learning to speak and comprehend spoken Korean, the proper first step for language-learning is studying the Korean script known in South Korea as Hangul or Hangeul (I prefer romanizing it as Hangeul although it is most commonly written as Hangul in English).

한글 Hangeul:

Han = “great”

Geul =”script”

Hangeul is a beautifully designed alphabet from the Joseon Dynasty (1443) that relies on grouping 24 vowel and consonant symbols into syllabic blocks. It’s read from left to right like English.

First, give yourself some background. The history of this script is interesting, and skimming the Wikipedia page is actually pretty valuable to provide a rudimentary understanding.

Secondly, use this fantastic free site for learning the individual symbols, their sounds, and how they fit together. It’s divided into six lessons, but currently only the first five are available. However, those five are sufficient to get you reading and writing Hangeul! The sixth lesson would teach you about double letters, but those are easy to recognize (they are simply smaller versions of the single letters!), ie ㄲ is the double letter for ㄱ.

EDIT: Also check out this post for some extra help.

It took me a couple days, spending twenty or so minutes each day, to learn Hangeul from this site. Don’t be lazy; dedicate one of your raggedy old unused notebooks to Hangeul and write out those words that the lessons give you. Include the romanization (the word written in English) as well as the pronunciation. Write the correct pronunciation the best way you will recognize it. You’ll feel intelligent, your notebook will suddenly seem much more valuable and interesting with all the Hangeul symbols covering its pages, and you’ll start impressing people with your Korean doodles.

If you don’t have much time or even if you do, do one or two lessons a day, as early in your day as you can. Throughout the day, take little pauses to write out a few of the symbols you learned. Read it aloud to yourself (quietly, so you don’t look as crazy), square your shoulders, and feel proud of what you’ve learned so far. Look at signs and visualize how they’d be written in Hangeul, and sound out all those fine phonetics. You might get it wrong at first, but practice, practice, practice – and then it’ll become second nature.

Don’t be intimidated; it’s one of the easiest alphabets to learn. 행운을 빌어요! ^_^