Confucius

When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.

-Confucius

허물이 있다면, 버리기를 두려워말라.

-공자

Translation courtesy of Hwangssabu-nim.

Miguel Hidalgo

Action must be taken at once! There is no time to be lost.

-Miguel Hidalgo

 

행동은 즉시 취해져야 한다. 허비할 시간이 없기 때문이다.

– 미구엘 히달고

 

Courtesy of Hwangssabu on Twitter.

Stupid Liar – BIGBANG

Stupid Liar - BIGBANG

Stupid Liar text created in Photoshop 11. Please credit if you remove for your own use.

Starting Smart & Small: Reading in Korean

안녕하세요!

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.

Gandhi

If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have the capacity at the beginning.-Mahatma Gandhi

할 수 있다는 믿음을 가지면 처음에는 그런 능력이 없을지라도 결국에는 할 수 있는 능력을 확실히 갖게 된다. – 모한다스 카람찬드 간디

Courtesy of Hwangssabu on Twitter.

Slang Expressions in Korean (Talk To Me In Korean) Review

안녕하세요!

I can say without a doubt that Talk To Me In Korean is my favorite Korean study resource. It has constant updates to add to its existing lessons and it uses really fun and informative videos, audio, PDFs, physical textbooks, pictures, and more (ie social media like Twitter and Facebook) to teach Korean. Since I love TTMIK, I was excited to try their Slang Expressions in Korean lessons (they’re available online at My Korean Store). This great product allows the purchaser to choose which price to pay based on their funds or what they personally think the product is worth and is inexpensively priced at $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99.

The Slang Expressions lessons are well worth any price. The package comes as an online download; after purchasing, I waited a few minutes for a confirmation email and then an email with a link to a temporary download. The lesson package can be downloaded a couple times (if you have multiple computers, you can download it to each one rather than spending time transferring with a USB), and the download link expires after about a week (so if you decide to get this, don’t sit around for a month not checking your email and wondering where on earth your Korean slang lessons have gone).

The Slang Expressions download came as a zipped folder that unzipped to show four audio files (I copied them to iTunes and added them to my ‘TTMIK Extras’ playlist) and a PDF (if you have an iPhone, download the iBooks app for free, add the PDF to your iTunes books library by dragging it or copying it, then sync that PDF to your phone to study Korean on the go). The four audio files included three lessons – Chapters 1, 2, and 3 – and a great Mini Dialogue Audio Track to practice with at the end of the lessons.

iBooks PDFs

The audio

  • each lesson is 16-17 minutes
  • the mini dialogue is about 8 minutes
  • each lesson corresponds to a chapter in the PDF and includes 10 slang expressions
  • a slang expression is given, its meaning is explained, and different forms (ie noun, adjective, adverb, etc.) are also given
  • the origin of the slang expression is also explained
  • mini conversations between native Korean speakers (mainly in 반말 or informal language because this is slang Korean) help clarify usage at the end of the explanation: the first speaker talks, 선현우선생님 translates, the second speaker talks, 선현우선생님 translates, etc. until the conversations ends; then the conversation is repeated but without translation in between speakers
  • though the PDF is a great tool for reading Korean and reinforcing the slang expressions, the audio allows you to multitask by listening to the slang lessons while you’re busy folding laundry, working out, or getting from A to B

The PDF

  • the PDF is efficiently organized into three chapters that correspond to the audio
  • everything spoken in the audio is included in the PDF
  • Korean words and dialogues are written in hangul without romanization pronunciation guides, so it’s best to listen to the audio alongside reading the PDF (at least for the first time)
  • dialogues and examples of the word in other usages are on the left side; translations are on the right (the following picture is zoomed in on the examples and dialogue)

Slang Expressions screenshotOverall…

One big reason why I love TTMIK is that their lessons, while being extremely relevant, helpful, and informative, are never boring, and just about every sample dialogue is funny (I often find myself laughing while I’m studying). Each useful phrase is either a common real-life example or a conversation that sounds like it’s straight out of a funny and romantic Korean drama. These Slang Expressions in Korean lessons include some of my favorite funny dialogues.

Slang Expressions dialogue

Beyond being funny and memorable, the phrases are surprisingly relevant. I hesitated to buy this at first because the phrases that the product description mentioned seemed irrelevant to most regular conversations – yet the lessons’ examples showed me that these phrases are a great asset to my vocabulary; I can’t wait to begin using them naturally in conversations and understanding their use in music, shows, and real life.

I definitely recommend that you check out the sample audio and PDF and then purchase these lessons to add to your Korean study resources. If your Korean isn’t high enough to understand complex grammar and all the ins and outs of how a sentence is put together, don’t worry; these lessons are very simple and easy to follow, and you can always begin by memorizing terms. Save the sentence dissection for when you get to that level. Speaking a language is all about sounding natural, and these Slang Expressions can set you on the right path.

NOTE: The majority of the Slang Expressions lessons are in informal language or 반말, which means just because you’re feeling high and mighty and like a G-Dragon perty boy (Crayon? Anyone, anyone?) you can’t just casually use slang to an older person or someone you’re supposed to be polite to. If you’re not sure, don’t use it – in case it’ll offend the other person. You might seem more rude and stupid than fluent and intelligent.

감사합니다!

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.

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

안녕하세요!

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

b3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

b4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

감사합니다!