Aug 24, 2010

Listening to K-Pop, calling it "Educational": Language Learning From my Sofa II

I'm moving onwards and upwards with the Korean self study.

I get my head around form, structure, and other mechanics with my Korean textbook

I study my Korean-English dictionary on the Skytrain (which gets me a lot of smiles, oddly, except for the man who told me  that I'm "part of the problem" - what?)

I use online tools to drill it all in, too, and I've found some great sites. Time to update my Korean self-study list.

Korean Class 101 is my hands-down favourite, despite the pestering daily emails urging me to upgrade my account. The site has hundreds of podcast lessons, where two teachers show you a simple dialogue, then walk you through the vocabulary and cultural elements. Each lesson has a pdf document where you can read along in Hangul and look the vocabulary.  

The lessons are clear and simple, bordering on goofy (sample lesson title: "I like kimchi and I don't like you!"). Also, the chipper teachers, Keith and Sun, have a weird geeky flirtation going on. Maybe that's just me. emails me a daily sentence and a word of the day. It's rare that I understand the full sentence, but I can practice identifying its particles, pronouns and basic verbs. Also, I'm super-slow at reading Hangul script, so that in itself is great practice.

 In terms of using online flashcards, I find that is the best for practicing words and sentences. You can learn target vocabulary (clothes, basic opposites, etc) and then quiz yourself. It's a good source for those beginner sentences that one uses constantly, like "I am studying Korean" or "How do you say ____ in Korean?"

The internet is really pulling through with my language studies. At the end of the day, I always go back to the textbook as a reference. For me, it's crucial. 

I know that a lot of language learners and teachers like to stay away from grammar. Maybe they're scared stiff of rote learning, maybe they've had one too many super-tedious grammar lessons. Personally, I would be inclined to agree if I was studying, say, German, whose grammatical structure is so similar to English, the syntax would be intuitive. 

However, when studying a language that's so structurally foreign, like Korean, I can't move forward without some focused grammar study. Left alone, I'll just impose my natural subject-verb-object instincts upon the foreign language. That leaves everyone confused. A textbook that explains grammar and syntax is crucial for me. Every learner is different, but I think it's handy stuff. 

Happy studies!

1 comment:

  1. Anyong! Good for you for learning up on Korean. I found that over there a little goes a long way and they love that you are even trying. I barely got past the alphabet and ordering sushi though..