Saturday, January 8, 2011

Your Two Cents: Tips On Learning Korean???

Hey all,
New year so I figured I should change up the Y2C picture as well. How original huh...two cents for Y2C -.-;;

ANYWAYS, looking over all of your new years resolutions, I saw a lot of similarities. There were a LOT for learning Korean. Wing actually asked this question so props to WING! And Selene suggested in making Wing's question into a Y2C question, so also props to SELENE!

Do you have any tips or advice or personal experience to share regarding learning Korean? If maybe you don't have any tips or advice, maybe funny stories or anecdotes about your efforts? If you have none of those either, maybe some difficulties you personally had in learning Korean. Or questions on a certain word or phrase? Myself and the listeners will try our best to answer each other's questions!

I shared this on the KPI show last Sunday, and I noticed another listener, Isaac said the same thing, but I found watching Korean dramas with the English subtitles (or whatever your first language is) to be REALLY helpful. I would pause the drama every time an interesting word popped up, and I would jot it down. You got to review those notes too because learning a new word is only 10% of it. You got to review, review, memorize, memorize, and eventually USE that word to make it your own.

Another thing I did was to find a Korean penpal. They have all these penpal (email penpal that is) services on the internet where they link you up with a person from the country of the language you want to learn. You write to them in Korean and they will write to you in English (or again, whatever language you're most comfortable in). Then you can correct each other's mistakes, learn about each other's culture, etc. I actually met up with my penpal when I visited Korea. He was very nice. PLEASE BE CAREFUL THOUGH. There are a lot of weirdos on the web, so meeting your penpal blindly is NOT SAFE. If you do feel it is safe to meet with them, BRING SOMEONE ELSE ALONG! Preferably someone who has a black belt in taekwondo! :)

Well, post up your answers and don't forget to tune into next week's KPI!


  1. Hiya, looks like I'm first to post on this interesting topic ;D I personally like this topic lots.

    Well, I'm the hard-core study freak, so to learn Korean I really hit the books. I borrowed English-Korean textbooks from the library and scanned each page into the computer. Sorry guys, no sharing of the scanned pages though; I'd be violating intellectual property rights... Anyway, I really put my heart into learning each full chapter in the textbook, practising writing and speaking to consolidate the grammar stuff that I learnt.

    Vocabulary-wise, I have an interesting way to actually effectively remember the words that I've learnt. Most people tend to pair the word and its meaning together and memorise. For me, since I'm ethnically Chinese and I have studied the Japanese language before, I tend to associate non-loanwords to the Chinese or Japanese language. It's very effective, since the pronunciations are highly similar. A simple example: "Feeling touched by someone's actions" can be described as "Kam-Dong". Well, in Chinese, the pronunciation is "Gan-Dong". So, with such similarities, I learn Korean effectively through inter-language associations.

    Oh, I went Korea in December and I really loved it so much. When I was there, I managed to speak so much... More than a year's worth when in Singapore. It was really beneficial to improving my proficiency of the Korean language. These days, I still speak Korean at home, but to no one in particular lols. That sort of makes my parents a little frustrated since they don't understand what I'm talking about but I think speaking Korean on a regular basis can help prevent my proficiency of the Korean language from deteriorating.

    Wow, I seem to have said a lot. o.O

    Have a good week ahead, Angie ;D


  2. Use it or lose it! For me that was (and is) the hardest thing about learning Korean. You can read, write, and study all you want, but if you aren't actually speaking Korean regularly, I think it makes it much harder to "stick" in your mind.

    Another tip, find a Korean speaking buddy or tutor to help you study and practice. I was doing much better in my studies when I had my friend, Myosung, tutoring me. Not only did she help with my language skills, but our regular meetings were an additional motivation to study. Since I knew we'd be getting together to study once a week, it gave me a hard deadline to do my exercises.

    Jeff B.
    A lapsed Korean language student
    Baltimore, MD, USA

  3. Hey Angie,

    I don't know if I can give any useful tips, because I'm still so bad in Korean.
    But what I've been doing is:
    1)We've been attending a Korean Church every Saturday. The people are so nice and we hang out with them most weeks after church. So I get to listen to Korean conversations.
    2)I'm starting to read Survival Korean strictly this time. I also liked, but I plan to buy a membership for that later when I have more time.
    3) I will try to write down a lot of notes, vocab words, phrases, etc. on paper, and then I'll eat the paper. (See it on dramas ^^)

    Thanks and God Bless,

    Paul T.

  4. Hello Angie and everyone!:)

    What i did when i was taking Korean Language before this was i did flashcard in order for me to remember the new vocabulary.On the flashcard i wrote the vocab in Hangul and romanization and the meaning of it.So that,my friends can help me to remember the vocabulary by asking me even though she did not know Hanguko.

    Other than that,i always browsed the internet in order to learned Hanguko online and my songsaengnim suggested to my classroom to visit Visitkorea page and learned Hanguko there.


    Lat but not least, watched more kdramas and Kpop Mvs which have romanization and translation hehe

    Learning Hanguko is so fun and i love every minute of it.^^

    All the best!


  5. Thanks Angie and Selene for this week's Y2C

    I think the first step will be learning how to read Hangul.
    For practicing I try to read tweets (because it's short) and song lyrics (like words behind the music ^^).

    For increasing my Korean vocabulary I've different ways to do it:
    - I find "star golden bell" (with eng sub) with their segment "level up with me" very useful. I prefer watching variety shows over tv series because of the captions.
    - I saved the romanized lyrics and English translation of my favorite songs on my ipod.
    - Google translate for simple words only

    I will definitely try other tips too ^^

    화이팅! Good luck everyone,

    - Wing

  6. Personally, i think that watching variety shows with subtitles (Star Golden Bell in particular) really helps to pick up more popular phrases and sayings. i especially like the game Master of Syllables from SGB. it helps with reading as well as speaking.

    If you're not much into variety shows, i would say look for patterns and repeated words across kpop. Ballads are the easiest to pick words out of, so start with some Buhwal, 2AM, Kim Jong Kook, or some of DBSK's older stuff.

    And finally, if you have an ipod touch or an iphone, there's all kinds of free or cheap apps that'll help you pick up vocab and basic words you might need.
    and definitely work with the alphabet. i have a notebook with the whole Korean alphabet in it, and transliterating things back and forth (like your name, or a favorite idol's name, lyrics, etc...) is really helpful for getting used to the letters :D

  7. hi Angie

    Me and my best friend are both into learning korean. we found that talking to each other using what little Korean we know helps us to perfect our pronunciation and remember words nore easily. Unfortunatly the area i live in doesn't really have good resources on learning Korean so my progress is slow. :( but i wont give up!


  8. Hi Everyone

    It's my first post in the new year so I'd like to say Happy New Year to all and wish you a very great year.

    This post is most likely not read in the related show but as it's an interesting topic to me I'd like to add my two cents.

    Everyone suggested very helpful ways for learning Korean (and it can be used for any other language)

    I'd like to mention Lyrics and Music as two

    When I wss tudying English nearly a decade ago! I had "Eagerness" and a "Goal".

    Of course I have forgotten many things but I can still write these lines! ;)

    My Goal was to be able to understand and be understood. I don't know how much I succeeded in reaching that goal but comparing other students it helped me learn better and without any pressure.

    If you have motive, and are eager, you can learn from eveything and everywhere.

    I remember once my teacher advised us not to be "Slave Students" meaning being restricted to some materials we had in the class. He said we could learn even from a piece of paper.

    One thing I can say is when there's no one to talk to which is very likely for a language like Korean try to Think Korean or in any language.

    It has been very helpful to me although nothing can replace being in the country you want to learn its language.

    Learning a language is a multi-way approach IMO. I mean a language is not a separate thing in a country. When learning a language you could learn from anything. From name of a song or a singer or a mountain or a cultural matter or a sport or a film or anything.

    Regards Hmyn