The worst way to learn Korean

You might be wondering how I’ve been learning the Korean language.  I am probably the worst example of a language learner you can find. I have done everything in my power to not study … to only do things that were fun, not learning. Click on the category “not learning” to see a list.

I warned at the outset that this blog should be a cautionary tale to others, so they can learn from my mistakes and avoid some of the pain and wasted effort.  Nevertheless, here is my tale of what I have done in the past 2 years.  It is long.

1. I started just listening to Korean by watching KDramas.  A KDrama every day.
2. My brain kept trying to match the subtitles to the sound and trying to find patterns while I was watching KDramas.  I listened to KDrama OST.
3. I bought one book. It had lots of games in it. I ignored everything that was too hard.
4. I bought a set of 60 kids flash cards. Put then in the bathroom.
5. I read a few books about Korea, tried to figure out the cultural stuff, continued watching lots of dramas.
6. I bought first 10 lessons of Pimsleur Korean audio.  I dabbled with podcasts.

This all took me about a year, in my spare time. About 10 minutes a day.

7. I learned Hangul. Stopped relying on romanization. Wished I had started with this first.
8. I practiced reading and sounding out Hangul by reading a page a day of “A Rat’s Tale” a book of funny slang.
9. I also read an essay a day of NTC’s book on Business and cultural words of Korea.
10. I went to Koreatown, NYC for the Dramabeans meet up. I ate Korean food for the first time. I had an orgasm when I discovered a Korean bookstore. Bought lots of books.

Another year passes by and I manage to make my way thru another Korean text book in self study, another 60 children’s flash cards, and surf the web in curiosity, listening to pod casts, playing games, learning a few helpful phrases. I hate Pimsleur audio practice, so it is collecting dust.

As yet I have barely written a single thing down. I am stuck because I hadn’t figured out how to type Hangul on my computer. It didn’t seem necessary when all I thought I was doing this for was to be a little less reliant on subtitles.

I hadn’t committed to actually studying the Korean language. I was still hoping drama watching would have the words seep in magically. I had no plan. I didn’t set aside specific study time. Yet every single day, for going on 2 years now, I had found at least 10 minutes to indulge my curiosity by reading something in Korean.

Then 3 weeks ago, someone here on the OT recommended the Loving Korean post about learning Korean.

Explosions went off in my life. I learned
– how to type with a virtual Korean keyboard.
– how to find Korean pen pals at Interpals
– in the process of installing software to communicate with pen pals
admitted I actually wanted to study Korean
– started a blog to document the process, the good, the bad, and the ugly

There are much better ways to learn the language. Talk To Me In Korean and Korean Classroom 101 are probably two of them.

I just wanted to tell you my windy way of warming up to Korean…

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Good luck to you on your own journey of learning Korean.  Tell me your story.

This entry was posted in Dramabeans, Interpals, Korean, Not Learning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The worst way to learn Korean

  1. Evita says:

    As it happens, this week marks two years of Korean study for me as well. Admittedly I started in a much different way. I’m quite an experienced language learner and I had a lot of time on my hands since I was unemployed so I thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool to learn an Asian language?” So I picked Korean and started studying with TTMIK. Initially it was just to satisfy my curiosity and prove to myself that I can do it. But the more I learned about the Korean language and culture, the more I started loving it. There’s no way back for me now, I’m going to keep studying it until I’m fluent even if it takes me 10 years.


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