I have hesitated to write down practice words, phrases, and sentences that I could use when I meet a Korean. Why? It feels like cheating. Aren’t I suppose to be spontaneous when I meet someone? Isn’t it like writing up cram notes and slipping it in when taking an exam?
My ultimate goal is to stuff Korean in my brain so I can just respond automatically, naturally.
I am NO WHERE NEAR that.
So is it SOOOO bad that I write down notes and practice, like memorizing lines for a play? Having a few canned phrases at the ready is better than standing there dumb/mute. It is a place to start. It gets my mouth open.
So add to learning list
1. Making up some flash cards with sample conversations.
2. Practice saying each out loud at least 20 times. Really, open your mouth.
3. Practice typing these phrases, see if how to spell it in 한글 has stuck.
4. Try tossing these into conversations on KaokoTalk, Facebook, or emails.
5. Drag your friends into a little play acting as you practice greetings, goodbyes, and how’s the weather.
6. Practice on the HMart clerk, Korean waiter, classmates, or any other Korean you find. Pull out your phrasebook or flashcards if you must, but SPEAK. OUT LOUD.
I am reminded of how I rehearsed the kind of questions I might encounter in a job interview. Practice helped, and it gave me a chance to think about the questions and try out different answers. With practice, I became less nervous, better able to answer, more confident, and finally smooth and professional sounding.