Korean is difficult language for English speaker, and vis versa

Go read Lingholic’s article What are the hardest languages to learn. I read it for comfort from time to time, when I am frustrated with the pace of my learning.Hard-Languages-To-Learn

So far, I have had 28 hours of classes (which I flunked myself and am retaking level 2, so do I get to count those classes twice?) I have had 11 hours of tutoring. Everything else I have learned through dabbling silently, alone, in a ridiculously inefficient manner, as my blog documents. So my speaking experience is 40 hours.

I can’t make clear vowel sounds yet.  (I berate myself about that, it seems to be my biggest roadblock to someone actually understanding what I say, if I can screw up the courage to speak.)  How hard is it to learn vowels?  Apparently, in spite of a lot of effort, I still need more work.  Three months I have been working on trying to pronounce Korean!

I have made a few attempts to speak.  I called Chulmoon once.  I try not to take offense that he never wanted to speak on the phone with me again.  I have tried a few words with Seongil, every other month or so, to which he cringes in horror at my butchering of his language.  B S Shen and Colin Choi tried to get me to speak, but now simply accept that texting is all I can manage.  Dohwan keeps trying with me.  My tutor recorded the 6 minute conversation I first attempted only a week ago.

So now Add1Challenge will present me with the challenge of trying to speak, three times a week.  Brain wrote this in a post today:

Let’s face it.

You can not do Duolingo or Memrise for the next 85 days and expect to be able to hold a 15 min conversation by the end of the Add1Challenge.

If you like to speak your target language, you gotta take the leap and speak.

Holy crap.  Doing Memrise and studying my Korean Digital Academy class was entirely my plan.  Having quiet little sessions in my own home alone where I braved trying to speak where no one could hear me was my plan.  Today Brian blew that out of the water.

I was wondering how continuing to do my flashcards was going to get me to the point where I could speak a 15 minute conversation.  Hasn’t so far.  Turns out, that isn’t what ADD1Challenge is all about.  Just like Korean Digital Academy, the focus is on speaking, and they expect me to speak.

Crap!  헛소리~!  LOL

So my head spun around today as I realized I am suppose to be speaking entirely in Korean three times a week RIGHT NOW not three months from now.  I am so not prepared for this.

Don’t judge.  Just because 10 months have passed doesn’t mean I can make sentences and know a lot of words.  I have struggled mightily to learn 250 words in Korean.  Very few of those have ever been typed, written, or spoken out loud.  Everything is trapped in my brain.  I can produce very little Korean.

I am utterly, totally, completely freaked out about speaking Korean.

So I look at the infographic, and I see 2,200 hours of class over 88 weeks to reach language proficiency in Korean.  My mere 40 hours over a year seems pretty pitiful in comparison to that figure.  Maybe it means I am a slow, stupid student who lacks drive to achieve fluency.

To that I respond … remember that I started this as a hobby, so I could watch Korean dramas a bit easier?  Whole motivation last March was just to be able to understand a little so I could passively listen to dramas.  It only changed for me when I met Koreans like Chulmoon and Dohwan that I felt an urge to communicate with them, leading me reluctantly to the painful conclusion I was going to have to say Korean out loud.  It has taken me a long time just to warm up to the idea of a regular schedule of study, a routine, a commitment of time over the long haul.

So I have gotten there, finally.  I know I need to speak.  I joined Add1Challenge.  I set a goal to speak 15 minutes in 3 months.  Now that I understand that Brian intends that I have had 40 hours of speaking practice before that 15 minute conversation, I can understand why he is confident his #A1C5 participants will succeed by day 90.  In the next 3 months, I will do more speaking than I have in the entire year prior.

Wow.  What ever have I gotten myself into?

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