Monthly Archives: October 2014

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I finally started watching The Genius (더 지니어스), starting with 시즌3 right now. If I like it and I am caught up I will probably grab myself the previous seasons too. However, that’s not the point of this post. I started collecting vocabulary from this show because I am watching this without subtitles and I want to understand as much as possible.

Every language learner has run into them, the frequency lists. 1000 or 2000 words, for Korean I’ve even found a list of the 6000 most frequently used words. These words are obviously important, they will be everywhere. Statistically it is said that those words cover about 80 to 85 percent of words that you will use!

I saw a vlog by Steve Kaufmann, (maybe you know him as lingosteve), today mentioning this. His video is about the famous question “How many words do I need to know to be fluent”. Steve states that the frequency list words carry your conversation but that the real meaning of your conversation lies in the more specific, context dependent words that you won’t find in those lists.

Learning vocabulary from long endless lists is obviously really boring. Coming in contact with these more specific words and hunting them down in a dictionary is honestly a lot more exciting. Just look at this: 생존 전략. Survival strategy. I am going to bet that this is not on any frequently used words list! And it might just come in handy in a zombie appocolypse…

While I have been studying Korean for a while now and I’m reaching a point where I am gaining more confidence I still feel like I’ve never fully committed to learning Korean. I’ve been taking my lessons with my favorite(!), (she reads the blog), iTalki teacher and I consume a (un)healthy amount of Korean content every day. Recently I’ve even been on a roll with vocabulary learning. Yet I still feel uncommitted. I believe that I don’t enforce my learning enough.

It’s not like I don’t want to. I like learning Korean. I like to think that I don’t have time while in reality I can easily set out at least an hour every day. The Korean level I’ve acquired so far has even given me some of the best experiences of my life. It’s been truly amazing. So why is it so hard?

Personally I think it is because true commitment is really scary. What if I am fully committed, yet still fail. If I make mistakes while studying super hard every day I have no excuse, right? I’ve never truly experienced fear or failure this way, simply because I’ve managed to avoid roadblocks and was always able to find a way through sheer dedication. Maybe it is because I told myself in high-school that I couldn’t learn languages back when I dropped both German and French because they were my worst classes by far. I know that’s silly.

I’ve got to smack myself, remind myself that in fact I’m being silly and that I choose to fully commit to Korean. Mistakes will happen no matter what and that it’s not relevant to how hard you have worked. The only thing that actually matters is to take those mistakes and to fix them. Success might just be a possibility then.

Let’s do this!

Learning words is boring, let’s be honest. That’s why my favorite site to do this is Memrise. It looks fancy, it works great… but most of all. It keeps score! Weekly highscores, more points for longer correct streaks… etc!

I finally got my invite a couple days ago to Memrise premium and in combination with that I figured out that Memrise actually offers the ability to put your vocabulary listed on private, obviously meaning that it’s not listed on the site for anyone else.

Well, I am a sucker for statistics and fancy little graphs. I work in a big data analysis company, surprise surprise! Now quite some time ago I bought the 2000 essential Korean words for beginners. While I already know quite a few of these I figured why not start a fresh new list with Memrise premium! I wrote some software that automatically extracts the correct wordtype (Part of Speech), pronunciation and even an audio file straight from the Naver online dictionary! How fancy is that?! 😀