Category Archives: Ramble

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!

It’s been about a week since I returned from Korea. I had a great time and I feel like my Korean improved quite a bit (on the listening part mostly). I got more confident in speaking too as I tried to just blurt things out, even if I knew it was wrong.

Anyway, I wanted to blog while I was in Korea but honestly. I’m not a big blogger. I just want to post informative stuff or reinforce what I’ve learned. I want to be more active in the blog but I will have to figure out some creative ways of doing so that keeps me interested.

What’s most important though is that going to Korea again gave me a new boost in confidence and motivation for me to hopefully do better in study from now on! Let’s do this :)

The infamous F word… fluency! Haha! Recently I’ve been reading up on the theory of language acquisition instead of actually doing my Korean studies, which is kind of funny if you ask me. However, I stumbled across a blog post titled “Tips For Developing Fluency Early” by HowToLanguages and it had some interesting points.

The 7 points he mentions are:

1. Study sentences rather than words in isolation.
2. Read out loud in your target language from the beginning.
3. Memorize frequently used “chunks” of language.
4. The “Minute Self-Talk Exercise”.
5. Learn some conversational connectors.
6. Shadowing
7. Talk more.

For the full explanations I refer you to his blog instead. While I think some of these are obvious (and I already do them) there are some things that I want to incorporate from now on. First of all, I think studying sentences is a lot more interesting than single words for example.

Another exercise that I really want to try out is the “Minute Self-Talk Exercise”. One of my main problems with Korean is producing actual content of my own. If I read or hear something, (and I know the vocabulary), I will understand right away. Producing my own sentences is always problematic, probably because of a lacking vocabulary. What I noticed from most of the points above, most of them are focused on remembering vocabulary simply by using it.

I’m doing the flashcard thing andI am great at remembering lists and what not… but it’s just too boring to keep up. Yes I know the word “psychology” in Korean, but c’mon? When would I ever use that (in the near future). Let’s give these exercises a shot! :)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, specifically about the direction of the blog. Today my roommate said to me: “Learning Korean is great, but it’s not going to get you the career in Korea by itself. It might make it easier, but you do need the actual knowledge too.”.

He’s right.

While I can’t say that Korean has been a full time focus, neither has anything else. So what am I going to do? I’m going to make Korean an evening task only. Work / study for school during the day. After dinner full attention to Korean. I’ve got to focus on programming right now and get back in the game. I’ve been too inactive lately on the (game) programming front and I want to fix this. I want to post on this blog now too about my programming progress, it gives me more to talk about (so more frequent updates!) and maybe I can even combine programming and Korean, making the title of the blog more appropriate!
The same book in both Korean and English! Haha 😀

Alright so I haven’t posted in nearly 2 weeks and I feel really bad about it. The truth is school work is piling up again because I’m still working too much to actually earn money for my expensive lifestyle (l0l, why are flight tickets to Korea so expensive?). That or maybe I should not have bought that PlayStation 4. You might have guessed it already, this blog post is not entirely about Korean.

Failing school by being intimidated.
Alright, so maybe I’m not working this much just because I want to earn money. The truth is that I’m failing school because for some unknown reason I have become intimidated by the programming assignments. Is this intimidation justified? Not at all. I finally proved that today.

What happened today you may ask? Well, I actually finished implementing Tf-Idf in C++ which, just 2 days ago, I considered to be too hard or too bothersome. Within effectively 5 to 10 hours I now have a fully operational solution which in my opinion is very elegant. Let me just say it right now. This project was easy, and I underestimated myself heavily.

Does this affect my Korean as well?
Unfortunately, I think so. I sucked at learning languages in high school. I was actually so bad that I had to study too many hours for a 55% passing grade. I was absolutely convinced that languages were not my thing and that I would not be able to learn any, ever. (Except of course English, because c’mon… I’m from the internet!)

The only thing I remember being good at in language learning was vocabulary. I was able to push words into my memory like no other. 50+ words a day without much hassle. In fact, I was able to do about 20 to 30 for Korean too when I finished learning Hangul. I remember using Memrise for this, back when it just launched.

Right now though, I’m not learning any vocabulary at all. I learn some new ones in my iTalki lessons which I hope will have stuck around until the next lesson. I’m forgetting words I knew before and so on. Am I underestimated myself again? Pretty sure I am.

What does this mean?
With the actual proof that I can do a good job if I just do it I have finally started up Memrise again. I also intend to create a special section here on the blog which will list all the words I know with some fancy filters such as word categories, date learned or just sorted by Jamo. Look forward to it!