Category Archives: Topik

With all the recommendations for twoChois all around me I had to check it out for myself right? What to get though?

I contacted the Dutch Korean embassy a couple weeks back asking for more information on how to sign-up for the TOPIK as a Dutch citizen. This is because we lack a testing site in our own country, which isn’t really that surprising. I was told that I was able to just sign-up in another country so that would be either Germany, France of the UK.

With a proper TOPIK preparation in mind I browsed through some of the other self-study bloggers and found that apparently Sogang 1A & 1B are on par with TOPIK Level 1-2 (+ Sogang 2A to be safe). I believe that at least 1A is below my level and I’m either around the end of 1B or beginning of 2A.

Putting my current level aside I felt it wasn’t bad practice to just start it from the beginning so I orderd Sogang 1A & 1B + Workbooks from twoChois for starters.


The delivery was fast and it was neatly packaged with some free goodies including a cute thank you note. The process of ordering on their site was smooth too. When I initially made a mistake in the payment process this was also quickly resolved without hassle within 24 hours. I appreciate that a lot.

Having gone through the first few chapters of Sogang 1A I might do a book review on it even though I believe there are already more than enough. What I am quite happy about though is that 1A is far too easy for me. Now if only I could find something to increase my vocabulary by a lot. So tempting…

So when I talked about “starting over” with Korean some time ago I mostly meant making sure that all my basic knowledge is accurate and complete. This lesson was already some time ago, (as in more than a month ago), but still deserves a place here.

은/는 for contrast or comparison

So one of the uses of 은/는 has complete gone over my head on all the occasions I have learned it in the past. Not only can it be used to designate the main topic, issue or discussion point. It can also be used to compare or contrast two things.

I made some sample sentences and had them corrected on lang-8, (thank you hyoseok & felixhwang), just to be sure:

1. I can understand C++. However, I don’t understand Objective-C well.
저는 C++를 이해할 수 있습니다. 하지만 오브젝티브-C는 잘 모릅니다.

2. I like apples but I don’t like pears.
저는 사과를 좋아합니다. 하지만 배는 좋아하지 않습니다.

3. Noona has read the book “The yellow house” but has not read the book “Casino”.
누나는 “노란집” 이란 책은 읽었습니다. 하지만 “카시노”는 읽지 않았습니다.

4. Today I don’t have to work. However, tomorrow I do have to work.
오늘은 일을 안해도 되었습니다. 하지만 내일은 일을 해야 합니다.


Another use, which I feel is related enough, was blogged about by koreanstudentblog and that is -은/는요.

He/She (Sorry M, it’s a little vague!) explained that it’s possible to add -은/는요 to a person’s name to avoid actually repeating a question asked to you first. I would imagine that this works with titles too. 형은요 / 누나는요? (It stood the test of Google!)

The most easy example I could come up with would be the obvious: “Have you been good? Yes, how about you Younha?”

윤하씨: 잘 지냈어요?
조르디: 네 잘 지냈어요. 윤하씨는요?

Isn’t that wonderful? ^^

I’ve always been a fan of italki and their service. I’ve used it for both professional and community tutoring and both times were good and fun. My first teacher was a professional teacher and her lessons were so informative and fun. It’s truly sad that she had to quit because of personal issues that I will not post here.

After this I got in touch with a community tutor, which was a lot more informal and unstructured. I asked for things, I got my answers. For me this is a little harder to do because my Korean studies have never been too structured in the first place. Something that I now regret when I decided to take the TOPIK.

I’m glad to say that just half an hour ago I finished my trial session with another professional teacher and she basically confirmed all my weaknesses in my Korean studies. Speaking and listening for me are by far the hardest and I feel confident that with her lessons I can improve again.

I’m excited to take lessons again! :)

Here we have it, the actual purpose of this blog. After confirming that my Korean still sucks (very much) here on my trip I took the opportunity to get two books recommended by the absolute expert on Korean self-studying Hangukdrama.

This also means that I now finally have set an actual goal in my journey to learning Korean. At the moment I am not even sure if I will be able to take the TOPIK as my country does not actually conducts these tests but I will contact our Korean embassy and ask them for further instructions. It’s quite possible I can apply in Germany or the UK right? With that said, the locations for the 2014 TOPIK’s aren’t even known yet so let’s not jump to conclusions.

I would say that my grammar and my ability to actually construct correct sentences is very lacking. With that said I’m kind of impressed with myself by how many words I’m pulling out left and right. I’ll be starting at the very beginning of the grammar book while already “knowing” ~30-40% of the points.

Practice, practice, practice. The 34th TOPIK would be like 8 months away and while I feel that aiming for level 2 seems a little low… But you’ve got to start somewhere, right?