Category Archives: Vocabulary

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…

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?! 😀

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! :)

Short ramble update… I’ve been working hard on my vocabulary lately and I already notice it paying off. I catch more words in dramas or music… I can read faster because I don’t have to go to a dictionary, sometimes I can even predict what a word means because it’s very similar. (On that note I should really try looking at Hanja some more).

Aside from the 2000 words book I bought, I downloaded a 3000+ Anki wordslist that’s proving to be very helpful. Learning vocabulary is kinda boring, but I’m trying to make it a habit… the rewards are simply too great.

With that out of the way, some of the words keep coming back. It’s always the same ones too… pretty funny actually.

I just had to post this when I noticed a bunch of words in the drama I was watching… End of ramble!

With reinstating the iTalki lesson reviews I figured that it might need a new format. I am just going to informally go over some of the stuff we covered and leave actual details for possible grammar posts. I am also going to include a little vocabulary section to help me memorize more words across lessons. I’ve finally started managing my vocabulary lists again (with the introduction of the 2000 essential Korean words book). Enough intro, let’s cover the lesson.

The topic of the lesson: 하루 일정
Recently we’ve been covering daily conversation, which at this moment is the most important to me :) As the topic suggests we talked mostly about our daily schedules. One of the issues I am having with Korean is that I sound like a broken record. I will repeat the same sentence structures and swap out only a couple of words. This was especially bad when I was trying to point out my schedule, which is just another list right? Here were a few pointers I got for saying the same thing, just differently. Quite a few options… ^^

  • 전, 후
  • 그럼 (시간)이/가 되다
  • 그러면
  • -아/어서
  • 시작하다, 끝나다
  • 에서, 까지
  • 은/는

My confusion on -아/어서 and the lack of tense
For whatever reason I thought that using -아/어서 still required me to take a tense into account. Apparently it doesn’t. Thinking about it more, it makes perfect sense. The reasoning is directly connected with the sentence and therefore should share the tense right? Here’s an example:

Wrong 늦게 일어났어서 직장에 늦었어요.
Right 늦게 일어나서 직장에 늦었어요

My assignment was to write out a given daily schedule while using the grammar patterns listed above. Write a story that sounds natural with little repetition. Here is my attempt:

5시에 기상해서 6시부터 7시까지 운동해요. 운동한 후에 아침을 먹어요. 그러면 7시반 쯤이 돼요. 그리고 저는 출근해요. 이메일하고 하루 일정을 검토해요. 8시에 회의를 시작해요. 회의 후에는 강의해요. 11시에 사무시간이 있어요. 오후 1시반부터 3시까지 또 강의해요. 5시 쯤에 그 강의를 끝나서 개인 교습을 시작해요. 2시간 후에 퇴근해요. 그러면 9시가 돼요. 그럼 2시간 동안 학교에서 공부하고 숙제를 해요. 11시에는 텔러비전을 봐요. 마지막으로, 1시에 취침해요.

I will update it after I get feedback on it! :)

Korean English
하루 day
일정 schedule
보통 average, usual
대강 approximately
회의 meeting, conference
출근하다 to report for duty (work)
퇴근 to leave the office, to leave work
검토하다 to examine, to review
강의 lecture, class, course
기상하다 to get up, to get out of bed
취침하다 to go to bed
개인 교습 private teaching

One of my biggest weaknesses, I feel, in Korean is my lack of vocabulary. (Aside my speaking intonation problems: 아니요… 질문을 아닙니다! ㅜㅜ). With my latest purchases from Twochois was “2000 essential Korean words for beginners”.

A big problem with learning languages is that it’s hard to see progress… right? You get discouraged more easily because it’s hard to notice if you are actually improving or not. While I can’t solve that particular problem, I could make a challenge for myself. Like a game, with a quantifiable outcome.

I will learn all 2000 words in this book, in 10 weeks. 

I have built 2 small applications I will use as my flashcard reviewing software. In addition, I will try to post near daily sentence writing posts with the words I have learned. And finally I will update my progress daily in the sidebar!

Wish me luck 😀

Just 2 weeks ago I happily posted to my Facebook wall that 효린 was going to sing the OST for Disney’s Frozen (겨울왕국). Having seen the movie just last week I still have the original song in my head. Now that the release date for Korea is coming closer (January 16th) they released the Korean version of the OST and I just wanted to see how they compare to each other, lyrics wise. Yeah! Fun 😀

As with everything that’s a first I have to figure out the best way to do it. Formatting this is kind of a pain… I should also place a giant disclaimer, some of the translations are gross assumptions of mine. I try to be as accurate as possible though 😉

Korean line: 더 이상 참지 않아.
Original line: Can’t hold it back anymore.
Translated: Can’t hold it anymore.
Vocabulary Grammar
Korean English
  • Negation (-지 않다)
이상 A higher quantity of what it references.
더 이상 any more
참다 to suppress, to hold, to restrain oneself
Korean line: 나는 이제 떠날래.
Original line: Turn my back and slam the door.
Translated: I am going to leave now.
Vocabulary Grammar
Korean English
  • Topic marker (은/는)
  • V-(으)ㄹ래요
이제 now
떠나다 to leave, to depart
Korean line: 오늘밤 내린 하얀 눈은.
Original line: The snow glows white on the mountain tonight.
Translated: Tonight’s fallen pure white snow.
Vocabulary Grammar
Korean English
  • Past tense action verb -> noun (+ ㄴ/은)
  • Present tense descriptive verb -> noun (+ ㄴ/은)
  • Topic marker (은/는)
오늘 today
오늘밤 tonight
내리다 to fall, to come down (rain, snow)
하얗다 to be (pure/snow) white
Korean line: 온 세상을 뒤덮고.
Original line: Not a footprint to be seen.
Translated: It covers the entire world (and)
Vocabulary Grammar
Korean English
  • Connective Verb ending 고
  • Object marker (을/를)
all, whole, entire
세상 world
뒤덮다 to cover something with, to cover in something
Korean line: 이 외로움 한가운데.
Original line: A kingdom of isolation.
Translated: right in the middle of this loneliness
Vocabulary Grammar
Korean English
외로움 loneliness
한가운데 the (very) middle, center, the heart

Hopefully (most of) this is correct! I got stuck at: “나 홀로 남겨졌네”. The dictionary isn’t being very helpful on this, I keep getting 남기다 (which is probably correct), but I have no idea how I would conjugate it to become 남겨졌네. Will do some research :)