Sunday, March 16, 2014

How To Learn Korean (Or Any Other Language) Part 3

There's no witty caption this time. Kim Tae Hee is just amazingly hot.

Back in December, I wrote parts 1 and 2 to this series, but there's plenty left to cover. Those two parts can be seen as to getting a start, but no real path as to learning the language. Part three will specifically deal with how to self-study without any access to people to help you and for people who want to learn, but don't have a lot of time and/or the will to turn it into a big commitment.


This post is mainly inspired by some people around here saying that they wanted to start learning a language, but didn't have the time because of their schedule. Language learning is one of those activities that you can fit into your schedule no matter how busy you are, as long as you willing to use some dead time you have during the day to dedicate to learning language and less time daydreaming about having a foursome with Jiyeon, Hyomin and Eunjung. Okay, maybe you can still daydream about that foursome while working on your language of choice (I can explain this in more detail when it's relevant in the article).

Just a heads up, this will only prime you to be ready for when you have more time to dedicate to the language and/or have people to talk with on a regular basis. You will not become fluent by following what is provided in this post, but if you stick to a regular schedule and do just a little bit everyday until your circumstances change, you can be at a lower intermediate level. You'll be able to speak on a limited basis and understand common words/sayings, but don't expect to speak like you can in your native language. The best ways to become fluent are intensive studies where you treat language learning like a full-time job or immersion, where you are surrounded by the language and do not use your native language to communicate nor use it when you are watching TV/movies, listening to the radio/music/etc. and reading. These steps will just help you reach a decent starting point before you are able to dedicate more time. I'm using the same exact tips I'm giving here because I no longer have the time to dedicate several hours to language study anymore due to school and work about to consume my life.

Like I mentioned in Part 2, I recommend downloading Anki, because you will definitely need this program. The space repetition system will allow you to retain more information and will keep you studying every day. However, there will be changes to the plan from Part 2. I'll outline steps to take, and this part shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes to do.

1) In your learning source (either one of the textbooks or websites I recommended), read out loud the sentence. If you're using a textbook, type it into Word, and put the English translation below. I'll make up an example.

저는 한예슬이 너무 섹시하기 때문에 한국어를 공부해요.
I am learning Korean because Han Ye Seul is really sexy.

For example, let's say we're learning the "기" form in Korean. A common structure in Korean is VERB+기 때문에, which means "because of VERB". Here, what we're focusing on is '섹시하기 때문에', which is 'because (subject) is sexy'.

So you type that into Anki, and using cloze deletion cards, I'll show how you can learn the structure.

[front side]
저는 한예슬이 너무 섹시하[cloze #1] 때문에 한국어를 공부해요.
I am learning Korean because Han Ye Seul is really sexy.

[back side]
저는 한예슬이 너무 섹시하 때문에 한국어를 공부해요.
I am learning Korean because Han Ye Seul is really sexy.

[front side]
저는 한예슬이 너무 섹시하기 [cloze #2]에 한국어를 공부해요.
I am learning Korean because Han Ye Seul is really sexy.

[back side]
저는 한예슬이 너무 섹시하기 때문에 한국어를 공부해요.
I am learning Korean because Han Ye Seul is really sexy.

[front side]
저는 한예슬이 너무 섹시하기 때문[cloze #3] 한국어를 공부해요.
I am learning Korean because Han Ye Seul is really sexy.

[back side]
저는 한예슬이 너무 섹시하기 때문 한국어를 공부해요.
I am learning Korean because Han Ye Seul is really sexy.

Refer back to this article on Supermemo. Make sure you understand the sentence before you put it in. Anki is for review and for strengthening your understanding. Read any explanations of structures and understand it before you put the sentence in. If your textbook has quite a few example sentences off of that one structure, type them all into Anki. 

The reason why there are three cloze deletions is because you really want to break down the sentence and structure. These are production cards, so you want to be able to actively recall the particle that is missing. This is extremely vital because you will be able to actually use this structure after testing yourself on it so many times.

For example, let's add in another sentence that uses the same structure.

봄은 성형수술을 많히 받기 때문에 이제는 봄의 얼굴이 움직이지 않아요.
Bom's face doesn't move now because she has done a lot of plastic surgery.

Again, you would cloze out "기", "때문" and "에" like last time. However, let's say you didn't know what 성형수술 means. You look it up in the book/lesson you're using and you can cloze that out as well.

So, you have three cards for the Bom sentence, but you can add another card that clozes out 성형수술, which means "plastic surgery".

[front side]
봄은 [cloze #4]을 많히 받기 때문에 이제는 봄의 얼굴이 움직이지 않아요.
Bom's face doesn't move now because she has done a lot of plastic surgery.

[back side]
봄은 성형수술을 많히 받기 때문에 이제는 봄의 얼굴이 움직이지 않아요.
Bom's face doesn't move now because she has done a lot of plastic surgery.

Let's say you add about 5 sentences of that structure, and you also clozed out a couple of new words that you used. That's all you need to do on that front for the day. Study the cards, and make sure you can recall them and get the right answer instead of just cheating and quickly going through the cards. You'll notice with Anki that you'll only see each sentence once that day despite having 3+ cloze deletions for each card. The next day, Anki will show you the second cloze deletion while you're reviewing, and the third day you'll get the third card. It only gives you one new card from the sentence until you run out of new cloze deletions. This will help, because you will see each sentence a lot of times, and it will be ingrained into your memory.

This process shouldn't take you very long, and you can even break it up to add one sentence at a time throughout the day. Go for a low number (say 5), but make sure to do it every day if possible. Don't make a habit of skipping days. 365 days x 5 sentences = 1825 total sentences. Over the long run, it adds up. (And with that many sentences, you'll probably be done or close to being done with the beginner textbook you have, having a really good command of what you have entered into Anki.

Now, to get pronunciation practice, repeat out loud the sentences several times, and make sure to repeat words that you stumble on multiple times. This will take just a few minutes out of your day. This is the easiest part to do. You want to practice saying correct sentences a lot. 

Now, you have practiced saying out loud the model sentences in your book and review the ones you have put into Anki. Now is the time to start using those structures. But shit, you don't have anyone around you to practice with. You feel confident with the input practice, but now you want to practice output. There are several tactics to overcome this.

You can do drills where you practice making your own sentences using structures and vocabulary that you just learned. You can do this anytime anywhere in your head. Say you're driving to school/work, in class/the office and nothing is happening, taking a shit/shower, jacking it, whatever, you can also practice making some sentences.

Let's work with the -기 때문에 structure, along with the following structures: -기 전에 (Before VERB) and -기 시작하다 (Start VERB).

저는 케이팝을 좋아하기 때문에 한국어를 배우기 시작했어요.
I started learning Korean because I like Kpop.

한국어를 배우기 전에 영어만으로 대화를 나눌 수 있었어요.
Before I started learning Korean, I was only able to have conversations in English.

저는 아침마다 샤워를 하기 전에 똥을 싸요.
Every morning before I shower, I take a shit.

Now, with that last sentence, let's use the other structures.

저는 똥을 싸기 때문에 샤워를 했어요.
I took a shower because I took a shit.

저는 샤워를 하는 도중에 똥을 싸기 시작했어요.
While I was taking a shower (In the middle of taking a shower), I started to take a shit.

You can work on manipulating a sentence with different structures. You can do this in your head while you are doing other things. You can practice anytime and anywhere. If you want more practice, visit sites like Shared Talk to chat with people and use Lang 8 to write out sentences.

You can easily spend about 15 minutes out of your day to type up these flash cards and review them, spend a few minutes reading out loud those practice sentences, and throughout the day practice structures (new and old) with words and phrases. You can do this without a major time sink, and within a year, you should be able to say a lot of things. You won't be fluent or anywhere close, but you'll have a strong base before you have time to do intensive studies.

You remember when I mentioned daydreaming about that foursome with Hyomin, Jiyeon and Eunjung. Pretend that you're having a conversation with them in your target language! You can have Jiyeon say "Please oppa, stick it in my butt" and have Eunjung say "I will gladly suck your cock" while you daydream about banging them. Win-win.

If you have any questions or any ideas you want me to tackle in future posts of this series, comment below. 


7 comments:

  1. I'm guessing 때문에 is a way to say because? I'm only asking cause in my beginner class we be using 에서

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    Replies
    1. Yes. 때문(에) by itself is 'because'.

      에서 is a totally different grammar structure, unless you meant "어서".

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    2. They both can be used interchangeably, but there's a slight difference between the two.

      어서 acts to connect two clauses together, and it can mean 'because'.

      For example, the common "만나서 반갑습니다". Literally, it can mean "I met you and I'm happy" and/or "I'm happy because I met you". Obviously, it is translated as "Nice to meet you" because that is the Korean equivalent of that expression, though it's literal meaning is a bit different.

      However, using 때문에, it only means 'because', such as in 저는 그녀를 만났기 때문에 기분이 좋아요. (I am in a good mood because I met her.)

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .......

      Click 1 and 2 in the first paragraph of the article.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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