Chipping away at the language barrier…

milk photo milk_zps87d56554.jpgI’m pleased to report that I’m still working away at learning Korean. Listening to Talk to Me in Korean(.com), reviewing like mad, thrilling to each new word I recognize while drama-watching. But I recently hit a small, tiny, infinitesimal little snag…

A brand new word. I mean brand new. No memory tug like I’d had with mul. (Because a drama just isn’t a drama without a tall glass of water to dramatically drink down after a days worth of UST-filled banter. Or to throw in someone’s face). But while characters demanded mul all the time — this other word? Not really mentioned.

Sure, its morning delivery keeps the downtrodden Candy girls in rent money. And it can be a great way to pass adorable messages on to the one you’re not quite ready to admit you love. But apparently, it’s not spoken of. Definitely not demanded. Talk to me in Korean said uyu and I said, “?”

So there I was, totally flummoxed by this new word and I realized: the time has come to make flash cards. Which spotlighted a very important question I’d left festering in the corner of the room. Do I Romanize, or do I go hardcore and learn Hangul?

Thing is, I hate being illiterate. I’ve always been a fast reader and catching what’s written in the background of movies and shows has always been a fun way for me to get a deeper glimpse into a character or world. Sometimes shows deliberately hide hints and insights for those quick enough (or dedicated enough to use the pause-button) to find. Not being able to read Hangul, not even to sound a word out to look up later… it’s bugged me.

So, long story short (too late?), I’m learning Hangul.

First stop was this post that promises that you can Learn to read Korean in 15 Minutes. Which, no. But it was a good overview and some of the memory tips are really helpful. (B=bucket, or S=summit, for example.) Mostly, I just dug this little guy.
hangulguy photo hangulguy_zpsc1599bba.jpg

Second stop (where I’m still hanging out, actually) is a phone-app advertised on Talk to me in Korean, Hangul Match. hangulmatch photo hangulmatch_zps37ef10be.jpgIt’s replaced Angry Birds as my go-to game. And I think it’s pretty helpful. (Especially once I stopped hitting the Hangul letters first to hear the sound. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that wasn’t actually testing my memory.)

I plan on making Talk to me in Korean‘s two part youtube lesson on Hangul my last stop. After I’ve learned all the vowels on Hangul Match. (There’s… a lot of vowels. Once you throw in the combinations.) I took a sneak peek and Hyunwoo Sun explains some of King Sejong’s reasoning for various letters’ shapes. Which can only be awesome!

So progress continues! Just a little slower than I’d expected. But hopefully in a tortoise versus the hare kind of way. In the battle between King Sejong and uyu… I mean seriously, it’s not even a question who wins, right?

milkjoke photo dreamhighmilkjoke_zps77f72b5b.jpg

Little drama joke.
Because they were the milky-couple?
Get it?

twdrkingsejong photo resize_zpsf2dcaac8.jpeg

He gets it.
Also, he knows he totally wins.

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19 thoughts on “Chipping away at the language barrier…

    • Thanks! 🙂 I’m totally doing this in a “I can’t believe I’m doing this!” way. I’ve no idea where it’ll lead, if anywhere. But at worst I’ll know I tiny bit more than I did. Keeping it that casual has bizarrely helped me keep going.

  1. YOU CAN DO ITTTT!!! Seriously, you can and I think it was a wise decision to learn the alphabet right of bat. It’ll be SO much more helpful later on in the line. Translitteration just makes everyting more messy, imho and it doesn’t really help with the pronounciation either.

    Btw. did you watch Tree with Deep Roots? Now, that’s the way to make Hangul interesting. ^^

    • Thank you! 😀 Pronunciation was another tick in the pro column. I know there’s sounds in English that Hangul can’t show (like “F”) so I’m quite sure there’s sounds in Korean the alphabet doesn’t cover.

      I totally watched Tree with Deep Roots and adored it and I think about it a lot while I’m studying. 🙂 (My one complaint about that drama was the ending was a little more scorched-earth than I’d have liked.)

      • The alpahbet itself is pretty easy to learn actually, it’s when you have to write something when things get trickier. I still have a hard time distingushing certain sounds and always end up writing bunch of vowels wrong. The darned things sound so similar! Then there’s the thing when consonats are pronounced differently depending what the next letter is, even if it’s in the next block. Or when an ending consonant at the bottom hikes up to the next syllable…. But all that is just to make the words easier to pronounuce. ;P I’ve found it helpful to read words aloud. Singing along Korean songs is a great way to learn as well. I do it all the time. ^^

        That’s one gripe I had with TwDR as well.

        • Singing along sounds like an awesome way to learn! 😀

          My hope is as I write out words to learn them, I’ll learn the proper Hangul spelling and that’ll help remind me about sounds, which will help me learn new words… Basically a big circle of learning. 😉

  2. Great work with learning Korean! I love watching Korean drama’s when I can find the time, it’s a good way to pick things up as well. Having been to Korea myself, it certainly is handy to know the basics as they do not speak much Korean when you leave Seoul, and there are quiet a few different dialects too! Keep at it though :).

    • Thank you! I’m very pleased that I can identify the beginning letter of words that flash across the screen (signs, cell-phone calls, etc.) and am just starting to get syllable blocks. 😀

      And it would be awesome to visit Korea and be able to leave the beaten path a bit. I’ve picked up on there being different dialects via dramas — but are they actually different vocabularies or more different accents?

      Thanks for commenting, by the way — sleepy or no. 😉

      • Butting in….. the accents are different and some words vary too. You did watch Reply/Answer me 1997, right? I watched the first few episodes raw and trying to understand that Pusan satoori gave me a headache, LOL! But yeah, once you venture outside Seoul, not much English is spoken (not that it’s a given in Seoul either), so it is a tremendous help to know at least the basics and be able to read, be it menus or signs.

        • I loved “Answer Me 1997” and I adored the sound of their accents. I can hear it (for the most part) when a character has a country (or Southern? does each region have a sound?) accent, but I wasn’t sure if it was all pronunciation or if the vocab changed, too.

      • That is fantastic! Keep at it, once you get the hang of it, it does become easier, I find it much easier to learn then some other asian languages.

        When we went from Seoul to Yeosu we really struggled to communicate, accent yes, but the dialect was very different. You can understand each other, it’s like people who speak spanish can kind of understand someone speaking Portuguese but it is not quite as extreme as that. Personally because my Korea is very basic, I couldn’t tell the difference that much, but my Korean speaking friends who I travelled with did have more difficulties.

        I do have only a couple of posts from my time there, more then welcome to have a look at some pretty pictures 🙂

        I do plan to get around to blogging more about it, but I just returned from Canada and Los Angeles so that’s fresh and exciting haha.

        • Thank you! I figure I’ll just keep chipping away and see how far I get. I may well surprise myself. Low pressure for the win! 😀

          I think it’s interesting that you didn’t have as many issues as your Korean friends. So maybe the basic stuff is similar enough that you can get by but more complex communication becomes harder? Either way, how fun for you to see such different aspects of Korea! I’d love to go some day. And it’d be so, so awesome to be able to venture outside of Seoul and the usual tourist areas.

          I’ll have to check out your blog. 🙂

          • Ohhh no I didn’t have issues because they did most of the work trying to figure things out as I couldn’t haha.
            Most certainly! Venturing out was some of my favourite things to do Jeon-ju was my favourite area outside of Seoul 🙂

          • Oh! Hahaha! I totally misunderstood. 😀 Still, if I ever do visit S.Korea (and it’s very much on the wish list) venturing out is still an aim. Bumbling around a little is half the fun. 😉

  3. It’s great that you are learning Korean! I would love to learn it too so I can understand my dramas without subs but first I shall finish off learning Jap! Anyway, good girl and you are doing do! Keep up the learning spirit! (:

    • Thanks! It’s actually kind of fun. 🙂 I’m not even close to dropping the subs. But I’ve been able to pick out the gist of some scenes when the subs weren’t complete, which was awesome.

      And you enjoy learning Japanese! 😀

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