Monthly Archives: January 2013

Negative sentences: 이/가 vs. 은/는

I have received corrections concerning this a few times now, so I figured I would write it down once and for all:

Main rule
Generally the topic marking particle 은/는 is used when expressing a negative.

Example:
저는 절대로 마라톤을 안 할 거예요 ~ I will absolutely not run a marathon

In this situation I initially thought of using 제가 instead of 저는 as if to say that others can run as much as they like, but I will not join them. However I was corrected to use -는 since it is a negative sentence and -는 then sounds more natural.

Beware:
Noun + 아니에요 takes 이/가

Example:
커피가 아니에요 ~ (that) is not coffee

TOPIK status 8

Status for 19-25 January 2013

Sogang Korean
I haven’t progressed much for ‘technical’ reasons. I got to a 듣기 section and for that I obviously need the sound files. I got stuck in the process of transfering the CD’s to my iPad since my computer’s hard disk suffered a premature death in the autumn, and the contents of my iPad no longer correspond to the contents of my computer – and apparently the syncronisation function only works from computer to iPad and not the other way around. Argh!
After spending a few hours trying not to delete everything on my iPad, I decided to just put the files on my iRiver dictionary since it has MP3… Sure, that’s possible, and I managed to transfer them, but then the files turned out not to be the right kind of MP3 format and being a bit of a luddite, I still haven’t figured out how to convert them. I can play my TTMIK audio-books without any problems, but the Sogang CD’s are of a different format so they will appear as transferred on the computer, but they don’t show on the dictionary.
To be continued… If you know how to convert files from one format to another, please share!

Language exchange
I met up with my language partner and we ended up spending 5 hours together! I learned a lot about traditional Korean music and instruments which was really interesting, we discussed pronunciation and then we wrapped up with the oddities of Danish pronunciation.
I also borrowed two books from him (that he got from a friend who has taught at the Korean Saturday school at the embassy) and I have to say they look really nice. I promise I will post a specific post about them, I already have a draft 🙂

Word of the day: 책벌레

책벌레 ~ a bookworm, a booklover

I love this word.

I have borrowed two Korean books for Korean 5th graders from my language exchange partner (more to come about this in another post). One of them has a picture of an amazing poster that has been displayed in Korea, encouraging Koreans to read more:

At the top of the poster there is the message 우리나라에는 책벌레가 없습니다 (in Korea there are no bookworms).
Just below, the center of the poster, there is a stack of books and someone has been taking bites of the edges! 😀

Right underneath the stack of books:

우리나라 성인 남녀 월평균 독서량 0.8권!
이런저런 핑계로 책을 멀리하고 있습니다.

Of course there is more text, but the above will do for this post.

How much do you read?

The 7 ending sounds rule

In Korean, ending consonants are not pronounced as clearly as they would be in the beginning of a word. This results in there being only 7 ending sounds for consonants. Originally more of the consonants have had “separate” pronunciations, but in modern Korean, the sounds have effectively merged together for certain consonants.
This is known as the 7 ending sounds rule.

Here are the ending consonants combined with the randomly chosen 가.
[ ] signifies pronunciation.

1. [각] = [갘]
2. [간]
3. [갓] = [갇] = [갖] = [갗] = [같] = [갛]
4. [갈]
5. [감]
6. [갑] = [갚]
7. [강]

For each of the seven points above, the first ending mentioned is the “dominant” ending. That means, if you see the ending consonant -ㅊ it is effectively pronounced the same way as a word ending with -ㅅ. Therefore if -ㅊ is followed by e.g. -이에요 the combination will be pronounced “-시에요” because the ㅅ-sound replaces -ㅊ and then combines with -이에요.

Examples:
In Korean each letter of the alphabet has a name. If we are to take the different consonants and say “it’s …” the following happens:

“ㄱ 이에요” = 기억이에요
“ㄴ 이에요” = 니은이에요
“ㄷ 이에요” = 디귿이에요 ~ 디긋이에요 => [디그시에요]
“ㄹ 이에요” = 리을이에요
“ㅁ 이에요” = 미음이에요
“ㅂ 이에요” = 비읍이에요
“ㅅ 이에요” = 시옷이에요
“ㅇ 이에요” = 이응이에요
“ㅈ 이에요” = 지읒이에요 ~ 지읏이에요 => [지으시에요]
“ㅊ 이에요” = 치읓이에요 ~ 치읏이에요 => [치으시에요]
“ㅋ 이에요” = 키읔이에요 ~ 키윽이에요 => [키으기에요]
“ㅌ 이에요” = 티읕이에요 ~ 티읏이에요 => [티으시에요]
“ㅍ 이에요” = 피읖이에요 ~ 피읍이에요 => [피으비에요]
“ㅎ 이에요” = 히읗이에요 ~ 히읏이에요 => [히으시에요]
“ㄲ 이에요” = 쌍기억이에요
“ㄸ 이에요” = 쌍디귿이에요 ~ 쌍디긋이에요 => [쌍디그시에요]
“ㅃ 이에요” = 쌍비읍이에요
“ㅆ 이에요” = 쌍시옷이에요
“ㅉ 이에요” = 쌍지읒이에요 ~ 쌍지읏이에요 => [쌍지으시에요]

Question: which was the first Korean book you read?

Hi everyone

I was wondering about something. Well, it’s in the title of the post; which was the first Korean book you read? or which ones have you tried to read? or maybe you’re in the process of reading one now?

I thought that maybe it’s easier to read something I have read already in another language, so I have bought the first Harry Potter book in Korean, but it is still almost untouched since it’s still too difficult for me. I just had to own it hehe. Maybe it will be my summer project…

I think the beginner-lower intermediate stages of language learning are difficult when it comes to reading. Finding something which is at an “appropriate level” but still interesting. How soon did you start to read something that wasn’t regular study material?

TOPIK prep status 7

Status for 12-18 January 2013

Sogang Korean
1. Wrapped up the “accuracy work” in the appendix of book 1B. I’s amazing how some things can just slip from your mind and then you’re suddenly faced with it when you least expect it. For instance when to use sino-Korean vs. native Korean numbers. I thought I had that figured out. Well, that’s why this chapter exists… Repetition needed!

2. Started working in Sogang 2A, the first of the books entirely in Korean. I’ve been drilling 존댓말 like nobody’s business. I made the worksheet thinking that it’s better to be really comfortable with it before moving on than having to go over it all again from scratch in a few weeks.

General
Overall, it’s been a pretty good week; one of those weeks where I feel like I have learned a lot even though strictly speaking it’s actually just a few grammar points. You know the feeling that something somehow falls into place? that should also count for something 🙂
When I first saw that the 2A book is entirely in Korean (except for the tense indications in the work book which are written in both Korean and English), my first thought was “oh sh**, will I manage?”, but so far it hasn’t caused me great trouble and actually a slight change in the format of the vocabulary/grammar book from level 1 to level 2 took more getting used to.

“You talkin’ to me?… Well I’m the only one here!”

Most people will probably recognise this quote from Taxi Driver even if it’s from before their time. But did you know that Robert De Niro is speaking to himself in the mirror?

Today I was looking at Hangukdrama, and the comments for the post reminder to self made me think of how we practice speaking another language.

Usually when you see sections called “speaking” in books and you don’t have a partner that you study with, I suspect many will just go through the provided dialogues and leave it at that. That means that if you don’t have a fellow learner or a native friend to “subject to” your pronunciation challenges, the opportunities for speaking decrease drastically.

But why do we need to practice speaking with someone else? If you have ever been to a presentation technique class there are no such restrictions concerning who should be present or not for your presentation (or your practice) to be valid. You’re expected to be able to hold your own in front of an audience and if they don’t interrupt you with questions, you never enter the conversation-zone, but you nevertheless speak!

When I started my BSc I was terrified of speaking in public, as in tunnel vision and sweaty palms, and our programme director knew that a lot of people feel that way so the university offered a seminar in public speaking and encouraged everyone from the programme to attend. I have overcome my presentation fear and now I actually enjoy presenting my work, knowing that I know my stuff and very few questions can throw me off – and if you do come across the odd question you will find a way to handle that too.

In the presentation class we were encouraged to practice our presentations at home so we know that we know our material and can shake the fear of the “uhm”s in safe surroundings. I even used this technique when studying for exams by talking myself through the syllabus of a course as preparation for oral exams as well as exams with a lot of material to learn by heart. I warned the family that I hadn’t gone completely crazy and then I closed my door and spoke at normal pitch when going through the material.
As I worked my way through some business case, explaining it with the theory I would realise where the gaps in my theoretical knowledge were, and I could look up what was missing before meeting the censor – and I would have an idea of how I concretely wanted to phrase my answers.

Honestly, how many of you out there occasionally speak to yourself or at least have a conversation inside your head in a foreign language?
I do. Not in a very loud, public, lunatic-way. Sometimes I just find myself going through different situations thinking “what would I reply if someone said XYZ to me in that language”. The situations can range from excusing being late for a meeting with someone to what to say in an argument – a fictive one or one where I have previously found myself tongue-tied.

From the comments on Hangukdrama it appears that a few of us do. We just don’t advertise it. But isn’t it valid practice? Why wouldn’t it be for language practice when it’s encouraged for presentations and speeches in other contexts? Does it makes you more ‘pro’ if your topic is business oriented whereas it’s the sure path to a reputation as the village fool if you practice a language? That is probably not the reason, but I have never heard anyone recommend speaking with yourself just to get a better hang of what you just learned in a study session. But one thing is to think about some sentences, another thing is to say them out loud.

When we speak, it becomes a lot more concrete that we have to think of the formality level, not “run out of words”, get the particles right, and pace the sentence correctly. And all the while you don’t want to sound like an old tape recorder set on half speed because you spend to much time thinking and your tongue does not produce the sounds you imagined it would for that particular word.

So speak everyone! With yourselves or others, as long as you practice. Though, if you insist on speaking with yourselves in public you might want to wear a headset and put your phones on mute so they don’t ring in the middle of your monologue…

Practice sheet: Honorifics

Yesterday was one of those days where I could for some reason remember a soft drink commercial jingle from the late ’90s, but not the grammar pattern right in front of me.
I then figured maybe Z would have a worksheet that I could use for some additional practice. Unfortunately there wasn’t one for this particular grammar point so being inspired by her, I made my own. I hope you will also find it useful.

There are two pages of verbs that you can conjugate into the present, the past, and the future.
If by the end of the document you think it’s trivial and obvious then I suppose my goal has been accomplished.
Beware of the irregular verbs 😉

At the end of the document I have put an overview of conjugations of irregular verbs that have completely different honorific forms.

Click on the link to open the pdf-file: Honorific forms

TOPIK news: London 20th of April/19th of October

A few days ago I e-mailed with the Korean Education Centre in London about this year’s TOPIK just to hear about the deadlines and modes of payment and such things since the 2012 information was still on the website.

Basically they answered my questions (very quickly, actually), and their website has been updated to reflect the 2013 information.

Here’s what they said:

Dear M,

The exam date of TOPIK 2013 is 20th April. The venue will be SOAS in London.
Usually TOPIK takes place in London annually, only in April. However, it will be taking twice a year in UK from 2013. (20th April / 19th October). The application is open from January to February.

You can apply for two levels in the same time.

The exam fee is 25 pounds. Only check is acceptable.

You can send your application between 1st February-15th February.

Please see our website.

Kind regards,

For those who are interested in sitting the TOPIK in London, you can find the application form and the information you need here.

And I need to speak to my bank about that check. Writing checks in a foreign currency is something I haven’t done before so I had hoped a bank transfer would do…