Monthly Archives: July 2015

Language log D-78

During the past week I’ve been on a Korean binge, and I’m beginning to sense subtle differences in my skills:

1) I recognise more words from previous checks with the dictionary so I don’t need to look them up while reading. One of the more curious ones would be 오두막 (a hut, a cabin) – courtesy of Harry Potter.
2) I read slightly faster.
3) I recognise words that I came across in one context in other contexts. A word or verb I’ve heard in 밤을 걷는 선비 will suddenly surface in Harry Potter, and I instantly know it (fist pump!).
4) I’m beginning to hear some specific words everywhere because I’ve suddenly become aware of them.

So, what I’ve been doing?

Harry Potter

Watching both 밤을 걷는 선비 and 오 나의 귀신님. Whenever possible I’ve watched the raw editions first and then the subtitled ones.
Watching interviews on youtube. Some people add Korean subtitles, which is soooo helpful.
Listening to some Korean podcasts while doing things like printing out academic articles which is time consuming, utterly boring, and requires no mental engagement in what you’re doing other than ensuring that the paper doesn’t get stuck.

Listening to podcasts shows me exactly how far I am from fluency. Enunciation is clearly not a priority for many of these people whereas people on TV or radio news are trained in speaking clearly. Picking up new words from a podcast is close to impossible for me so it’s more about getting exposed to their way of speaking and training myself in listening to conversations where people e.g. interrupt each other.

Texting over kakaotalk.

Reading aloud from Harry Potter… And singing along to Korean music when alone.

As a short update on my “screen time project”, I think it’s working rather well. I spend less time online and when I do I usually do something language related.

City Hunter – Joseon style

I caught the raw version of today’s episode (episode 7) of 밤을 걷는 선비 while cooking, and 35 min into the episode what do I hear??? A bit of music from 시티헌터. I seriously had to rewind, listen again and then go look for the soundtrack from City Hunter to double check whether my hearing was playing tricks on me. Nope, the track is called Black Warrior and was indeed part of the sound track from City Hunter. 

For those who want to get technical about it, try to listen to the music in the episode from 34:28 – 35:07 and compare it to Black Warrior from 55 seconds into the track.

HA! They might be recycling from a drama from 2011, but they didn’t manage to sneak that one by me!

Edit: now correct times listed for the episode… oops.

Last day at my (now) old job

I just came home from my last day at work before starting at my job one next week. That means that I now have a few days to dedicate to academic readings – and of course KOREAN!!!

Honestly it was a bit odd to leave at the end of the day since I’ve been there for 2.5 years, although everyone seems to think I’d been there for much longer. At least I got to leave on a good note with no lose ends in my tasks and a good atmosphere (giving cake probably helped too ;-)). Some of my supervisors and colleagues even told me that I’m always welcome to return if I happen to not like my new job, which is a sentiment I really appreciate.

So. Now it’s time for Korean!!!

Korean weekend D-83

This weekend I have had a chance to really immerse myself in Korean. The weather here has been absolutely appalling so it’s been a perfect opportunity to just hole up with a steady supply of Korean books, dramas and tea.

I’ve finally reached page 70 in Harry Potter, and I read an interview for the sake of variation. Harry Potter is proving to be quite a challenge, but I’m working my way through it. I’m grateful that I’m familiar with the story since there are so many words to learn.

밤을 걷는 선비:
I’ve started 밤을 걷는 선비 and I have to admit I’m totally sold on this and its cuteness galore. What can I say, it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure. For once the “oh my God, she’s a woman!!!” reveal is dealt with in first few episodes instead of being saved for episode 12, which is A Good Thing. Of course that doesn’t mean that they leave out other drama tropes, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. 이유비 can make the most incredible face expressions and nobody rocks a 한복 like 이준기 – seriously, he ought to consider just wearing a 한복 or a sharp suit all the time.
The song 비밀낙원 from the OST is totally addictive so beware before listening.

오 나의 귀신님:
This is hilarious, and I think this one will be my “modern language drama” instead of 너를 사랑한 시간. Language-wise it’s also enjoyable and they speak quite clearly so I don’t have too much trouble looking up new words.

Texting about various things over kakaotalk.

What are you guys reading or watching these days? Did any of you by any chance read the 만화 that 밤을 걷는 선비 is based on?

Learning Log D-103

Recently my Korean learning has been based mostly on reading. Firstly because I haven’t had any language exchanges for many weeks, and secondly because I think I should really work on expanding my vocabulary. Most recent endeavours count:

I have re-started reading 유행어보다 재치있는 우리 100대 속담. I remember when I bought it and I had to spell my way through each and every sentence. In the end I put the book back on the shelf because it was just too time-consuming to go through, which quite frankly took a lot of the fun out of it. This time around it’s going a lot better, although I still look up many many words (when was the last time you had to say “playground slide” in Korean?). The fact that each proverb is explained in two short pages makes it easier to sit down and read even just a tiny bit if you’re short on time because you know that you can finish at least one proverb.

Harry Potter:
I have continued from where I left off last time. This time it’s a lot easier, but to make things a little more complicated I started reading after my digital curfew started one night wherefore I had to make do with a small paper dictionary instead of my iriver dictionary or Naver. The conclusion seems to be that the little paper dictionary isn’t quite extensive enough to help me through a book like Harry Potter. Also, it has no 한자… One would think that the vocabulary in these paper dictionaries is based on the frequency of use, but it does make you wonder how the word “dungeon” can sneak in, but the word “snout” is nowhere to be found. Is it really only pet owners who use the latter more often? Does everybody else have regular conversations about humid and poorly lit basements in castles?

Drama: 너를 사랑한 시간
I have watched the first episode and read a recap of the second. I think this one will be one I will watch-watch. So far I have slightly mixed feelings about it, but I like the actors and the Taiwanese version seems to be quite popular so I’ll give it a chance. Also, it should help me bring my vocabulary from the Joseon era to present day…

Drama: 화정
Ok, it’s probably universally known by now that I might have a penchant for historical dramas, so half an episode here and there in between must-do tasks is naturally in order.