This week I have actually done a lot related to Korean.
Reading: Read a news article about an old murder case (the 이태원 살인사건) ~ lots of legal vocabulary (here is a link for those who are interested: http://news.naver.com/main/tool/print.nhn?oid=421&aid=0001771575)
Grammar: Started Korean Grammar in Use (intermediate) and went through a few grammar points (due to so many recommendations I decided to buy it last time I was in London and work my way through it).
Writing: Texted with some friends over Kakaotalk.
Listening: Listened to italki tutors
Speaking: Four Italki sessions. Yep, four!
I have now had a few Italki lessons, three of them with the same tutor, the fourth with another one. Their teaching styles are quite different from each other, but I think they supplement each other well and I feel comfortable speaking to both of them. That being said, I’m still nervous when I wait for their call even if I know I will be relaxed enough during the conversation. If things continue this way, I will stick to just the two of them.
The benefits of speaking to two different people are:
1) By virtue of being different people they pronounce things slightly differently and they phrase things differently – as we all do. Also, one is male, the other is female so their voices are obviously different as well.
2) Being different people implies that they do different things in life and we are likely to talk about different things.
How they differ and how that helps me:
The guy really brings me out of my depths since our conversations are more akin to those you would have in regular life in English so I tend to struggle. A lot. It starts out safe enough with the usual “how are you today? what did you do?” and WHAM, all of a sudden we end up talking about power outages, internships, or welfare systems. By then it’s usually a mix of Korean and English combined with a lot of typing of new vocabulary in the skype chat. It’s super interesting, a lot of fun, and really good practice, but it will take a long time before I can get to shine in Korean when we talk… Talking to him makes me realise how much I still have to learn, while proving that the process of filling those gaps can be really fun too.
The other tutor (based on just one lesson, though) kept me speaking Korean all the time (unless when I asked for specific vocabulary) while testing my boundaries in different topics. In our next session, she will probably push me more now that we have had a chance to test each other a little bit. It was the first time ever that I have spoken so much Korean in just 30 min, which proved to me (more than anyone I think I needed that) that I can in fact do it, but within certain boundaries – that I should work on expanding.
In that sense they supplement each other very well. One seems to test the perimeter of my language ability more than the other who in turn makes great efforts to just keep me talking exclusively in Korean.
These lessons have really boosted my enthusiasm for studying. Not that I didn’t know how lacking I was before, but speaking makes you acutely aware of how limited your repertoire really is; How you keep using the same grammatical structures and how surprisingly many words you just don’t know yet… Little by little I think we can fill those gaps.