Tag Archives: informal tutoring

Great great week

This week has been one heck of a ride with great news at work and loaaads of Korean practice. It started with a job interview for a permanent position at my current workplace followed by some 27 hours and 34 minutes of semi-angst (hey, you never know!) before being offered a position plus a grant for my thesis – for which I have finally decided on a topic as well. That means that I have secured myself a position after the summer holidays! 대-박! I will continue working while writing, but I will limit my working time to just two days per week so I will actually have time to write as well. It’s been a little bit surreal – but in a very very good way.

So, without further ado, here is what I have done related to Korean this week:

Speaking and listening:
Italki lesson #8 (Thursday, 45 min):
As we have done the past two times that we have spoken, we spoke mostly in Korean about regular things – my job offer, what have I bought for my siblings for Christmas, how old were my parents when they retired since they retired early and so on. Everything I couldn’t initially phrase in Korean I would say first in English so she knew what was going on in my head, and then she would help me restructure it from English to Korean with some leading questions along the lines of “how do you say ABC? How about XYZ?  how would you combine those two grammar points?”. I even got a bit of homework at the end of the class concerning grammar points that would improve my fluency.

Also, I learned that when speaking about somebody else’s wishes -고 싶다 changes to -고 싶어하다. AHA! good to know…

Italki lesson #9 (Thursday, 1h 24min):
The strange duration of that class comes down to us going a tad over time, but towards the end we chit-chatted mostly in English until my connection inexplicably died. This was a rescheduled lesson because my tutor wasn’t feeling well on Sunday. Normally I wouldn’t schedule two lessons on the same day, but it worked out fine and I wasn’t completely worn out before this one. During this lesson I didn’t speak as much Korean as in the one before it, but I got myself a wicked collection of vocabulary. To share a few words with you:
건달: a close equivalent could be a “hustler”. For the Danes out there, it should translate to the wonderful word “sjuft”.
잡치다: to make a mess of something or put slightly more colloquially: “to fuck up”. If ever in need of an alternative to 망하다 for the sake of variation, this might the word for you.

Italki lesson #10 (Friday, 45 min):
I spoke a lot of Korean again in this lesson and managed to incorporate some of the grammar patterns from previous lessons. We went over homework, talked about sleeping times, travel, movies, and entertainment programs on TV. For a 45 minute lesson that seems pretty intense, but it didn’t seem rushed. Speaking of the Danish sense of humour, which is on the rather dry end of the scale, we ended up talking a bit about the show “Abnormal Summit”. I have watched a few clips here and there, but so far I hadn’t watched a lot of it. Apparently the German guy is renowned for his somewhat special sense of humour, which Koreans tend to find a bit difficult to understand sometimes. I should check it out properly to see if his sense of sarcasm matches that of the Danes. For our next session I should go through the new grammar points that we covered, and write a few sentences with two grammar points of my own choice.

Italki lesson #11 (Saturday, 30 min):
This was an introductory lesson with a new tutor, since one of my other tutor’s schedule doesn’t always match mine. To not risk ending up going too long without speaking and falling back into my old ways, I decided to try one more. She was super up-beat and stuck to Korean for the entire 30 min that the lesson lasted. Before the lesson she had messaged me to ask for a bit of information about my level, and we agreed to just speak as much as possible. Towards the end of the lesson she sent me some material that she thought would be suitable for my level, and it seems to be pretty spot on so I look forward to going through it.

Revised: -(으)려고 and -지 모르겠어요. The latter I never learned formally before, but I’ve heard it it so many times, that I knew the structure already. One thing is recognising it, though. Using it in a natural way is slightly different.
Learned: -에 따라 and -고 싶어하다

I texted with friends over Kakaotalk and made sure to tell them to please correct me if I write something that seems off so I don’t get bad habits when writing. Some of them already do when something comes out strangely, but telling them again has already earned me a few “this sounds a bit more natural”, which is great.

My homework consists of written assignments, so I got a bit of writing practice as well.

It didn’t happen this week. I worked some 25 hours and had to deal with some thesis stuff. I think I learned a lot from my italki lessons, though, so I won’t beat myself up over lack of readings. I plan to read some Korean over Christmas where I will stay away from academia and work 24th-26th before returning to normal on the 27th – hopefully full of new energy.

Update: Visiting Sofie and italki skype tutoring

WordPress deleted my draft so here we go again. Since my last post I spent 5 days in London on a family visit, and I visited Sofie from sofietokorea in her home city for an extended weekend – my first visit in that city in about 15 years!

Sofie had a whole program planned for my weekend there; we had dinner at her home with her husband and LP, we went to museums and restaurants, and I just got to see the city close up in general – snow and all. It was great to away from things for a short while, but I have to say it was also a bit of an eye opener in terms of my Korean skills.
What I learned during my weekend stay:
– I have a surprising soju tolerance considering my normally very limited intake of alcohol.
– I understood most of what was said around me in Korean, but I really really really need to speak it more.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read her blog that Sofie’s Korean is amazing, but she sure is also working for it – most conversations with her LP are strictly in Korean. As a bonus I got to hear a bit of banter between her and her LP, which was frankly hilarious. An example:

Sofie: oh, by the way, you sent me a message using that expression, which you said I couldn’t use in XYZ context. But isn’t it the same when you write that to me?
LP: I was just messing with you…
Sofie: … wait, so it is wrong?
LP: hehe yes, I was just making a little fun of you
Sofie: well, I’m glad I asked then!

Before I went home, Sofie really sold the idea of italki to me, so I immediately went home, signed up and found a tutor. Yesterday I had my first lesson, which started off a little awkwardly in the sense that he forgot about me… However, I sent him a skype message and he contacted me soon enough, apologised profusely, and we had the lesson an hour late so I didn’t mention it when scoring him in the Italki sysem afterwards.

I only scheduled 30 min, but we ended up speaking for an hour and 15 minutes in total. Going that much over time is probably not sustainable in the long run, but it was really nice for a first lesson since I got a much better idea of who he is. We started off in English with basic introductions and then switched to Korean to talk about the weather, where we have lived, and our jobs. When things got technical (“trial”, “legal advisory services” and so on) I really depended on the glossary that I was being fed over the skype chat. In the end we ended up speaking English, though. He offered that I can also send him audio messages inbetween classes to practice my pronunciation more. 

Next week I’m on study leave from work so I sent a request for 4 lessons to speed up my learning now that I have time (I know that sounds backwards, but since I won’t be working and my classes ended, I should have an hour here and there for Korean speaking practice and our schedules match next week). So far he hasn’t accepted my request for more lessons, though, so let’s see if I need to find another tutor. At least I think I have taken a small step in the direction of speaking Korean more readily.

Again, thank you for taking such good care of me during that weekend 언니~~~