Winter Sonata Monologue

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It’s the first Korean drama I ever saw. . . a few months after I came to Korea. As such it holds a special place in my heart. I still remember standing in the drama center in Chuncheon, watching a clip from this drama with subtitles and realizing that I could learn loads of Korean from watching it. I subsequently watched the whole thing. At least twice.

This is a monologue with a few interjections from 배용준 with a few interjections from 최지우. The audio is here.

Winter Sonata

The transcript is below. More

New Anki input


I’ve benefited so much from using audio with Anki for Hebrew that I’ve decided to try to slowly transform my Korean Anki deck into a deck that also has audio recordings with each sentence. This will take a while because my Anki deck is so large. Right now every once in a while I collect a bunch of new sentences and submit a request at Rhinospike for recordings. That works well. . . but it’s rather slow. Eventually I want to collect several hundred sentences at once and give them to someone on Fiver to record.

Because I’ve been focusing on Hebrew I haven’t added any new sentences to Anki for ages. Yesterday though I was so excited about the new grammatical dictionary I had found that I put in a bunch of requests for recordings in Rhinospike. When I get them back I’ll segment them sentence by sentence and add them to my Anki deck.

Persuade and convince. . . .

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Ask a Korean had an interesting post a while ago. . . but what struck me most was the last paragraph. He writes:

Which brings us to the Expat’s last question: “Do I have to become fluent in order to properly debate?”

The answer is: OF COURSE! To be sure, even if someone are a racial minority immigrant, she can go on with her life without necessarily having to learn more than basic language and customs of her newly adopted home country. But if she, for whatever reason, do not become fluent in the language and assimilate into the society, there is no way in hell her opinion will be taken seriously in that country. That is true in any society. Being able to persuade and convince others in your society is a powerful function – it is a way in which you impose your will upon that society. It will never come for cheap. (bold mine)

I want my Korean to at such a good level that I can convince people, that I can persuade people. The last year even though I’ve been out of Korea (or perhaps because I’ve been out) I’ve got much much better at both of those skills. Since reading this paragraph earlier this fall I’ve been trying to think of how I can further my ability in these areas. One answer is lies in learning and mastering magical words. . . what are some other tools?

Highlights. . . looking back at the road behind


I tend to look at the road ahead. . . the challenges to overcome and the things left to learn and master. Sometimes it’s helpful to look behind as well and see some of the mountains behind me.

The last few months there been a couple cool things that happened.

1. I did my first interpreting ever. I was with a friend at a meeting with twenty or so Koreans. The speaker was speaking in English and the Korean guy who had be delegated as the translator was suffering from diabetes so they suddenly told me to interpet. I’d never done that before, specially not from English to Korean, so I was incredibly nervous at first. However after the first minute or so I started to enjoy translating.

2. I started working as free-lance translator. With my money supply running out here in More

What’s the magic word? 형 & 오빠


What are some of the magic words in Korean? I started thinking about magic words here.

Perhaps my most favorite are the 호칭어[呼稱語]. What are 호칭어? Words used to call someone.. Most (or perhaps all) of these 호칭어 related to family relations are magical. . . because they invoke a familial relation between you and the speaker when they are used. Once you use these words you are no longer strangers, but family. Use this word and familial bonds, duties, and privileges are (almost) automatically granted.

오빠 (Oppa = older brother, girl speaking) is one of these words. If I’m called 오빠 by any of younger friends . . it’s rather hard to not to give in to anything they might want to ask me. Girls know that is a magical word they can use for any guy who is older (usually only a bit older though).

Another magical word is More

What’s the magic word?


Of course all words are magical.

However, some words are more magical than others.

All words can convey meaning and emotion and sway your listener sometimes. Magic words you can do this much more often. To really learn a language well its not enough to just learn vocabulary lists and grammatical endings, but to learn which words are special and why. More than learning just whether  a word is positive or negative its crucial to learn More

My private language diary


When I started learning Korean I didn’t keep a blog. The first few months I didn’t even keep a journal. After seven months I started to keep a journal in a Google Docs document so that I could keep track of my progress and strategize about ways to learn language and culture better. Only a year and a half later did I finally start this blog.

A few days ago I found this old journal. It was very encouraging (for me) to read about the tripping and failing, the detours, discouragements (and successes!) that marked the the beginning portion of my road to Korean fluency. In the beginning I primarily used the Growing Participator approach to language learning — so it’s cool to More

Korean diary writing — dialogue writing

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The last month or so I haven’t been as regular writing my Korean diary entries as I would like.

Perhaps one reason for that is that I’ve had a hard time getting on a good schedule in any part of my life. With a mixture of cold, flu, holidays, and travel it’s been tricky to find time to write interesting entries.

However, I’ve started to write dialogues in Korean whenever I have a chance. This takes less work than prose to compose. Often I’ll be inspired by a chat I’ve had with Korean friend on google chat or facebook. Dialogues can be short. . and unlike paragraphs, are rather easily made amusing.