Video diary entries


I’ve started recording my lang-8 entries so I get practice speaking my sentences out loud. Yesterday I made my first of these podcasts — uploading it as a youtube video so that people can easily listen to it in lang-8.

I’ve tried to make Korean podcasts regularly before but the production of those podcasts was a lot more involved. After they were written I had them corrected, and then often edited them again to get exactly what I wanted before I recorded them. It was fun but it also took a lot of time. I find I do more language entries the easier they are to do. At first I told myself I had to write long diary entries. Now I don’t have any problem writing a diary entry of of only a sentence or two. The lower entry barrier means I can write diary entries more often (often several time a day) and I feel my Korean has improved quite a lot as a result.

My next goal — try making the barrier for making audio podcasts also low. Either I’ll record myself speaking freestyle in Korean (I did this once before and it turned out pretty ok) or just read whatever entry I wrote earlier in the day.

Grammar notes


I was looking for the ending “다던데” on google today and came across a wonderful document with a whole bunch of Korean grammatical endings with example sentences made available by the University of British Columbia.

This is  good supplementary material along with the Korean grammar dictionary.

In case the link goes dead I’ve also uploaded it here — Grammatical Endings with Examples.


A kind of green


This color -- 청록

I met a 형 that has befriended me here and as we were eating pizza in a small Arabic shop his wife told me how to make 무김치 here in Israel. (A lot of the ingredients for kimchi are hard to get here in Israel — so people have to make do with various make-dos.) One of the things I was told was that it is impossible in Israel to find  proper 무 but there’s a kind with a green peel you can use that tastes similar.  However she used a different word for green than I was used to — 청록.

I’m looking at the dicionary and it means a “bluish green color; bluish green; turquoise blue”.

I guess it’s an combination of 청색 and 녹색. Rather cool.

Ah, Korean has too many colors. But than, we do have the word ‘turquoise’ in English as well. . . so I guess I shouldn’t complain. 🙂

Update: Another word I looked up and learned today because I realised I didn’t know what it was — peel as in “peel the 무” or “peel the orange”. If a person is doing the peeling, the verb is 벗기다 or 껍질을 벗기다. So Please peel the orange  is 오렌지의 껍질을 벗겨 주시오. For sentences where such as “the potato peels nicely’ you naturally use the passive 벗기지다.

채면을 봤으라다도 For your sake


One of my students wrote me about her English test coming up. She wrote “*쌤을 바서라두 해야하는데. . .”

I was completely unfamiliar with this grammatical/idiomatic construction — but fortunately there there were some very kind people at lang-8 who explained it to me!

It’s short for ‘선생님의 채면을 봐서라도’ so the above sentence my student wrote could be translated as: 선생님의 체면을 봐서라도 해야하는데. . .

Normally I would have assumed that ‘서라도’ would be translated as even/if. However it seems that this construction is best understood as ‘if only for/because’. The ‘for/because’ part of this construction is crucial for understanding this idiom.

Thus my student’s sentence translated in English would be ‘I ‘should’ do this out of respect for you” or perhaps more colloquially in English as “Thinking of you makes me want to do this.”

Googling for more examples I came up with:
내얼굴 봐서라도 참아. Please bear it out of respect form me./For my sake please bear it.
내 채면을 봐서라도 욕하지 마 Out of respect for me, don’t speak badly (욕).
내 체면을 봐서라도 용서해 주시오 Out of respect for me please forgive me.

It’s cool finding out something new without even trying to study just by living day-by-day immersed in Korean. I’m definitely not going to forget this grammatical point soon. 🙂

Most common words list for Korean


I found a very 50,000 frequency word list based for Hebrew that has been very helpful for filling in gaps in my Hebrew vocabulary.

I would love if there was something like this for Korean. Has anyone heard of a list like this or where it would be available?

I’ve used the 6,000 most common words book but it would be nice to have a list with the ranking (from most common word to least common word) as well as going above the top 6,000 words like the 50,000 word lists available for other languages.

Girl’s monologue — Will it snow for Christmas?


This is the first girl’s monologue I’ve done. I watched when it first came out two years ago, but it really stuck in my head. I’ve clipped it and uploaded it on youtube. This monologue is from the end of episode 10. The transcript is below.

아줌마 사실은 아까 두번이나 오빠 속였어요.
자뻑 먹으면 원래 2장 주는건데 1장만 주고

내가 뭐 모자사이를 이간질 하겠다는게 아니구요.
고스톱도 일종의 게임이라면 게임인데
정정당당하게 페어 플레이 해야되는거 아니예요?
그리고 More

More listening content


I’ve put up the first four episodes of 남녀탐구생활 with transcripts. These are also all linked over at the Treasure Chest.

남녀탐구생활 소개팅 편 1회

남녀탐구생활 2화 목욕탕편

남녀탐구생활 3화 동성친구모임 편

남녀탐구생활 4화 헬스장편

I’m trying to get the transcripts for more of these episodes. When I get them I’ll also post them here.


Magical goodness. . . a turn of a phrase

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It’s the magical turn of a phrase. . . you know the ones that cause people to stop and listen. They’re idioms, slang, 유행어 (trendy words). . . proverbs that are used often, and just plain expressions and words that, when you start using them, will find out are anything but plain.

I’ve started making a list of some phrases I’ve come across with friends or in my reading and drama watching that have taken my fancy. Here’s a few to whet your appetite. . .

• 한번 칼을 뽑았으면 끝을 봐야지! If you start a job, you must finish it!

• 어장관리 When a girlfriend is trying to get several guys to lover at the same time she is guilty of 어장관리.

• 사래 걸렸어. What you say when something gets caught in your throat while you are eating. I’ve never been able to say this without being complimented on my Korean. . . people are rather impressed.

And there’s many more over at A Turn of a Phrase. I’ll keep adding more to this list as well.^^

10 Ideas for Writing a Foreign Language Diary


Writing in a diary in a foreign language is very good for your language skills. . . but how does one go about it?

When I first started writing Korean diary entries I put them online and asked visitors to correct my entries. That worked. However now I use I usually get corrections to my diary entries within twenty minutes of posting them.

Sometimes when we write though (and I’m just the same as anyone else) it’s hard to know what to write. Since I’ve been posting (in Korean) over there for around three years now, I thought I would write up some ideas I’ve used.

1. Write what is normally considered a regular diary entry. . . what did you do today? What did you feel? What did you think? Who did you meet? What did you talk about?

2. Write things you said in the language but you stumbled and it was awkward. Rephrase it. . Practice talking about the subject you were talking about with a friend by writing a diary.

3. Make up a conversation. Either make the conversation  funny or poignant. Or use a conversation you had with somebody as an inspiration. Or use a book like Conversation Inspirations to talk about some kind of imaginary incident between two imaginary people. Try to More

Scolding in the classroom


In Korea I worked at a village elementary school. Usually the kids were very sweet and behaved excellently. . . but there were always those times few and far between when one (or sometimes a couple) kids would act up. Since I was doing most of the teaching myself, I eventually became responsible for the discipline as well. I’m terrible at getting angry or scolding anyone even in English so I was a totally inept at it in Korean.

Scolding is an art in any language. . . and it was an art I was determined to learn in how to do in Korean. To correct my deficiency and give me more confidence, I made a list of expressions and phrases I heard teachers scold with students with. After the spelling was corrected at lang-8, they were recorded on RhinoSpike. They can all be found with the audio here. Some choice morsels:

까불지마 Don’t mess with me.
책들고 서있어 Stand up holding your book
자! 주목! Attention.
선생님이 얘기할때 어딜 다른 수다 떠냐? How dare you chat when the teacher is talking?
부모님이 그렇게 가르쳐 주셨니? Did your parents teach you to act thus?

The rest is here in Treasure Chest. I’ll keep on adding resources to the Treasure Chest.