Strange effects of Korean usage


It’s funny because I think learning Korean has somewhat ruined my perception of the sounds in other languages — I now sometimes have a hard time distinguishing ‘r’ and ‘l’ or ‘t’, ‘d’, and ‘n’ in other (phonetically easier) languages. I never had a hard time distinguishing between ‘r’ and ‘l’ before.

Similarly, if I’m reading or thinking in Korean I sometimes make ‘he’/’she’ mistakes if I try suddenly to speak in English.

Interview with a mother about character education


I found this interview rather interesting. I love her voice and the style she answers the questions put towards her. She uses several very nice speech patterns and couple very useful words that I didn’t know, including 진가.

It’s subtitled, but the subtitles aren’t exactly accurate. The exact transcript is below (questions are not voiced; unfortunately if you just listen to the audio you’ll only hear her answers):

Q: 좋은나무성품학교를 선택하실때 성품교육이 영향을 주셨나요?
A: 성품을 가르치는 곳이라고 알고 아이들을 보내기로 결심했는데요. 보내는 엄마 입장에서는 그렇게 얘기하지만 주변에서는 성품교육은 가정에서 가장 비롯된다는 많이 얘기하잖아요. 근데 전부터도 성품이 중요하다는 걸 알고 있기는 하지만 그냥 무심히 간과하고 지나 버릴때가 많이 있더라고요. 그래서 교욱기관에서 아이들이 배우면 부모인 저도 배우고 자극이 됮 않을까 아무래도 배우면서 하면 부모도 자극되고 아이들도 성품을 배우면 좋지 않을까 하는 생각에서 보내게 됐습니다.
Q. 좋은나무성품학교를 다니면서 아이가 달라진 부분들이 있나요?
A. 어린아이들이 성품의 인내, 경청, 긍적적인태도 며 이런 단어의 의미를 안다는 게 너무 기특하더라고요. 그 단어의 의미를 알면서 그 상황에 맞게 단어가 툭툭 튀어 나온다는 자체가 이거 아이들이 평생 그걸 가지고 가든 안가든 아이들한테 단어의 의미를 안다는 자체가 너무 너무 기특해요. 그리고 예전에는 한번 친구모임에서 여행을 갈 때 아이들이 차에서 통제가 되지 않을 정도로 너무 시끄러운 거에요. 그래서 제가 More

우리 문학

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Language forums – which to use?


Language forums are some of the most useful websites for language learning  I’ve found. They’re informative, usually there are lots of people on them so you can ask questions about various languages. What facets of the language I want to learn are the hardest to master? How to get over this or that hurdle? Where can I find free resources online?

Currently there seem to be two main forums (although both Lang-8, Italki, and LingQ all have smaller forums on their respective sites).

I first started using How to Learn Any Language forum in 2009. I mainly read rather than post anything.  There are loads of useful posts about resources and (what is my favorite part) — logs of different people studying various languages. Unfortunately, the forum restricts posts after a certain time period so that only premium users can read them.

This is incredibly frustrating. It was frustrating when I first logged into the site and could see that people had answered my question before but I couldn’t access the post. However it has become increasingly more frustrating as comments and posts and questions that I’ve posted before are now restricted.

There is an alternative however — Fluent in 3 Months Forum. Unlike the How to Learn Any Language forum where useful posts about resources are mixed up with people arguing endlessly about which language is the hardest the Fluent in 3 Months Forum focuses on providing resources, information and encouragement.

The Fluent in 3 Months Forum is also completely free. A log I kept last year of a fourteen day trip hitchhiking More

The Art of Korean Letter Writing


Since finding the Artic explorer’s letter to his wife I’ve been musing on how on how to improve my Korean letter writing ability. The nice thing about letters is that they use rather simple words (compared to say a newspaper article) but usually the words are used well. Unlike a newspaper article, the words have to convey some emotion and some warmth.

Imagine my delight when I found 15 longish letters complete with audio. (The audio can be downloaded using right-click and ‘save as source’.

In Korean it’s called 노래실의 편지 and it seems that they are publishing a new letter every week or so. Some letters are written from brothers and sisters to each other; others are from parents to their children and or between close friends.

I’m inputting all the text and audio into Learning with TextsThat way I can read and listen to the texts at my leisure, and easily look up words or phrases I don’t know. I’ll try to eventually put sentences with sentence structures I find tricky or words and phrases I don’t know in Anki as well.

Korean Text Messaging


Korea Wiki put out a cool new video — on Korean texting.


Strategies for making the most of Lang-8

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Taemin wrote in the comments a question that seemed like it needed a longer answer so with her permission I’ll post her question below and answer it here.

Taemin commented

I really like the idea of using my own journal as learning material because it is what I would say and it is things i care about. But 3 things ive observed at Lang-8 give me pause:

  1. Less careful correction. Everyone is busy and I see many cases where correctors have done a less than thorough job, letting all kinds of things go I corrected. (Here I’m talking about English corrections so I’m quite sure when I see what should be corrected.)
  2. Corrected to understandable but still not native. I find myself doing this one. Sometimes the original sentence is such a train wreck I should throw it out and start over but out of a desire to not discourage the learner, I try to keep as much of the original sentence as possible and also see other English correctors do the same. The same thing can also happen with a sentence where the original is understandable but fundamentally not the way a native speaker would have approached the same utterance. I don’t find myself making nor do I see other correctors making good corrections in these cases.
  3. WTF corrections by natives. I’ve had natives correct my sentences only to have other natives come and correct back to my original sentence. Try as I might, I can’t fathom this phenomenon.

In light of this, doesn’t the possibility of reinforcing my own mistakes concern you? You obviously spend a lot of time at this so I am curious as to your views.

My answer: These are all very valid concerns. I’ve run into all these troubles using Lang-8 and I’m sure anyone has used Lang-8 even for just a bit has run into similar problems. How much to trust?

I do think though that the problems are surmountable with a couple strategies I employ to get the most out of diary writing and minimize these disadvantages.

  1. Write often. The more I write the more chance I have my mistakes get corrected.  We tend to repeat ourselves often anyway, and we definitely repeat mistakes. Even if a mistake is missed the first day, if we repeat the wrong phrase or sentence structure (which we are bound to do), someone will come along and kindly correct it for us or suggest an alternative explanation.
  2. Rewrite. Lots of times I’ll incorporate corrections and alternative ways of expressing the same content in a rewritten diary entry which I’ll also post on Lang-8. If the obvious errors have been corrected the first time, native speakers reading the corrected entry will have the incentive to look more carefully at the sentences to see if they are natural or not. Sometimes I do this not only once but two times just to make sure I’ve gotten it exactly right.
  3. Practice discernment. Not every correction is as valuable More

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