Setting up daily goals and keeping them

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The last few months there have been several study goals that I haven’t worked on half as much as I wanted. One of them is with regards to Hanja. I planned to study ten minutes a day at least on them. Another is Anki. Anki I have really no excuse because I’ve found even if I do one or two minutes a day it really helps me to be much more fluent and have a lot more vocabulary and grammar a the tip of my tongue.

But life happens and sometimes it’s hard to remember and then a whole week goes by and I’m like, oh dear, I haven’t done any Anki yet!

I used chains before to setup goals and keep track of doing them every day but it gets unwieldy when the chains get too long and there is no way to export the data.

Then yesterday over at EveryDay Language Learner Aaron wrote about a new site I had never heard of before — Ask Me Every.  It’s very easy to use. You put in a few questions (like, how much time did you spend on Korean Anki today?) and give it a time to e-mail you daily. When it e-mails you you email back with the time spent and it inputs it into its charts and graphs so you can login to the site and see all your data nicely and visually represented.

I’m going to try it and see how well it works. Perhaps if I log every day whether I did a bit of anki or not I’ll have more incentive to keep on doing it every day.

Bang Bang Korea — cool new site

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A few weeks ago I came across this quite cool website — Korean Bang. It takes popular news stories and comments from netizens and translates them into English. What’s really cool is that by hovering over the translated paragraph you can see the original Korean paragraph. As I’ve been doing a bit of translation it is fun to take a look at how the translators translated a word or phrase.

Today they had a heart-wrenching story about a boy who tried to commit suicide and was saved by a quick-talking and quick-thinking policeman.

In addition to interesting stories they have a Korean glossary of internet slang.

Unfortunately the articles aren’t recorded (so there is no audio). Also when I tried to save articles with the scrapbook plugin in firefox (like I can do for webtoons), it the bubble original text feature doesn’t work. I’m not sure if there is a way around it or i’ll just have to save the translation and the korean version separately. (As you can see, I’m really really big into saving anything I am studying or reading.)

On somewhat of a sidenote, just perusing some of the articles and comments I was rather surprised to see the level (or lack of?) civility among netizens. This is a part of the Korean internet world that I’m definitely not that familiar with yet.

Diary writing

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Diary writing

I’ve written 42 entries this month so far on Lang-8. As can be seen though, I didn’t write every day.I don’t really beat myself up if I don’t write on a given day, although I always like it when I do fill up day after day with solid blue.

Also, I don’t really consider writing diary entries as study most of the time (unless I’m trying to do some difficult dictation or something like that (and even then I’m doing the dictation because it appeals to me in one way or another)). Rather, writing in Korean has become a fun way to relax, wind-down and reflect on what happened that day or whatever I am thinking about.

*I wanted to try experimenting by writing this in Korean.

Diary writing

여태까지 이달에 43개의 일기를 랭팔에서 썼다. 그런데 위그림을 보면 알 수 있듯 매일 매일 쓰지는 못했다. 난 어떤 날에 일기를 못쓴다고 해서 자신을 구박하지는 않지만 며칠 연이어서 쭉 파란 색으로 나오면 당연히 기분이 좋다.

또한, 내가 어려운 받아 쓰기 할때를 제외하고는 대부분의 경우 일기를 쓰는 걸 공부로 여기지는 않는다. (그리고 어려운 받아쓰기할 때도 맘에 드는 동영상만을 받아 쓰기 한다.) 오히려 한국어로 일기를 쓰는 건 나한테 긴장을 푸는 즐거운 방법이고 일기를 쓰는 걸 통해서 숨 좀 돌리거나 그날의 했던 걸 아니면 그때의 어떤 생각에 대해서 되돌아보는 좋은 기회다.

**이거 원래 영어로 썼는데 우리말로 어떻게 자연스럽게 비슷한 의미를 전달할 수 있을지 궁금해서 번역해봤다 ㅋ

A code or a rebirth

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I was talking to a friend the other day about her Japanese study (she has reached a very high level of Japanese and has worked in Japan). I asked her specifically about the claim that Japanese never accept foreigners as real people or as insiders. Her reply was very interesting. She told me, “If you act exactly the way you’re supposed to act in the situation you are in down to a ‘T’ they will treat you as an insider.”

Although I don’t know Japanese or Japanese culture, I wonder if the same thing is true (in part at least) for Korean.

It seems there are two ways one can approach Korean study. One can approach it either in a cognitive approach — where the language is a code to try and convey your original identity, values, and opinions. In that way you’ll always be an American speaking Korean, or a German or Australian speaking Korean. And then you complain about being treated as an outsider.

The other way is to to think of it as a rebirth into a new world. You will be a new you. You have to create the world completely from scratch again probably eventually something along the lines of the growing participator approach.

 

My kimchi

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Kimchi

A few weeks ago I emailed one of the guys in charge of the Koreans in Turkey website asking where in Istanbul it was possible to get 배추 (Chinese or Nappa cabbage). He emailed back right away saying that they sold it all over the place. I hadn’t seen Chinese cabbage in the several months I was here but after scouring around and asking at different shops I finally found 10 heads in a corner and bought them all.

I had made kimchi once before with 양배추 (the western cabbage) in Israel and it tasted good and fermented alright but it didn’t have quite the same taste. So I was pretty pleased they have the right kind of cabbage here.

Over 50 cloves of garlic and more than three big mugs of pepper later I had enough of the kimchi sauce left over to make make more than two kilos of 오이 소박이 (stuffed cucumber kimchi).

The cucumber kimchi is ready to eat after a few hours and the taste of the cabbage kimchi (after sitting in my room for two days and outside for two weeks) is just awesome. Now I want to try a bunch of other different kimchi and banchan.

Cracking the Korean speaking nut: a languacultural critique

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I’ve been continuing to think about why we Korean language learners (and definitely some much more than others) face trouble with speaking Korean to other Koreans.

Reader choronghi shared a link to a post at Korean Champ with a couple different tips he’s used for overcoming this language speaking barrier. David Wills over at Triumph of the Wills offers complaints along a simliar vein but no real solution.  Prof. Arguelles wrote in the HTAL forum about his Korean study:

Of course having access to many native speakers helped, but I all too often felt as if I had to force people to speak their language with me, which was unpleasant.

Of course is not a Korean-only problem. Benny over at Fluent in Three Months has written about his weapons in this  battle of wits in the languages he studies (which doesn’t include Korean as of yet).

Looking over different posts by language learners on this subject, one of the most startling complaints was from Steven over at Nojoek Hill: My view from the top. Seventeen years after starting to learn Korean he writes.

It’s Downright Impossible More

When language is like breathing

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The Everyday Language Learner posted today an interesting quote by Greg Thomson:

“If we ignore a whole bunch of problems, the hardest thing about language learning is getting started. The second hardest thing about learning another language is not quitting.”

Perhaps this is true in the beginning stages. But if living the language has become as integrated in your life as breathing . . . it’s not really that hard not to quit.

Someone remarked to me about this just yesterday — wow, you study Korean so hard. My response was, actually not really. Although the last couple months or so I have been trying to study Korean a bit here and there. . . mostly I just use Korean so much in my daily life it would be rather hard to go for any length of time without using it.

Shanna at HangukDrama wrote about this as well today.

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