Journey to Fluency pt. 2: Why Didn’t Anybody Tell Me Learning Hangeul Would Take 8 Years?

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I really like Moon Geun-Young as an actress for two highly unethical reasons. One: I really like Jang Geun-Suk and he was in Mary Stayed Out All Night with her. And two: her birthday is around the same time as mine, making us both tauruses so we would tn_1289625002_942779634_0probably have a lot in common. So, starting a few months ago I tried to watch Cheongdam-dong Alice also known as Alice in Cheongdam-dong. I watched one episode before the show ended, then stopped so I wouldn’t have to wait for new episodes and for various other reasons I will soon express, and then started watching it again when I had nothing else better to do. It was supposed to be a drama similar to the story behind Alice in Wonderland (hence the name) but it was absolutely nothing like that. My reasons for stopping the drama at nine episodes are very sensible, so bear with me while I try to explain them all to you.

The storyline.  Oh my goodness the storyline. First of all they passed far too much eye water for my taste and there aren’t enough weakness tissues in the world. I understand some tears in a drama but they literally cried at least three times in every episode. I don’t mean small tears, like “I got something in my eye get it out!” but full blown tears. The kind you see in Hayao Miyazaki movies.  I consider myself a very happy person so I don’t like it when people cry and so I try to avoid watching things where there’s too many negative emotions (I can handle happy tears). Which includes, but is not limited to, the k-dramas I watch. I tend to only invest myself in dramas where I know they are going to end up together or happy in some way. This is one reason why I stopped watching Cheongdam-dong Alice because they were not going to be truly happy in the end. Anyways, they cried all the time so it became known as “the drama in which they cry every five minutes” in my household and in turn made it so that I watched the drama all by myself whereas I usually watch them with my mom. I was okay with that and proceeded to watch the drama until Moon Geun-Young’s character, Han Se Kyung, changed. She used to be a Candy (a girl in very popular anime) until a series of unfortunate events took place and caused her to turn into a money-hungry, heartless, willing-to-do-anything-including-breaking-somebody’s-heart witch. Aigoo, so frustrating! And the worst part about it is she is not going to change. Not for real anyways. So, because I am impatient, I stopped the ninth episode with about five minutes left and looked up the ending to Cheongdam-dong Alice. And get this…SHE NEVER CHANGES! Somewhere along the line her love interest, Park Shi Hoo (or Jean Thierry Cha/ Cha Sung Jo) who plays our Mad Hatter, finds out that she’s been using him for his money and they break up. Did anybody expect that? Note: Sarcasm.

Mini rant break: Why can’t she just tell him the truth? She liked him when he was Secretary Kim, way before she found out he was the president. I’m telling you it was that friend of hers, Choi Ah Jung, in the seventh or eighth episode she kept on going: be candy, be candy, get your money, be candy! Ahh, 진짜! [Jin-jjah—which means “really” in Korean]. If you don’t understand I suggest you don’t watch the drama. I am saving you 16 hours of disappointment.

Moving on, In the end they end up together but the whole time they are both going to be wondering if she’s being her true self or is pretending to be who he likes so that she can continue to use him for his money therefore making it so that he can’t trust her. YAY HAPPY ENDING! NO. Not a happy ending, it’s very dissatisfying and leaves the watcher wanting to blow up the writers. Whose brilliant idea was that? “Let’s make everybody absolutely hate the leading character and the ending confusing! 짱! [jjang—which means “the best” in Korean]” Is that what they thought? Because if it is they succeeded. Aishh…

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Anyways, the reason I mentioned Cheongdam-dong Alice is because while watching it I considered it to be a really great aid to learning Korean. They said a lot of words that I recognized from my studies and they also spoke a little French which I am also learning (graduation requirement). {Also you can try Seducing Mr. Perfect with the ever so handsome Daniel Henney, where they speak Korean and English throughout the entire thing. Not to mention its funny and they have that “Happy Ending” I was telling you about.} Hopefully this will be the last time I rant in my posts, and I will now be moving onto the real reason for this:

I have yet to completely learn Hangeul.

I watched a video where the girl said that learning Hangeul would only take an hour. LIAR! If I could say that in Korean, I would. But, cut me some slack, I am still learning. Even though I have yet to learn Hangeul, I have still gone forward with taking the lessons offered online for free. I am using this free software called Talk to Me in Korean. I still use other videos and lessons offered by other people such as sweetandtastyTV and BusyAtomdotcom, but only as a reference or to clear up some things I may not understand when they teach it at TTMIK. For example: in level 1 lesson 1 of their curriculum, they go over how to say hello and thank you in Korean. 안녕하세요 [an-nyeong-ha-se-yo] and 감사합니다 [gam-sa-hap-ni-da], respectively. The way they pronounce 감사합니다 (gamsahaMnida) is different than how they spell it (gamsahaPnida). Their explanation was not very helpful for me so I did some follow up research and found the following video:

Click the picture to get to the video! 🙂

In which the man narrating explains why it is pronounced this way. This was very helpful for me and hopefully it will be just as helpful for you if you decide to learn or are learning the Korean language. I have completed six of the twenty-five lessons provided for the first level on the TTMIK website (here) and I use the words I learned here and words that I learned on my own through my obsessive watching of k-dramas in everyday life. I am not going to lie I took an extensive break from learning Korean (a few weeks) which is why I am only on lesson six but I still speak the language regularly when talking to my sisters and mom and listen to k-pop whenever I get the chance to. There are a few things I recognized upon starting to learn the language:

1. I really started to notice how I speak my mother language (English) and how weird English is to begin with. When writing, like I am doing now, I ponder the fact that a native Korean would probably not understand a word that I am saying (or typing, in this case) and when they write I haven’t one clue what they are saying. It’s actually quite cool.

2. When listening to music, I wonder if somebody is trying to learn English through the music we make here in the States. Like, could you imagine trying to learn English through that one Soulja Boy song that is very grammatically incorrect called “Crank that”? If a person was learning English through his music they would sound really dumb, no offence. And I wonder if Koreans have some music like that. Sense I don’t speak Korean fluently yet, I don’t understand everything they say in their music. Do they not completely pronounce their words or slur some of them together like we do in our music? If you find a song where they do that, tell me so that I can avoid it like the plague and don’t sound like an idiot saying what they are saying when talking in an everyday conversation.

3. I have put a few things into perspective. Korean’s have the same things we do in speaking English. They have slang and a certain way they might pronounce a certain word or letter. The way I say tomato may be different then the way you say it and the way I say potato may be different then the way you say potato.  Same with Koreans.

4. And also I have realized that I am going to need to start from the very bottom of learning Korean. Meaning, if I were to go to school in Korea I would be put in a preschool class because I know so little Korean that I couldn’t be in a kindergarten class. It’s quite pitiful actually. But it’s also the truth. The first step is admitting it.

I am going to stop here because this post turned out to be a lot longer than I had expected. I shall continue later.

Videos I am using as I learn Hangeul:

Learn Korean 1: Pronouncing the Alphabet. (Didn’t really help, but I am going to try the second video in the series.)

Learn to read and write Hangeul – Part 1 by TalkToMeInKorean.com (this one helped a lot more and I am going to continue with learning through this series as well as the first)

Question:

What is your favorite k-group? Girls Generation? 2ne1? Exo-K? Miss A? CN-Blue? Shinee? Super Junior? I could go on forever. 안녕히 계세요! Good bye! — Sage

kpop-groups  i_love_kpop___by_twosquids-d4qp86o

Journey to Fluency: Korean

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First off I’d like to say, Welcome to my blog! This is my very first blog post on SagedandConfused, If you haven’t read my about me page (or Philiosophia—Love of Sage page) you don’t know this, but I love K-culture. When I say K-culture I mean things pertaining to K-pop and K-dramas. I‘ve developed such a fondness to it that I’ve decided to learn the Korean language and chronicle it on this blog among other things. I will conquer this feat using free online services (I shall post said services later on in the post). Though I will be practicing everyday, I plan to post to this once a week giving progress and things that I have figured out and can hopefully explain to you guys. It is said that to learn any language you need to have a solid foundation for why you are doing it and a passion for the language. I believe I have that but, we’ll see. 

Why I Want to Learn the Language

Professor Oh, from sweetandtastyTV on youtube, posts videos every Wednesday to teach  popular Korean words through a segment called KWOW: Korean Word of the Week (say it with a whisper)

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I started watching her videos a while ago and thought immediately she was… unique. Maybe it was her many characters. Her style of teaching is different, to say the least, and I won’t lie—I didn’t finish the video and did not visit her again for a few months. But when I did happen to come across one of her videos again, I finished it and found the information that she was giving to be very helpful. I continued to watch her videos and found that she was not weird, but entertaining and her material was useful. In the corner of her videos I saw that she had a blog: sweetandtasyTV.com and in the description she posts links to said blog and after a few videos of noticing it I finally clicked on it. On the home page I saw an article from guest host Jason Yu from Green Tea Graffiti on learning Korean for newcomers. To put it in a few words, the post was very inspiring and this along with the music and Dramas I watch was what really made me want to learn Korean. Thus Journey to Fluency was born (this is where you clap and jump up and down for joy. I’m just kidding. Kind of.). (Link to Jason Yu’s guest post here)

Anyways, I’ve seen and watched a lot of videos and read a lot of articles on learning Korean and most of them are either scams, in my opinion, or don’t help much (an individual’s learning style for a lot of people is different so what I might find helpful you may not). After tons of research I narrowed it down to a few select people.

Korean Bloggers and Youtubers:

– Hyunwoo Sun and Associates at Talk to Me in Korean (TTMIK—he also has a youtube page here and TTMIK has a youtube page here)

– Professor Oh and Friends at sweetandtastyTV

– The good people at Korean Class 101 (Click here for a link to their youtube page) and

– Satish at TOPIKGUIDE (Test of Proficiency in Korea)

If the above list changes (if it is added to or taken away from) you will be informed. 🙂

What’s the Plan of Action?

This POA is based on the article on SweetandTastyTV’s blog (Warning: order may change later on, but then again it may not):

  1. Learn the Korean alphabet (Hangul)
  2. Learn basic Korean
    1. learn how to introduce myself
    2. learn how to greet in Korean
  3. Learn the most commonly used verbs
  4. Learn the most commonly used nouns
  5. Learn the most commonly used adjectives
  6. Learn how to form sentences

How I Will Go About My Plan of Action:

So here’s what’s going to happen: After learning the alphabet, I am going to start out using the lessons that are provided on talktomeinkorean.com for beginners. I will do two lessons a week, giving myself time to insert what I’ve learned into everyday conversations. I will watch videos, keep notes and listen to music to help keep me sharp.

So… ready to start on this sensational journey to fluency? I’m not! I’m just kidding, of course I am. OR am I? The world will never know. Or will it?

I have a few questions for you:

What was the first k-drama you’ve watched (if you watch them)? And what was the first k-pop song you listened to?

My answers:

First k-drama? Boys Over Flowers (or Boys Before Flowers)

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First Kpop song i ever listened to? Girls Generation’s: The Boys!