Languages and Teaching Yourself

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts this year that I was attempting to teach myself Korean.  Some of you might be wondering about that decision because it is a little weird.

As I went insane due to the stress of the last semester and lay in bed unable to sleep night after night I wanted to listen to music but nothing I had in my iTunes library was calling out to me.

For some reason my brain suddenly remembered that it had at one time possibly heard of a K-Pop group called Girls Generation (SNSD).  I decided to Google them since it was roughly two in the morning and I probably wouldn’t fall asleep for another two hours.

Girls Generation, unbeknownst to me was an endless pit of glorious music.  I found out that not only do I really like K-Pop, I like K-Indie music and K-Hip-Hop and just pretty much anything that comes out of the music scene in Korea.

I don’t know if its the cadence of the Korean language or the fact that pop style singing in front of dubstep-esque electronic music is actually really good to listen to although I don’t often like music in either genre in English.

I started looking further into some of the groups I really enjoyed and watching interviews and variety shows with the members because singers in Korea are not just singers they do everything in the entertainment industry.

One particular time I wanted to watch a  Weekly Idol episode with Block B but I couldn’t find it translated into English, I could however find one translated into Spanish and since I have taken approximately five and a half years of Spanish classes I was able to follow along and understand what was being said.

However, I had a realization as I was translating a translation that I might be losing some of what they are saying because it might not have been accurately translated the first time or I was not quite translating it correctly because words in all three languages don’t always line up in the same way.

It was at this point that I figured I might as well try learning the language itself.  My school doesn’t have Korean classes so it was up to myself to look into ways of learning Korean.

I have been using an online program for last three weeks or so and I feel like I am making good progress.  I am fairly decent at reading Hangul (albeit very, very, VERY slowly) and I know a handful of useful set phrases.  I can also count a bit in both the native Korean number system and the Sino-Korean number system.

I am excited to continue with this endeavor into the new year and it has also had me wondering whether I would enjoy teaching English in Korea.

At the moment I’m not sure, but I am definitely looking into it.

If you are wondering what my favorite K-pop groups are, here are a few:

Block B
Lim Kim

If you are wondering how difficult it is to learn a language on my own I will talk a bit about that as well:

I have always picked up languages rather quickly and the Korean writing system (Hangul) makes more sense than any other and I don’t know why we don’t all use it.

The main problem with learning the language myself is pacing myself.  I have a tendency to either get distracted and neglect studying for a few days or doing too much at once and becoming slightly overwhelmed with the chunk of vocabulary I assigned myself by doing too many lessons at once.

I am working on pacing myself better in the new year and purchased a Korean-English dictionary yesterday.  When I have saved up some more money and purchased my textbooks for school I am also looking into buying a physical Textbook and workbook so that I have some assignments to do because the online program has lessons and vocabulary but not practical uses for them other than a sample dialogue.

I don’t have a teacher with a lesson plan organized in a way to pace out what I’m learning properly.  I don’t have lesson Monday, review Wednesday, and test Friday.  I should probably try doing that because it would spread out the time well but at the moment I don’t know if I can pull that off for myself.

I should really get back to studying I think it will be my Pied Piper for a while calling to me softly.


2 thoughts on “Languages and Teaching Yourself”

  1. I’ve found myself in love with K-pop these last couple weeks- there’s something so addictive about it! My favorite band at the moment is BIGBANG. I also got sucked into a couple of the Korean Dramas which are ridiculously cheesy but amazing at the same time, and I’ve found that just from listening to the words compared to the english subtitles I’ve learned quite a few short phrases 🙂 It’s awesome that you’re teaching yourself a language— my new year’s resolution was to learn Italian, and I’ve been using Rosetta Stone, which is a really great program. I wish you the best of luck with that!

    (P.S.) I was interviewing a teacher at my school for newspaper and he had taught English in South Korea right after college- he said it was a great experience and that he met so many awesome international-minded people.

    1. It has been two months for me, being obsessed with Kpop. I haven’t started watching any dramas, but I don’t really watch T.V. in general. I will eventually watch some things most likely, I just don’t have the time at the moment.

      I do really like BIGBANG however I think at the moment my all time favorite group is VIXX, they have a youtube channel where they make silly videos for their fans every week. I really appreciate that. It lets the fans see that they are real people and not just these untouchable music gods.

      I have a long list of languages that I eventually want to learn and Italian is one of them (my family is Italian and I occasionally talk over facebook with some of my relatives in Italy). I took Spanish for five years and the languages are close enough that we are able to understand each other pretty well for now. I would eventually like to learn it, but it isn’t something I’m extremely motivated to do at the moment. That being said, I wish you luck in learning it because it is a beautiful language to say nothing of the country and its scenery, food and people.

      My cousin who is about five years older than I am had a handful of friends teach English abroad and they all really enjoyed it as well, which is why I am seriously considering it. However, it adds more courses that I would need to take and that means possibly spending more money. XP.

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck with your endeavors.

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