What’s this blog about?
2013 marks the second year I’ve been learning the Korean language. Well, second anniversary, but all in all, I’ve attended about 120 hours (slightly over one year) of Korean language lessons. Having taken French and Japanese language classes, the Korean language is one that I’ve stuck with (and planning to stick with) longest, and have displayed the most interest in, not only in the language, but also the culture, history, people, and of course, dramas and popular music, all of which somehow resonates in me.
Because of this, I’ve been trying to start and maintain a learning-the-Korean-language blog, but failing. To mark the second anniversary of my Korean language journey, I’m trying to push myself to excel in it this year, and part of the plan is to really blog here and maintain it long-term. I’ll not only blog about learning the Korean language, but also other things and topics connected to Korea and the Korean language.
So you won’t be blogging about K-Pop, K-drama or idols?
I’ll try not to. Two reasons. One, I’m old and therefore I’m not updated on, nor do I chase frantically each and every K-pop idol / group, and I have my own biases (both groups and solo artistes) when it comes to K-pop or Korean music. Two, I no longer watch every single K-drama out there. For some, the storylines and the dragginess bore me and for others, I just don’t like the actors/actresses.
However, one, I do love my biases; two, I believe that K-dramas, K-pop and Korean variety shows are firmly embedded in Korean culture and three, they are a MUST to Korean language learners. I guess my biases will creep in here now and then (or perhaps often), but I will try my best to link that back to learning the Korean language. ^^
Why the Korean language?
One of my lifelong dreams is to be a polyglot, someone who can read, write and speak several languages. I personally already know English and Chinese (Mandarin) and a smattering of Chinese dialects. I’ve tried French and Japanese, and never lasted more than a year. The Korean language, how it’s pronounced, the way it’s written, the history, the origins, somehow resonates in me.
On a shallower side, I also love the way Koreans speak and pronounce English, so very Konglish-y, and so very attractive (to me). ^^ How is that related to learning Korean? Let me think up an answer to that.
Other languages to master, or at least learn: French and Russian, for now.
How do you study the Korean language?
I’m currently taking group lessons with a Korean lady. 장선생님 is a native Korean, and she used to teach at the Singapore Korean School. She currently holds several classes at various community centres. I find that she’s very systematic, and a very patient teacher. She’s more strict on grammar, less so on reading, asking that we practice on our own at home. It’s not something she can help, seeing that lessons are only 1.5 hours a week. Her fees are a lot more affordable compared to the lessons offered at SKS. If you’re interested in finding out about her lessons, drop me an email or leave a comment.
장선생님’s classes have gotten a lot more popular in the past two years, and I’m finding the big class sizes are slowing down her teaching speed, especially at the advanced levels. Therefore I’m planning to take more lessons at the NUS Extension, hopefully starting in Feb 2013. More on that when it happens.
What’s so difficult about the Korean language?
Conjugation, for one. There are so many forms a verb / noun can take, and for each form, the basic verb / noun will vary slightly. Forming sentences for another. After one year of lessons, I can form simple sentences but not well enough to carry on full conversations or explain things. I’d like to be able to do that. Watching variety programmes without subtitles. I can catch sentences/words here and there now, but only if they are in proper forms mostly found in dramas. Like Japanese, Korean takes on different forms when speaking to different levels of people, ranging from the extremely casual to the extremely formal. Words can sound very different at these levels, and when spoken very quickly, as most Koreans do.
What’s behind the name, summer night breeze 여름밤 바람 ? Some Korean reference?
Nothing. It’s the title of one of my favourite songs 夏夜晚風 from a Taiwanese rock band. I got the blog URL way back when, when I was in a blogging craze. After the craze died down, I kept it around because I liked it a lot. It doesn’t look or sound that poetic or romantic in Korean though, does it?