I decided to start this weekly (ideally, but we’ll see) to keep myself accountable and stay motivated on my Korean learning journey.
I “started” learning Korean this February, but I studied quite sporadically and it took me an entire month to learn the 40 letters of the Korean alphabet Hangeul. Talk about slow progress.
In the beginning, I chose the self study route and learned Hangeul with a book that was just so so in my opinion. Beforehand, I read quite a few blog posts and websites and basically 99% of them stressed the importance of learning Hangeul first, because relying on romanisation will make your pronunciation kind of off.
To the untrained ear, for example yours truly, some of the letters sound very similar and a lot of the nuances lie in the shape your mouth makes as well as the place in your mouth that the sound comes from. (Sorry I don’t know the technical term for this) Anyways, this is why I think it’s best to learn Korean pronunciation from a teacher or at the very least from a video where you can clearly see the teacher’s mouth while he or she is speaking. For me personally, a book and it’s accompanying mp3 isn’t really enough. However the book below is pretty great and an awesome tool for reviewing pronunciation in my opinion.
First of all, this book has pictures of the mouth shape and where the sound should be produced from which is a big plus in my book. Also, this book and it’s accompanying mp3 do a lot of comparisons between similar sounding sounds, so I’m slowly learning to differentiate those sounds.
Moving on, the bulk of my study materials so far come from this amazing site called Talk To Me In Korean where you can download free pdfs & mp3s to their lessons. It took me quite a while but I’m finally on level 4, yeah! You can get the lesson notes for free but I decided to get a ohysical copy of the level 4 book because it’s signed and I’m a sucker for this sort of thing.
As I mentioned before, at least I think I did, I started taking Korean lessons at this language school run by the Kyuhyun’s father. Not hard to understand why I chose this language school, is it? (That’s Kyuhyun of Super Junior just in case you didn’t know.) Most important is the fact that the quality of teaching, text books and study materials is, in my opinion, very great. Though the whole Kyuhyun<3 thing certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Since English is kind of my first language, in the sense that I started learning it from a pretty young age, I never really understood the pain my classmates felt when studying/memorizing English vocab, but I definitely get it now. Learning new vocab is no walk in the park for me, but I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment when I hear those words in a song, drama or variety show.
That’s all for my first Korean study diary entry. Bye for now!