Talk To Yourself In Korean (TTYIK)

Inside the Dictionary

I think it’s interesting that a lot of people still believe that someone who wants to be fluent in a language must stay in the country where the language is spoken, and there’s no other way around it.
They hold on to that belief very firmly, that they simply wouldn’t accept, that I exist.

I don’t mind, though. People can believe in anything they want, because they do, anyway. It’s nothing of my concern.

I’m having fun, right here, right now, by learning and using Korean in my own bedroom, in a small town in Indonesia. I don’t need to go to South Korea to master the language, I have 24-hour internet connection.

I don’t need to be taught by a teacher in a formal classroom setting, I just need access to good books written by great Korean language teachers. I just shop for Korean books online. The books from Korea are delivered to my home within 2 weeks.

Now how about speaking in Korean? Conversation practices if you don’t have friends who speak Korean?

I already figured that out, too.

Talk to yourself in Korean! (TTYIK)

I definitely will build a company with that name. Haha. Just kidding.

I already told you that I don’t believe in monolingual approach and I don’t worry myself about thinking only in Korean, because it’s the ability that will come naturally (let’s say within 1-2 years). And, if you’re a multilingual person (like myself ehem), you’re supposed to be able to move between languages effortlessly anyway so it doesn’t make sense to think in one language only.

You can train yourself speaking in Korean without having any language partner.


1. By translating your thought into Korean, and speaking it out loud or whispering it.

For example, when you think,”That kid is a brat”, you think to yourself, now how I do express this in Korean? It’s “쟤는 좀 ê±´ë°©ì ¸.” (jyaeneun jom geonbangjyeo)

I learned it from a rap song. See, you don’t have to live in Korea to know dirty words?

And make use of your Korean phrasebooks if you don’t know the equivalent Korean expression.

2. By translating English sentences in your book back into Korean.

Actually I’m learning Korean via Japanese language, but I assume you’re learning via English here.

For example, you’re reading a Korean sentence with its English translation.

Take time to be amazed “oh, so that’s how people say it in Korea, interesting, wow“.

And then, try to say the Korean sentence again without looking at it.

The chance is you’re not going to get it right. Don’t be frustrated, correct yourself. Now you know how to say it in Korean and YOU CAN REALLY SAY IT.

Next time when you have the chance, you’ll be able to say it in perfect Korean.

You don’t need to be flustered like those people who try out their Korean directly with their Korean language partners, without practicing it before on their own. OK, I’m just being jealous here because I don’t have Korean friends. Haha.

전 혼잣말이 많아요, 한국말로. (=I talk to myself a lot, in Korean).

3. By shadowing.

Read my blog post: “Shadowing” or How to Improve Korean Listening and Speaking Skills with VOA’s 영어 교실. ###

13 thoughts on “Talk To Yourself In Korean (TTYIK)

  1. That ia great advice, I always feel strange if I try to talk to myself in Korean or outloud when I am alone. But I had a friend tell me this practice really helped her speaking abilities. So I am hoping to make myself do it more often. Great post!


    • Hi! 안녕하세요! Imagine you’re reading a Korean textbook, while listening to a Korean audio on your portable player, and you’re repeating the Korean expression that you’re listening to. Can you do it? That’s how you start. Take notes of new words if you think you need to. Have fun with the language every day. 화이팅!🙂


  2. nia says:

    whoaa you are amazing~
    i learn japanese since i was 3rd year in middle school but my japanese is very badd. i cant speak in japanese at all. and when i started fall in love with korea, i forgot my japanese. hiks. and now my head is full of korea instead of japanese. ; (


    • Isn’t that great that you can think in Korean effortlessly? You can pick up Japanese again if you want to. You know what, my sister has a Japanese degree and she doesn’t speak Japanese. It’s really not years in school, it’s your own effort that makes a difference.


  3. nia says:

    im thinking to buy japanese ver of korean textbook,like you. will it help both my korean and japanese ? i have a bunch of japanese n3 exercise books. but my vocab is still at n4 level.. i think… haha. and my sensei force me to learn n2 grammar. and i cant remember a thing.😦


    • No, I don’t think so. Grammar explanation about Korean language in Japanese is difficult, dare I say it, even for Japanese people. If you can’t remember a thing, maybe you’re learning way beyond your level, so try one level lower, or maybe not enough repetition so try have more experience with the language.


  4. I am just starting to talk to myself in Korean. On the drive home yesterday, I counted from 1 to 300. Not thrilling conversation, I must admit. However, I need to keep drilling myself on numbers and practicing out loud to get rid of my initial wrong pronunciation and to be able to respond quickly in class. I still feel weird doing it. I’m alone, why am I self-conscious? Haha.

    Thanks for your post about shadowing. I had heard people say the word, but I didn’t know what it meant.


    • Your comment reminds me that numbers is my weakness. For example, connecting the sound of 이천십사년 to the year 2014 is still hard for me. More practice on your own will make you improve in class. Maybe you can think of class as your stage where you show the result of practicing on your own? People on the internet give different meanings to the term “shadowing”, but I understand it the way it is used in my language textbooks (published in Japan), which is simply just follow/repeat immediately like a shadow.


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