How I Train Myself to Speak Korean

I tell myself that if I want to take TOPIK Advanced, I had better finish Korean Gramar in Use – Advanced as quickly as I can, but I find myself being reluctant to even look at the book. I have no complain with the book. I love it. It’s really a great book, but it’s just one of my weaknesses: I can’t follow a plan, even my own plan, and I change my mind all the time.

I just don’t feel like reading the grammar book nowadays. I still study every day, though, learn words and grammars (and also re-learn them because I forget stuff, too).

I never take a day off studying Korean. When I feel lazy reading a certain textbook, I just follow my mood, give myself a break, and study another Korean book that I want to read at the moment. Of course I can do that, I’m self-studying, the only person I need to listen to is myself. Besides, there are a lot of things I need to do in order to master Korean, it doesn’t matter which one I do first. ;P

아침부터 저녁까지 쓰는 영어표현 700

아침부터 저녁까지 쓰는 영어표현 700

Right now, I’m procrastinating studying Korean Grammar in Use, and I’m reading a book called 아침부터 저녁까지 쓰는 영어표현 700 instead. It’s actually a phrasebook to learn English written for Koreans. I can’t really recommend it to learn Korean but I really like it because first, it teaches me interesting Korean words and expressions used in daily life. For example: Why is it so difficult to get rid of the fat around my waist? = 허리쪽 지방을 빼는 게 왜 이렇게 힘든가요? << Which other textbooks will teach you this?

Most phrases in the book are sentences you can use to talk to yourself. Actually, it’s the whole idea of the book: you can practice speaking English on your own, by speaking English to yourself every day. I believe it’s applicable to speaking Korean, too.

Second, it has English translation. I’m more accustomed to learning Korean through Japanese. It’s interesting for me to learn the English translation of Korean sentences. (And even now, I still prefer buying textbooks with translation than without one).

Third, now that I can think in Korean, I find it easier to memorize Korean sentences written in the book. Before I can think in Korean, I would translate a Korean sentence literally into Japanese, and got myself confused because the word-by-word translation doesn’t sound natural in Japanese. What’s natural in Korean is not always natural in Japanese, and vice versa. Now I can bypass Japanese in my head, and memorize Korean without translating.

Thanks to this book, I got myself a new method to learn Korean. Well, only new for me, not new for the world. First, I read the English sentence, for example: Oops, I forgot to turn off the air conditioner when I left. The Korean sentence is: 이런, 나올 때 에어컨 끄는 것을 깜빡했어요.

I picture the situation in my head (I’m leaving the house and the air conditioner is left on…), and then I try to reproduce the Korean sentence. What would I say in that situation? I don’t think in any other language when I imagine myself in the situation. I correct myself until I get it right, repeat it over and over to make the sentence “mine”, as my automatic response in that certain situation. If I can say it to myself, sure I can say it to a Korean (if I ever meet one in the future). ###


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