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You’re My Endless [Challenge]

November 12, 2010

안녕하세요. 저는 크리스타 입니다. Recently, I’ve been having a hard time
studying Korean. One thing leads to another, and then something
else happens, and when I get to the end of the day, I have no
energy to fight my body and stay up even an extra twenty minutes to
try to practice. Here, I have made a list of what I think is the
hardest part about learning Korean on your own: 1.) Time — I think
I speak for both of my blog-mates when I say that there does not
seem to be enough time for all of our good intentions. Evan and I
both have part-time jobs, and Jessica is taking extra online
classes and doing a few “odd jobs” here and there. When you add
that to the regular homework and housework, it seems like there’s
hardly enough time to get anything done. Luckily, Jessica used her
magical internet searching skills and found Talk To Me In
, where I’ve been learning so many useful things!
It’s great because the lessons aren’t long, and I can usually
listen to one full lesson on the way to school in the mornings. 2.)
Opportunity to Read Korean — Without giving away too much about
our “undisclosed location,” let me just say this: The closest
Koreatown is about 550 miles away. [Or 885 kilometers. 🙂 I figured
I should probably practice using the metric system.] We’re probably
more exposed than most people to Korean culture, but it’s nothing
like it would be if we were actually in Korea. Everything here is
in English. Steve Kaufmann from
wrote that the second most important factor in learning a language
is listening and reading. [That post here.]
Unfortunately for the three of us, sometimes that means that we’re
going to have to go out of our way to practice. 3.) Opportunity to
Speak Korean — If you’ve read our “About” page, you’ll know that
we have a Korean classmate. Truthfully, we have three Korean
students in our class. There are seven in 9th-12th grades. So,
you’d think we would be able to practice some 한국어… but we don’t.
In order for our lovely Korean students to maximize their
understanding and fluency of the English language, they speak only
English. [Except some of them, who speak Korean at home.] I don’t
know exactly why, but we have to be kind of selective about who we
ask about the Korean language. HY is really good about not laughing
at our horrific pronunciation and trying to help us use phrases
correctly. SR, SW, and KS will ask us to repeat ourselves at least
two times, guaranteed. At this point, it’s usually best to ask HY
or Hye Rin to come “translate.” [Just for the record, it sounds
exactly the same when she says it!] If you speak to JH in Korean,
he will most definitely ask you to repeat yourself. After you do,
he will ask you what it means, which makes you second guess
yourself. So, you timidly say, “It means ‘There is no water..’
right?” Then JH will kind of laugh and say that he doesn’t
understand it because it is not his language. -_- [I still don’t
understand why he wouldn’t own up to being fluent in two
languages.] If you’re Matty and you speak to SK in Korean, he will
probably laugh because you were clever, and reply using words
and/or phrases that he knows you understand. Unfortunately, none of
us are Matty. When we use our limited 한국어 skills on SK, he shakes
his head and sighs. Usually, he ignores whatever we say.. unless we
really slaughter the pronunciation. Then he
might laugh. But for the most part, we don’t
speak to our Korean friends in Korean. I know we should probably be
utilizing them more.. I mean, how many people can say that they
spend 5 days a week with a native speaker? My reason: I don’t want
them to feel like I’m using them just to learn their language. I
wouldn’t want someone to try to develop a friendship with me just
so I could help them with their English. If I discover more later,
I may add them on. For now, that’s pretty much my top three. Anyone
else learning a different language? Or are you learning 한국어? We’d
love to hear from you. 🙂

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