친구들이랑 같이 보낸 날

A few days ago, someone posted an announcement on the facebook group for kpop/kdrama fans here in our city. A guy named Rechie was offering tutorial classes for those who are interested to learn basic Korean. I was able to chat with him not too long ago. Just like me, he is also self-studying Korean. I’m not sure but I assume that his speaking skills is better than mine since he goes to a school where Koreans spend a month or two to learn English as an exchange student and he is friends with some of them. So he actually has face-to-face encounter with Koreans while I only get to talk to Koreans through online chatting (Kakaotalk and Skype). Since it’s summer and he wanted to kill time, he decided to offer a crash course on basic Korean. Basically, by the end of the short course, the learners should be able to read and write in Korean and construct basic Korean sentences.

I already know how to read and write Korean but I still went. I was curious since I haven’t studied Korean from a class or in a group before and at the same time, I need an excuse to go out and the idea of meeting new friends excited me. The friends who I have been talking to online for quite a while. It’s great to finally meet them in person and be able to talk to them personally and not just through chatting.

Sadly, only a few people came. Some were already at the venue but they were to shy to approach us so they just left. Whut? O.o Others have summer classes or work so they couldn’t come. I was the oldest one in the group. Yeah, I’m older than Rechie by 4 years. ㅡ_ㅡ;; Everyone who came except me were complete beginners so he had to start from the very beginning. While he was teaching them 한글, I was busy eating my American burger and drinking my Mango Smoothie. Haha!

Hey, I know what you’re thinking. I wasn’t useless. Haha! I helped him explain some things to them. Halfway through the session, he asked for my help to assist them since everyone had questions and he couldn’t handle everyone on his own. I gladly helped him out. Rechie and I aren’t fluent speakers of Korean. We are nowhere near at par with other advanced Korean learners out there. Our skills aren’t good enough yet and there are still a lot of things we need to know but I understand his purpose on offering a tutorial.

There are a lot of people who are interested to learn Korean here but they don’t know where to start and there’s no Korean language school here. Through this classes, we get to share things that we already know and at the same time, we become more motivated to learn so we could teach them new things as well. It’s like we’re growing and learning altogether. They learn, we learn, everyone’s happy. It’s a win-win situation.

I just hope that every single one of them will continue to come to class and not give up halfway. The first step is always the hardest and keeping yourself motivation is quite a challenge that’s not easy to overcome. I really hope that by the end of this course, they would to continue to study Korean even without a tutor.

PS: Stop looking for me in the photos because I’m not in any of them. XD

뭐라고? 군대 갈 필요가 없다고? 이유는?

I just learned something new today. I met a Korean high school student and I asked him if he had been to the army already. Stupid question, I know. I forgot he was still in high school and he’s not yet supposed to go to army until after he graduates high school. He said not yet and that he doesn’t need to go. I can’t help but be curious since I was told that every Korean men has to go to army. No exceptions. So I asked him again. Why? He said because he’s a 여호와의 증인 (Jehovah’s Witness). I was baffled as to why he doesn’t have to go to the army just because he was a 여호와의 증인 so I asked him and I was quite surprised to find out why and what consequences they have to face for not going to army. I also looked up Naver regarding this just to be sure. Seems legit. Sorry, it’s April Fool’s Day. I just had to check if he’s telling the truth. Haha!

All this time, I believed that every single Korean men go to army except for those who are severely ill. But I was wrong. Korean men whose religion is Jehovah’s Witness don’t go to army. Not because they’re exempted from it but because they refuse to because practicing violence is against their belief. Instead, they spend a year and 2 months in prison for breaking the law. And not going to army is considered as breaking the law. That is just so sad being imprisoned not for doing a serious crime such as murder or robbing a bank but for refusing to go to army because of their religion. I just find it absurd to say the least. But on the other hand, I understand why the Korean government doesn’t give them an exemption and send them to prison. Because if they do, every men will want to be a Jehovah’s Witness just so they won’t have to go to army. If that happens, who will go to army and protect their country? XD

Monthly Language Report #2

I failed to make a language report for the month of February. /facepalm I feel like it’s still January. I wish time would slow down or at least let me fast forward to June or July. I didn’t have time to make a video and my internet connection is so slow, it won’t let me upload large files nowadays. T^T So I just recorded an audio instead. 😀 When I recorded this, I was feeling sleepy so please excuse my voice if it sounds lifeless or boring. XD

이화 한국어 2-1 and 2-2

Yup, I have new textbooks. Seriously, I should stop this bad habit of buying Korean textbooks one after another. After getting the TTMIK book, I promised myself I won’t buy a new textbook and if I want to, I should finish one first before getting a new one. But I broke that promise and decided to get 이화 한국어. I’ve only finished reading three books: 연세 한국어, Integrated Korean Beginning 1 and Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning. I still have so many books left unread and they’re sitting on my bookshelf, collecting dust. I also have tons of ebooks to read as well. I’m almost done with College Korean and I told myself I must finish it no matter what so I can move on to the next book in the series which is Intermediate College Korean. I’m so excited to read that book. I’ve been spending way too much time reading my 응답하라 1997 novel that I have forgotten about my textbooks.

Anyway, I bought this book because Shanna recommended it on her blog. She said it’s even better than 연세 한국어. So I decided to get a copy. I decided to get the level 2 books. I wanted the level 3 books but they don’t have English translation and the entire book is in Korean. I was worried that it might be too advanced for my level so yeah, I settled for level 2. Is it better than 연세 한국어? Yeah. For me, it absolutely is. 연세 한국어보다 이화 한국어는 제 생각에 훨씬 더 좋은 것 같아요. I was disappointed with 연세 한국어 1. I think I expected too much from it. I didn’t learn much from it to be quite honest. The book discussed only a few grammar structures and they were the ones that I have already learned from the internet. And to think I paid P2,000+ for it. Crap.

What I love about 이화 한국어 is that you’ll learn tons of new words from reading one chapter. You won’t just see the usual 가다, 먹다, 살다 and other words that you normally see in other textbooks. There are other words such as 부채춤, 탈춤, 독감, 소독약 just to name a few. The words introduced in the book are really diverse.

I usually skip exercises since I think they’re just too boring but 이화 한국어 is an exception. I find myself having fun answering the exercises because it way more interesting than the exercises I’ve seen on other books. Fill in the blanks? Multiple choice? Come on, that’s boring and I find it useless to be quite honest. The exercises on 이화 한국어 are far better. They provide the keywords that you need then you create a sentence using those keywords. For example, in the section where it talked about (으)ㄴ 지, the subject, the verb and the period of time has been provided and all you have to do is make a sentence with the (으)ㄴ 지 structure using the keywords provided.

이름: 나타샤
시기: 5년 전
한 일: 결혼하다

Sentence: 나타샤씨는 결혼한 지 5년이 돼었어요.

Although the grammar explanations are really short, going through the exercises helps me understand the grammar structure even more and shows me how the grammar structure is supposed to be used.

Another thing that I love about these books is that it’s smaller and less bulky compared to 연세 한국어, Integrated Korean and Korean Grammar in Use. It’s compact and very light. The dimensions of the book is 11 inches x 7.5 inches x 0.4 inch. The colors used are easy on the eyes which is a good thing for me because colors can serve as a distraction for me sometimes.

There are 7 units on 이화 한국어 2-1 and 8 units on 이화 한국어 2-2. Each unit, you will learn about 4-5 new grammar structures. I have included the list of grammar structures below so check it out to see if Level 2 is the right one for you. There are interesting articles written in Korean per unit and they are lengthy compared to the articles I’ve read on Integrated Korean.

Let’s talk about the downsides of this book. I’ve mentioned earlier that the grammar explanations are too short and sometimes I feel like some explanations are a little bit too vague. You may still need to check other textbooks for further explanations and restrictions that 이화 한국어 failed to mention. This is one of the reason why I don’t just stick to one textbook. Another thing that some people might dislike is that the grammar explanations and the English translation of the passages are the only English texts you’ll see in the book. The rest is written in Korean. Yes, even the instructions. Not all exercises have answer key too.

I think 이화 한국어 is really good. I’m planning to get the Level 3 books next time.

Continue reading

Talk to Me in Korean Level 3 Textbook

After waiting for more than three months, my Level 3 TTMIK book has finally arrived. I wanted a signed copy of the book so I ordered the Level 3 book, together with a copy of Level 1 and Level 2 books for my friend, on December 14th, a day before the preorder for Level 3 book ended. I expected that my friend’s books will be shipped first since the Level 3 book hadn’t been published yet. And since it was Christmas and things get a little crazy over at the post office, I expected that the books will arrive at a later time. I went out of town on the first week of January and when I got home, I was surprised to see that a package was waiting for me. It was the Level 1 and Level 2 books which I ordered for my friend. Her books got here in approximately two weeks so I had expected that my book will arrive by the end of January or early February. January passed and February came, still no book. I kinda got worried that my book got lost in transit so I sent a message on TTMIK’s Facebook fanpage. Kyunghwa unnie told me that they shipped the book on January 10th and she also told me to wait and so I did. I drop by the post office every week to pick up packages and whenever I was there, I always asked them if there’s a package in a yellow envelope with my name on it. But there was none. They told me they’ll send me a notice slip when it arrives. So I decided to give it a few more weeks. March came and still no sign of the book. I was having a battle with myself whether or not I should send another message to TTMIK regarding my book since it’s been 3 months already. But I didn’t. I was like “Ugh. Whatever. Forget about it.” LOL!

And I actually forgot about it until a few days ago. On March 15th, I got a notice slip from the post office. The notice slip was issued on February 18th and a note on the back said I should pick it up within 30 days or they will send it back or get rid of it. I figured it was the TTMIK book since I wasn’t waiting for any other packages. I went to the post office to pick it up. Looking at the stamps on the envelope, I found out that my book arrived on the 16th of January. WTF. I got sort of annoyed that they told me the book wasn’t there yet whenever I asked them about it when in fact, it was already there.

Anyway, enough with the rant.

As soon as I got in the car, I ripped the envelope open and browsed the book during the trip to my mom’s hometown. I’m glad they used a smaller font size and lighter color for the romanization, making it look less noticeable. I’m really not a big fan of romanizations and I’m hoping I won’t see any more of it on Level 4. One should learn hangeul and pronunciation rules and stop relying on romanization. Yes, I know it’s hard but with practice, you’ll get used to it soon enough. I really liked the book except for the romanization and perhaps… the exercises. It’s kinda dull and *yawns* boring. But I usually skip the exercises and just move on to the next lesson. Haha!

Anyway, I don’t have much to say about this book right now since I only scanned through the pages. I’ll write a proper review soon. I’ll have to use it first so I can see where it lacks. The book costs 13,000won (approx. $14) plus shipping fee. It comes with an audio CD. You can also download the audio tracks from their site in case you encounter problems ripping the audios to your computer.

#3 방을 청소한 날


오늘은 한국어 공부를 하고 싶지 않은 날이에요. 공부 대신 방을 청소하기로 했어요. 너무 심심해서 그랬어요. 청소하다가 옷장에서 어떤 박스를 찾았어요. 박스 안에는 고등학교 마지막 해에 반 친구들한테서 받은 편지들이 있어요. 편지를 한장씩 다시 읽었어요. 읽으면서 슬퍼졌어요. 고등학교 반 친구들을 다시 보고 싶어졌어요. 그때로 돌아갈 수 있으면 좋겠어요. 보고싶은 친구들을 다시 만나고 싶어요. 그때 좋아했던 남자를 다시 만나고 싶어요. 그 남자는 지금 베이징에서 유학을 하고있어요. 여자 친구가 있는지 없는지는 잘 모르겠어요. 그는 통통하지만 착한 남자예요. 그래서 좋아했어요.

청소를 계속 해서 5년 묵은 다이어리를 찾았어요. 대학교 2학년 때 Values Class를 위해서 일기를 매일 썼어요. 그 남자에 대한 일기를 많이 썼어요. 대학교 때 같은 학교에 다녔어요. 1년 지나고 제가 다른 학교로 전학을 갔어요. 그때부터 그 남자를 다시 못 봤어요.