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Posted: July 24th, 2008 2:30 am
by Bouks
I think not practicing on Skype is a big problem for many of us, for different reasons, shyness or just practicality mostly.

But I think this thread is proving that we need to snap out of it or we will have wasted our time studying the lessons. All of us who posted our Skype IDs...what was it for? We all chat in English, let's own up.

Think how much progress we'd all make if we even just took some time to read a lesson aloud to each other, something simple like that. And just because you're talking to someone other than Hyunwoo doesn't mean your questions can't be answered correctly. The person doesn't even have to be more advanced than you. It just depends on expressions they've come across.

The bottom line is...we won't advance if we aren't willing to make big enormous dorks of ourselves in the process. Since I'm already a dork, I guess I have nothing to lose :roll: :lol:

Posted: July 24th, 2008 6:00 am
by steved
Don't give up. Like you said, you don't have the face to face resources to help you progress. But that may be the case with any language. Skype can be very useful. Admittedly, I have built-in relatives to speak Korean with but I tend to avoid Skype for some reason. I shouldn't but that is reality.

My daughter just cam home from seven weeks in Korea and while she was there she gave a great impression that her Korean was great. Really, her Korean was great for someone who has seven weeks of experience. I think she may have misunderstood quite a lot but it was a great experience for her. She speaks Korean to me much more now, especially when other people are around (and she wants to talk about them). I don't have anyone that I can practice Japanese with easily so I just end up talking to myself in the car. I have no idea how I would do in a real-life conversation but I enjoy it nonetheless.

Enjoy the language, the journey and the community here.

Posted: July 24th, 2008 6:07 am
by steved
Bouks, yeah, sounding like a dork is just part of the initiation into fluency. I try to remind myself that they aren't laughing at me, they are laughing with me. :)

I forgot to give out my skype if anyone is interested (and you may get someone else at home, hope they don't freak out): stardust36036

Common problems with laguage (learners)

Posted: August 8th, 2008 9:42 am
by ryans_class
Hi everyone,
I'm an English language teacher in Sydney, and almost on a daily basis I need to help students with feelings like these. The good news is there are things you can actually do! :o
To begin with I will make an analogy that always helps people to understand the nature of the beast. My sister has a young baby (very cute), but I dont get to see her all that often. Every time I see her I marvel at how much she has grown and changed. But at the same time my sister looks at me blankly because for her the baby was exactly the same as it was yesterday, and the day before and so on. Like with your language learning if you are with that baby every day the improvements seem insignificant. but if you talk with someone you havent seen in a few months they too will marvel at how your language baby has actually grown.

Ok now with the real tips on what you can do. there are heaps of things so try something for a couple of weeks (not just once or twice) and if it doesnt work for you try something else.

1. Measure your language. How will you know if you are improving if you are not actually measuring your performance. to do this, write something (anything) then a month later write about the same topic and then compare the two.

2. record yourself. I think this has some advantages over speaking on skype (and some disadvantages also). recording yourself allows you to analyse your performance after the event, and can also reduce the amount of anxiety that speaking with someone in real time (an not face to face) can cause. Again, repeat it after a month and compare the two. Did you use more appropriate vocab, was your pron clearer, did you hesitate less, were your gramatical structures more appropriate.

3. Analyse your strengths. What can you actually do? Can you introduce your self to a stranger, can you ask what the time is, can you read a news article? etc
this is really important because you can actually feel proud of your achievements. plus it gives you the opportunity to identify your weeknesses acurately.

4. analyse your weeknesses. Identify what you cant do well. BUT you must be specific, it is no help to yourself just saying "oh I cant speak" because if you did step three you would know that is not true. find out exactly what you need to work on.

5. Set goals. OMG this sounds so obvious, but I bet very few of you have cearly defined objectives that specify what you want to achieve. Again just saying "I wanna speak good!" is simply not enough. The best strategy I have come across are S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Specific - exactly what do you want to acheive.
Measureable - when you reach your goal, how will you know?
Achieveble - do you have the time and resourses available to get there
Realistic - are your goals too challenging, or not challenging enough
Timed - when will you acheive these goals.

6. Make an action plan. Now you have your gaols in mind what will you actually do to get there. If you goal is to be able to go shopping in korea(n) then you know exactly what to study and practice. focus your plan toward obtaining your goals.

7. do something you actually enjoy. If you are a sports fan, read the sports news from Korea. If you love movies, watch a korean movie, if you enjoy cooking, get a korean recipe and do it. The key is not to do it passively, be active in the way you do it, write notes, re-read the article or rewind the movie so you notice not just what was said or written, but how and when and why. This is a lot more useful and fun than burying yourself in grammar.

8. dont be affraid of confusion or mistakes. confusion and mistakes are you number one opportunity to imporve. If you feel confused when reading or listening, then this means you are comming across something new. Enjoy the pain and confusion of learning. If you make mistakes, identify them and correct them.

9. No pain, no gain. No guts no glory. Go hard or go home!!!!! the last point is that you just need to work your ***CENSORED*** off.

Thats only about half of the tips that are floating around in my head. but I have seen all of this actually work. So no more complaining, get up and do it. Hooraay!!!! :D :lol:


Posted: August 8th, 2008 1:22 pm
by Keith
Ryan... Thank you for posting that very comprehensive and extremely helpful list of tips! That's something that I think all of us can use to improve in any and all of our language studies.

I think I'll use it myself! :D

Posted: August 8th, 2008 1:55 pm
by rooraa
After reading those tips, I just feel so pumped up to learn korean! I bet you're an amazing english teacher :)

Posted: August 28th, 2008 4:43 am
by John
So it's been over a month since I stopped studying. I deleted all my YT videos, cleared out my bookmarks, put all my massive amounts of Korean in my bedroom closet.

The last week or so I have been needing a Korea fix, and I realize I don't really do anything "constructive" with my time now that I don't study anymore. :roll:

I still am frustrated with how little progress I made in Korean after years of study, but what else have I got to do with my spare time?

I am formulating a strategy in my head, I think I will start with newbie and go through the lessons until I find a spot I need to work on, and not move on till I am completely comfortable.

*sigh* I really should be done by now, I realize learning any language never ends, even your native(first) language. By "done" I mean I should be able to converse fluently. :cry:

So here I am again, sorry about the temper tantrum, but I could just feel a ton of despair. And all I could think to do to stop it was to take a break.

Thanks to all who took the time to read this thread and offer me encouragement.


Posted: August 28th, 2008 5:09 am
by Bouks
John is back! Hooray! 만-세!

Following the Newbie lessons is a great idea. Who cares where you are "supposed" to be? Baby steps will get you there.

I fell way behind over the end of the summer up to now...starting grad school classes, I'm overwhelmed and confused about my time right now. So I need to be patient and start a few steps back too. I forgot so much so fast :roll: I think Newbie is going to be the most comfortable place for me, too.

Posted: August 28th, 2008 9:35 am
by maxiewawa
어서어세요! I knew you'd be back. We missed you.

Posted: August 28th, 2008 12:30 pm
by shanshanchua
Welcome back, John! I think your coming back and trying again is going to be an encouragement to many here. :D

Posted: August 28th, 2008 2:36 pm
by Keith
Really glad your back John. Let me know if there's anything we can help you out with personally. And please don't be afraid to e-mail.

Posted: August 28th, 2008 4:33 pm
by shanshanchua
Bouks - it's great to see you around again! :) You've been missing for a while... Yeah, if you don't keep at the Korean regularly, it gets rusty. That's why I try to do a little everyday, even if it's just a few minutes, haha

Posted: September 15th, 2008 4:52 pm
by Taliana
John, like you I've been studying Korean on and off for over a year now, and like you, I've noticed that those who have been studying for only a few months - or even less - have completely overtaken me.

That knocked my resolve, a lot. It made me quite upset, to be honest.

But then I sat down and was really honest with myself. How can I honestly expect to reach and maintain a level, and/or get to a higher level, if I'm only studying in stolen snatches of time here and there? You just can't do that. Maybe some people can, but I know for a fact that I myself cannot. If I am learning something then I need to devote large amounts of time, on a regular basis, to it. If I don't, then what little bits I do know, will just fade away or I'll simply not be able to connect them up to the bigger pictre, so it ends up like all these little fragments of info floating around and I have no idea what to do with them.

A few weeks ago, I realised that I needed to make a schedule for myself to prevent myself from drowning under my uni workload. Into that schedule, I also set aside 1 hour in the morning for Korean, and 1 hour at night. The 1 hour in the morning was because it's more flexible - I'm not going to fail Uni if I don't use this 1 hour on Korean. So if I sleep in, or I'm sick, or I've got stuff that needs to be done and not enough time, then that 1 hour can be sacrificed. The 1 hour at night was more set in stone, plus it's also the hour in which I learn best as long as it isn't too late.

I then went back and started all over again, from scratch, on Newbie Lesson #1 and Beginner Lesson #1. I listened to the audio again, went through the reviews, and found that I remembered more than I thought I did, plus some of it made more sense now.

I've 'caught up' with myself now and have moved onto lesssons that I hadn't done yet, and even though sometimes I glance over at the people who I had been studying sort of 'side by side' with, I no longer measure my progress against theirs. Who cares if they're on Beginner S2? Who cares if they can string together lots of sentences and make really interesting video blogs in Korean? They ***CENSORED*** well deserve to be at that point anyway, because they put more serious time and effort into it than I did. And because I've really knuckled down now, I know that I'll get to that level too someday. I know I will, because I'm not stupid. I know I will, because what I am learning, makes sense. I know I will, because I can remember what I've been learning. I have the ability to learn Korean. But I need to LEARN it, it's not just going to fall out of the sky and into my head. And I think with a language, you really HAVE to be active.

And for me, being active is hard. I'm really shy at speaking languages, ***CENSORED*** I'm quite shy about speaking at all, even in English, because I tend to stammer and stutter. Speaking to my computer screen also feels incredibly retarded XD But I am going to put in that effort. I'm going to be making video blogs, and audio files, and I'm going to really put in the effort.

Conversations over Skype would be great but I think I'm too shy for that. So if conversations aren't something that you can have, John, maybe just do what I'm doing, and talk to 'yourself', with video blogs and audio files. Have you seen some of 현우's videos? It's just a black screen with white text, and his voice, going over vocab, or sentences. Those can be really helpful to do, and I plan on doing something similiar because I think Ican really benefit from that.

Posted: September 16th, 2008 12:48 am
by Bouks
Taliana, thank you for posting this. You and I have a lot in common...I am also studying linguistics at my local university, and feeling overwhelmed by my schedule (even though it's only part-time study, I had a long absence from school).

I also dropped off and got lost in my Korean studies, because of things happening in the rest of my life. I have been looking at KoreanClass lessons on and off, but feeling very confused as to where to start again, and frustrated. You are reminding me that there's nothing wrong with starting at the beginning, if that's where I find myself comfortable.

Where did you get your time management skills? I need to be better at juggling my duties.

As for Skype conversations...I am one person you don't have to be embarrassed in front of, because I can't make a decent sentence either. I can say words and phrases with something approximating a nativelike accent (I've always been able to do that with languages), so I can be good pronunciation help. But that doesn't mean the rest is a given. So if you want to practice reading the dialogues together in a "safe" environment, find me on Skype! (This goes for anyone else, too).

Posted: September 16th, 2008 3:12 am
by Chriss
I'll third the time management problem. It's so hard to jugle everything. Uni takes up to 30 hours a week, working out up to 10 ( if you count showering and travelling). Then there's cooking, cleaning, a bit of work, friends... etc. Yet I can't seem to put Korean down, but it's difficult getting any real work done, because I'm generally so stressed and tired (stress easily effs up my sleeping pattern). So yeah. I know all about time management problems. lol

I can't speak Korean at all either, and I'm also very shy about speaking in general. I might just take you up on the Skype conversation offer, even though I'll probably be scared out of my wits. =P What's your timezone?