What I would like to see is a way to learn korean by following the dialog of a Korean drama like Winter Sonata. You should cover it like you do your normal lessons, but use the dialog from the drama instead of some random made up sentence.
It seems to me that a major motivator for learning Korean is to be able to watch Korean dramas. It may seem silly, but I'm taking a Korean class and nearly everyone admitted that is what they were there for! So let's just cut to the chase and start learning using the dramas.
People have mentioned using the dramas and trying to fully understand the dialog, but without a korean transcript or a literal translation, it is difficult to use this as a learning tool. I have unsuccesfully searched for a drama that contains both an english and korean transcript.
I think, that there is something about watching the drama that makes it easier to memorize the content. I can easily recall what I have seen, but memorizing arbitrary words is like bouncing rocks off a wall - nothing sticks! I think the storyline will provide the motivation needed to recognize the dialog.
I would suspect that if you managed to understand everything spoken in a couple of episodes from a korean drama, you would probably be able to understand a substantial amount of any drama and you might be able to start picking up new vocabulary by figuring out how the english subtitles match up with the words you don't know. This is important because I have tried nearly everything on the market and the main problem is that even if you go through their level 1,2,3, etc. it still wouldn't be enough to make you conversationally fluent, but the program ends and you can go no further. Totally useless! But, if you could learn enough to understand 70%, you could figure out the other 30% based on the subtitles and would have an entire universe of korean dramas to learn from. And, it would be fun.
My motivation is watching and understanding korean dramas - not reading, not speaking and not writing. I only want to be able to listen and understand and I want to do so as quickly as possible. I really don't care about the other skills and they aren't necessary either. Kids learn to comprehend first. They do not learn by first memorizing the korean alphabet and reading or writing. Using dramas, you could potentially skip all that and speed up comprehension.
So how about it. I'm very impressed with the resources that KC has and you could certainly do it - heck if you don't do it, I am seriously considering doing it myself because it would help me learn Korean the way I want to learn.
I would like to share some thoughts beginning with your comment about the way children learn.
Yes it's true that children learn to speak and think in their native language long before them learn a symbolic representation system (i.e. reading and writing); however, it takes nearly a year of constant exposure to the native language in a native environment before they can say their first word. Then by age 5 most children can carry on simple conversation, but this is only after 5 years of total saturation in the language and culture, every single day, day after day, hearing it from parents, custodians, peers, siblings, television, radio, and countless other sources. Just imagine how difficult it would be for us to duplicate that exposure in our own lives? I would also wonder just how much of the average drama a 5-year old could truly understand.
Children also have the advantage (and disadvantage) of starting with the proverbial 'blank slate' (빈 칠판) and it is part of the survival mechanism for the brain to adopt a 'programming language' in order to make sense of the world and interact with it. After all, communication is essential for survival. The brain doesn't like confusion, it's not good for survival, so once this parent language is firmly burned into the brain's BIOS the brain doesn't easily permit major program changes. The exception being when multiple languages are learned early on.
The bottom line is adults do not learn the same way children do. Also, all of what we learn does not become available for use immediately. Those 'rocks' you mentioned are weakening that wall that surrounds the BIOS of the mind. All that you study goes in somewhere, it's like saving pocket change, at first it doesn't add up to much, but keep saving it for 5 years and you find it's enough to buy a new computer.
Ok - dramas - yes they are great for learning Korean. Songs are great too. Somehow the brain can easily remember words when there is a tune to go along with them. Drama should supplement other study and other study should supplement drama. Watching the same dramas numerous times (not consecutively) is an excellent way to study. I don't believe in using subtitles, but they can be useful to preview the story and to test your level of understanding. The thing about subtitles is they keep your mind working in it's mother language, so even though you are hearing the words in Korean the mind is typically not capable of understanding while in 'English mode,' or whatever language is your mother tongue.
As for using a drama script as a teaching tool -- that would be nice to see, but there are probably legal (e.g. copyright) issues with reproductions of said materials, either in written or verbal form.
Finally, it is a bit idealistic to think that if one could know and understood all the language in a couple episodes, or even a couple of whole dramas for that matter, that he could understand other drama's dialog. There's just too much vocabulary, cultural idioms, and too many different ways to express the same ideas.
I wish you well in your studies, and may you reach your goals quickly.
Does anybody know of some K-dramas available that have both English and Korean subtitles? I would like to watch an episode first with English subs, then I would like to use Korean subs to try to improve my (poor) listening comprehension. I have a code free DVD player so I can watch DVDs from any region. I just can't seem to find dramas with both Korean and English subtitles.
Thanks for any advice.