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Throwing in the towel

Learn more about the community and how they are learning Korean and about Korean. Do a little listener-to-listener chit chat. Keep it civil, and everything else goes.
John
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Throwing in the towel

Postby John » July 23rd, 2008 3:13 am

I am very depressed about my progression with Korean, I have been studying on and off for over four years now and I have noticed that people who have only been studying for a few months have passed me up. I don't have any live face to face type instruction, and I believe that's the biggest hold up to my learning.

I only get more and more deflated every time I study so I don't think it's conducive to my over all health to continue. Maybe someday I'll find a way to continue, but for now I am going to just step aside. :( :( :(

Bouks
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Postby Bouks » July 23rd, 2008 3:28 am

John, don't leave! When it comes to languages, you really can't compare people, there's so much learning difference. I've been studying for about 5 months now, and while I can pronounce things fairly accurately, I still can't string a sentence together on my own, or hold a conversation. So don't be fooled by my one snazzy sound clip (I read romanization!) and my video homework that took me millions of years to rehearse.

I am not even going to have as much time as before, but I am still going to plod away, and hope you will too.

To further make you feel better: I was all excited about the Lower Intermediate lessons coming out, but now that I've tried to study a few, I can definitely say they are too hard for me. (Sorry, Hyunwoo.) So that, plus my new time limitations, keep me squarely in Beginner level, and that's where I'll stay. So you stay, too. You and I are the kids in the back row, throwing spitballs at the other students. If you go, I will be so busted. :shock:
On Skype, I'm nenuphar_ (just like that with the underline character ending)

I invite you to check out my new blog about linguistics, translation and culture:
www.shadesofmeaning.wordpress.com

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James
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Postby James » July 23rd, 2008 4:35 am

I sorta know how you feel. I think my in-the-back-row days are gone. I feel like I'm now completely outside, just peering into the classroom from the hallway. I've even started to associate this feeling with Korean food :shock: These days I cannot eat kimchi without feeling like this whole 'Korean thing' is not gonna get me anywhere anytime soon (whatever "anywhere" means). I feel so done sometimes.

maxiewawa
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Postby maxiewawa » July 23rd, 2008 9:46 am

John, this happens to everyone at some point. I am sure that one day soon you'll hear the chatter of Korean somewhere and it will all come flooding back. 화이팅!

Keith
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Postby Keith » July 23rd, 2008 12:03 pm

John, I understand your frustration. And I want to offer some words of encouragement but there's no way they won't be cliche.

Your voice is not unheard, and your frustration is shared with many people. But I think that's why this is such a good place to vent. Where else can everyone share their frustrations and also give their suggestions and ideas on what can be done.

I say give it one last go. And by that I mean set up a schedule for a few weeks, and follow it religiously. Meet people on skype, do vocabulary lists one day, and practice grammar patterns the next day.

And if that doesn't work, we'll have to send you a ticket to Korea ;)

hyunwoo
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Postby hyunwoo » July 23rd, 2008 12:20 pm

John :) Cheer up! I agree to what Bouks said: You can't really compare people when it comes to languages - everybody has their own style ^^!! And I've got hundreds of people around me who've spent thousands of dollars and years of time into learning English and whose English is half as good as your Korean! Believe me :)

Whenver I have a frustrating moment in learning a language, more specific plans and making a notebook full of expressions I know have always helped :) When I feel like I'm lost and don't know where I am or where to go, knowing what I can already say in the language certainly helps me regain confidence. ^^

Anyhow, don't worry too much John :) Learning a language takes time ^^ it's just taking longer than you'd like it to take, but that doesn't mean you can't do it! If you have to speak Korean at your job everyday, I would be worried for you, but since you don't have to, keep enjoying finding out something new everyday ^^!! 화이팅!!!!

Dan_84
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Postby Dan_84 » July 23rd, 2008 1:15 pm

I find learning languages tends to go in peaks and dips. A few months ago, I was feeling good about my Korean: I did some complex banking in Korean, and I was able to have good conversation with a non-English-speaking Korean friend.

And then a month later, it was like I'd suddenly become illiterate in Korean. I met up with that Korean friend, and the conversation was particularly awkward, stilted, and frustrating. I tried to help another foreigner at the bank, and I may have done more harm than good by offering to be her "translator" (though her money did end up getting transferred to her American bank account, so I guess I couldn't have done that much harm...)

And now, a couple months later, I'm at a peak again. I seem to be understanding spoken Korean slightly more easily, and expressions and conversational patters are coming to mind more naturally when I speak Korean. I'd better try to enjoy this peak while it lasts, before I once again feel like it's my first day in Korea, and I can't even ask where the garbage can is...

shanshanchua
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Postby shanshanchua » July 23rd, 2008 4:15 pm

Don't compare with other people!! It does more harm than good I think. It may be more helpful to see how you have improved compared to, say, 3 or 6 months back. Sometimes you may not even realise you have improved, unless you keep a journal detailing the grammar/vocab you have learnt.

We all get frustrated sometimes. Like Bouks, I got discouraged yesterday when I listened to the latest Lower Intermediate and it completely floored me. But I'm just going to keep listening to the lessons, and learn whatever I can absorb. Even if I only learn 1 new word per lesson is fine too, that's still progress!

Bouks
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Postby Bouks » July 23rd, 2008 5:20 pm

I forgot to mention one thing, and I don't mean for it to offend anyone, so please don't take it personally.

I have heard a number of people mention that they study every single lesson that comes out, no matter what level they are actually at in Korean. I have tried this, and my experience is that this gets you nowhere fast. I thought I could just grab all the expressions, words and nuances that way and throw them onto a growing pile for me to use later...but it doesn't work that way.

What ended up happening for me is "Hangukeo Soup" in my brain. I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Just because you collect grammar points doesn't mean your mind is ready to use them.

If you determine what level you're at (newbie? Great, don't knock it!), and stick to it consistently, I promise you, you'll get results. Yes, it means admitting defeat, and not looking like hot stuff, and being patient. But I'd rather see people use 20 newbie words/expressions everywhere they go, than one-and-a-half intermediate ones, and give up.

You might think it wouldn't hurt to take a word or two from intermediate/advanced, but trust me, it's total brain overload. It throws you off track. Your mind needs more zen than that, to get a language. Just like a muscle...you can't go from lifting 5 pounds to lifting 80 in the same week with the same biceps. It literally takes years.

Incidentally, even for French, in which I am fluent, I can't just grab things from four different sources every week. I need time to absorb them. So whoa there, Nelly.

Again, everyone's different, but I wanted to be honest about this. I hope it helps keep a few people around.
On Skype, I'm nenuphar_ (just like that with the underline character ending)



I invite you to check out my new blog about linguistics, translation and culture:

www.shadesofmeaning.wordpress.com

shanshanchua
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Postby shanshanchua » July 23rd, 2008 5:32 pm

No offense absolutely, Bouks! :D But as you mentioned, everyone learns differently, so it's helpful to find out which way of learning works best for you. And it often takes experimenting before you find out!

James
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Re: Throwing in the towel

Postby James » July 23rd, 2008 5:42 pm

John wrote: I don't have any live face to face type instruction, and I believe that's the biggest hold up to my learning.


John did identify his problem in the post above. There's some good advice in this thread but no one has addressed this concern. (one which I share with him).

holdfast
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Postby holdfast » July 23rd, 2008 11:19 pm

Bouks wrote:If you determine what level you're at (newbie? Great, don't knock it!), and stick to it consistently, I promise you, you'll get results. Yes, it means admitting defeat, and not looking like hot stuff, and being patient. But I'd rather see people use 20 newbie words/expressions everywhere they go, than one-and-a-half intermediate ones, and give up.

You might think it wouldn't hurt to take a word or two from intermediate/advanced, but trust me, it's total brain overload. It throws you off track. Your mind needs more zen than that, to get a language. Just like a muscle...you can't go from lifting 5 pounds to lifting 80 in the same week with the same biceps. It literally takes years.


as you said, everyone learns differently. i guess i am exactly the oppositte - for me, the more korean i can get my hands on, the better. i constantly watch korean tv without subtitles and listen to korean talk radio shows just so that i'm always hearing korean (and i have done this since i learned how do say 안녕하세요). the way this works for me is that later, when i do learn a new grammar point, i have heard it before, even if i didn't understand it. and there will be times where i have all this information in my head that sort of makes a little bit of sense (even though i couldn't use it properly), then one day i'll learn something else and all of this other half-information will suddenly make sense. for me, if i waited to learn all the basics first before learning the stuff after it, it would take me that much longer to learn. i probably wouldn't be half as far along as i am. even now there is a bunch of stuff that i sort of understand, though i'm not confident enough to use it (just to have some sort of idea of what people are talking about) and i certainly couldn't explain it to anyone else, but i know that i'll find the missing piece sometime, and it will all make complete sense.

i'm not saying this method is going to work for everyone either, as you've said, you have found a method that works for you. i just wanted to reiterate the point that everyone has a different way of learning. don't give up! if you are not learning at the rate you would like, try a different method.

but remember that everyone has a different capacity and ability to learn languages in the first place. for some reason, learning languages comes very easy to me (in comparison, i can't even read numbers straight, let alone do math). and i have some friends that have studied spanish for 5 years and can't speak two sentences. so don't compare yourself to other people - it will only discourage you entirely.

all in all, language learning should be a fun experience. if you are not having fun, then taking a break might be what you need to realize how much you love it. i don't want you quit! but korean is addicting - i am confident that you won't be able to stay away ^^

shanshanchua
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Re: Throwing in the towel

Postby shanshanchua » July 23rd, 2008 11:30 pm

[/quote="James"]
John wrote: I don't have any live face to face type instruction, and I believe that's the biggest hold up to my learning.


John did identify his problem in the post above. There's some good advice in this thread but no one has addressed this concern. (one which I share with him).[/quote]

How about skype? Or try and put yourself in the way of Korean communities. Or if you are willing to pay, I'm sure there will be plenty of options. I toyed with the idea of getting a (paid) tutor to come in once a week, but decided I wasn't ready for it at the moment. Have you exhausted the possible avenues for Korean interaction?

Bouks
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Postby Bouks » July 23rd, 2008 11:55 pm

Holdfast - I should have made my points a little bit clearer. I also listen to lots of Korean, whether or not I understand what's being said. But there is a difference between being exposed to expressions and grammar, and actually setting yourself down to absorb it into your brain through study. The latter needs to be taken in doses for most of us.

I'll agree again that different people learn differently - but I'll add that I think you personally are a marvelous exception to an otherwise dull and lackluster rule!

As for live, face-to-face instruction...point taken, James. It seems that Premium Plus might be a bit pricey for some of us - myself included.

I will venture to say, though, that I have met many fellow KClass students on Skype, had conversations with them, with not a single word in Korean. Nada, zippo. As much my fault as it is anyone else's, not singling anyone out. But I can honestly say that many of us are not exploiting our resources properly.

I have a Korean friend on Skype who speaks English with great difficulty, and I can barely understand her. But she just plugs away with total recklessness. The subject of how much I speak in Korean vs. English came up, and she point-blank said to me something like this:

"I talk English every time, not matter for errors, to be shy...you should not caring your mistakes! Why you don't talk Korean always? If I learning Korean I would not abandon to talk it every moment in a meeting." Put me in my place, she did! But I have yet to go and apply that. As do many of us.
On Skype, I'm nenuphar_ (just like that with the underline character ending)



I invite you to check out my new blog about linguistics, translation and culture:

www.shadesofmeaning.wordpress.com

holdfast
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Postby holdfast » July 24th, 2008 1:13 am

bouks: point well taken ^^ a marvelous exception, eh? ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

i personally will make an effort to speak more in korean when i'm on skype! to you too, bouks! 기금 부터 잘 부탁드릴게요!

i have also had korean friends say similar things to me - wondering why i don't try to speak korean as much as possible.. it's just.. hard.. when speaking english is possible. i need to find more situations where speaking english is NOT an option.


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