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 Post subject: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:46 pm 
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I seem to remember some PPKers knowing/learning Korean? I hope. As a part of my plan to secure employment I am Obtaining New Skills, and apparently Korean is the most sought after language for bilingual candidates in my industry, and it would be beneficial to even know the basics. Apparently Korean is super hard to learn, so I'm trying to do my research.

So I have a few options: there are Korean classes that meet for 15 weeks and once a week for 3 hours that cost a few hundred dollars per semester (6 semesters, but they get cheaper as you go). I can get Rosetta Stone for free, but reviews are saying it's not that great for Korean like it is for romance languages. Though, I did respond really well to RS for Spanish. I also have access to Mango Languages which gets much more into grammar and sentence structure than Rosetta Stone, but relies much more on English to Korean translating.

So, any advice from anyone who has done it, or even learned a similarly difficult language like Arabic or Japanese? I'm sure classes would be best but there's the whole thing with them costing a lot of money and making me leave my house. I was thinking I might be able to do a combo of Mango and RS for independent learning. Oh, also you can do a placement test for the in-person classes, so if I could learn some foundations on my own I could probably test into a higher/cheaper level and save some money.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:15 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I'm learning Korean! It's super awesome - if you like it, you'll be able to learn it, whether or not it's hard. Classes can be great, but it's good to develop an interest in it, and there is a good community on talktomeinkorean.com where they have free lessons online - lots and lots of great practice, especially listening! Hangeul, the alphabet is super easy to learn, so don't put it off! You will improve much faster if you learn it right away, and don't rely on the romanization. Feel free to PM me anytime!

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 Post subject: Re: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:38 pm 
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Korean is very similar to Japanese - comparable grammar systems, some words with identical etymology (from the Chinese), with the major difference that Korean almost only uses hangeul (the Korean alphabet) and hardly uses Chinese characters (called Hanja in Korean) anymore. I feel that it makes it easier to start studying but harder as you progress.

Hangeul is super, super easy to learn, it should be your first priority. Like Bodhi said, never use romanization if you can avoid it. Find a hangeul study sheet with stroke order, it will help with your handwriting (and with learning to read handwritten texts) down the road.
As for what learning method to use, it highly depends on your personal preferences. I know I do great with intensive learning sessions (like 4 to 8 weeks of studying 10+ hours a day, every day) but it's a luxury.

I only speak survival/taxi Korean. I understood a lot of the grammar very quickly but my problem was that the more vocabulary I tried to memorize, the more Japanese I would forget/bastardize and I didn't want that to happen. I had the same issue when I tried to learn Spanish and Italian at the same time a few years back.


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 Post subject: Re: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:52 pm 
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Awesome! Thanks for your responses. That's two more than I thought I would get (turns out not many people seem to want to learn Korean?).

I'm trying to learn Hangeul right now, but I'm not finding many great resources to get started. Any pointers? It looks like talktomeinKorean has some lessons I could try.

I ordered this book and it should be here tomorrow. Any other books you think are a must have?

I've done a few 30 minute sessions with Mango and I am finding the lessons addicting. I had to tear myself away to make dinner last night (dinner is always first priority). So far I'm retaining most of what I've learned, so that's a good sign. With me I either grasp it or forget it immediately.

Bodhi - thanks for pointing me to talktomeinkorean.com it looks great! After I've improved and can string together sentences if you want a chat buddy I would be love the practice. I'm going to get those keyboard hangeul stickers!

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 Post subject: Re: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Question - does anyone know of a good Korean/English dictionary that doesn't use romanization?

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 Post subject: Re: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I've only seen them online on korean websites. it's incredibly frustrating. i'm sure there are some good ones out there, but they seem to be really expensive. in the meantime, however, google translate is not too bad for translating individual words.

ETA: oh! and i'm totally up for being a chat buddy whenever you feel ready to practice! i am rusty, so i'm brushing up right now. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:05 am 
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Nebraskalaska wrote:
Question - does anyone know of a good Korean/English dictionary that doesn't use romanization?
I know this thread is pretty old, but if you're feeling clever, a learner's monolingual dictionary is an awesome tool for a language learner. Basically, you look up a word and it gives you a definition in the easiest possible language. Otherwise, a really useful thing to do is to look it up on Wikipedia. That way, you don't just get a translation, but you get a definition written in Korean by Koreans for people learning Korean.

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 Post subject: Re: Learning Korean
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:10 pm 
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Bumping this thread because I have also been learning Korean. Hopefully the OP is getting on well! I also have Mastering Conversational Korean and it's one of the best beginner language texts I've seen, so I would definitely recommend that to anyone just starting out. I didn't know about Mango Languages, so thanks for the suggestion on that! Seems that my local library does have it available online, although I find the narrator/host/whatever you call it for the Korean program kind of annoying. :P

A few more handy resources that haven't been mentioned yet...
Korean Class 101: Sort of like Talk To Me In Korean, although unless you sign up for a paid account you only have access to the audio podcasts. I haven't used the written materials so I can't really comment on them, but it seems like what they offer with a paid subscription is comprehensive (transcripts, quizes, etc.) I think overall TTMIK is a better resource, but they don't really have much in the way of quizzes, y'know?

Hangul Type Attack: Remember the speed test games in the old school Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing? Well this is sort of like a low-rent version of that, but for learning the hangeul keyboard.

Hangul learning game: This is a really simple flash game for learning the basic sounds of the alphabet and some simple words (think "A is for Apple" simple.)

Click Korean: Seoul National University's website for learning Korean. This starts at the alphabet and goes into more complex conversations, including audio, transcripts and mini-quizzes etc.

So yeah, there are a bunch of free, self-guided resources online for beginner to intermediate learners. What I find helps me personally is to make a list of what I want to cover each day like a week or so in advance and stick to it, so I'm progressing at a steady pace. And of course if you need more time on one particular thing you can always rearrange the schedule.


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