Category Archives: Learn Korean

Today’s Vocabulary 2010.07.02

Today’s words are brought to you by Nichkhun and Victoria’s first date on <우리 결혼했어요>

This being my first vocabulary post, I should explain that the definitions come from my dictionary, but the explanations are my own interpretation or tricks for remembering the words.  I am NOT a native speaker, and these lists are primarily made for my own use.  I’m posting them here in case it’s useful to someone else to have vocabulary lists.  I try to find new words in texts, comics, or videos– which makes it more interesting than random word lists.

Also, I am NOT translating every bit of something.  I’m merely taking the words that I don’t know yet.  So, these lists won’t be helpful to a complete beginner.

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Advanced Korean Learning

I haven’t been doing a lot of art-related stuff these days, just working.  But I am still actively studying Korean, and I feel like writing a post about what’s going on with that.  Looking around online, that’s not a ton of resources or anything for American people studying Korean, so I might as well put this out there.

There’s a decent amount of website out there for studying Korean, and they all help you get past learning the alphabet, getting by day to day, and speaking several tenses.  But it’s next to impossible to find a good source (even textbook) that goes into more advanced grammatical forms.  

After getting the basics down, I’ve found that these have been my most important tools:

Electronic dictionary – I use an Udea, and it was the cheapest one I could find.  It costed about 120,000 Won, but it also includes Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese.  For a native English speaker trying to learn Korean, it’s a sad truth that you can’t buy these in the US.  Language study isn’t really popular here.  My dictionary’s functions are all in Korean, but once you learn how to navigate around, it’s totally worth it.  The English portions are all in understandable english from Korean-English, and you can even search the meaning of each Hanja.  It’s so priceless in helping me study.  I have the cheapest kind but it gives me examples of how to use the word, lets me save words in a flash card set, etc.  Electronic dictionaries are much more than simple translators.  Get one!

Textbooks for learning English – You have to either get your hands on these while you’re in Korea or borrow them from your Korean friends living in the US (or wherever you live).  There are an endless number of resources for Koreans to learn English, and they get into much more detail that I’ve ever seen in an English textbook.  Note: The dictionary is important though, especially with vocabulary.  An English word has several meanings, and so the Korean will list multiple words.  If you don’t know their meaning, look them up.  For example “current” means both the present, and also a flow of water, in English.  So you have to take care to remember that these books aren’t actually written for you.

A conversation partner – I put a link to Craigslist, because it’s a great place to start.  There’s not a lot of competition for English speakers looking to practice their English, but if you live near a university or a large city there’s likely an exchange student or two who are here to improve their language skills.  There’s no way I could continue to improve without the help of my conversation partner.  Unless you live in LA you probably don’t come across a lot of practice opportunities.  

Also, your reading and writing will continue to grow as you study, and then one day when you meet someone you can finally show off your skills to, it’s really embarrassing to realize you have no ability to speak!  It’s a totally different challenge when you have to conjure up the vocabulary and grammar to express your genuine feelings about something, as opposed to answering questions with obvious answers, or reading someone else’s ideas.

Sogang’s Website – My friend introduced me to this site.  I think it goes along with the university’s series of textbooks, but you can use it without the book or having to log in.  It has some listening opportunities and exercises, and great explanations of grammar. Grammar is something you won’t be able to learn from your dictionary.  It’s a really helpful website.

Naver – I posed about Junior Naver before, but Naver itself is a great tool when you’re at the point where you can navigate comfortable around a website.  The webtoon section i especially awesome– you can read comics and learn at the same time!  I learned a lot about spelling abbreviations and dialogue versus writing.  It’s a rare glimpse at casually spoken Korean versus written.  Even watching Dramas you can’t read the script (and usually the script doesn’t precisely follow).  If you’re overwhelmed by all the text on the website at first, just try tackling unfamiliar words a little at a time, and eventually it’ll feel like your home page! ^^


That’s all I am thinking of right now, but I might write later on the subject.  I’m sorry I’ve not got any art updates!


in the translation

One of the things I enjoy while studying Korean is the different words used to express things.


전쟁이 일어났다 – it literally translates to “war has awakened” 
It’s the phrase in Korean for saying a war started.
In English we might say “war broke out”, which is a very aggressive verb.  Normally I’d never think about that kind of thing, but when I learned the Korean expression it made me think about what how language subconsciously determines how its speakers think about something.


Junior Naver 쥬니어 네이버

I’ve been studying Korean for about 2 years now, and most of that time has been purely from a textbook with little interaction with actual Korean people or current media.  So whenever I do have that kind of experience come up, it can be either really exciting when I realize I’ve learned enough to grasp something that I didn’t a few months ago, or disheartening to be reminded there’s a whole vast amount of vocabulary and grammar and slang to learn that I haven’t even scratched the surface of.  Even when that happens it doesn’t want to make me quit it just kind of puts me back in my place…

Anyway, one of my weakest points is listening, as it is for most people studying a language while not actually abroad.  But I stumbled across a wonderful tool!  So for anyone reading this who is studying Korean also, I hope you go and find it is helpful also.  Naver is basically the Korean Google. Don’t be fooled by all the stuff on the page, it’s just the Korean aesthetic, supposedly.  But it is a search engine, hosts videos, images, blogs, email news etc etc just like Google.  I usually try to go there every once in a while to see if I can understand anything at all.  But I stumbled upon this today: Junior Naver

This is Naver for kids, and so it has a a lot of adorable graphics and simpler language/subject matter.  It has all kinds of games and studying tools for Korean kids to learn their own language, English, has hints about how to write a letter or a book report, you can read the latest issues of popular comics, play games (both for learning or just for cute fun), practice your korean nursery rhymes with audio and lyrics, etc etc.  It’s really great because it’s such a wide range of topics and mediums, and there’s a lot of content with audio to practice your listening.  Every time I go I find a few new things to get excited about.  For beginning learners it seems like a great tool to utilize.

Also, if anyone happens to be reading this who can help me, I have one problem.  My computer can generally read and type in Korean fonts, and almost all websites show up just fine.  But for some flash or java applications the text is a bunch of random symbols.  Is there some language pack I should download?  I can’t seem to find a solution anywhere.  I’ve tried using a mac and a pc, safari, firefox, and internet explorer and it’s the same on all of them (not to mention a lot of parts only work on internet explorer anyway).  If someone happens to stumble upon this post and know the answer, please let me know.