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!