Posted in Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Shadowing and a little motivation

I think most of you guys know about shadowing, but for those who might not know, I’ll start of this post with a super short introduction ^^

Shadowing is a learning technique that can help you speak more fluently. It can help your intonation, pronunciation and your talking speed, which is all a very big part of sounding fluent.
What you do is, you listen to a native speaker talking, and you repeat what they are saying while trying to make it sound as similar as possible. Shadowing is a really great language learning tool and it’s something that everyone can do.
Also I would recommend that you do this while you’re alone or with someone who understands what you’re doing, because other people will look at you like you’re a nutcase. Just a heads up! 😉

So now that we’re all on the same page here, let me tell you about my struggles.. sigh..
I haven’t been shadowing as much as I would have liked, and lately I have been getting more and more frustrated with my awkward pauses and slow speaking, whenever I speak Korean. It made me decide to focus more on shadowing and speaking in general, but that’s where my struggles really begin. Whenever I decide to shadow something, I just keep getting more and more frustrated if I can’t make it sound very similar. The more I listen to myself ‘not getting it right’, the more frustrated I become and the worse my intonation becomes. It’s a never ending circle and it’s not doing me any good. Normally I don’t mind getting things wrong as I believe that we learn from everything, and usually getting something wrong or not doing something very well, just motivates me to try even harder and keep practicing. However for some reason, I just don’t feel that way with shadowing.
I guess language learning can’t be done without bumps in the road, and luckily, I have a really great language partner and friend (ㅋㅋ 안녕 오빠!) who have helped me feel more positive, when I fail at my usual positive attitude. Since his wise words of encouragements has helped my so many times, I figured it could be helpful for other language learners too.
Whenever I feel hopeless he reminds me that I am not a native speaker and the fact that I am even able to try doing something, is an achievement that shouldn’t be forgotten.
I am NOT a native speaker. I am NOT supposed to do these things perfectly. In fact I am NOT supposed to know the language at all. However despite not being supposed to do these things, I’m still trying. Learning a language is an achievement in itself. Being able to try and fail is an achievement in itself. Doing something that isn’t very well done, is still something that you have done. Let’s all try to remember this when we get frustrated on our language journey. 🙂

Before returning to my shadowing, I though I would share one of my favorite, less known YouTube channels, 한국언니. She makes super short but helpful videos with different themes. It’s great especially for beginners and for leaning phrases for specific situations, but my favorite things about these videos are that they are short and thereby easy to get through on stressful days or when you feel like you might loose your focus fast + the sentences are said several times with different natural intonations -> perfect for shadowing.
For all you T-ara fans, this sentence (Jeon Won Diary) will probably be quite familiar!

Enjoy your language journey people!

Posted in books, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Preparing for TOPIK

Lately I have been thinking more and more about TOPIK and I have been trying to figure out how i can prepare myself in the best possible way, without boring myself by working to much with the same materials, and I think I have found a decent balance.

Basically I have decided that the best way to prepare is to expose myself to as much Korean as possible. Reading, writing, speaking, listening – you name it. At the same time I’ll be studying with a variety of books.
I finished my last two TOPIK 1 mock tests with a decent result, and I’m currently in the process of deciding whether or not to take both TOPIK 1 and 2, in April. I know I won’t be able to make a decision any time soon, but I also know that even if I decide to only take TOPIK 1, then my TOPIK 2 preparations will never go to waste. I WILL take TOPIK 2 eventually, and preparing for TOPIK 2 will only make TOPIK 1 seem easier, right?

Anyhow, this is how I have been studying for the last few days!
I go through 2 grammar points from my Intermediate book, as well as review the two previous grammar points. At some point all this grammar will hopefully stick to my brain! This book has a quiz after each chapter, in the same format as the TOPIK test, so that is definitely a plus in my book! (I’m working on a few reviews, so more on that later!)
After that I go through 1 article from the TTMIK news in Korean book, which also has a quiz after each article, in the TOPIK format!
The next book I work with is my TOPIK 쓰기 book. Here I make sure to make at least one assignment every day, and I get my answers checked by my language partners, through the native speakers on italki, or by my italki teacher.
Lastly I continue reading 어린왕자 and articles on naver. All these things are improving my reading skills, my vocabulary and my grammar skills as well.
When it comes to listening, I’m using a variety of materials as usual. Most of the time I listen to kpop, watch tv shows, dramas, movies and listen to different podcasts. Whenever I travel or exercise, there will be something Korean in my ears.
When writing with my language partners I make sure to challenge myself over and over again. That’s the best way to make the grammar and vocabulary stick properly.
My weekly italki sessions are continuing as usual.

This is how I am studying right now, but as soon as I feel a bit more comfortable with TOPIK 2, I’ll start using my other two preparation books for 쓰기 and 읽기. Also, I have ordered 7 books so far this month, and since only two have arrived, there will probably be some changes. I ordered the PASS NEW TOPIK books through TTMIK, and I’m currently trying to decide if I should buy the Video Course as well. I mean I WILL end up buying it, but I think I will wait till January, since I have plenty to work with right now. We’ll see.

Here’s all the books I’m using or is about to use, featuring 토끼 because he follows me everywhere.. And yes I named him 토끼.

24 november 1

Posted in books, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Making myself feel better

So yesterday I ended my toughest week in a very long time. I had to finish my exam report and then attend my schools open house, where I had to present our project a billion times for different judges and guests. It was a ton of fun, but around noon I started to feel unwell and when I reached the end of my 12 hour school day, I was feeling really sick. I was hoping that I was just feeling sick as a result of a really long and stressful week, with no sleep, so I went home and straight to bed.
Sadly that wasn’t the case so there I was: sick, tired and really in need of something to cheer me up. So how is the best way to make myself feel better? Well if you know me just a little, then you probably already know that I immediately turned to my Korean books!

Today I started my day by opening up my TTMIK Level 1 grammar book. I ordered it when the pre-orders started, simply because I wanted to support the people who made my Korean journey possible, and because I really wanted to have a signed copy of the book! To be honest I didn’t buy it because I thought it would be useful to me, since I’m currently about to start Level 8 of the TTMIK podcast, and I have listened to the Level 1 podcast several times as well as read through the PDF and finished the workbook.
However when reading through the book, I immediately started to feel better, because I realized that I was actually right. The book didn’t teach my anything that TTMIK hadn’t already tought me back when I started. I already knew it all, and it seemed so easy and logical, unlike when I went through the Level 1 curriculum the first time!
This experience is more than enough to make me feel better about everything!

After reading through the Level 1 book, I decided to continue reading  어린왕자, and I then realized that I am already more than halfway through chapter 3, which means that when I finish this chapter (I’ll read the last two pages as soon as I finish this post), then I will have doubled my weekly goal, despite having an awfully stressful week! I don’t think I need to explain how happy that makes me feel!
I also realized that the 인디고 books are placed in the ‘advanced’ category at twochois, and even though that doesn’t really mean anything (let’s be honest here. A persons ‘language level’ is an extremely individual thing and we all have different ideas of when someone is a beginner, intermediate and so on.) then it still made me feel really good, because I am doing surprisingly well. I just recently started to think of myself as an intermediate learner and this my first try with a book that isn’t made for learning purposes, so that makes me feel even better. Even though it takes quite a while to read (compared to anything I read in Danish or English) and I sometimes have to look up many words, I actually CAN read it. I do NOT feel lost.

These two things aren’t big accomplishments in any way, but they made me feel so much better, and they really made me realize that you should never underestimate yourself or your small accomplishments for that matter.

Anyway.. It looks like this post turned out to be more like a rant, than an update, haha! Now I’m going to make myself a cup of 유자차 and lay down on the couch with my book. Since I recently ordered ‘크리스마스 캐럴’, it would awesome if I could finish 어린왕자 before the middle of December as the latest!
여러분 화이팅!

Posted in Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Time management

Today I have started one of my exams and that means that I am starting a super hectic week. I will have many long and late days, and there’s no way that I can stop it from affecting my Korean studies, which is bothering me more than it probably should. I have had to cancel my Italki lesson on Friday and this morning I was thinking about how to make room for everything in my schedule, which reminded me of a time management course my class attended a few months ago. I tried it during my first exam, and found it really helpful. Since I already feel less stressed now that I have a plan, I thought that maybe other people could use these few tips. Honestly, they are super simple and you all probably know them, however using them is a completely different thing.

1) Decide when to do what. Don’t just let things happen as they come. For instance, after finishing this post I will start today’s study session, and I will continue studying for the next hour, with a short break or two if needed – but honestly, time usually flies and I forget all about breaks.
I’ll do the same with my house chores a little later. I’ll simply decide that for the next hour, I’ll do as many chores as I can, without thinking about how far I’ll get.

2) Stop looking at your watch all the time. This is one of my biggest problems. The less time I have during the day, the more I check my phone to see if I’m falling behind, which is a never ending circle and more importantly; a complete waste of time. Not to mention that it breaks your concentration and causes you to study (or whatever you are doing at the time) less effective.

3) Don’t underestimate the power of breaks. Even if you don’t feel like you need one, give it a try anyway. I’m working hard on this one, as I usually do feel like my studying is more effective when taking small breaks, but I often end up skipping them. I just need to finish this one chapter… and the next! Get up and make yourself a cup of tea, and return with a fresh mind.

4) Keep away from unnecessary distractions. Did you know that it takes 15-25 minutes for one to properly focus on something after being distracted? Depending on the person as well as the distraction that caused your unintended break of course. That’s pretty scary if you ask me! Try to avoid distractions by going to the bathroom before sitting down, have snacks and drinks close by, put away your phone and so on. I forbid myself to use my phone for anything other than looking up words on Naver. It also means that I never listen to podcasts on my way home from school, because my mind is already filled with a ton of stuff, and EVERYTHING  has the ability to distract me. In the mornings on the other hand, I have no problems paying attention.

5) The last tip I want to mention is about proper planning. To keep it simple: Be realistic. Don’t plan out all 24 hours. You will get distracted. Someone will unexpectedly call you.You will have times where you suddenly have to pee, feel thirsty, feel unfocused or where your computer breaks down, even though you did what you could to avoid it.
Also, don’t make unrealistic goals like studying for 5 hours straight without breaks. It won’t do you any good.

I hope this is useful for someone other than myself. Time for me to study! 🙂

Posted in books, Selfstudy

Underestimating yourself and new goals

Yesterday my newest Korean book arrived. For a while I have been looking at the 인디고 아름다운 고전 시리즈, as they truly are beautiful and the series features many of my favorite stories as well as a few I only know by name. However, I seemed to convince myself that I wouldn’t be able read them anyway, and therefore shouldn’t buy them. That’s what usually happens in my mind and I’m working hard on removing that thought, because I know I’m underestimating myself. In the beginning of my Korean learning journey, I was afraid of buying the TTMIK workbooks because I thought they would just prove that I didn’t understand anything, however it turned out completely opposite. Then I was afraid of joining HelloTalk, because I was terrified of making mistakes and I knew that I couldn’t even make a full sentence, but after doing it anyway I got over my fear in just a few days, and even though I was right about my sentence skills, they improved so fast that some of my language partners – and myself – was shocked. There’s no way I would have come so far without joining HelloTalk. After that, I was afraid of trying Italki, but this has also turned out to be one of my best decisions. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this, so I’ll end it here.

Having gone through this process so many times in my head, I finally decided to just give the books a try. I found a list of all 23 books (I’m not sure if they are still adding more books to the list, so it might grow bigger) and then I just decided to start from book one, and read them as they come. I’ll post the list in the end of this post as well as a few random pictures of the book, for those who are interested.

Anyway the first book is 어린왕자, which is one of the books I only know by name, so I’m looking forward to learning more about the story. My plan (as I mentioned in my previous post) is to read at least one chapter pr week. The books are small and adorable, and each chapter is about 4-6 pages long The amount of text on each page variate, so I was wondering how to make my weekly goal more stable and specific, but in the end I just decided to not make it more difficult than it is, and just read as much as I can or feel like, with one chapter pr week, being the minimum. Having this goal keeps me motivated to continue, and it gives me the feeling of having accomplished something, which in general is the reason why I love making goals, but more on that in another post!

Here’s the list if you’re interested:

1) 어린와자
2) 작은 아씨들
3) 이상한 나라의 앨리스
4) 빨간머리 앤
5) 눈의 여왕
6) 피노키오
7) 오즈의 마법사
8) 아라비안 나이트
9) 백설공주
10) 키다리아저씨
11) 하이디
12) 오페라 의유령
13) 비밀의 화원
14) 플랜더스의 개
15) 호두까기 인형
16) 버드나무에 부는 바람
17) 피터팬
18) 로미오와 주리엣
19) 에이번리의 앤
20) 80일간의 세계일주
21) 크리스마스 캐럴
22) 메리포핀스
23) 거울 나라의 앨리스




Posted in Selfstudy

My study routine

On a normal day I study for about 2 hours. Studying Korean is always one of my biggest priorities – to be completely honest, I have a tendency to focus more on my Korean studies than on my normal school studies – and even though there are days where I just can’t find that much time, as well as days where I study for a lot longer, I always split my time in two.

1) ‘Must do’ time.
2) ‘What ever I feel like’ time.

During the ‘Must do’ time, I basically just follow the rules I made for myself.
1) I always start out with something light to get the Korean part of my brain, started. Lately I have started my study sessions with TTMIK’s Everyday Korean Idiomatic Expressions and Korean Slang Expressions, and the rule I made for myself is to go through two expressions from each book, everyday.
2) After this I move on to my next rule, which is to go through two grammar points in my Korean Grammar In Use (Intermediate). This is also something I do every day. I read the chapters, make the assignments, practice more if I feel unsure, and make flashcards if I find them difficult to memorize. These things changes every day, depending on how difficult it is, and how well I already know the grammar.
3) Find and read an article on Naver. I look up all the words I don’t know (and there’s quite a few of those) and write the most reoccurring words down in my vocabulary notebook, along with a sample sentence or two.

Of course all of the above varies from time to time, depending on what books I am currently using, but I always have 2-4 ‘Must do’ things, to go through. After doing these things I move on to the ‘Whatever I feel like’ part, and as you can probably guess, I just do what I feel like doing. Here’s a few examples:
– Write essays in my essay notebook (Yes. I’m addicted to notebooks.)
– Practice intonation and pronunciation by shadowing audio files from native speakers.
– Going through more points from my ‘Must do’ books.
– Study with my other books (Lately I use my TOPIK preparation books).
– Record myself reading or saying ‘short’ sentences and have my online language partners correct whatever needs to be corrected.
– Read. I am currently reading a 웹소설 on Naver. Like with the articles, I look up the unknown words and write the most reoccurring ones down.
– Take TOPIK Moct Tests
– Review things I have gone through earlier.

There’s plenty to choose from!
Lastly I also have my weekly ‘Must do’ goals.
1) Every friday I have a skype session with a native speaker through
2) Every week I must read one chapter in my book (This is a new goal and I’m still waiting for my book (어린왕자) to arrive. If the chapters are short then I’ll probably make some changes to this goal.)
3) Write at least 3 essays in my notebook.

Of course I also have several things that I do whenever I have time, or because I simply enjoy it. I love k-pop and k-dramas, which of course is also helping me learn. I always have a TTMIK workbook in my school bag, and I also have several apps on my phone that I use when I’m waiting for the bus. In the mornings I always listen to a podcast (TTMIK or ones that are completely in Korean) while I’m on the bus, and I have made many good Korean friends through the HelloTalk app, whom I talk to on a daily basis.

I’ll give an update on the book when it arrives.