Today is the last day of 2015 and since I’m just lying here on my couch with the flu (Yep that’s right. A cold on Christmas eve and the flu on New Years eve.. Sigh..), I have more than enough time to think about what this year has meant to me. I have achieved many things this year and to be honest I feel like my Korean progress is the most important achievement. I started taking my studies seriously in January which means that it is almost a year ago now. It’s amazing how time flies. Let’s take a look at the things I love the most from this year!
During this year I have bought a ton of books and enjoyed all of them.
I have made some amazing friends through language exchange.
I have spoken in Korean with native speakers though skype as well as face to face, for the very first time.
I decided to start my ‘Korea-account’ so that 언니 and I can go to Korea in 2017.
I decided that I wanted to pass TOPIK.
I took my first TOPIK Mock test.
I started my Blog.
I have completed all of my Korean goals for this year except for one.
I have met many lovely fellow Korean students.
I started watching movies and dramas without subtitles.
I read my first Korean news articles/blogs (including those that aren’t made for study purposes).
I read my first book in Korean.
While remembering all these things I’m feeling proud and accomplished – Who would have known that all of this would happen when this year started? To finish it of in the best way possible, I’m going to finish my very last goal of 2015, which is to finish reading 크리스마스 캐럴 before midnight. I’m almost there so I’m sure it won’t be a problem. Also I have already ordered two new books so I’ll be ready to make more progress in 2016.
Have a good night wherever you guys are and stay safe. Thank you for celebrating my progress with me!
여러분.. 새해 복 많이 받으세요~
Later than expected but nevertheless, its here~
So without any further ado, I’ll just jump straight to the review.
Okay, so first of all, this is an e-book by TTMIK (whom you all know that I adore) and it is split into two different parts; “Korean Folk Tales” and “Aesop’s Fables”, but the assignments after each story is the same in both parts, so I won’t be reviewing them separately. I’ll try to be as objective as possible and then give you my personal opinion in the end.
Table of content from mykoreanstore.com:
Stories featured in this e-book + audio program
1. Three Little Pigs
2. The Rabbit And The Turtle
3. The Ants And Grasshoppers
4. The Sun And The Wind
5. The Shepherd Boy
6. The Greedy Dog
7. The Fox And The Crane
8. Two Travelers And A Bear
9. The Lion And The Mouse Who Repaid Kindness
10. The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs
11. Belling The Cat
12. The Donkey And The Salt
13. The Fox And The Sour Grapes
14. The Town Mouse And The Country Mouse
15. The Farmer And The Three Sons
Korean Folk Tales:
1. The Spring That Makes You Young
2. The Sun And The Moon
3. The Old Man With A Lump
4. Golden Axe And Silver Axe
5. The Green Frog Who Won’t Listen
6. The Fairy And The Woodcutter
7. The Magic Millstone
8. Heungbu And Nolbu
9. Red Fan, Blue Fan
10. Loyal Brothers
11. Kongjwi And Patjwi
12. The Tiger And A Persimmon
13. King’s Ears Are Donkey Ears
14. The Lazy Man Who Became A Cow
15. The Magpie That Repaid Kindness
NOTE: In the e-book, titles are all in Korean.
Okay so let’s get started – Here’s what you get.
1) As the very first thing in each story/chapter, you have the story 100% in Korean.
2) After reading the story you move on you first assignment which is ‘번역 연습’ = Translating Practice. Here you can try translating the entire story on your own, sentence by sentence. Below each sentence you’ll have a short vocabulary list to help you translate the story.
3) After translating the story, it’s time for ‘영어 번역’ = English Translation. In this part, TTMIK has provided an English translation which you can use to check up on/correct your own translation. In some cases they write more than one possible translation which also is super helpful.
4) Now it’s time for ‘Grammar Point’. This doesn’t really need much explanation, but let me just talk about it anyway. Here you get to go through some of the grammar that was used in the story you just read. After the grammar has been explained, you’ll get to practice a bit with a few assignments.
5) After practicing some of the used grammar, it’s time for ‘Vocabulary Quiz’.
6) The vocabulary Quiz is follow by a ‘Comprehension Quiz’.
7) Lastly you get and ‘Answer Key’ and you can once again check your answers.
This is how you go through all 30 stories. There’s about 500 pages of material to study with and believe it or not, it doesn’t end here!
Each story comes with two audio files as well. 1 audio file where the story is read aloud in normal speed, and one file with the story in fast speed.
In other words you get; 30 stories both as a book and audio book, as well as a workbook with different assignments. Obviously you can use it exactly as you want to.
My personal opinion
Good: First of all I have always loved these types of stories so I immediately knew that I needed to try this e-book, and I can honestly say that I’m not disappointed at all
The stories are good and they have the perfect length, so if you’re not a ‘reading person’ this will still be highly useful to you. This also means that it is perfect to use with your language partners, Korean friends, fellow students or teachers. You can bring a story to whatever type of sessions you might have and discuss it together, or use it as homework. The possibilities are endless!
The assignments are just as useful and most importantly they don’t overwhelm you in any way. All assignments are made in small bite sized pieces which makes it a lot easier to handle and it also means that you can make an assignment whenever you have the time. In my opinion this is 10 times better than having one large assignment. (I can’t possibly be the only one who HATES stopping in the middle of an assignment, right?).
The fact that you literally get the possibility to practice everything except speaking, is probably my favorite thing about this e-book!
Bad: I honestly have nothing bad to say about this. It is definitely on my top 10 Korean Study related purchases of this year!
The only things I can really point out so far is minor things like a spelling mistake or two. It doesn’t affect your studying whatsoever.
NOTE: I haven’t finished the entire e-book yet, so I might make an update if my opinion changes.
Final thought: Go buy this now! There’s still 3 more days with the TTMIK Christmas sale, so go make good use of your money! –> mykoreanstore
Now if you will have me excused – I’m gonna move on to the next Korean Folktale. Have an awesome Christmas everyone!
A few lovely people have requested that I share the story of how I started my Korean journey, and since I believe that now is the perfect time to do so (spoiler: Because Psy is back!), then that’s exactly what I’ll do! However, I feel like I should warn you. This post is going to be one of the longer ones and it wont have any relevant information, so if you don’t really care about my story, then feel free to skip this post. I’ll have a review up in a few days! Also, this post will probably contain a few fangirling moments.
So you all know Psy, right? Yeah, I suppose that’s a silly question!
Anyway, since I’m not sure where to start, then I’ll start from the beginning.
In 2012, while Gangnam Style was everywhere, I was going through the hardest time in my life. I’m not going to go in to details as this is a personal matter. I got very sick due to immense stress as well as a depression. However, when Gangnam Style was at it’s peak, I weren’t yet aware of the reasons to my sickness (I actually started laughing when the doctor told me what was going on – I mean, I was SO sick and at times I was sure that I was deadly ill. How could that possibly be caused by something so simple as stress?) but I was trying to cope as well as I could, and even though I saw the words ‘GANGNAM STYLE’ everywhere, I had no idea what it was.
In October, I went to Berlin with my fellow students, and despite the fact that I absolutely despised most of my roommates, I had a great time. There was a bar at our hotel and all of my fellow students were drunk (random fact: I have only tasted two sips of alcohol in my life) and they were all begging the staff to play Gangnam Style (FUN FACT!: All of my classmates thought that Gangnam Style was Danish.. Yep.. Because Korean and Danish sounds so similar, right?…) and in the end they succeeded.
Now. Can you all imagine my confused expression when Gangnam Style started playing, and all of my drunk classmates started dancing? I’m sure you can!
A few days later I returned to Denmark and I had to spend the first day on my own, so since my curiousness had been awakened in Berlin, I searched for Gangnam Style as the first thing in the morning and something cheesy happened. Oh god I really hate to say this, but this is how it is. While watching the music video, I saw 현아 and immediately I thought that there was something special about her. It wasn’t her beauty or sexiness – which is what people usually mention about her – but more her confidence, that caught my attention. She basically had that one thing that I truly wished for. So, why is so cheesy? If you have seen the video, then you’ll know that she only appears for a short cameo, and I truly do not know how I could feel such a strong confident vibe, in such a short amount of time. I feel like I’m talking about love at first sight or something! Nevertheless, that’s how I felt. I quickly forgot about her when the video ended and I moved on to an interview with Psy whom I had no idea who was, but in the end I felt like watching it again so I decided to do so.
This is actually where it all really started. You all know those thumbnails on YouTube videos right? I saw a picture of 현아 as well as the title ‘Gangnam Style’, and I just assumed that it was the same video as I watched before, but instead it was the version with Psy and 현아 singing together. That’s when I realized that she was a famous person, and then that’s when I tried searching for her name and was overwhelmed with videos! If you try searching yourself, you’ll see what I mean.
I watched a few music videos and felt fascinated, but believe it or not, this isn’t where I fell in love.
You know how you can get completely lost on YouTube if you keep clicking on the suggested videos on the right, and in the end you find yourself watching something completely unplanned and you’re not really sure how you even ended up watching it? Yep, that’s exactly what happened. I ended up watching ‘4Minute funny moments’ videos. (To those who doesn’t already know, 현아 is a part of the 5 member girl group ‘4Minute’, a part of the sub unit duo ‘Troublemaker’ as well as a solo artist.)
Thanks to the fan subbed videos, I fell in love with the personality of these goofy girls, and I was immediately fascinated by the culture differences and the language (and let’s not forget about all these cheesy effects in the variety shows!) and after spending the entire day as a cave woman with her laptop (Yes, cave women totally have laptops), I went to bed feeling completely relaxed, for the first time in a very long time. It didn’t take me long to realize that the reason these videos helped me this much, was simply because the lives I could see in them, where so different from the one that I lived. Watching these videos made me forget about my own life for a few hours and I felt like I had more energy to handle everything after watching them. Again, I’m sorry for all this cheesy talk!
The day after, I had to attend yet another doctors appointment (this is the day my doctor told me about my stress and depression), and I was so terrified. As I mentioned earlier, I thought I was deadly ill. Before leaving I thought that if I downloaded some of the 4Minute songs and listened to them on the bus, then I could hold on to my little fantasy world (at this point, Korea wasn’t a real country. It really seemed like my own little fantasy land, which only existed in my own head – Silly, but true. ) a little longer.
Basically that’s how it all started. I used it as my therapy and after a month or so, I realized that I would always be humming different Korean songs, and I constantly felt like watching more videos even though I was starting to feel a lot better. After another month I realized that I hadn’t listened to an English song since that first day (except for when other people played one) and it just sort of continued like that. Kpop led me to dramas, which is where I really started noticing the cultural differences (AND THE FOOD! MY GOD, LET’S NOT FORGET THE FOOD!) and then that became another interest of mine. From day one I loved the language, but I had never imagined that I would be able to self study it! ㅎㅎ 신기하네요!
I guess the rest is pretty self-explanatory. It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a complete coincidence that I found the right group at the right time. 4Minute is still my favorite group today, and they are the only group who can make me feel like a true fangirl.
Also I never imagined that this would happen back then. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened.
To finish this post of, I feel like I should share some 4Minute with you guys. If you made it this far, then thank you!
Oh, and also! Don’t underestimate stress or depressions. Take care of yourself before anyone else. ^^
Okay, SO MANY things has happened lately and I’m not quite sure where to start, so I’ll just stick to the most interesting points. First of all, as I mentioned in my last post I finished 어린 왕자, and was pleased to see that I had underestimated my abilities once again. That’s always a lovely feeling!
However, when I decided to move straight on to 크리스마스 캐럴 my confidence sort of faded. Holy cow guys. Despite knowing the general plot (I have only seen the movie once as a child, though.) I find myself feeling lost quite frequently. I look up the words I don’t know, but in several cases I still don’t seem to know the actual meaning of the sentence. That is one of the feelings I hate the most when studying. Sigh..
Anyway, I’m not giving up. I’m sure that I can finish it without being lost in the end, but there’s no doubt that it’ll take a lot longer time than first expected. Luckily I’m not in a hurry! 할 수 있어요!
The next update is that I just bought 4 new e-books from TTMIK. That’s always a good way to start the week! Also, in case you don’t know, they are currently having a 40% Christmas sale on their e-books – Don’t miss it! I bought: Korean Folk Tales & Aesop’s Fables, Korean in Action, Street Korean Ep. 4 and Street Korean Ep. 5. I can’t wait to begin! It’s not like I really NEED anymore materials right now, but how could I possibly resist?
My third update is about my TOPIK goal. I was planning on taking two Mock Tests this weekend, but due to my IT exam, that wasn’t possible at all.. However, the actual exam will be tomorrow 11.20, and it only takes 30 minutes, so I since I’m finally finished preparing for it, I’ll be studying for at the rest of this evening, and I’ll have most of my day tomorrow available for studying as well!
The fourth and last thing I want to share for now, is about the promise I made to myself in a previous post. Remember how I promised to try harder to use Korean in my conversations with my good friend, even though he’s fluent in English? Well we talked all Saturday (from around 9AM to midnight – Yikes), and much to my friend’s surprise, I only wrote 4 English sentences during that time. The first two was in English because we were talking about something very serious and personal, and I didn’t want to risk creating any misunderstandings. The other two sentences were in English because I made some mistakes and he needed to know what exactly I meant, so that he could correct me at accurately as possible.
The next day (yesterday) we talked again most of the day, this time with no English at all! Needless to say, I’m quite satisfied with myself!
I believe that was the most interesting Korean related things that happened. Ah.. I can almost hear my Christmas vacation calling my name~ Things can only become better now, right?
Now its time to eat Christmas cookies and watch the last episode of 사랑하는 은동아 study!
So the last 3 days have been quite hectic and I haven’t felt this exhausted in a very long time. I suppose that’s just the way things are when it’s time for your exams.
Anyway, despite being super tired I have been studying diligently. Most of my studying haven’t changed but I did successfully finish 어린 왕자 yesterday, and I am so incredibly happy that I decided to give it a try. I didn’t feel lost and even though I spent way too much time on looking up words, I still finished it a lot faster than I thought was possible. 아싸!
It just feels like such an accomplishment! After this post I’ll watch another episode of 사랑하는 은동아 and if everything goes as planned tomorrow, then I’ll start reading 크리스마스 개럴. I haven’t made any goals with this one as I seem to read more than planned anyway, and these chapters are a lot longer, so I’m not sure what goal to set.
I have an exam paper that I need to finish before Sunday. My goal is to finish it by Friday and if I succeed then I’ll be taking two TOPIK mock tests over the weekend. I want to see if I have made any progress since the last test, but I also want to try a TOPIK 2 test. It’ll be my first try with TOPIK 2, so I’m sure it’ll be interesting 😉
I’ll also be reviewing a lot during this weekend and hopefully write an essay. That’s my extra goals for the week.
I’m looking forward to the 18th when my classes ends, and I’ll have a lot more time on my hands.
Have you ever had a sudden boost of confidence after realizing progress? In my case, I work hard every day and that usually results in a general feeling of progress. This also means that suddenly realizing progress and therefore getting a boost of confidence, is a rare feeling to me.
About a week ago, I was talking to my awesome LP/Friend and he mentioned that my Korean seems to improve a lot faster lately, and that he could feel my progress even though it hadn’t been long since we talked the last time. I was happy as always, but I didn’t really think more about it until this weekend. Last Friday I had my usual italki session, and my teacher told me that my Korean indeed improved noticeably every week, which caused me to think about how that could possibly be? Where does all this progress come from?
The friend I talked about in the beginning of this blog post, is definitely one of the best language partners you could wish for, so shouldn’t I be making less progress when we don’t talk for a little while, rather than making a bigger progress?
I have been thinking about this all day yesterday – I mean let’s be honest here! We all want to know where our progress comes from, so that we can improve even more, right?
Anyway, today it finally hit me. I was looking through my conversation with another LP, and I realized that I hadn’t written anything in English for almost 2 months. After going through a few other conversations I could see that I was generally not using English anymore, with several LP’s. This answered my ‘Where does all this progress come from?’ question, but it also gave me another one. ‘How did this happen?’. I most certainly haven’t done it deliberately and if you asked me to stop using English, then I would probably have told you that it wouldn’t last for long. I didn’t decide to stop using English.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized what these specific LP’s had in common. None of them are confident in English and these specific LP’s aren’t really interested in learning it either. They just like to help people who are learning their language. This is when I realized that my still-quite-lacking Korean, has become better than their English. This obviously means that when I feel lost or have a question, I always ask in Korean, since I at this point feel like I understand their explanation in Korean better, than when they try to help me in English.
I speak a lot of English with my good LP/Friend, since he’s fluent in English and therefore I understand his English explanations a lot better than if he explains it in Korean. Also, when I’m in a hurry or if I’m doing something else while talking to him, I usually use English until I’m finished with whatever I’m doing, as it is a lot easier when I don’t have to look up words or focus too hard on writing.
This however, simply isn’t a possibility with the other LP’s anymore. I’m forced to look up grammar and vocabulary all the time, and I’m forced to create complex sentences that I would never have tried to make, with some of the other LP’s. Either that, or I simply have to only have super simple conversations and since I’m able to do this in Korean already, I wouldn’t be using English anyway. Now matter how I twist and turn it, I’ll only be using Korean. This of course also means that I make a lot more mistakes, but my LP’s always understand what I mean and I always understand their corrections, so I suppose those mistakes are pretty useful anyway.
This sudden (and honestly quite shocking) realization, has caused a big and sudden boost to my confidence. We can all probably do a lot more than we think. It also made me think that I should put more effort in my other conversations as well, and more importantly I should stop choosing the easy way as often as I seem to do.
I think I’ll start making dinner now, and then return to my Korean books and maybe even my drama. Remember to celebrate your progress! 🙂
Yesterday I woke up to an email from my teacher, saying that she had gotten sick and as a result my classes for the day had gotten cancelled. What an amazing start to my Thursday! Since I was already wide awake, I decided to just stay up and start studying Korean. I had to enjoy the early and quiet morning, right?
I started with my usual routine and after studying for a little over an hour, I decided to take a break. By then, my boyfriend had woken up and was about to leave the house, so I figured it was a good opportunity to be productive. Being productive in this case meant putting on my favorite Kpop songs and getting some cleaning done. With the cleaning out of the way, I felt like I was able to focus again, and I returned to my books. I honestly felt like I was on a roll yesterday, and when the postman knocked on my door, I realized that I had been sitting by my desk for over two hours. Yikes!
I unpacked my new books – excited as ever – and after looking through them all, I laid down on my couch and watched not 1, not 2, but 3 episodes of 사랑하는 은동아.. I can’t remember the last time I had time enough to binge watch a drama!
While making dinner, I was reviewing TTMIK’s grammar podcast, and after dinner I returned to the couch with my laptop, and started reading my second article that day. Normally I don’t read too many articles each day, as I find myself getting frustrated quite easily, but I just felt like I had all the patience and motivation in the world, and how could I possibly pass on such a rare feeling?
Later in the evening my little family (My boyfriend, the two long eared fluffies and me) all sat down to eat Christmas snacks and watch Pyrus (Old Danish Christmas TV Calendar), and once the episode was over, my boyfriend continued to watch a movie, and I picked up where I left with 어린왕자.
It wasn’t until I went to bed that I realized, that my day had truly been full of Korean. And what a joy it was!
During the day I was talking to one of my LP’s as well, and he was helpful and entertaining as always!
Today on the other hand, I have been insanely busy and haven’t read one single word of Korean.. Sigh.. Can we just go back to yesterday? No? Okay then..
Well it’s okay. My dinner is ready soon and after that I have my second Italki session this week. 아싸! After my session I will watch the 4th episode of Pyrus and then start my usual studying. And guess what! I have no plans and no homework this weekend! I’ll be working extra hard now that I finally have the chance!
I bought all these books during November, and actually, I also pre-ordered TTMIK Level 3 (Surprise!), so that’ll make it 8 books in total (Let’s not talk about the e-books, haha!). Whoops. I regret nothing! I might need a bigger desk soon though..