Posted in Personal, Uncategorized

Study room

So.. We bought a house. We didn’t even see it coming but we suddenly had the opportunity to buy a house that we really liked and we ended up doing so. The house needs a lot of work and the last month have been absolutely insane. I haven’ had time to even think about opening my Korean books as I have been busy with the whole moving process as well at having exams.
While the timing kinda sucks (I mean, shouldn’t I be studying more now that my Korean trip is approaching?) I don’t regret a thing, because in our new house I now have a study room. A room just for me. A room where I can peacefully submerge myself in my studies. A room where all my books have a place and there’s enough space to add a lot more books (Let’s face it, I’m going to Korea in slightly over a month – I’m gonna need more book space).
This room is going to be my own little stress-free temple and I’m constantly thinking about how to decorate it. It’s going to be worth it.

As I said I haven’t had time to open my Korean books, but you guys know me right? Of course that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been studying! I’ve been sticking to my italki lessons twice a week and by discussing everything that’s going on with my teachers I’ve learned a lot of situational Korean. When else would I ever be talking about wallpaper, renovations and heating sources?
I also discovered the ‘Free books’ category on ridibooks and because of that I have been reading quite a lot whenever I had some spare time. I read during my lunch break and when there’s not a lot of customers in the store. I have a few pens and some paper in my work locker and I make sure to write down all the unknown words when I read. I have quite a few vocabulary list lying around at this point!
I have also kept a personal diary in Korean for a few weeks. This meant that I got some writing practice done, however, since it’s quite personal I didn’t want anyone to read it and that obviously meant that I couldn’t get it corrected either. That makes it a lot less effective and I might get used to using wrong expressions and grammar, so I decided to stop. Instead I’ll be practicing my writing with less personal subjects.

There’s still a lot of work to be done but at this point it’s mainly things where I can’t be helpful anyway, so now I’ll probably be able to study a bit more effectively. My study room isn’t close to being ready yet and most of my books are still in packed in boxes, however I did unpack a few things this morning and will be making a new study schedule as soon as I finish this post.
I’m going to be doing my best with what I got until my study room is finished, and once it’s ready I’m sure everything is going to become a lot easier! I’m already browsing through my ikea magazine to find inspiration. I want this room to overflow with inspiration and I can’t wait to show you guys the finished result.

To end this post I want to share this song with you guys. It’s a song that I enjoy studying to and I thought you guys might enjoy it too. 🙂

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Reading books in foreign languages

When it comes to learning a language there are tons of ways to improve your skills. My best tip is definitely to read a lot in your target language since it can improve your skills in so many different ways, but I’ll save that for another blog post and stick to the actual topic of this post for now! While I recommend reading about a variety of subjects in a variety of forms, I personally find reading books to be the most helpful and interesting.
However, jumping into reading books in a foreign language isn’t always that easy. Unless you already have some fairly decent skills or a ton of patience (or stubbornness perhaps?), then you will most likely struggle a lot when you first try it out.
I know so many people who have gotten discouraged and filled with frustrations while trying to read books, that they no longer want to even try.
As a book lover I really find it sad whenever people around me fail to find joy in their books, and especially when the struggles are caused by the language and not the book itself.
I read my first book in Korean a little over a year ago and I’m currently working my way through my 7th book, so I thought I would give you guys a few tips on book reading in foreign languages!

  1. Choose a book that isn’t completely new to you. It can be a book that you have already read, a fairy tale you remember from your childhood or maybe a book version of your favorite movie. This way you will find it a lot easier to fill in the missing gaps – because you will have random gaps here and there. I also don’t recommend reading books that you already know by heart. If you do that then you risk getting bored too fast and you might stop paying attention to the actual book while reading it.
    It’s all about balance.
  2. Choose a book with novels or short stories, or a long book with short chapters. Short chapters gives you the feeling of getting somewhere. If you read 3 pages from a 10 paged chapter then you will feel the progress asap, but if you on the other hand read 3 pages from a 50 paged chapter, then you will feel like you have gotten just about nowhere. You effort remains the same but those 3 pages will feel a lot more valuable in short stories or chapters.
  3. Look up every unknown word in the first chapter. The first chapter is usually some sort of introduction to the characters and the overall story, which means that all the most important words for that specific book will show up over and over again in the first chapter. If you keep looking them up until you remember them, then you will find it a lot easier to work through the rest of the book. Of course you can look up all the unknown words throughout the entire book,but my personal experiences tells me that this method usually becomes too overwhelming. Personally I prefer looking up all the unknown words during the first chapter, and after that I only look up words if I suddenly find myself feeling lost after reading a full page or of I see a certain word being used again and again.
  4. Make an actual effort. Don’t keep the book in your bag and only bring it out when you have to wait for someone or when you smartphone battery dies. Make an actual effort to read the book. Decide on an adjustable goal every day and make sure to bring out that book in order to accomplish it- even when you aren’t bored to death!
  5. Try reading books in both digital and paper format. I have always preferred paper books as I enjoy the feeling of putting in a bookmark and then being able to see how much I have read as well as the feeling of actually turning the pages. Also I used to get really tired from reading digital books and bad headaches were pretty normal too. These days it seems to be getting better, but I definitely still enjoy paper books over digital books. It might make a big difference to you too.
  6. Try out pretty books. This might sound really stupid, but I personally enjoy books with pretty pictures. Especially drawn or painted pictures. It feels sort of like a check point whenever I get to one of the pictures, and I feel almost just as excited to reach those as I do when I reach a new chapter. I collect the Indigo books and I definitely recommend them if you want to enjoy pretty pictures while reading great stories

I’m currently reading 빨강머리 앤.

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I hope you found this post useful!

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Language tag

Good morning everybody! Sofie from Sofie To Korea has been so kind to tag me in a language tag, so I’ll start of my Wednesday by answering a few questions – Thank you Sofie!

What would you consider your native language?

Danish is without a doubt my native language, however it is not the language I find myself most comfortable with, and no matter how depressing it may sound, I’m actually not that good at it, haha! I stumble across words when speaking, randomly mess up my pronunciation and screw up basic grammar. Of course this doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens a lot more than when I use English. I almost NEVER think or talk to myself in Danish and my grades from English class has always either been identical or better than those from my Danish classes. Slightly depressing but nevertheless true!
My sister (and best friend in the entire world) is just like me when it comes to English VS. Danish so I keep thinking that I most have gotten in from her, however no one else in our family is like this, so I’m not sure where she would have gotten it from.. It’s interesting now that I really think about it.. Oh well, I’m sidetracking!

What was your first language learning experience?

I actually don’t really know. My sister is almost 11 years older than me and she always loved English. In Danish TV there’s a ton of american TV shows and movies with Danish subtitles, and watching all of this was of course very helpful, but there’s no doubt that my sister is the biggest reason for my English love. Since she loved English so much she would always talk to me in English from when I was very young, and as I grew up we would watch movies and animations in English, without subtitles. Our favorite is Happy Feet! Till this day I still cannot see it with Danish dubbing. It’s just wrong! Our favorite games was anything related to ‘hidden objects’ games and this gave me a huge advantage in school, as my English vocabulary was growing rapidly. (I suddenly wonder if I could find a Korean version? Hmm). I’m starting to sidetrack again. What I’m trying to say is that I started learning English naturally in a very early age while still learning how to talk in Danish. I don’t know how old I was, what my fist correct sentence was or when I started thinking in English. It just happened.
However what I do know, is that I had no idea that I was ‘unusual’ in any way until the end of 8th grade. In a random English class at my new school I realized that I was the only one who were more comfortable in English compared to Danish, and nobody was thinking in English, except me. When you think of your native language, you don’t think of it as something you have learnt. It’s not an accomplishment, it just happened as you grew up, right? That’s how I felt about English, but that day in that class, I realized that I was the only one who felt that way. I guess that can be considered my first language learning experience? Maybe. Haha!

What languages have you studied and why did you learn them?

Through school I studied English and Danish. For those two I don’t really have a reason. I was supposed to learn German in school as well but I ended up being absent more or less constantly from 4th-8th grade, however that’s another story! Also, that’s why I didn’t realize that I was different from many others until 8th grade, as I had never really been taught any English in a class before that. Even though I never got to study German, my understanding is pretty decent. Growing up in Ribe (Denmark’s oldest city, which is pretty close to the German border) meant that we constantly had German tourists so I would often listen to people talk in German when walking around, but even more importantly, my Mum is obsessed with German. She loves her German music, dramas, movies, and even German dubbed movies. This started a long time before I was born and as a result I grew up listening to German all the time. For some reason I never really felt comfortable with German. I wonder why I immediately felt comfortable with English and not German, since I was surrounded even more by German than I ever was with English. My dad had the same German obsession and I never understood them until I got my Korean obsession. Slightly depressing since my Mum still finds mine ridiculous even though her obsession is the very same!

Anyway, as mentioned above I don’t really have a starting time for Danish and English, so when I started learning Korean on my own ( 1 year and 4 months ago) it was the very first time I had to start learning a language (that I can remember at least) which meant that I had no idea where to begin. I had no idea where to start looking for supplies, what was basic knowledge or what I even wanted to do with my Korean skills, if I was ever able to create some. It is the best, most challenging, frustrating and scary decision I have ever made. Which is sort of a lie since I never actually decided to start learning it, but nevertheless – here I am!
I guess I don’t really have a reason for learning Korean other than liking the language and culture, however I do have a story on how it all started, right here.

How does your personality affect your language learning?

I can be super stubborn when it comes to learning and this is just as much a blessing as a curse. It means that I don’t give up easily but it also means that I can waste a lot of time because I just can’t move on due to some tiny and often irrelevant detail that I can’t figure out. Also I want to try figuring everything out on my own before asking for help, which again leads me to waste a lot of time.

Do you prefer learning a language in a class or on your own?

Definitely on my own! That special day (whoa, this sounds so dramatic!) in 8th grade, I discovered that I was on a higher level than the rest of my class which shows how much more effective it can be to learn in other ways than in a class, but in my case it also means that I can’t explain grammar what so ever. Don’t ever ask me why I choose certain answers when being tested, because I can’t answer you properly even if I wanted to.
However I quickly learned from this problem and when it comes to Korean I focus a lot of trying to remember why things work like they do, instead of just using it.

What are your favorite language learning materials?

Everything! Haha! I generally love books so anything in book format is usually a good start, but looking outside of that, I just love anything that’s natural. Novels, dramas, movies, music, newspapers, blogs etc. Anything that isn’t made for language learning purposes can make my day. I feel like it’s a lot more useful and I feel a greater sense of accomplishment when finishing anything from those categories.

How much time do you spend learning a language per day?

Normally I would spend about 2-3 hours per day, not counting things like watching dramas, listening to music, using memrise etc. but for the last month I’ve had an awesome break that means that I have been able to study for about  4-5 hours per. day. Sadly this is coming to an end soon!

What are your short-term and long-term language goals?

My short term goal is to pass TOPIK 1, in April. I will be taking TOPIK 2 as well, however I have no goals about passing this one yet. I just want to try it out while I’m in London anyway, and hopefully it will help me feel less nervous about it in the future. Though it isn’t a goal to pass TOPIK 2, I’m still working hard to get a good result.

I’m not sure what my long term goal is yet. I want to feel just as comfortable with Korean as I do with Danish and English, and I also want to pass TOPIK level 6. I guess that’s all I know for now!

What is your favorite language?

Definitely Korean!

What is the next language you want to learn?

I have no idea. Maybe Japanese? Maybe. For now I only know that I want to learn more languages in the future!

What advice could you give new language learners?

Don’t worry too much about pace and goals. Don’t compare yourself to other learners.
If you know yourself very well then use that knowledge to find what works for you, and if you don’t know yourself that well then think of your language journey as way of learning more about yourself. Just enjoy yourself. 🙂

 

Thank you for reading all of this! As for tagging new people, all the people I wanted to tag has already been tagged, so I’ll think carefully about it and get back to you later!