Posted in books, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

REVIEW: Real-life Korean Conversations: Intermediate – By TalkToMeInKorean

I ordered this book by TTMIK around the time they published it, but I didn’t get to start using it until just recently. I have now finished it and as I have promised a few people, I’m now here to share my thoughts with all of you!

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Table of content:

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Structure breakdown:
Each chapter begins with a 2 page dialog which is then followed by a vocabulary list.

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3

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vocabAfter reading the dialog and following up on the vocabulary, the real fun begins. A grammar pattern from the dialog is introduced and followed by a few sample sentences that allows you to become more comfortable with that specific pattern.
You then have two short assignments involving that pattern. The TTMIK crew guides you through the vocabulary so you only have to focus on the actual pattern and how to use it. Below the assignment you’ll find the answer key.

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After checking your answers, you see two other patterns that are related to the main pattern that you are learning, which then introduces two alternative ways of expressing the same thing as the main pattern. It can be by using other words, another type of grammer or even another level of politeness. Below these patterns you’ll also find a sample sentence as well as information on why the pattern is different/similar, how to use and when to use it.

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Each dialog has three main patterns, that all comes with assignments and alternative patterns.

Good things:
– When reading the dialog, the Korean version is on the left side, and the English version is on the right side. This way you can check how much of the dialog you understand line by line if you wish without having to flip back and forth between pages, or if you are more like me, then you can easily skip the English version completely. You can adjust it according to your preferences.

– The book comes with audio files. A useful tool for any language learner.

– Vocabulary list. A really helpful tool and a good indicator of your level. I’m always excited if I know most of the words on the list. Also, it makes it easier to study on the go, because you don’t need a device to look up the words (though I’m sure most of us just do in through our smartphones anyway).

– The same grammar pattern can be found in different chapters. This is really helpful when it comes to expanding your knowledge of how to use that specific pattern. It’s also a great reminder that there’s never just one way of expressing yourself

– The answer key is printed right after the practice assignments, in a discreet font and color. This is GREAT! When I do assignments in books, I check the answers after each assignment because I don’t want to complete a full page of assignments just to discover that I had misunderstood what I was supposed to do. However, this usually means that I have to go back and forth between the assignment and the answer key. This is why I love it when books have the answer key printed along with each assignment.
As mentioned above, it’s very discreet so you don’t have to worry about the answers jumping to your eyes before you actually need them.

– The book changes between the different politeness levels, unlike many other books who only teach the 존댓말 version.

– The general design of the book is great. It’s user friendly and pleasing to the eyes.

– It has cute drawings with empty speech bubbles. Okay this might sound odd, but think about it! You can go back write your own example sentences using the grammar that you just learned. Sounds like fun to me!

– Fun and realistic dialogs. I know that it kinda says so in the title, but trust me, titles aren’t always honest. I had quite a few giggle moments while going through the book and many of the situations were super relatable.

What could be improved:
Nothing really.

Final thoughts:
Overall I really liked the book. Personally it was mainly reviewing for me, as most dialogs only had 1-3 unknown words and I only came across  1 unknown grammar point. For a short time I also wished that the dialogs had been a bit longer, but that’s all just because I’m at an high intermediate stage. If you’re a high beginner/low intermediate stage then this book would be absolutely perfect for you. At this stage it’ll be very helpful to have a book that explains and compares similar grammar patterns as well as help expand you vocabulary. It’ll also help you gain some confidence if you find it difficult to practice with native speakers.

If you’re interested in the book then you can find it right here! They also have it in ebook format and in a beginner edition as well.

Also, I did take a few pictures while studying with the book, so I’ll have another ‘Study With Me’ post up, in a week or so!

Posted in books, Guides, Resources, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

REVIEW – Korean Q&A sentence patterns by TTMIK

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This is a book that just recently joined my growing collection of books, and since it is one of my current favorites I decided that it was more than worthy of a review on the blog.
The funny thing about this is that I actually bought the e-book when it was published, but because I prefer physical copies I never quite got around to using it. I usually force myself to read e-books since not all books will come out in paper format, but it does take me a lot longer to work through them, which is why I currently have 2 other e-books on standby.. I will get to them soon, I promise!
Anyway let’s get to the review!
As usual I will go through the setup, good points and bad points, my general opinion and lastly my advice for studying with this specific book.

Setup
The books starts out with a short but thorough introduction to the content as well as TTMIK’s own advice on how to study with the book. This is followed by the table of contents and then we get to all the fun stuff.
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The book contains 10 categories, which each has 5 main questions. All of the main questions are followed by 3 similar questions, a main grammar point, a sample answer as well as 3 similar answers.
The book provides vocabulary lists, study notes, a real life answer from a TTMIK teacher as well as a sample dialog.
Lastly there’s a blank area for you to write your own answers in.
The book comes with downloadable audio files.

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qna-5

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Good/Bad points
The good – in no specific order:
– Visually pleasing.
– Realistic and interesting topics.
– Easy to review due to study notes.
– No romanization.
– Can help you improve listening, speaking, reading as well as writing.
– Can help you gain confidence by giving you knowledge about basic patterns as well as expected questions/answers in certain situations.
– Clean design that allows you to focus on the actual content.
– Perfect travel size.
– Answers from real people.

The bad – in no specific order:
– I always write answers on a separate paper and never in my books, but if I did then I would like a bit more answer space.

My general opinion
As mentioned in the beginning of my post, this is one of my current favorite books to study with, and I keep finding more and more ways to study with it, so personally I would recommend this to anyone who is beginner or intermediate. It’s a great way to improve your conversational skills and take a step towards talking Korean more freely, which is what I am currently working a lot on.

My advice on studying with this book
– Go through all the main questions. If you can answer them with confidence then you can move on to the next one. Sometimes you might learn something unexpected and even if you don’t, the book is made in a simple way that allows you to read it all quickly without feeling like you’re wasting your time. Not to mention that confirming your skills might give you a boost of confidence!
If you cannot answer with confidence then work through the assignments provided.
– Make sure to write your own answers to the questions. You can easily skip it or copy one of the sample answers, but practicing is really important if you want to really learn how to use these patterns. Also, writing your own answers forces you to really think about the question and the patterns and in many cases you will also have to look up words that are relevant to your specific answer, which will bring you even more knowledge about the topic.
If you find it very difficult, then start by writing your answer on a separate paper in your mother tongue. This will remove any barriers in your thinking while answering as well as it will give you a guide to what words and grammar you need to look up before answering in Korean.
– Avoid practicing wrong things. Make sure to get your answers checked so that you can learn from possible mistakes instead of teaching yourself something incorrect. You can ask friends, language partners, teachers or get help from websites like italki, lang-8 or apps like Hellotalk and HiNative (Reviews are coming for all of these).
– Use the audio files to practice both listening and speaking. These short files are perfect to imitate and practice pronunciation and intonation.
– Study with a language partner or friend if possible. I’m going to use the topics for my future italki sessions, and I’ll use the book to help me prepare for each session/topic.

I hope you guys found this helpful!
Let me just end today’s post by telling you guys that TTMIK is currently having a chuseok sale so now is a really great time to invest in this book! You can buy it HERE

Posted in Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Final thoughts on my break

Now matter how much I wish I could continue with my current schedule, there’s no way to get around the fact that my break officially has come to an end. I’ll be starting a new adventure on Monday and I honestly have no idea how packed my schedule will be, but since my Korean studies is one of my favorite ways of reducing my every day stress, there’s no way I can keep away from my books, haha! Hopefully it’ll be similar to my previous schedule. Anyway, I’m spending my evening here on the blog to write a short (no seriously! I’ll really try to keep it short!) post on my final thoughts.

As you might remember, I made a very detailed study schedule for my break, and I am pleased to let you guys know that I managed to stick to my schedule, almost every day throughout the last month.
I made a list of ‘end-of-break-goals’ and I have been working very hard on completing these.
The first goal was to finish ‘Korean Grammar In Use intermediate’ and I’m pleased to say that I did indeed finish it. I have been eager to start the advanced book, but I told myself to wait and focus on getting more familiar with the intermediate grammar first, so that’s what I’m working on right now. I’ll probably start it soon though, as starting new books is just too exciting ㅎㅎ
The next goal was to finish ‘News in Korean’, by TTMIK, and I accomplished this as well! I also had a goal about finishing the TTMIK grammar podcast and I can mark this goal as completed as well.
The fourth goal was to finish ‘작은 아씨들’, however this goal I have not completed. I felt a lot of problems when it came to focusing on the book and in the beginning I just forced myself to continue, but as you can imagine it didn’t have any good effect whatsoever. Even though I could still just continue, I decided to just put it away for the time being. I’m definitely a ‘books-over-movies’ type of person and since I don’t count my ‘book-reading-time’ as a part of my study time, I would rather be able to enjoy the book than to just go through it as fast as possible. However, I’m glad to let you guys know that I picked it up again about a week ago and I’m currently flying through it without any difficulties. See? Sometimes it just pays better of to put things away for a while. I’ll finish it in the beginning of March, at the very latest.
Now, as for the fifth, last and most exciting goal, I wanted to improve my TOPIK 2 skills. To be more specific I wanted to improve with 3-5 points on listening and reading in a TOPIK 2 mock test. During this last month, I have taken 6 mock tests and while the results obviously varied from time to time, if I look at the one with my lowest result, I have still gotten 3 points more than my first test, on both listening and reading! Not too bad if I may say so myself.

In other words, I have successfully completed 4 out of 5 goals, and I’m really happy about how I spent my break. I have no regrets. However, I can see that I semi-failed at my attempt to keep this post short. Sorry guys!

Anyway, I just ordered a ton of books on my birthday and I am currently experimenting with a few new study methods, and I can’t wait to share them all with you guys. Lot’s of new interesting things coming up!
Have a great evening guys! ^^

Posted in books, Personal, Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

Making study plans

These past few days I’ve been planning on making myself a new study schedule specially for this long break I’m currently on. Even though I get to study a lot these days I keep having this fear of wasting my time away. You know how sometimes you got nothing done during a long break because you keep thinking ‘Oh, I have plenty time so it doesn’t matter if I don’t do it today’? That’s the fear I keep having, even though I know that I am studying more than usually.
To avoid this, I am currently working on a new study schedule so that I can get to at least do some specific things, and then just study as I feel like it outside of those things.

I have decided to take on the TOPIK 2 (my mock test was less tragic than expected but nevertheless still tragic.. Sigh..) in April, so there’s no way that I will let this break go to waste!
Here’s what I have decided for now:

Everyday goals:
Morning:
– Go through 1 article from ‘News in Korean’, by TTMIK.
– Go through 1 article from Naver.
– Go through 1 story + assignments from ‘Korean folktales and Aesop’s fables’, by TTMIK.
– Listen to a TTMIK Podcast (grammar or 이야기).

Evening:
– Go through 2 grammar points from ‘Korean in Grammar intermediate’.
– Review 2 previous grammar points from ‘Korean in Grammar intermediate’.
– Complete 2 assignments in my TOPIK 쓰기 book.
– Complete 2 assignments in my TOPIK 읽기 book.

Weekly goals:
– Complete 5, 1 hour sessions with my italki teacher.
– Study with a practice TOPIK test from my ‘Pass new TOPIK intermediate’ book.
– Read one chapter in ‘작은 아씨들’.
– Write a short review of all finished chapters from ‘작은 아씨들’, using the narrative form.
– Go through each written review with my italki teacher.

End-of-break goals:
– Finish ‘Korean in Grammar intermediate’.
– Finish ‘News in Korean’, by TTMIK.
– Finish the 9th level of TTMIK grammar podcast.
– Finish ‘작은 아씨들’.
– Improve with 3-5 points on listening and reading in a TOPIK 2 mock test.

All of the things mentioned above is obviously just my lowest goals, and the more the better. Outside of these goals I will also be continuing my plan to surround myself with Korean, which so far is going very well!
Also, I got some other pretty awesome news today. Apparently the office at my soon-to-be workplace made mistake so I will be adding an extra week to my break. I can’t even believe my luck!
I made myself promise not to waste any time, so I’ll end my blog post here and return to my books!

Posted in books, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

REVIEW: Korean folk tales and Aesop’s fables – BY TTMIK

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

Aesop’s Fables:
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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5) After practicing some of the used grammar, it’s time for ‘Vocabulary Quiz’.

vocab quiz
6) The vocabulary Quiz is follow by a ‘Comprehension Quiz’.

comp7) Lastly you get and ‘Answer Key’ and you can once again check your answers.answer key

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.

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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!

Posted in Selfstudy, TOPIK, Uncategorized

When things are looking brighter

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. 5I 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!

 

Posted in books, Selfstudy, Uncategorized

Korean day

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..

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