Step 2 cont’d: start reading on lingq
Again, this step is called conversation, and we use two skills to converse – speaking and listening. As I said here
, I now find it useful to consider all skills to be in support of listening, because it’s the hardest (most time consuming) skill to develop. So anything I can do to make it go more smoothly and efficiently is appreciated. Other than pure listening, if I could do just one thing to improve it, I would read. I think reading is the single biggest facilitator of listening, so I want to do a lot of it. It’s not the only facilitator, and I’m not advocating a pure listening/reading method, but right now I’m going to talk a little bit about reading.
I actually don’t care to be a really good reader. I have no interest in reading Korean novels, newspapers, etc. I do want to be able to read signs, menus, texts from friends, news tickers and subtitles, for example, so I need to have some reading skill, just not very advanced. I admit that in the past I haven’t read much in foreign languages; it just didn’t interest me, even though I’m a pretty big reader in English. In fact, the biggest, most consistent effort I made was in Russian, where I wound up getting to the 20k level in lingq over the course of about 2 years. For me, that was a big deal, but for people who mostly do listening/reading to learn languages, like Steve Kaufmann, 20k isn’t impressive for even one year. Incidentally, although Steve Kaufmann takes a relatively long time to learn a new language, he only spends about an hour a day doing it, and after 5 years or so he claims to understand just about everything he hears. Now this is pretty impressive, regardless of age, when you consider the number of hours he spends. 1500 hours to develop advanced listening is really good, and imo one of the main reasons he can pull it off is that he reads a lot, and most of what he reads he also listens too. He has said that he listens to a lot of additional stuff that he doesn’t have text for, but I think if he didn’t do so much reading, his results would pale in comparison.
So bottom line, I’m going to read more this time. I want to get to 20k before the end of the year. Kaufmann is also learning Korean right now, and last time I checked he was at 47k. He said he felt he had quite a ways to go to get to the point where he understood just about everything. This is in contrast to other languages, where he said he felt the magic number was around 40k. So I was postulating with some other members that for Korean it might be 60k. Either way, I think for me, hitting 20k this year is enough. When I come back after this year, and I want to go on another long spurt, I’ll probably try to come closer to whatever number Kaufmann says put him over the top.
Now I want to describe to you exactly what I do on lingq. First, lingq is a site that has a tool which is basically a mouse-over dictionary. Fly over a Korean word you don’t know, and it will give you a definition. This tool has more bells and whistles than most mouse-over dictionaries; it keeps track of the words that you know already, and uses this information for the next time you try to read something. It shades known words differently than others, which I find helpful. The site also has a big library of articles you can read, which can save you from spending a lot of time searching. The site more convenient for me than most, because I use it to read 6 different languages, so I’m going to keep using it for the time being.
Right now my reading is pretty weak, so I read fairly easy articles. I did a few dozen beginner lessons that I got from the library before I got sick of the beginner material available. I’d open a lesson, read it, select(create lingqs for) the words I don’t know so they won’t be counted towards my “known word” count, then tell the program to count all the new known words for that lesson. It typically took about 10 lessons to get 100 known words, my daily goal, added to my total, since the lessons were small.
As I said, I got sick of the beginner material, so now I’m loading lessons from koreanpod101 into lingq. That huge download I made probably contains at least a month’s worth of beginner and intermediate material. After that, I hope to finally get to the wonderful intermediate podcasts from TTMIK. There are about 150 of them, and they are about 10min each, so that will definitely last me several months. Although that might be enough material to reach my goal, I’m looking for other good sources of native material, which has text and audio, to give me some variety. Your suggestions are appreciated