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Quarantine Neologisms 2020: Korean, Korean Sign Language, Mandarin, and Danish

Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:14 pm
by RachelMeier
My language study has changed a lot since my first log, so I've decided to start a new one! Actually, the main thing that inspired me to start a new log is something SUPER exciting for me... I have wanted to study Korean Sign Language ever since I watched My Ajusshi two years ago (one of the plotlines in the show is the main character caring for her deaf grandmother).

So, I have been putting this on hold for a while, always assuming it would have to wait until I finally got to Korea and looked for a hakwon to attend. Well, last night I finally decided to pull out my google fu and I found a 60 lesson course by EBS in basic sign language. 30 hours of stuff! And it's GREAT stuff just judging from the 1st lesson, which I watched yesterday. Very clear explanations of how the signs work, and during the course of the lessons they also show drawings of the signs with gesture arrows and descriptions, which are very easy to screenshot and plug into anki. I'm really excited about this. Another great thing of course is there are no English subs available of course so watching the class will also count for my Korean study too.

Ugh I'm SO excited. And this is why I'm starting a new log actually. (This will be my very first sign language to learn too so I'm also going to pay close attention and try to write about any differences in the learning process).

I'll probably update this log again tonight!

Re: Apr 29 “Recyclable goods” and so many questions lol

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:35 am
by RachelMeier
Well I did *not* update the other evening as you see and I have sooooo many questions and thoughts about KSL and sign languages in general. First, I realized I never provided the link to the playlist I’m using: ... 9VLU_LgqO9

It’s an EBS video course and I have done the first 7 lectures so far. Not sure why (to avoid commercials?) but each lecture has been split into 4 videos. Each lecture is about a half hour. Anyway, there are 60 lectures which is just an amazing amount of content (30 hours) and I am so grateful for it. I have not been able to find anything equivalent for ASL. Making an Anki deck has been a snap— I just screenshot the sign (sometimes more than one screenshot if it’s complicated) and upload it into the anki deck. Don’t even need to use a computer. There’s been between 10 and 17 vocab items for each lesson which is pretty reasonable even for daily learning. Guessing I will have about an 1000 word vocab at the end.

Anyway, so far my thoughts: obviously, the beginning of any language is pretty easy and I am not finding it hard to remember anything as of yet. Occasionally I lose track of what the teachers are saying in certain grammar points or when they are asking the guest students questions but for the most part I’m understanding. The main teacher Lee Mihye also talks about deaf culture and spends a lot of time emphasizing that KSL isn’t signed Korean—it is its own language with its own rules. This becomes complicated because there is some effort to reflect Korean speech levels with certain signs but you can see that this completely breaks down with other signs—especially the word for “you” which is never used in formal Korean (pretty much) but *needs* to be an element of sign language.

Other interesting thing is how concepts like synonyms and homonyms seem to take on completely different meanings when applied to signs. For example, the sign for “to carry” and “through/by” are the same sign. And it seems like “synonyms” as we think of them in spoken languages just don’t exist—the shades of meaning between “rant” and “yell” may be expressed by facial expression, or intensity of movement, not by totally different signs. (I haven’t learned those signs yet but that’s what I’m inferring from what I’ve learned so far.) It is so interesting! So much fun.

Two complaints/concerns: I have *no clue* how I am going to study sentences. I, mean, I would have to get on the computer and do some serious image manipulation in order to come up with a sentence flashcard. Does anyone have any insight on this? Is there a way for me to capture the youtube videos and insert them into anki?

Other complaint: For some reason in Episode 7, we learned the sign for “recyclable goods”! It’s like 5 signs put together! Why on earth would they teach such a hard word so early, I hope this isn’t a sign that things are going to get challenging too quickly because the videos have been so good so far.

Updates on everything else:

Korean: still trying to catch up on anki reviews, but I put so many hard words in this deck! Every day I still have over 1000 reviews left. In a 2500 word deck! I have been trying to catch up for a month! I am also slowly plugging through Yoon Dong Joo’s Sky, Wind, Stars and Poems. Some of the grammar has finally started to go wooosh over my head and I have had to look up English translations for a few poems. But I’m still committed to reading it and I ordered another poetry book as well. I also ordered the dvds for You Who Forgot Poetry.

Danish: Plugging away with Duolingo and Memrise. Don’t think I’m doing enough pronunciation practice.

Mandarin: Hooooo boy. I have had to completely give up on ploughing through Intermediate Chinese Reader and I will be spending a month reviewing Lessons 1-5 instead of moving forward to the next unit. I am goldlisting all the vocab and making an Anki deck of the phrases. Something about these chapters did not click with me. Possibly because I did them too slowly (major anxiety issues about the pandemic slowed down my studies), also possibly because the new chapter structure and the increase in vocab items (150 items per chapter yegads) meant I needed to rethink my approach. I don’t want to give up on this textbook because I know how good it is even though it is a slog. I have felt studying was much easier ever since I started my review though, so that makes me feel like I made the right choice. More thoughts about this later. Making the Anki phrase deck is a PAIN ugh.

Not sure when I will update again but I’m sure I will have more tales of my KSL videos soon.

Re: May 17–bit of a late update

Posted: Sun May 17, 2020 4:06 pm
by RachelMeier
I think I’ll update here for the most part when I make major changes.

One of the things I’ve been trying to do is really reduce stress with my language learning. Trying to keep things fun and interesting while still moving forward. To that end I’ve reduced and spread out a few tasks.

For KSL, I’m now reviewing my anki deck and watching lectures on alternate days. This reduces study time to just a half hour each day instead of 45 min plus. This makes it a little more manageable. I’ve felt my attention slipping the last few episodes, and I think this is because they do a lot of review. The thing is, review is good. So, just got to try to do this a little earlier in the evening so I can concentrate.

Mandarin is going pretty well. I have been pushing myself to do it very first thing which is when I have the most willpower. I downloaded the shared TOCFL deck from Anki. I can’t believe that anyone would actually do this monstrously huge deck with 3 cards for each word. I would lose my shit! I deleted the English-Hanzi card and the pinyin-hanzi cards and I am only going through the Hanzi-english cards. We’ll see how this goes. Right now I am doing 22 new cards a day, which will finish the deck up in a year. LOL. I’ll stick to it for now. I can’t do more than 100 reviews per day so if it gets to be too many reviews I will reduce to 11 new cards and then again to 6. There’s a lot of words I already know of course so I set the “easy” interval for new cards to 14 days which will push those cards out to “mature” very quickly.

Danish study is pretty spotty, Not sure 20 min 5 days a week is enough to really learn everything even if it’s a related language I guess I’m just not totally sure how committed I am to it. The pronunciation is challenging and I will need to spend a bit more time on it if I really want to travel there after the pandemic. If there is an after, my God.

I haven’t been doing much with Korean aside from watching dramas and my KSL videos. Still trying to play catchup with my vocab deck. I am finally pledging myself to take these stupid leeches out of this deck and put them in my vocab diary. Can’t believe I’ve had those in this deck for all these years. I’m committed letting leeches suspend themselves in my new mandarin deck too. Just nope nope nope.

Speaking more of anki, I am using the “review deck” trick for grammar points in Mandarin and it really works pretty well. I’m only flipping through that once a week or so.

Meanwhile, Japanese and Finnish arecalling my name like with siren song. LOL I’m hopeless.