My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

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AndyMeg
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby AndyMeg » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:19 pm

Hi!

It's been quite a while!

My situation stayed basically the same as it was in my last post.

We also took a long break from my weekly korean classes (the teacher got busy with other things) and in the last three weeks I've been watching more thai and chinese TV dramas than korean TV dramas.

I think I really needed a break from korean.

I've been watching two TV shows without subs (one thai and one chinese) and two thai TV dramas with english subs. I started watching the chinese one with english subs but from episode 5 onwards there were no more subs, so I decided to continue watching it without subs. There's a saying that we can get a lot of meaning just from non-verbal communication, so I decided to watch the unsubbed TV dramas while paying a lot of attention to non-verbal communication, but also to the sounds, even if I didn't know their exact meaning. It has been a fun ride and I've started to isolate some words here and there and guess their possible meaning (like "mae" for mom, "chai" for "yes" and "mai" for "not" in thai --> I don't know the official transcription of these words as I've never studied thai). It's been a really interesting experience because even if I don't speak those languages I've been able to follow the general plot of both stories and I've enjoyed both of them. I also started to subconsciously do something I tend to do when I watch korean dramas with english subs: in the subbed dramas I started to compare the thai I heard with the english subs and would also repeat from time to time some fragments of speech.

All of this got me thinking about the general approach to language learning and why many people can read rather well but their speaking and pronunciation is not up to par. I want to sound as native-like as possible in the languages I learn, but I've found that sometimes trying to match the official script with the actual sounds creates an interference that makes the learning more difficult. So, thinking about all that, I want to make a small experiment with korean (and maybe later with other languages as well).

In our native language we usually first learn to listen and speak and then we learn to read and write. But that order tends to be inverted when learning a foreing language. I think that's one of the reasons why many people have difficulty with speaking like a native. Learning the script first and then trying to connect it with the actual spoken language creates interference because the script usually doesn't exactly/perfectly match its spoken counterpart. So one of the things I would like to do with this small experiment is to try to follow the natural order of when we learn our native language. Of course, as learning a first language and learning a second language are not exactly the same (the conditions vary quite a lot) I'll be making some modifications in order to make the best use of the available material while trying to accommodate it to the general guidelines of this experiment.

As we learn best when we go slightly out of our comfort zones, but not too far away as to feel too stressed and overwhelmed, I'll try to graduate the stages/steps of this small experiment keeping this in mind.

I want this small experiment to be more of an intuitive exploration, so instead of making a complete plan from start to finish, I'll just decide on the next step when the time comes (and I also may change a step/stage midway).

So, the first step for me is/was this:

1) Look for a short complete audiovisual story with both english and korean subs.

I did my search in Viki because I want to take advantage of the "Learn Mode" and be able to see both subs at the same time.

For now I have two candidates: two very short dramas, around 10 episodes long, each episode being about 15 minutes long (so the total time for each drama would be more or less equal to that of a movie).

I still want to look for more candidates and then I'll decide about the next step.

I'll keep you updated! ;)
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AndyMeg
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby AndyMeg » Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:46 pm

My current approach to language learning is "fun and enjoyment as a guide", so if I don't enjoy something I stop doing it.

I'm really excited about my current experiment, but I've changed a few things.

The general guidelines for the experiment are these:

1) Focus first on listening and speaking and then on reading and writing.
2) Do activities that fall into my current sweet spot (the zone that's slightly out of my current comfort zone but close enough to not feel overwhelming)
3) I want this experiment to be more of an intuitive exploration, so instead of making a complete plan from start to finish, I'll just decide on the next step when the time comes (and I also may change or modify a step midway).

What I've tried so far:

Initially I was thinking on doing a small experiment, so I chose to work with a short k-drama which, in total, is less than three hours long. As the experiment was going to be short I chose it based on the criteria that it had to had both complete korean and english subs. After I chose the k-drama I started working with it this way:

1) I watched the first episode without subs
2) I cut the first-scene's audio and replayed it many times during a day
3) The next day I watched that scene with english subs

At that point the idea was to continue with the audio of the next scene but I realized that it was a boring activity and I didn't want to do it any more. So I stopped and started to think of better ways to go about my experiment. That's how I ended up with my current approach.

My current approach:

I want to take my time with this experiment, for as long as I feel excited about it.

I'm currently on the "Listening and speaking" stage. But at this moment my main focus is just listening. I'm not actively forcing speaking, but I won't stop it if it comes spontaneously to me.

My main current objective in this stage is to improve my listening comprehension. In order to achieve this I've decided to follow this route/guidelines:

- Don't use korean subs when watching a k-drama

- Watch one k-drama without any kind of subs (after I finish it my plan is to start watching another k-drama the same way). There's an exception to this and it is that I can occasionally turn on the english subs if I feel I need them to understand key information that I need to know in order to continue enjoying the drama.

- Try to keep listening to korean songs as much as possible

- Try to watch as many korean TV as possible (with or without english subs).

- I won't be reading korean subs for the k-dramas but I can read any korean script/writing that is part of the original video (for example the name of a store, a name tag in a uniform, the title of a book, etc.).

- Take the Viki's k-drama vocabulary quiz every time I'm going to start watching a new episode of a k-drama (as the quiz is made of the most frequent words found in the k-dramas that served as a sample, I want to use it as a learning tool). I use the quiz this way: 1) Play the audio of the word while I see it in written form 2) Quickly choose an answer (if I don't know the answer I skip the word, but if I have a hunch of its possible meaning I'll choose that option). 3) See the summary of my results (notice in which categories I got words right or wrong. There are three categories: easy, medium and hard. Each category represents the frequency group each word belongs to. Easy words are the most frequent ones.) 4) Read the summary of the words I didn't know or that I got wrong (it has each word in korean and its meaning in english) 4) Read the summary of the words I got right (it has each word in korean and its meaning in english).

- Everyday (except for Sundays) I'll read a small section of the book "Essential Korean Grammar" by Laura Kingdon. This book is divided into three big parts: 1) The Basics of Korean 2) Grammar Points 3) Frequently Seen Word Parts. The second part rates each grammar point from 5 to 1, 5 being considered the most critical and frequent and 1 considered to be very rarely used/seen. In this part each grammar point also comes with an indication about where it is used and how often: more in speaking than in writing, more in writing than in speaking, equally on writing and speaking, only in speaking, only in writing. Based on this my plan is to first focus on the most frequent items, so I'll read parts 1 and 3 completely, but for now I'll only read the grammar points of part 2 that are rated with 5 stars and that are used in speaking. When I finish this first pass on the book, I'll read it again but this time I plan to skip sections 1 and 3 and only focus on the same items I read about in section 2 during the first pass. My idea is to keep reading about those items until I feel I've got a good grasp of them. Then I'll move on to the next most frequent items (first those marked with four starts and then those marked with three stars) and continue like this until I have a good grasp of the grammar points marked with four and three stars.

In order to make space for korean content I've stopped watching the two english-subbed thai dramas and one chinese drama. I'll still be watching the unsubbed thai drama because I'm enjoying the story and the interaction between characters a lot.
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Bex
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby Bex » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:20 am

AndyMeg wrote:All of this got me thinking about the general approach to language learning and why many people can read rather well but their speaking and pronunciation is not up to par. I want to sound as native-like as possible in the languages I learn, but I've found that sometimes trying to match the official script with the actual sounds creates an interference that makes the learning more difficult. So, thinking about all that, I want to make a small experiment with korean (and maybe later with other languages as well).

In our native language we usually first learn to listen and speak and then we learn to read and write. But that order tends to be inverted when learning a foreing language. I think that's one of the reasons why many people have difficulty with speaking like a native. Learning the script first and then trying to connect it with the actual spoken language creates interference because the script usually doesn't exactly/perfectly match its spoken counterpart. So one of the things I would like to do with this small experiment is to try to follow the natural order of when we learn our native language. Of course, as learning a first language and learning a second language are not exactly the same (the conditions vary quite a lot) I'll be making some modifications in order to make the best use of the available material while trying to accommodate it to the general guidelines of this experiment.

Good to see you back :D

Interesting read...I have been considering the same things lately, and why my speaking is so poor.

I think reading/writing is encouraged before Speaking/Listening in second language learning because it's and easier and faster way to learn the vocabulary and grammar but I also think it leads to the speaking problems you refer to for many learners.

I think anything that allows me to spend time with my second language is useful and great if I enjoy it. I don't care anymore if it's not the most efficient.

It will be interesting to see where your exploration leads....good luck.
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AndyMeg
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby AndyMeg » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:21 pm

Bex wrote:Good to see you back :D

Thanks! :D

Bex wrote:I think reading/writing is encouraged before Speaking/Listening in second language learning because it's and easier and faster way to learn the vocabulary and grammar but I also think it leads to the speaking problems you refer to for many learners.

I agree it seems that way, but with this experiment I want to see if that really holds true for myself. Audiovisual input (in the form of TV dramas, for example) comes with something that texts don't have: lots of context and cues to help you guess/decipher whats happening and what's being said (and in this sense it may actually be easier than directly jumping into reading/writing). That's why so far I've been able to watch and enjoy a thai drama without subs and without knowing thai. I couldn't do the same if I were trying to read a book in thai.

Bex wrote:I think anything that allows me to spend time with my second language is useful and great if I enjoy it. I don't care anymore if it's not the most efficient.

Yeah, I think enjoyment is really important because, in my case, it is what makes me stick with the language in the long run.

Bex wrote:It will be interesting to see where your exploration leads....good luck.

Thanks!!! I feel so excited about trying this approach!!! :D
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AndyMeg
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby AndyMeg » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:41 am

Quick update:

I'm watching "High Kick Through The Roof" (지붕 뚫고 하이킥) without subs. Each episode is around 23 minutes long, so I've been taking the Viki's k-drama vocabulary quiz quite a lot. As I had already watched the first few episodes with english subs, I decided to start watching without subs from episode 4 onwards.

I want to make a small change to one of my guidelines:
- Watch one k-drama without any kind of subs (after I finish it my plan is to start watching another k-drama the same way). There's an exception to this and it is that I can occasionally turn on the english subs if I feel I need them to understand key information that I need to know in order to continue enjoying the drama.

The exception didn't work too well because it interrupted the flow of the drama and after switching to english subs (and therefore being able to "understand" everything) it was hard to make me switch back to no-subs. So I decided to replace that exception with another strategy:

I will watch that drama without subs, no exceptions. But after each episode I'll read a short summary or a complete recap of it so that I can keep up with all the vital information I may miss by watching without subs. For now I've found this:

High Kick Through the Roof episode guide
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:00 am

This strategy has worked well for me! Works stupidly well for dubbed content (why yes, there are English recaps for House of Cards!), but works surprisingly well for any Northern European Noir that gets shown on BBC 4 with subtitles. The Brits will recap anything that crosses their screens!
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AndyMeg
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby AndyMeg » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:44 pm

A few days ago I was randomly watching videos in youtube. In one of them, a korean guy who visited Colombia (and speaked in spanish reasonably well) was surprised by hearing natives call their parents "señor" and "señora". In his mind he associated those two words with the korean words "아저씨" and "아줌마".

While some of the uses of "아저씨" and "아줌마" may overlap with the ones of "señor" and "señora", there are some cultural nuances that put them a world apart in certain contexts.

In the youtube video the korean guy said that they (koreans) would never call their mothers "아줌마", and I understand that because the nuance that that word has in korean is very different from the nuance that "señora" has in Colombia's spanish.

One of the main uses of "señor" and "señora" in Colombia is to show respect for someone. It is used, for example, when you don't know someone, but you need to talk to them (for example, if you need to ask what time is it: "Disculpe señor/señora, ¿me puede decir la hora?"). It is also used in restaurants when a waiter is attending to a customer ("Sí, señor. ¿Desea algo más?" --> "Yes, sir. Do you want/need anything else?"). It is also used in the military when someone from lower rank replies to a superior: "Sí, señor", "Sí, señora" ("Yes, sir", "Yes, ma'am"). And is also used to show respect to one's elders (which, of course, includes one's parents). In this last context it is used when being given an order or a task from an elder or when answering a question an elder has made. So it is not like colombian people are always calling their parents "señor" and "señora". Words like "mamá" and "papá" (and many variations of them) are used with high frequency too.

Now, chaning topics, I decided that I would take a small break from korean every Sunday. Not a complete break because I'll probably still watch some korean TV shows with english subs (because I enjoy them) and because when I resume my weekly korean classes they will be on Sundays. My idea is that on Sundays I'll reduce the speed with korean and focus on other things. During this last Sunday, that translated into me watching a few episodes of a thai drama without subs. I've found some official channels in Youtube that seem to be from Thai TV networks and there they have lots of dramas. Most of the dramas don't have subs, but as I'm already watching a thai drama without subs (and they only upload new episodes on weekdays), I decided to skim through their catalogue and I found some dramas that caught my eye. That's how I ended up watching four unsubbed episodes yesterday XD.

A funny thing I'm doing with thai is that I pay a lot of attention to non-verbal communication and context and try to associate it with the spoken thai. So far I've been able to isolate some words/expressions and connect them with what I think is their meaning: yes, no, mom, thanks, sorry, etc. And I've found a word/particle that seems to work in a similar way to "señor/señora" (khun), but with some different nuances that seem particular to Thai culture. But, as I always try to do (and as I was recently reminded by the anecdote with the korean guy in Youtube) I try to leave my mind open to the possible nuances I'm not aware of, and I'm also open to be proven wrong and to have to modify my hypotheses about what I think something may mean.
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby Bex » Tue May 01, 2018 7:43 am

AndyMeg wrote:A funny thing I'm doing with thai is that I pay a lot of attention to non-verbal communication and context and try to associate it with the spoken thai.

I can so relate to this.
This is exactly why I have such problems with reading and I find TV/real life so much easier. I think context is SO helpful.
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby AndyMeg » Tue May 01, 2018 1:15 pm

Bex wrote:
AndyMeg wrote:A funny thing I'm doing with thai is that I pay a lot of attention to non-verbal communication and context and try to associate it with the spoken thai.

I can so relate to this.
This is exactly why I have such problems with reading and I find TV/real life so much easier. I think context is SO helpful.

Maybe you could try reading manga/comics in spanish? I think that could be a good middle ground between the context TV/real life provides (because the images will still provide you lots of context) and the written form of the language. You could use manga/comics as a bridge to only-text content.
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Re: My korean adventure: fun and enjoyment as a guide

Postby Bunnychu » Tue May 01, 2018 4:27 pm

Thank you for making me aware of the viki quiz. It's fun and I can also spend some minutes between tasks at work to do it. ^^
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