Korean Program for a beginner...

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Ellis
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Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby Ellis » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:46 pm

Annyeonghaseyo, I am just now starting down the road of the Korean language.

I am searching for some type of favorable program(s) that teaches the formal Korean language. I am currently not interested in learning the written language. Most helpful would be were the pronunciation is part of the structure. I have been able to pick up the simple stuff watching some youtube videos were they have the written pronunciation. Without it makes it very difficult for me.

I have found that in most of them the native speakers mother tongue when translating said word(s) isn't always spot on with their english thus compounding the situation.

Apps, courses, a combination thereof, whatever in your opinion would be my best bet. I am fortunate enough to have a Korean girlfriend that obviously speaks Korean fluently as well as english however when she is not around looking to practice on my own.

Thanks...
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby Speakeasy » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:19 pm

Hello, Ellis, welcome to the forum! I am confident that members who have experience studying Korean will respond shortly. In the meantime, although I have never studied Korean, I thought that you might wish to review a couple of links on the subject. The acronyms LLORG and HTLAL designate “A Language Learners’ Forum” and “How To Learn Any Language Forum” respectively.

Korean resources - LLORG - February 2017
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5466

Korean Study Group
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=9842

FSI Korean Basic
The FSI courses were developed during the 1960’s – 1970’s on behalf of the Foreign Service Institute (U.S. State Department) for the instruction of the nation’s diplomatic personnel. These materials are in the public domain and are available for free download via the Yojik website. Most of the courses use the audio-lingual method of instruction (drill, drill, drill) and emphasize a formal register of speech. While these courses are beginning to show their age, they are still highly-regarded by many language-learners. Please note that FSI Korean Basic course has been criticized for the excessive formality of speech depicted in the dialogues and exercises.
https://yojik.eu/

FSI Korean Basic Course - any thoughts?? - HTLAL - April 2010
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=20129&PN=24

Korean Language Profile - HTLAL
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/languages/korean/index.html

Alexander Arguelles and Korean - HTLAL - October 2007
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=7475&PN=7

The ’I Hate Korean’ Thread - HTLAL - July 2011
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=28128&PN=1&TPN=1

The ‘I don't Hate Korean’ Thread - LLORG - October 2017
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=7082

Darkkwon Korean Books
http://koreanbooks.darakwon.co.kr/main.html

Is Pimsleur Korean Edition 1 too out of date - LLORG - March 2019
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10197

Review of Pimsleur Korean 1 - LLORG - November 2016
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4909

Work hard, play hard!
Last edited by Speakeasy on Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby ロータス » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:20 pm

Formal Korean or spoken Korean?

I think it is called "Core Korean" on Udemy that focuses on spoken Korean. There is also Quick Korean on YouTube for free.
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby Chung » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:10 pm

Ellis wrote:Annyeonghaseyo, I am just now starting down the road of the Korean language.

I am searching for some type of favorable program(s) that teaches the formal Korean language. I am currently not interested in learning the written language. Most helpful would be were the pronunciation is part of the structure. I have been able to pick up the simple stuff watching some youtube videos were they have the written pronunciation. Without it makes it very difficult for me.

I have found that in most of them the native speakers mother tongue when translating said word(s) isn't always spot on with their english thus compounding the situation.

Apps, courses, a combination thereof, whatever in your opinion would be my best bet. I am fortunate enough to have a Korean girlfriend that obviously speaks Korean fluently as well as english however when she is not around looking to practice on my own.

Thanks...


By "formal Korean" do you mean Hasipsio-che? If so, then there are a few courses for beginners out there.

- Korean Made Simple (vol. 1 only; the next two volumes teach more of the informal polite register)
- Korean Language for a Good Job 1 and Korean Language for a Good Job 2 (downloadable audio at the publisher's website for vol. 1 and parts 1 and 2 of vol. 2)
- DLI Headstart Korean

If I were you I'd try out the freebie in DLI Headstart Korean to get my feet wet and get used to hearing and repeating stuff in formal Korean (unfortunately it uses Romanization, which I loathe, but if you're after just pronunciation than this flaw shouldn't be a big deal). The other courses will set you back about $30 each, and of those three I'd recommend most strongly "Korean for a Good Job 1". If you want extra practice with formal Korean (albeit writing it), then you could also try out Writing Korean for Beginners later on but this is better used with a teacher (or your girlfriend) because a lot of the exercises are free-form (e.g. writing about yourself/your plans/what you see in a picture etc.); you'll need a native for feedback on your writing.

I haven't seen yet any online course which focuses on formal Korean as they cater instead to K-pop or K-drama fans who're unsurprisingly focused on the less formal (lots of Haeyo-che) but more conversational register.
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Ellis
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby Ellis » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:54 pm

ロータス wrote:Formal Korean or spoken Korean?

I think it is called "Core Korean" on Udemy that focuses on spoken Korean. There is also Quick Korean on YouTube for free.
I'm sorry everyone and thanks for getting back to me.

I meant formal spoken Korean.

I'm avoiding learning the informal language as I have been told by my girl that as somebody born and raised in the states that I will be received with much respect that I speak the formal language. She says I will be viewed as *gulp* "cute". lol.

Anyway with the plethora of information out there and with myself just now getting my feet wet I have found for myself it's best if I can see how it's pronounced and hear it as well. I have watched some videos that do not include the pronunciation and it makes it more difficult for myself. The upshot of all this is I have also found videos were they give you the pronunciation but when the teacher (full blooded Korean) is off on the english side of speaking that makes it difficult as well.

Anyway, thanks for getting back to me and any help you can provide...
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby eido » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:55 pm

Ellis wrote:I'm avoiding learning the informal language as I have been told by my girl that as somebody born and raised in the states that I will be received with much respect that I speak the formal language. She says I will be viewed as *gulp* "cute". lol.

Anyway with the plethora of information out there and with myself just now getting my feet wet I have found for myself it's best if I can see how it's pronounced and hear it as well. I have watched some videos that do not include the pronunciation and it makes it more difficult for myself. The upshot of all this is I have also found videos were they give you the pronunciation but when the teacher (full blooded Korean) is off on the english side of speaking that makes it difficult as well.

Well, speaking from my limited experience learning Korean (anyone can correct me here! @nooj, you around?) it's best to use the language appropriate for the context, and not try to endear yourself to the point you look like a "cute" dweeb.

Korean has various speech levels, and it takes a lot of practice to know which one you need to use. That isn't to say it can't be done, or you shouldn't try it. I think you'd get more points for trying to adjust your speech with various audiences than just speaking like a Korean robot all the time. There is the rule of thumb that formal is always better if you don't know.

I haven't spoken to many Koreans outside of KakaoTalk or tutoring, so let's take an example from Spanish and mix it in. With Spanish you have two "you"s, one formal and one informal (in the standard version). Depending on the person I speak to, I switch which "you" I use. I usually use the formal one when I notice the person is ten years older than me or more or has a high-ranking or special position deserving of respect. If they're just a newb italki tutor, they get the informal one.

Korean is a bit similar, but more complex and a bit more strict with the structure of deference. Context is just as important with Spanish, but even more, I'd say. There are general guidelines for when you can use formal language, but Korean is a rapidly-evolving and fluid language, and the speech levels have to move to meet this demand. So things get messy.

The point of this is: I think I get more points for willingly and unabashedly using my understanding of Spanish registers than just always using "tú" or "usted," either sounding childish and insolent or like a perfect Pimsleur graduate (before their more recent course updates). I think people will trust you more as a serious learner and appreciator of Korean if you try to navigate these murky waters, but that doesn't mean you have to take the deep dive first. Start out formal, and then explore the other speech levels. Like I said, Koreans highly value respect, and especially respect of the social order. Elders receive the utmost respect, even if that elder is only a year older than you. That's probably why your girlfriend told you to speak formally in the first place. So I'd advise this: see how you're received with her parents or older relatives speaking in a high register, but keep those lower registers in reserve for anyone else you might meet. It's really awkward to address someone in their 20s (with you being in your 20s) with -seubnikka (습니까?)/-seubnida (습니다) endings. Young, social Seoul go-getters prefer -ieyo (이에요) endings amongst each other, or so I've heard.

But don't try to -- what's the word? -- infantilize yourself. I'm not sure that's the right word but I hope it comes close.

I'll ask the question people seem to be avoiding: why not learn the Korean alphabet, Hangul? From personal experience, I know reading romanization (the words spelled out in English letters) really damaged my ability to comprehend spoken Korean and pronounce it well. Giyeok (ㄱ) is forever ruined for me, along with a few other consonants and those I may not even be aware of. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have watched all those lyric videos with the romanization in them and only looked up the lyrics after I'd learnt Hangul.

I'm genuinely curious here. This is a source of hot debate in any "non-Latin script" learning circle.
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby Ser » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:45 am

eido wrote:I'll ask the question people seem to be avoiding: why not learn the Korean alphabet, Hangul? From personal experience, I know reading romanization (the words spelled out in English letters) really damaged my ability to comprehend spoken Korean and pronounce it well. Giyeok (ㄱ) is forever ruined for me, along with a few other consonants and those I may not even be aware of. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have watched all those lyric videos with the romanization in them and only looked up the lyrics after I'd learnt Hangul.

That problem can happen either way though. It all depends on how you learn to pronounce things at first. Personally I had an awful, awful time re-learning how to pronounce everything in English, as most of my English really came from reading videogame dialogue* and online forums. In the English classes I attended I was never taught much about pronunciation, and whatever hearing of raw speech I did truly was not enough nor careful. The amount of re-learning was massive, extending to every level of my vocabulary, from "question" (I used to say [ˈkʰwɛstjən] "KWES-tyun"), to "lamb" ([læmb] "lam-b"), to "measure" ([ˈmɛʃɔɹ] "MESH-or"), to "economic" ([eˈkʰɑnəmɪk] "eck-AHN-um-ick"), to "nominative" ([nəˈmɪnəɾɪv] "nuh-MIN-ut-iv"), to "couplet" ([kʰəˈplɛt] "cup-LET").

You can imagine my shock, my utter shock, when, as an exercise, I wrote a certain cute little poem in the IPA for some linguistics-minded friends, and I was told the preposition "of" is pronounced [əv] "uv" and not with an "f"-sound [f]... I was obsessed with looking up how to pronounce English words, but it never occurred to me to look up something as basic as the preposition "of". But there I was, saying it wrong. And I made this exercise after four years living in Canada too, very much immersed in English.

The problem about not learning Korean with the Korean script is that you get less practice reading Korean. But you can still get things wrong about pronunciation, non-obvious things like the sound of the sequence ㅎ+ㄷ (it sounds like ㄷㅌ, i.e. [t̚tʰ]), or ㅂ+ㅈ (it sounds like ㅂㅉ, i.e. [p̚.t͈ɕ]).

*Back in the early 2000s. I didn't have access to a good Internet connection so I didn't play online (did people even play online while talking back then?), and console games never had dialogue audio. Okay, I know they did it with the Spyro series and some others, but that was very rare. I don't think I ever got to play a videogame with recorded dialogue audio anyway.
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby Jean-Luc » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:10 am

First, learn Hangul... like learning roman alphabet for English.

Some good programs to discover Korean:

https://labdeslangues.blog/2018/08/25/u ... eoule-pas/
https://talktomeinkorean.com
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby eido » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:32 pm

Ser wrote:The problem about not learning Korean with the Korean script is that you get less practice reading Korean. But you can still get things wrong about pronunciation, non-obvious things like the sound of the sequence ㅎ+ㄷ (it sounds like ㄷㅌ, i.e. [t̚tʰ]), or ㅂ+ㅈ (it sounds like ㅂㅉ, i.e. [p̚.t͈ɕ]).

It's different with different languages.

English is a special case where reading doesn't lead to good pronunciation even if you've studied the basic rules. Korean is easier to grasp. I know some of the sound change rules from reading about them, and I suppose if you had a good ear and paid attention to patterns, you'd eventually notice if you went the long way. I would hope someone learning Korean has audio to go along with their reading, romanized text or not (at least in the beginning).

I just know that reading romanziation trained me to expect that certain sounds fall on either end of a continuum rather than existing in the middle as a whole new sound by themselves, like jieot (ㅈ) and giyeok (ㄱ). I use the romanization for reference in my mind rather than Hangul, because it's just easier as an English speaker.

But yes, I suppose there's an element of re-learning to everything.

I don't even know how to pronounce "nominative," haha. But you talk about languages in real life more than I do, so I suppose it's necessary for you to pronounce it properly.
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Re: Korean Program for a beginner...

Postby qeadz » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:06 pm

Don't stress too much about the formality. In general try not to use impolite speech - so you could skip that when practicing your Korean. But Koreans will cut a bunch of slack for foreigners. You could actually get away with impolite speech if you were clearly struggling to communicate. It'd be grating for a Korean to hear, but they'd mostly let it slide owing to circumstances.

Still I think most learners can at least use polite speech. The conjugation rules are almost as simple, and its going to be a universally acceptable form for you. For example, while I should probably use formal speech with my parents-in-law, I dont. I just use polite speech and I'm told that its just fine. The most important thing is that I'm not using impolite speech :)

HOWEVER it is very situational. I am 40 years old. Many of my interactions are with staff at coffee shops and the like. They're typically quite young - probably university students or that kind of stage in life. Due to the age difference and me being older, I think even if I were quite fluent in Korean I would probably use polite speech instead of formal speech anyway.

The oddity for me is when eating out, many restaurants are run by these really old women (except for the trendy ones which are staffed again by young people) so thats when I should probably be using formal speech. But they can hear my Korean is still clearly not fluent so I just use polite speech and I believe this to be okay (as told to me by Koreans).

So I dont think you should stress it too much. Unless you're very selective, probably a lot of material you use for study will include a variety of speech levels.

Also I'd recommend learning to read because there is such a wealth of language learning resource behind this skill - including being able to look words up in a dictionary online or look up grammar patterns. I feel strongly this is so beneficial that it should be in every language learner's arsenal.
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