Side Quest - A relapsed gamer dabbles in Korean

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User avatar
Deinonysus
Orange Belt
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:06 pm
Location: USA
Languages:  
• Native: English
• Advanced: French
• Intermediate: German, Esperanto
• Beginner: Icelandic, Italian, Hebrew,
   Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Indonesian
• Dabbled: Xhosa, Korean, Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8852
x 420

Side Quest - A relapsed gamer dabbles in Korean

Postby Deinonysus » Mon May 14, 2018 8:51 pm

The Relapse
I was very excited to start a 6 week Challenge and a Super Challenge! For about three days! Then I got back into League of Legends, which generally kills my motivation for my other hobbies (including language learning), so it basically scuttled my challenges before they were off the ground. This has to be a short attention span record for me.

I have quit the game forever several times, but it is one of my favorite games, and within the next year or two I may have much more trouble finding the time to play a game with unpausable matches that average 30 minutes and can run over an hour, so I'm inclined to allow myself this relapse. And if I am able to channel this habit into a lifelong skill, then it can't be that bad, right?

Korean
Enter Korean. The game is American, but the best teams and most of the best players are Korean. The Wayne Gretzky of League of Legends ("LoL"), the undisputed greatest player of all time, goes by the name of Faker. I watched his stream this morning, and obviously I understood nothing that he was saying because I know virtually no Korean. Between Faker's stream, other Korean pro streamers, and Riot Games Korea's commentated broadcasts of Korean and international tournaments, I have a basically unlimited supply of media that I'm very interested in.

I don't really have a specific time goal in mind, but as long as I'm spending a lot of time playing and watching this game, then I want to be working on turning Korean streams into comprehensible input. And shockingly, what the FSI lists as one of the five hardest languages for an English learner is proving to be a bit tougher than Danish, one of the closest languages to English. I find myself repeating the first half of Pimsleur's lesson one over and over as I try to get the vocabulary to sink in, and while the Hangul writing system is certainly easier than learning thousands of ideograms, it is still taking me a while to learn. It seems that the spoken Korean Language has changed quite a bit since King Sejong the Great created the writing system in the 15th century, and it is not nearly as phonetic as the Japanese Kana, although it certainly seems better than French or English. Some Chinese characters are used in formal writing such as newspapers, but I'm ignoring them for now. I'll learn them one day for other languages.

Despite the difficulties, the other languages I've studied are helping. In particular, although Korean has many sounds and sound combinations that do not exist in Japanese, many of the sounds of Japanese also exist in Korean, so the time I spent working on my Japanese accent is definitely helping. The prosody and pitch accent also seem similar, and my very basic grasp of Japanese grammar is also helping. Here is a great Langfocus video about the similarities and differences between Japanese and Korean:


There is one other language that is helping me, and that Icelandic. Like Icelandic but unlike Japanese, the Korean "voiced" and "unvoiced" plosives are actually just aspirated and unaspirated, and since I worked on this with Icelandic (and also a bit with isiXhosa), this is much easier for me than if I were starting from scratch.

Resources
  • This excellent infografic helped me a lot to learn the absolute basics of the Hangul writing system:
    http://www.ryanestrada.com/learntoreadk ... 15minutes/
  • Pimsleur - There are two levels (60 lessons total). Going at my usual rate of 3-4 lessons a week, I should finish within 15-20 weeks, but I do seem to be repeating lessons a lot so who knows?
  • Duolingo. It's still in Beta but the quality seems good so far. I'm still working on the beginning "alphabet" lessons.
  • Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean - This Western YouTuber has learned Korean to an extremely high level and has great educational videos.
  • Korean Class 101 - I love this series of YouTube channels! They have one for most languages.

Other Languages
I'm not sure if I'm going to get back to Danish in the near future, especially since I may be taking or auditing a couple of German classes this coming school year and I don't want to confuse the two. However, I really do want to get back into my French routine so I don't lose my current level, and at the very least I want to get back to the advanced Assimil course, and also watching France24 every day.
2 x
Indonesian:
: 73 / 345 Duolingo Indonesian
: 21 / 30 Pimsleur Indonesian

French:
: 9 / 70 Assimil Using French

Irish:
: 2 / 10 Pimsleur Irish
: 9 / 90 Duolingo Irish to 2nd checkpoint

User avatar
Deinonysus
Orange Belt
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:06 pm
Location: USA
Languages:  
• Native: English
• Advanced: French
• Intermediate: German, Esperanto
• Beginner: Icelandic, Italian, Hebrew,
   Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Indonesian
• Dabbled: Xhosa, Korean, Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8852
x 420

Re: Side Quest - A relapsed gamer dabbles in Korean

Postby Deinonysus » Wed May 16, 2018 3:52 pm

Typing 한글 (Hangul)
I started learning to touch type in Korean (I even typed 한글 myself!). It's much more straightforward than I thought it would be! The IME (Input Method Editor) figures out for you whether to put each letter into an existing block or start a new one, so all you really need is to learn where the 24 letters are on the keyboard. I've learned most of the keyboard already and I should be able to type anything I want within the next day or two.

I am learning typing using a free program that I discovered through a post in this reddit thread, which I'm copying here for convenience:
oegukeen_LK wrote:My favorite one is Hancom's Typing Practice.

You have to install it (by clicking on 한컴 타자연습 다운로드) but it's easy to install, it looks good, and it works perfectly.

There's even the option to practice typing English but I assume that's not what interests you.

I wrote instructions how to use the Korean typing practice and translated screenshots to English for those that don't know Korean well enough yet.

It has numerous options you can set up like target speed, target precision, and the type of Korean keyboard layout.

It has practice of letter by letter, word by word, and sentence by sentence and even some cute games.

The program will not install in Windows unless you set your locale language to Korean, and I found that when I switched the locale back to English, the program's interface switched to English so I didn't need to rely on the diagrams in the blog post.

Pimsleur
I did manage to finish the first Pimsleur lesson, but I went through the first half several times and the second half twice. I think I'm going to be doing to probably be doing each lesson twice for a while, at least until I start building up a base for vocabulary.

League of Legends
There is an international tournament going on right now called the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI). The competitive season is divided into two splits, and each season has its own local tournament for each split. Then each region sends the team that wins the split to the MSI. The first half of the MSI just finished and unfortunately it was not broadcast in French, but it looks like the second half will, so it will be great listening practice for me!
1 x
Indonesian:
: 73 / 345 Duolingo Indonesian
: 21 / 30 Pimsleur Indonesian

French:
: 9 / 70 Assimil Using French

Irish:
: 2 / 10 Pimsleur Irish
: 9 / 90 Duolingo Irish to 2nd checkpoint

User avatar
Deinonysus
Orange Belt
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:06 pm
Location: USA
Languages:  
• Native: English
• Advanced: French
• Intermediate: German, Esperanto
• Beginner: Icelandic, Italian, Hebrew,
   Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Indonesian
• Dabbled: Xhosa, Korean, Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8852
x 420

Re: Side Quest - A relapsed gamer dabbles in Korean

Postby Deinonysus » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:01 pm

Hi gang! It's been a long time since I updated. Not much to report, but I have made some progress on Korean, especially with the writing. I can read and write 한글 pretty comfortably now. My wife has gotten into "K-beauty" products (which I believe would be spelled 케이뷰티, after 케이팝 for K-pop), and I enjoy sounding out the Korean writing on the packaging. Also, I have more of an idea of what's going on when I watch Korean League of Legends streams when I can see when something is spelled out phonetically into Korean (such as character names or the names of the positions like "mid" or "top").

I dropped Pimsleur Korean after the 4th lesson, because frankly the Pimsleur format isn't very good for languages like Korean where the grammar is completely alien to English. They introduce long strings of syllables for formal greetings and other phrases, and it's very hard to assimilate without the basic building blocks of the grammar. I noticed the same thing with Pimsleur Japanese. I think I'll pick Pimsleur back up when I have a better grasp on the absolute basics. I picked up the book "Korean Made Simple" by Billy Go, and that plus Duolingo should help.

Duolingo Korean seems quite good for Beta, but the one thing I don't like about the new Crown Point system is that you can't redo a unit from the beginning. I did half a level of the "Basics 1" unit, and when I went back to it a couple of days later I was in over my head so I ended up just resetting my entire Korean tree.

I haven't been working on French very much, but I did end up finding the channel that broadcasts professional LoL matches in French (including MSI in Paris), so I've been watching a bit of that. I haven't been tracking it with the Super Challenge twitter bot but maybe I will. I still haven't finished Le petit prince and I haven't gotten past the first lesson of Assimil Using French, but I'm hoping to get back into it a bit.
5 x
Indonesian:
: 73 / 345 Duolingo Indonesian
: 21 / 30 Pimsleur Indonesian

French:
: 9 / 70 Assimil Using French

Irish:
: 2 / 10 Pimsleur Irish
: 9 / 90 Duolingo Irish to 2nd checkpoint

User avatar
Deinonysus
Orange Belt
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:06 pm
Location: USA
Languages:  
• Native: English
• Advanced: French
• Intermediate: German, Esperanto
• Beginner: Icelandic, Italian, Hebrew,
   Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Indonesian
• Dabbled: Xhosa, Korean, Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8852
x 420

Re: Side Quest - A relapsed gamer dabbles in Korean

Postby Deinonysus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:00 pm

This was a pretty short thread! I'm calling this mission accomplished right now, because I managed to convert a game obsession that sapped my energy for language learning back into a little bit of progress in a new language. I know a lot more about Korea and Korean than I did before, and now I can read and write 한글 phonetically. I don't really know more than I couple of stock phrases, but I think I was able to wrap my head around the phonology. I'll definitely have a good head start the next time I'm bitten by the Korean bug. I'm still watching the Korean broadcasts for any Korean LoL games that I watch, even though it's mostly incomprehensible input.

As my video game interest has started to wane, I have more energy for languages again, and lately I've been on a Spanish kick. I binged about 800 XP in two days on Duolingo, and I've gone from Crown Level 2 to 37 in maybe two weeks. I'm pretty surprised at how much I've retained. I'm thinking about doing a 52-day Destinos challenge. If that plan ends up sticking I'll make a new thread for it.
1 x
Indonesian:
: 73 / 345 Duolingo Indonesian
: 21 / 30 Pimsleur Indonesian

French:
: 9 / 70 Assimil Using French

Irish:
: 2 / 10 Pimsleur Irish
: 9 / 90 Duolingo Irish to 2nd checkpoint


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