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?
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.
- 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.
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.