자기소개 / Self Introduction

Hello again! I managed to bang out another video this week! I might not be able to post much/at all next week and the following week because of upcoming intensives at grad school, so I’m glad I got this out before that starts.

Anyway! A little bit about myself. I’m putting this up now because I just wanted to get it out, but there will still be a regular post on Wednesday!

As always, happy studying~!

Ask Bee — Are you fluent in Korean?

This is a question I get really often! Am I fluent in Korean?

Yes, and no!

If you consider fluency as an absolute, where one either is fluent and able to hold their own in all contexts, then I would say no. However, I think we should conceptualize fluency as a spectrum, or at least in different areas. Looking at it that way, I would say I am fluent in some areas and not others, and this is honestly how most people are in their first language. For example, I can’t really talk about science or, say, geography in Korean, but I can’t do that in English either! In neither English nor Korean am I fluent in terms of those areas. However, I can communicate with everyone I encounter in my daily life problem-free (that is not to say error-free at all, but we understand each other with no issues), including doctors, bankers, my fiance’s mom, and so on. I can read news articles and books written for native speakers and discuss them. My word choice is not perfect, and my grammar certainly takes some weird twists and turns at times, but I can talk on a wide variety of topics, so… I would consider myself a fluent speaker, just not in all areas. So, I am fluent, but I’m also not :B

Fluency is not an absolute. Remember that to become a fluent speaker, you do not need to have perfect pronunciation, or even perfect grammar! As a language student, I don’t get too hung up on my shortcomings (though I do try to improve them) and focus on being communicative and otherwise achieving the goals that I have set for myself, and as a teacher, I also encourage that sort of attitude among my students (and here on this blog)!

I rambled a bit >.> Anyway, happy studying~

About Bees

Hello, everyone! Here’s a self introduction post here so you guys can get to know me a bit better 🙂

You can call me Bees! I’m originally from the US, but I attended university in Canada. After that, I almost immediately moved to South Korea for work. That’s all I’ll say about my personal life here; I know you came for other things! Mainly…

Why did I decide to learn Korean, Chinese, and Japanese?

KOREAN (5.5years):

My interest in Korean started back when I was in high school. Languages have interested me ever since I was young—I spent seven years in middle and high school studying French, and I was originally planning on (and accepted to university to) pursue a major in French translation. If I hear a language and it sounds nice to me, I just need to know more about it! A close friend of mine introduced me to some Korean music and just… the sounds of the language were so beautiful to me. The intonation and the sounds I heard that English didn’t have just… I needed to know more about it. I started researching a little online, and just like hearing the language grabbed my attention, the shapes and structure of Hangul intrigued me further still.

That isn’t to say I jumped straight into Korean! I had an interest, but French was still my main concern. I decided that I would take Korean classes once I got to university, and that’s exactly what I did. Because understanding the culture from which a language comes is crucial to successfully acquiring that language, I also signed up for an introductory Korean culture class. The material I learned in that class was just so interesting to me, and I was having a bit of a crisis with my intended major anyway, so I ended up changing around my plan, Korean became one of my minors, and I haven’t looked back. Since coming to Korea, I have mostly continued to study and practice on my own except for a few months of government-sponsored Korean language and culture courses, and I am still in love with the language and country, far more than I ever was with French (sorry, Francophones, though it is still a lovely language <3).

CHINESE (about 8 months):

My interest in learning Chinese stemmed in part from my Korean studies and in part from my best friend. A large percentage of Korean vocabulary is derived from Chinese characters, so I decided to study Hanja, Chinese characters in Korean. I found it helpful, stuck with it, and finally I had 500 unique characters written down in my notebook! I thought to myself that I might as well learn Chinese, and that idea took root inside my brain and grew a bit until I actually decided to do it. Also, a close friend told me of his intentions to go to China for a few months to study the language, and my desire to share the experience of learning a new language him combined with my original minor thought to learn it, and that sealed the deal 🙂 Honestly, when I first started learning Chinese, I didn’t like how it sounded much. I was very much there for the visual aspect of the characters, but it has grown on me immensely!

JAPANESE (1 month):

I’ll admit it up front: I had a weeaboo phase back when I was in middle school. I was crazy about anime and manga, and watching subbed anime and listening to music that my friends sent me got me interested in the language. I tried to do some self-study, but the grammatical terms used in all the books and websites I used were so confusing to me at the time (particles? What the hell’s a particle??). And again, French was my main concern, so I just sort of let it go until recently. Here in Korea, there are so many people who learn Japanese, and I wanted to get in on the action! I decided to give it another go, this time using books written in Korean as my main sources. Since I now have a good understand of how particles work thanks to Korean, learning is easier than back when I was younger. Also, because Japanese grammar is generally closer to Korean than English, I can use Korean sources to help my learning process!

Anyway, that’s all! Feel free to message me if there’s anything else you want to know~ Happy studying, everyone!