Language learning when busy

Hello, everyone! This post is not about any language in specific but about learning languages in general. A lot of us have a lot to do in our daily lives! Work, school, family, friends… what about study time? Today, I’d like to talk about making a study schedule that fits in your schedule and, most importantly, works for you.

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Study Tips- Listening

 

Listening practice is vital if you want to communicate with other speakers of whatever language you’re trying to learn. What good is being able to talk to someone if you can’t understand what they’re saying in return? However, getting in good listening practice can be difficult. Not everyone can take language classes. And what if you don’t live in an area with a population that speaks your target language? Never fear! Today, I’ll go over a few ways you can get some listening practice in.

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Why I don’t like romanization

I spend a lot of time on the internet, and most of that time is split between watching Youtube videos and interacting with other language learners, particularly Korean learners. There’s a chatroom that I especially hang around in a lot, and every now and then someone looking to get in to learning Korean from step 1 comes in. When they ask for resources and advice, the first thing that I tell them to do is to learn Hangul by sight and sound, avoiding romanization (writing Korean words in the Roman alphabet) as much as possible. I usually link them this video because it doesn’t use romanization like most learn-Hangul sources.

So, what’s the deal with romanization and why is using it so bad? Today I’ll focus on what exactly romanization is and why I am so very against its use as a tool for learning Korean pronunciation.

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Learning multiple languages at once

 

When I first started this blog, I was studying Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese all at the same time. It gradually turned into more of a Korean-only blog, but I have been sort of maintaining my basic-level Mandarin, and I have recently started getting back into studying Japanese (let’s see how long it lasts!). So, how do I do it? How does one successfully study multiple languages at once? Learning more than one language at the same time poses some unique issues outside of those that one would face learning just one. Today, I’ll touch on what I think, based on my own experience, are some of the most important things to remember and do to learn more than one language at a time. Remember, this is all just based on my own experience; others might have different takes, but this is mine~

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Buying Korean books- Aladin bookstore

Since I live in Korea, finding reading material is no big deal for me, but for those of you outside of Korea, it can be a bit of a task. However, I bought Korean books in the US once through a website called Aladin.

Aladin is a company that sells (surprise surprise!) books here in Korea. I love going to their secondhand bookstores here in Seoul and picking up reads for cheap 🙂 For those of you who live in the US, they have a branch over there that you can order from. I actually used it to buy a few manhwa back when I was in… I think high school? The site is all in Korean, but I’m pretty sure that there are guides for how to navigate the site floating around on the internet. I know that I used one of those guides when I used the site that one time, because my Korean was still super-beginner level at the time. Or, of course, you could also ask me and I could check it out and assist as needed 🙂

Anyway! From what I remember, of course there is a bit of a markup on the books since they’re imported, but my broke self clearly didn’t consider the prices too unreasonable or else I wouldn’t have ordered in the first place. If anyone who has used the site more recently could let me know how it is these days, I would really appreciate it!

I just checked the site, and it says that the US version of the site is set up for payment in USD and CAD and shipping to US and Canada only, but you can also use the Korean version of the site to get shipping to other places 🙂

Happy studying (and reading~)!

Easy Taiwanese Mandarin

I stumbled upon an excellent resource for Mandarin today, especially if you are, like me, more interested in Taiwanese Mandarin. In this short video series, the host asks people a few simple questions and includes subtitles in Hanzi, Pinyin, and English for all of the questions and answers. Now I’m going to watch this video about a thousand times and study the subtitles~

How can I practice speaking and grammar if I don’t have money for classes?

A big part of learning a language is actually having the chance to use it! However, what if you don’t have money for classes or there simply aren’t any classes in your area? These tips are for you!

Meetups are great!

Try looking for language exchange meetups in your area! I used the website Meetup to find some in Seoul after I moved here, and through a meetup I found on there, I was able to make friends and practice my Korean. When I had more free time, I really enjoyed going to meetups on the weekend and after work. However, I was very nervous the first time I went to a meetup. I actually almost didn’t go inside! Also, I’ve been to some meetups that just did not suit me well. If one meetup doesn’t seem right for you, don’t give up! You might have to try a few out to find a good language exchange home.

Apps can be alright, too

If there aren’t any meetups in your area, try a language exchange site or app like Hellotalk or Sharedlingo (since this post was first uploaded, Sharedlingo has died and been replaced with Hellolingo). Through Hellotalk, you can connect with people who speak the language you want to learn (and who want to learn your native language). There is a voice notes function if you want to practice speaking, and I have done voice calls and even met some people from Hellotalk in person if we really got along well and they didn’t seem creepy.

Sharedlingo is a largely text-based language exchange chatting platform, but again, if you find someone that seems cool, you can head over to the messaging app or program of your choice for voice chatting or choose to meet up. Everyone, especially my younger followers, please never meet up with someone new in an area you’re unfamiliar with or in a secluded area! Be safe~

Happy studying~

Don’t get discouraged when faced with long texts!

Getting into reading extensively in another language can be hard. Making that leap from level-controlled learner-centered material to materials made for native speakers can especially be hard because the grammar and vocabulary is so much more varied. It’s easy to get a bit down when faced with such a text. I definitely remember feeling that way, myself. I would be handed long articles to read in my third-level Korean class, and I remember thinking “Oh god, this will take me forever to read!” The feeling would be compounded when words I didn’t know kept cropping up, so I had to keep stopping and check the dictionary…

But! If you keep at it, it definitely gets better! One of the things that I found helped me was reading just for the sake of reading. Start small, maybe sort paragraphs of writing or news articles. Just read them straight through without grabbing the dictionary, no matter how many words you don’t know (bonus points if you read it out loud!). I find that a lot of people put too much pressure on themselves to understand passages the very first time they read, which is why I recommend making your first read-through a zero-pressure read. Just get used to looking at the words and hearing them in your head. Then, try reading it through again, this time trying to grab some of the meaning. You can break out the dictionary if you want, but like I said in my reading tips post, resist the urge to look up every single word, instead focusing on the ones that seem most important.

If you challenge yourself to read like this a few times a week, you’ll feel more comfortable reading longer and longer texts. Even if you can’t totally understand them, you won’t get that immediate feeling of dread just from seeing the length of the passage.

Keep at it! Happy studying~