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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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~

[App Review]—Beelinguapp

Is this more of an app review or a book review? Today I bring you a review of Beelinguapp, an audiobooks app for language learners.

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Sometimes studying can be a boring drag and you just want to do something a little less tedious than drilling grammar or a ton of vocab flashcards. Maybe you want to get into reading books in your language of choice, but you’re worried that it might be too hard to just pick up a book written in your chosen language and read it without guidance. In that case, I could recommend this app to 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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[App Review]—LingoDeer (Korean)

Sorry for shuffling my upload schedule around so much lately! However with these new apps coming out, I want to jump on them and give my first impression ASAP!

I posted my review of the Korean Duolingo on Reddit, and the comments just exploded… it got a little messy, but one of the gems to come out of it was the recommendation of another language learning app called LingoDeer. Honestly I was a bit skeptical, but I decided to try it out… and I’m glad I did! This app also has its problems, but it’s generally fairly solid. Just like with DuoLingo, I took some extensive notes as I was playing through the levels (and some of my friends were doing it at the same time, so they reported abnormalities to me as well). Actually, I find this app a bit more similar with the Chinese-learning app HelloChinese than with Duolingo for a few reasons, which we’ll see later. Let’s get into it.

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[App review] — Duolingo (Korean)

The Korean Duolingo is finally out. Korean learners and would-be learners have been going a bit crazy about it ever since… pretty much ever since it was announced! I know a lot of people love Duolingo and have great expectations and high hopes for the Korean Duo. So, how does it do?

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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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Tips for practicing grammar

Studying grammar can be tricky. It’s different from vocab in that once you’ve memorized a word and know the meaning, you can use it and recognize it as needed. However, grammar can’t really be properly learned in isolation like individual words can be (though vocab is also more easily learned in context). Grammar is very much use it or lose it.

To start, if you have a textbook or workbook that you use to learn grammar initially, make sure you do all the exercises in the book to practice forming it. But once you’re done with the workbook, what then? Making flashcards with the grammatical form on one side and what it means and when it is used on the other side could be helpful. When you review a card, write down a few practice sentences—maybe three to give sentence—using that form. It would be even better practice if you can try to write a short paragraph using the form as much as you can.

If you don’t have a native speaker of the language nearby to help you check, Lang-8 can be a great site to have your work checked. This is especially important when you get into more advanced and less commonly used grammatical forms. By using the grammatical form and getting feedback on your usage of it, that structure gets reinforced in your mind and the process of using it becomes more and more automatic over time.

I hope this helps! Happy studying~

Study Tips- Vocab

So you’re learning all this great, useful grammar, you’re feeling good about it, you go to chat with a language exchange partner or write a journal about your day and… you realize that you need to look up so many words to express what you want to say. Or, you’re trying to read an article online or a book and realize that there are so many words you don’t know that you’re spending more time with the dictionary than with what you’re actually reading!

If this sounds like you, you have a vocab problem, and I was definitely in that same spot before. I’ve personally found grammar easier to remember than vocabulary, especially once you start getting into advanced vocab that isn’t used often in day-to-day conversation. Here are some ways to boost your vocabulary:

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Making language exchange work

The concept of language exchange is great. The idea of practicing with a native speaker sounds great! You can help each other and maybe even build a friendship. However, it’s very easy for things to go a bit pair-shaped with language exchange if you do not monitor it carefully!

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