Today, I posted a short note on my Korean blog about starting this challenge. I was happy to receive an encouraging comment. So I also posted about my challenge on Instagram, asking for the support of my Korean Insta-acquantainces. Although, I'm only posting 1-2 sentences on my blog, it makes me happy to be able to express myself by putting all the grammar I've previously learnt to practice. I hope to remember what structures I need to express certain things - it's not as straightforward in Korean as it is in English - because so far I needed to look it up and check my grammar book! I hope to encourage my Korean online acquantainces to communicate with me more, and more often. And at last, but not the least, I hope to pick up native expressions and make my Korean more natural. I love the Korean language, learning more and more about it significantly contributes to my personal happiness, so I'm really thrilled by this challenge.
Finally, I've managed to figure out how to photograph our black cats. So I wrote about that on my Korean blog. I had several topics for today's post, but I wanted to write something I actually need in my everyday life. As I enjoy taking photos, finally I have 2 photography related sentences I can use to communicate with Korean photographers, bloggers, Instagrammers. X의 사진을 어떻게 찍어요? How do you take a photo of X? 어떤 설정을 사용했어요? What settings did you use?
Today, besides writing a new post for my blog, I also updated some of my older posts. I checked to see if there's anything more I could write. Now I have 12 posts, but I'll keep going back and updating them as I can say more. I have a few posts about dramas. I want to write more for those posts as I'm watching dramas unlike others: for the photography/cinematography and props. I've also added some Korean captions to some of my Instagram posts.
Today, again I focused more on grammar. On Facebook, I follow the page My Korean Notebook, and during the past few days I saved quite a few of their posts, that today, I finally reviewed. I also came across a sentence accidentally, that I can use to express a personal experience, on the Humans of Seoul page. It's always a pleasure to come across sentences or expressions like that, or one of my favourite words. Because when I know my favourite words in Korean, I feel I can express myself in Korean with the same freedom I can express myself in English.
Today, my Korean practice consisted of watching an episode of Produce 101 S2 without subtitles. And while I do not intend to become a K-pop idol, and thus you could argue about the usefulness of this activity, it's interesting to memorise the vocabulary of such a TV programme, like: to reveal, in the future, elimination, to drop, modest or attitude. See, it's not so useless, on the other hand, it's easy to pick up, because they keep repeating these expressions throughout the various episodes of a roughly 2-hour programme. I also want to clarify, that I do not have magical listening skills, Korean TV programmes are almost fully subtitled in Korean, so I just have to freeze the screen and see in writing what a contestant says.
Today, rather than learning, I did a bit of research. I'm actually very interested in what goes into a drama or a tv show. I love props and cinematography, for example. To be able to discuss these topics with professionals in Korean - because a lot of the staff doesn't speak English or that kind of English - is one of my language goals. So today, I researched film crew related vocabulary. It's both easy and difficult. It's easy, because you only need the credits of a film or drama. It's difficult, because the dictionary will give you completely different expressions than what you will see in the credits. I have a very basic vocab list now that I hope to expand, so that I'd be able to look up information about whatever detail I'm interested in.
I don't watch Korean dramas like normal people do. In the drama The Best Hit, the main character is looking up videos on YT with the keyword talent. I was wondering, if the videos were actually available, so I looked up one I was sure was exclusively made for the drama: 천부적 재능 시대를 앞서 나간 유현재. However, based on the words included in that sentence, I ended up with this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qJGiGQbd7Y and that's what I worked with today.
Today, after some days, I wrote a new article for my Korean blog. It's a very tedious and frustrating task to try and translate my thoughts from English to Korean when I don't know the native Korean expression, whether it's grammar or vocabulary. In these cases, I chuck the English text into Google translator first, then check the accuracy with Naver translator and tweak the Korean text as best as I can. I can only hope I've chosen the correct Korean expressions, but it probably still sounds like English sentences translated to Korean.
I've changed my Facebook settings, so now I see posts by My Korean Notebook first. Which means more of their posts appear in my newsfeed compared to before, and all of them seem to be very exciting, so today, I went through quite a few of them. Again I felt lucky to come accross some useful expressions: finally, I can say that, too like a native!
Today, I updated some of my Instagram posts with some great Korean captions I stole from my Korean connections. I also chat a bit with one of my Korean teachers on Facebook, and I noticed that this challenge is indeed useful, and that my Korean has indeed improved. Before, it was like this: Ah, I've already learnt how to express this, let's check the correct pattern in the grammar book! Now, I not only remember, that I've already learnt the expression I need to use, but I can actually remember it and use it, as well - without looking it up in the grammar book. So I feel very proud. And frankly, it's a great feeling. I don't know about you, but I love to feel excited and enthusiastic.
While today, I again used My Korean Notebook for my Korean practice, as I opened YouTube to watch a new drama preview, I noticed that the Recommended videos section was full of Korean videos about BTS, whose title was written in Hangeul. I was really surprised, then I remembered, that in the past few days I searched for videos twice, using Hangeul. Anyway, I took it as a sign to up my game. Especially, because when I watched one of the recommended videos, I understood most of it. So from now on, I vow to search for videos in Hangeul more, and watch them, of course.
Today, I picked up some memorable new vocabulary through BTS's Jin's dad jokes. I never knew I loved dad jokes until I came across a compilation of Jin's dad jokes and laughed hysterically at every single one of them! (Since you don't know, the kid is really tiring!) I also love learning from Got7's Jackson, because he tends to mix up words that create funny situations. This way I can pick up 2 words at the same time: the one he used and the correct one he should have used. It's one of my secrets for how to learn Korean quickly and easily.
Today, I watched the final episode of Produce 101 S2 without subtitles, and picked up the last of my vocabulary from that show. While I'm happy I won't need to see BoA again, I picked up some really cool vocab from the show and it also encouraged me to watch more shows without subtitles.
Here's what it's like to watch shows without subtitles: you miss out on the puns, unless you happen to be familiar with the expression involved; and it takes longer to watch an episode, because you keep pausing it to check (in the dictionary) and record vocabulary. But it's also great, because you can freely focus on the original Korean subtitles. So sometimes, I happen to pick up more vocab from a show/episode I watch without subtitles.
Today, I picked up some more film industry related vocabulary, and I can't wait to hit up the Internet with them and see, what kind of information do they lead me to. Before this challenge, I accidentally came across an article about the photography/cinematography of a very popular drama. So I expect some more behind the scenes, fascinating material to show up when I feed these keywords to Naver.
I also had fun with Voice Search in Korean.
Today, again I learnt from various TV shows. Recently, I've been picking up adverbial phrases. It's a very simple pattern, but it's also one I wouldn't think of myself when composing my Korean sentences. So I'm always amazed: Wow! you express this and this like that! Wow! It's so simple! I can easily remember and use it! - But actually, no, I never think of them. Still, I'm getting a slight sense of grasping them, though I'm far from being confident around them. But they are definitely one of my favourite grammatical elements.
Today, I managed to catch the ending credits of one of my favourite tv shows, so I was able to widen my entertainment industry vocab. Moreover, now I know the Korean expression for those funny remarks I only call editorial notes. I look forward to seeing where these words will lead me behind the scenes. I'd love to be able to talk to the people involved in these tv shows, about their work.
Today, I reviewed my previously saved posts by My Korean Notebook, updated my Instagram posts with new captions and hashtags, and reviewed a grammatical structure I've already learnt, but completely forgot its meaning, that came up in BTS's Bon Voyage Season 2, episode 1. Whenever I run into a really difficult piece of grammar, I turn to the How to Study Korean website. Their articles are effing long, but you'll sure understand the grammar in question by the time you reach the end of the article. So I'm happy to declare that I've managed to understand yet another piece of difficult grammar. Yay for me!
Today, I reviewed yet another piece of difficult grammar that comes up quite often in dramas and TV shows. It's too complex, so I haven't managed to grasp it yet, so later I'll check out the How to Study Korean website and see what they have to say about it. However, as I was flipping through my grammar book, other, smaller pieces of the puzzle fell into place. I've been feeling a sense of clarity recently. How shall I explain it? Pieces of the puzzle keep falling into place. And also, I notice more of the grammar of spoken Korean. Like, ah, this is how I should express myself. And also, structures that seemed difficult before start to make sense, become clear and lose their difficulty as my knowledge grows.
Today, I was bored out of my mind, so I picked up the Korean edition of Pride and Prejudice lying next to my bed, and read 2 pages. The book was a gift from my Korean teacher. It was surprisingly easy to read. First of all, because of the layout of the pages. Secondly, because I've already picked up so many expressions from TV shows, so it was like: I picked this up from a TV show, I picked this up from a TV show, I picked this up from a TV show, etc. So I actually understood what I was reading. It was creepy, because that's not what you expect when you pick up Pride and Prejudice in Korean. So kids, if you want to read Pride and Prejudice in Korean, watch lots of Korean TV.
Today, I started to work with my Intermediate level grammar book. I've already finished the 1st volume, and after the results of the past few days, I felt confident to dig into the next level. The first 3 lessons of the 1st chapter felt equally familiar and challenging. The structure of the book is a bit different from the previous volume, and that's in itself is part of the challenge. I look forward to fully grasping each lesson as I work my way through the book.
Today, I continued with my Intermediate level grammar book, trying to get accustomed to the new structure, and trying to see if there are any lessons that are easier to grasp. What I noticed, is that the example sentences are too difficult and complex. Not only the grammar on which the lesson focuses is new, but other (grammatical) elements of the example sentences, as well. And I absolutely do remember things I've learnt or seen before, so it's not that I should already know the other unfamiliar parts.
Today, I increased my special vocabulary with A New Journey to the West S4. It's perfect to pick up special expressions that are kind of difficult to define with a dictionary. Like 기상 and 시성. The first was mentioned in the expression 'wake up mission', however 기상 means the time period of waking up, not the action. 시성 was to be understood as someone's 'view', but if you look it up in the dictionary it will mention examples such as Look the other way! or That's catchy!. I love picking up expressions like that. Makes your vocabulary so much richer.
Today, I picked up some criminal vocabulary from a new show, called Sherlock's room. But I won't be watching it, as I'm not particularly fond of the celebrities involved. However, the experts' explanations were very interesting.
A few days ago, I took a photo of a butterfly in our garden and a Korean Instagrammer told me the Korean name of the butterfly in his comment. It always makes me happy when Korean Instagrammers help me out like this.
Today, I just couldn't stop. First, I picked up tons of new vocabulary from BTS and BTS 2 (Viction). By the time I finished, my head was spinning. Then right before bed, I picked up my grammar book to check a certain grammatical structure. And finally, after I turned off the lights, I read a blog article about the Louis Vuitton expo in DDP. I've totally exhausted myself, but I also feel satisfied.
In the meantime, I'm waiting for my Korean keyboard to arrive, so that I can type in Korean comfortably. With all the new expressions, I'm also thinking about how I could continue with my Korean blog.
I've been subscribed to the Learn with Oliver newsletters, and a few days ago, I noticed, that I already know all the words and expressions it contains. So yesterday, I changed the level from Basic to Intermediate. I received the first Intermediate level newsletter today, and I was happy to see that all the expressions were unfamiliar. So now, I have one more tool to help me reach Intermediate level Korean.
Today, I could finally watch the 1st episode of Show Me the Money 6. You must know, that I decided to become fluent in Korean after watching this show's 3rd and 4th season. And I watched them, because previously, I read an article about Korean hiphop (old school, 1st generation), and the awesomeness of the Korean language when it comes to rhymes and wordplays.
While I already picked up some new vocab from the show during the day, in the evening, I printed a blog article about it, and checked every single unfamiliar word, which happened to be every single word.
In between, I read through some lessons in my Intermediate level grammar book.
So it was a day full of challenge.
Today, I feel very much alive. We are halfway through. Although, I didn't have a set plan, I'm very surprised to see how far I've come. During the last few days, I put in a lot of effort. But before? Not really. But the reason I've been able to put in more effort recently is that a lot of things have clarified. So I've gained motivation.
Today, my Korean keyboard arrived, as well. I couldn't be happier. From now on, I'll be able to write more, and longer texts, because it'll be easier.
I've updated my blog, chatted with my Korean penfriend and exchanged a few lines with one of my Korean Instagram conections, all in Korean.
I've checked out the My Korean Notebook article on reported speech. It's been the recurring theme of the past few days. I'm trying to wrap my head around it. To be honest, it's not that difficult, it's just difficult to keep in mind its million patterns as they change on a case by case basis.
Today, as I was reading through a few articles by My Korean Notebook, I came across a structure I could use to write about a recent experience that made me proud, in Korean. Namely, that on my first try I was able to remove the fishbone from a fish in one piece, because I've seen the action performed on various Korean TV shows a hundred times.
So I wrote a blog article about that in Korean.
Then, in the afternoon, as I was reading my Intermediate level Korean grammar book here and there, perusing the Contents I realised, that I've already acquired 4 or 5 patterns/structures from other sources. And that made me feel proud, as well.
Using conjunctions and more complex sentences doesn't seem so daunting anymore, either. Somehow, some of those more complex sentences start to flow out naturally, and that makes me feel happy. I love the feeling of Korean becoming easier. After all, my goal is fluency, so it makes me happy to realise, I'm getting there. The fact that my vocabulary is filled with native expressions gives me confidence, that's very motivating.
Today, I sat down to reply to my Korean penfriend's email, in Korean, with the help of my Korean keyboard. Then I wrote a Korean introduction based on my English intro for a language exchange website. I feel immensely accomplished and exhausted. Off to make a coffee and enjoy the late afternoon sunlight from the balcony.
Today, I feel immensely productive. I wrote 11! emails in Korean, and answered the question of Korean Air - What motivates you to travel? - in Korean. During the past few days, I've been focusing on 'reason'. So I'm starting to grasp how to ask about 'reasons' or explain my own 'reasons' for doing something.
I also discovered a new blog: https://spokenkorean.wordpress.com that could be helpful for Korean language learners.
Today, I feel proud. Because I can say in Korean, that 'In the old days, winters were beautiful, but nowadays, because of the climate change there's not much snow'. And the only expression I had to look up in the dictionary was 'climate change'. It sounds simple, but being able to say this actually means that I know a lot of grammar. Some of them complex, because Korean works very differently from English. Also, I'm able to say this in Korean after 2 and a half years, when in English, it took me 10 to be able to say a sentence like this. So I'm effin' proud of myself.
Besides that, today I wrote another 3 emails in Korean.
Today, I picked up some new vocabulary from various TV shows and wrote 2 emails in Korean. It takes a relatively long time to compose these emails, but I can mostly say what I want. It's nowhere near as daunting as it used to be to compose an email in French. But that's because with Korean I'm lucky. Due to the available materials I was able to collect useful expressions and my favourite words, so I can express myself pretty freely.
Today, I wrote 2 emails in Korean. One of those was a reply to a penfriend, who contacted me once already, back in 2015, not long after I started to learn Korean. She noted that she's amazed at the progress I've made since then. It's very funny, because now, that I've updated my profile with a Korean introduction, and I placed that in front of the English one, I seem to be very popular on the language exchange website.
I also learnt some new grammar from My Korean Notebook.
Today, I wrote 2 emails in Korean, and picked up new vocabulary from a few TV shows.
I really enjoy writing these emails. They still totally drain me, but I'm always excited to write them. In the afternoon, I also took out my grammar book to review, so that I make less mistakes.
As for today's vocabulary, I'm very happy. I was wondering if I should check out more stuff from IKON and BTS as I can pick up the most useful everyday phrases from them.
Also, today, I picked up the legendary expression 'arm pillow' from Instagram, from an illustrator, who draws pencil sketches of her cats. This totally made my day.
When I was trying to become fluent in English, at one point I started to make up stories in English. I wouldn't write these down, I would just tell them in my head. Today, I started a story in Korean. I still narrate it in English, but the dialogues are in Korean. For this, I also needed to look up some vocabulary, so I did that. Finally, I know how to say: Come/Go upstairs/downstairs. And that expression reminds me of the summer we spent talking in English to each other with my sister, and it totally improved our English. I wish I could do the same in Korean, but as my sister is not interested, I occasionally talk to the cats in Korean.
Today, I was having fun with my story, and looked up expressions I needed for my dialogues along the way. Did I mention, that it was fun? I also realised, that I can say much more than I've expected, I just have to uncomplicate things. Why struggle when I actually know all the words I need, if I rearrange my sentences? After 2 weeks, I was able to add to my love vocabulary with the latest episode of Heart Signal, I wrote 2 emails, and continued with my grammar review that seemed to be in vain as I made 2 stupid mistakes. That made me feel upset.
Today, I helped my parents clean the pantry, so I didn't feel too inclined to use much brain power. So today, I skipped the emails and the reviewing, and simply studied from My Korean Notebook and Instagram. We also found a decorative plate that was made in the same year I was born, so I snapped a photo and captioned it with 'We are the same age!' in Korean. In Korean, age is very important.
Today, perhaps to make up for yesterday, I wrote 6 emails in Korean. It's fun to come up with different things to say based on shared interests or lack of information.
I also learnt the names of rooms from Talk to Me in Korean. As I'm not following a coursebook, I totally didn't learn them before.
Then, I've also learnt a couple of things from BTS, among them that in Korean, you don't say 'Do you have your passport?', but instead you say 'Is your passport safe and sound?'. So interesting. I certainly would have never thought of expressing it that way.
Today, it's the 70th day of the challenge, and it ended up being a pretty intense day of Korean practice. I wrote 3 emails in Korean, and chatted to several of my new penfriends on KT, who each taught me various awesome expressions. We've chatted enough for me to realise that they all speak a different kind of Korean, using different vocabulary or sentence structures, so I felt I really learnt a lot, and felt really grateful. No wonder, today, I learnt 2 ways to say it's a lucky day.
Today, I wrote a couple of emails, but I mostly just recycled my penfriends' words. Still, it was good to grasp how I should express certain things the native way, or to see how certain structures work. I also looked up a certain grammar I didn't understand before, and downloaded Whale, Naver's Korean web browser, so I learnt a few new expressions with that. It's fun and beautiful, but I haven't figured out yet how to integrate it into my natural use of the Internet, so for the time being, I'll use it for my Korean related stuff. It's very hot here and I feel overwhelmed. But at the same time, I keep pushing forward, so that my Korean becomes more natural.
Today, I was travelling, so I only played around with the vocab list on my phone and posted a photo with Korean caption. I wanted to visit a K-mart, but it was some 40 Celsius degrees, so I decided against it. Would have required too much travelling by the unreliable and no-aircon public transportation system.
Today, I picked up a million new expressions from SMTM6.
While watching the show, I was also chatting with one of my KT connections about movie settings. That when a movie is set in Europe, the various European capitals often stand in for each other. Budapest can be Paris, Berlin or Moscow on the screen. But Korean locations are always Korean locations in the movie, as well, and Chinese locations are Chinese, etc. It was great, because while I wrote in English, she replied in Korean and from her writing I was able to learn a lot. So I felt immensely grateful.
On the other hand, for days I've been feeling the need to review some grammar, because I either make stupid mistakes in my emails, or just absolutely not sure about the correct grammatical pattern. I should do that during the coming days.
It's so hot here, heat records are being broken, my mailbox is filled with Korean emails to be answered, but I just can't.
Today, I finally sat down to reply to my Korean penfriends. I still haven't got round to reply to all of them, but wrote some 5 emails, which completely drained me in this heat.
Later, I picked up my grammar book to continue with the much needed review. In the middle of that I realised that I can put 3 sentences into 1, so I posted that on my blog and in my Facebook newsfeed.
Today, it's international cat day, so I loved my cats to bits. I also took a photo of one of them, and posted it with a 3-sentence Korean caption.
I wrote 3 emails to my Korean penfriends, and picked up some useful vocab from Heart Signal and my KT chats.
Then I replied in Korean to a post by Talking Korea.
Today, I wrote 3 emails in Korean. My gold membership expires soon on the language exchange website, so I contacted some more people who had an interesting profile, to make sure I'll always have someone to practise my Korean writing with.
At the moment, My Korean Notebook is a mess, as they are moving to a new website, so I hit up How to Study Korean for some additional information on grammar. I want to make sure that my sentences are grammatically correct.
Today, I was out, so I only picked up one very funny slang expression from one of my penfriends, but that totally made my day.
Then, I noticed that the latest episode of Heart Signal was available. In 2 hours, I managed to watch 28 minutes, but collected loads of exciting, new vocabulary. The vocab I pick up from this show makes me very happy, but watching it like this instead of simply enjoying the show makes me feel frustrated. Of course, I could watch it twice, but that's just not me. I don't even reread my favourite books. So I either collect the vocab on the first watch like this, or I'll just give up on the vocab of that episode.
Today, I finished watching the episode of Law of the Jungle I started yesterday, and even my friends commented on the amazingness of the vocab I managed to scoop out of the show. It's total serendipity. You'd never expect the level of amazingness of the vocab you can get out of the most unexpected sources. Like, we're talking about Law of the Jungle. It's like a Bear Grylls survival show at various locations with Korean celebs, but hunting is not the only word I've picked up.
Today, I found a new variety show with a brand new idol boy group. It was surprisingly good, so I'll watch future episodes, as well. And I managed to scoop out some really cool vocabulary I didn't expect, like unforeseeable future.
Then, before going to bed, I checked out another new variety show, and besides laughing my ass off, I managed to pick up some crazy awesome vocabulary.
Today, I wrote an uncharacteristically long blog post in Korean, summing up this experience. It's the first Xday-type challenge I have successfully completed. I'm very proud of myself. I didn't have a plan, I just did every day whatever I could. Still, the end result is surprising. And of course, I keep going, because I love Korean. Now that I write relatively a lot, I want to start reading properly.
Besides Korean, a few days ago I took up Spanish and Dutch. My plan is to practise all 3 languages on a daily basis. Because it's not so difficult after all and seeing the results, I got greedy.