Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Language Steps

I think Mark and I have hit a hit a big language milestone today. We had our one-on-one speaking interviews today. Rather than structuring it as a question and answer session, this semester it served as more of a counseling session.

It was probably one of the most useful talks I've had.

Basically our teacher told both of us that we're doing a good job learning the technical aspects of the language -- memorizing the new vocabulary and learning the new grammar points. However, now she'd like us to start trying to experience the language in everyday situations. Growing up the child of two teachers, I was shocked when my teacher told me to stop doing my homework and to start watching Korean dramas, listening to Korean radio, and talking to Korean people. She made a good point that I can do all the book learning on my own in the United States, but while I'm in Korea I need to take advantage of the environment... namely a country filled with people who natively speak the language I'm trying to learn.

Today's a great day because without even realizing it, I feel like we've finally reached the step I've wanted to be at since I first started studying the language.

I remember when Mark and I first came to Korea, we studied one month at a hagwon and basically learned the alphabet and to count. After that, we got a free Korean tutor through GOAL. It's embarrassing to remember what we said to the tutor... "We really don't have a lot of time to study vocabulary, so we'd just like you to speak to us and we'll just pick up what we can." Uh, we didn't know the words for come, go, look, chair, doctor, pencil.... how we thought we would just magically pick up the language from listening to her is the stupidest thing ever. That tutor was honestly a saint because how she managed to make it through those classes without punching one of us is a mystery. There was no way we could learn anything from her because we never bothered to try to learn the basics!

So now... after studying Korean for 25 weeks, we've finally reached the point where we've got the basics learnt (mostly) and we can start paying attention to real Korean in everyday life and we can learn from it. So now we embark on the next step... immersion and application. Wish us luck! :)

::Picture via Mango Languages blog::


Mica said...

Woohoo, look at how much progress you've made! How long are you planning to stay in Korea-land?

Day II of Korean 202 today. My new teacher is a PhD student in Asian history (I think that's what he said...). He seems nice...though he is very sweaty.

Troubled Seoulite said...

YAY!! now you can communicate not only with your family, but everyone around you. You can talk other people's ear off, haha.