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The ’I Hate Korean’ Thread

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Bao
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
tinyurl.com/pe4kqe5
Joined 3871 days ago

2256 posts - 4045 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 
 Message 33 of 131
02 July 2011 at 10:25pm | IP Logged 
leosmith wrote:
Kitchen.Sink, yes that was a very nice whine. And I have never studied Korean, not even a single word. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's not more difficult than Mandarin or Japanese for the average native English speaker.

From all I've heard so far from friends and experienced myself, Korean is more difficult for a beginner and probably also for an intermediate student. (German and English native speakers, many having studied several languages before. Comparision mostly with Japanese, but also Mandarin.) Maybe it won't be any more difficult in the long run; I can't judge that yet.

In my case the problem is definitely alien words for alien concepts consisting of alien sounds written in alien letters and governed by alien grammar. I learn Sinokorean words that I know a Sinojapanese or Chinese equivalent of almost immediately when I've made the connection. When I can relate a newly learnt grammar concept to Japanese, I usually can understand it when I read or hear it (spoken clearly) afterwards; when I can't relate it to anything I know I'll only know that I should know it - and sometimes not even that. Of course I experience the same in my other languages, but not nearly as frequently as in Korean.
Alien letters shouldn't be that much of a problem, but it is true that when I first learnt Hangeul, a friend asked me to read "동방신기". I read it aloud and sat there, not grasping the meaning of what I just had read aloud. She almost fell off her chair laughing because she had immediately understood (and, yes, she didn't read Hangeul or knew a single word of Korean herself, she just knew the group.) The same used to happen to me when I read Japanese words like 男の子 in kana (who on earth writes that in kana!), and I still have trouble understanding romaji.
But apart from that I believe the key point for myself is 'alien sounds'. Words don't stick because I don't remember how they were supposed to sound, and because they don't stick I don't remember what they were supposed to mean or recognize them when I hear or read them again - and grammar doesn't stick because I don't remember the words to work with. It's a conundrum. =D

I really like Korean, but I hate thinking that I may be too stupid to learn it, and that happens on a daily basis. )=

Edited by Bao on 02 July 2011 at 10:27pm

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Improbably
Diglot
Newbie
Norway
Joined 3041 days ago

34 posts - 87 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English

 
 Message 34 of 131
02 July 2011 at 11:42pm | IP Logged 
A suggestion: Make audio flashcards (for instance in Anki), audio only on the question side, and a transcription and/or translation on the other (depending on what you're testing for). Start small, with individual words. As your ability improves, use longer sentences and faster speech. Use text-to-speech software to generate the audio if you can't find it elsewhere. I'm not completely sure, but I think tts-software for Korean is pretty accurate (I could be completely wrong about this, though:P). Start out focussing on minimal word pairs to learn to differentiate between difficult phonemes. Use words and sentences in the style of speech you'd like to learn to understand (for instance words and sentences from newscasts).

I suspect an important reason some people who can read fairly well have trouble with listening comprehension, is that there is a mental disconnect between what is actually being said, and the listeners idea of pronunciation gained from a too writing-focussed study method. If you think the words are said one way, and they are really said another way, you'll never be able to discern them properly in rapid speech (and we're not just talking vowels and consonants. There's also the question of prosody). The same thing has happened to me from time to time in English. I may be perfectly capable of understanding a word when written (and even be really familiar with it), but when I hear it I might have to think for a while (too long to catch it in rapid speech), simply because I didn't really know the correct pronunciation of the word (usually which syllable is to be stressed. And in English this often changes the vowels and rythm completely). (Thankfully this is becoming rarer and rarer, thanks to popup dictionaries with audio recordings).

Edited by Improbably on 02 July 2011 at 11:43pm

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Bao
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
tinyurl.com/pe4kqe5
Joined 3871 days ago

2256 posts - 4045 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 
 Message 35 of 131
03 July 2011 at 12:45am | IP Logged 
If that was for me - what I mentioned was even more curious; there are times I do not understand words I know when written in a script I don't expect them to be in, which means that I can read and not understand them. Talk about feeling stupid when you read a text aloud and everyone understands it except for yourself. In other languages it also takes me a moment to recognize known words I haven't seen written down before, just as it takes me a moment to recognize known words I haven't heard before. I've never thought about that before, but I think I need to establish a new mental connection between the 'image' of the word and the 'sound' I get from deciphering the letters or seeing characters, or the other way around. Usually that's done very quickly, I might have a flash of 'oh, so that's how it sounds/looks like!' and then that word doesn't make me falter any more. When I don't understand something I can read aloud, it seems like that connection is not established.
By the way, I start out concentrating on audio and audiovisual content until I can actually 'hear' the words in a good pronunciation when I read them.
And the problem doesn't lie with difficult phonemes, it is the way they interact; sandhi, phoneme boundaries and ... however you might call it when one sound gets replaced by another one for the sake of more convenient pronunciation. Korean uses agglutination, but has sandhi rules coming with every added morpheme. Imagine having to learn to tell the difference between 'to sip' and 'to sit' when, standing alone, they sound the same and the p/t can be pronounced in three different ways depending on the syllable that follows.

I do dream of a minimal-pair exercise that uses entire clauses or sentences.

What I am trying is to memorize sentences and short texts (from audio). It does help, but my progress is very, very slow. It feels as if usally I just pick up 90% of a language and have to memorize the rest, and with Korean it's the other way around.

So, I absolutely hijacked this thread.

ETA: Or not. :D

Edited by Bao on 03 July 2011 at 12:48am

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t123
Diglot
Senior Member
South Africa
https://github.com/t
Joined 3716 days ago

139 posts - 226 votes 
Speaks: English*, Afrikaans

 
 Message 36 of 131
03 July 2011 at 12:52am | IP Logged 
You could make an audio deck from Korean dramas if you can find the matching subtitles using Subs2SRS. There are some at
d-addicts: http://www.d-addicts.com/forum/subtitles.php#Korean

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ScottScheule
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
scheule.blogspot.com
Joined 3333 days ago

645 posts - 1176 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Latin, Hungarian, Biblical Hebrew, Old English, Russian, Swedish, German, Italian, French

 
 Message 37 of 131
03 July 2011 at 1:35am | IP Logged 
Kitchen.Sink wrote:
Now this is an example of an intelligent suggestion.


You're really a very pleasant person.

LingQ, as I mentioned, has Korean mp3s with transcripts. You can chop them up with
Audacity or something (I go by sentence) and add to your Anki cards. This is what I do
with LingQ's Spanish.
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Faraday
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4223 days ago

129 posts - 256 votes 
Speaks: German*

 
 Message 38 of 131
03 July 2011 at 1:52am | IP Logged 
ScottScheule wrote:
Kitchen.Sink wrote:
Now this is an example of an intelligent suggestion.


You're really a very pleasant person.


I kind of have to agree with this. I began reading this thread prepared to sympathise and perhaps try to offer a
helpful tip or two, but the OP's wildly disproportionate vitriol against fairly innocuous comments obviated both
measures. In language learning, as with all other areas of life, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Edited by Faraday on 03 July 2011 at 1:54am

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Kitchen.Sink
Newbie
United States
Joined 4285 days ago

20 posts - 67 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 39 of 131
03 July 2011 at 2:18am | IP Logged 
ScottScheule wrote:

LingQ, as I mentioned, has Korean mp3s with transcripts. You can chop them up with
Audacity or something (I go by sentence) and add to your Anki cards. This is what I do
with LingQ's Spanish.


Thanks for the suggestion, Anki is a great program and I have been using this process
with my flashcards for quite some time. LingQ's Korean section, though, left me rather
unimpressed last time I looked at it. It completely left out grammar on most of its
lessons, used Google translate for a lot of its definitions, and sometimes the audio
would only partially fit the written transcripts. Was this because I was using a free
account, maybe?

Edited by Kitchen.Sink on 03 July 2011 at 2:19am

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Kitchen.Sink
Newbie
United States
Joined 4285 days ago

20 posts - 67 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 40 of 131
03 July 2011 at 2:18am | IP Logged 
Faraday wrote:
ScottScheule wrote:
Kitchen.Sink wrote:
Now this is an example of
an intelligent suggestion.


You're really a very pleasant person.


I kind of have to agree with this. I began reading this thread prepared to sympathise
and perhaps try to offer a helpful tip or two, but the OP's wildly disproportionate
vitriol against fairly innocuous comments obviated both measures. In language learning,
as with all other areas of life, you catch more flies
with honey than vinegar.


I'm flawed. I'm human. And one of my primary flaws is that I have little patience for
people who contribute nothing to the conversation other than smug remarks that boil
down to, "Although I haven't studied this particular language, you must be either
exaggerating your claims or are sorely mistaken." Armchair generals come a dime a dozen
apparently. Those sorts of comments contribute nothing to the discussion, and as stated
in my original post, I am looking for those who have actually tried to learn this
language, who have first hand experience, or who have intelligent and insightful ideas
to share. I have no patience for beady-eyed theorycrafters who love to listen to the
sound of their own voice.

Edited by Kitchen.Sink on 03 July 2011 at 2:21am



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