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In Praise of Lang-8

July 27, 2011

I will be making posts about all of my favourite Korean language resources as I continue with this blog. Though Seoul Searching is very much for my own reference, I am sure there will be those that stumble upon my blog who are equally interested in learning Korean as I am.

Lang-8 is a fantastic multilingual website, designed for users all around the world, with the aim of native speakers helping out learners of their language with their writing, in exchange for help with the learner’s native language. This is primarily done on Lang-8 by writing diary entries. For example, if I were to write a diary entry in Korean, this would come up on the home page of a native Korean speaker, who would then correct my mistakes. In turn, I could help the Korean speaker with their English diary entries. It seems like such a simple and obvious idea, yet it works so well.

I do not yet know enough Korean in order to write a full diary entry, however I still signed up the moment I learned of Lang-8. Since then, I have already spoken to numerous people (primarily Korean) about language and culture, which is as fascinating as it is useful. I have used my time on the website helping to correct English (which many, many people on Lang-8 are keen to learn), and as a result, I have a network of wonderful people ready and willing to help me to write better Korean in return.

Of course, it is important (and perhaps very obvious) to point out that this website will not help you speak a foreign language better, but merely improve one’s understanding of grammatical structure and vocabulary. However, I have found that many of the Lang-8 users are keen to speak on Skype in order to practice pronunciation. I have also recently learned of a website called RhinoSpike, which is basically the spoken equivalent of Lang-8, where native speakers will read out a script of the language you wish to learn to aid you with your pronunciation. More on that later.

I’d definitely reccommend signing up, and if you do, make sure to add me! I might even start posting diary entries in Korean one day…

안녕히 게세요!

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Basic vocabulary

July 27, 2011

Below is a list of some of the very basic words (and phrases) that I have learned so far – as you can see, I have not got very far, however pronunciation and perfect spelling from memory are both important to me, so I am making sure to take as much time as I need to memorise everything perfectly.

안녕하세요 an-nyeong-ha-se-yo Hello
안녕히 계세요 an-nyeong-hi gye-se-yo Goodbye (stay in peace)
안녕히 가세요 an-nyeong-hi ga-se-yo Goodbye (go in peace)
죄승합니다 joe-song-hap-ni-da Sorry
감사합니다 gam-sa-hap-ni-da Thank you
저기요 jo-gi-yo Excuse me
ne Yes
아니요 a-ni-yo No
아니에요 a-ni-e-yo You’re welcome / to be not
맞아 ma-ja-yo That’s right
잠시만요 jam-si-man-yo Just a second
mwo What

Hangul

July 27, 2011

So before starting to learn Korean, I was very intimidated by hangul. To communicate effectively in Korean, not only did I have to learn a whole new language, but I also had to learn a whole new alphabet system as well. I heard people stating how easy hangul is to learn, but I just assumed that these people were the types that could pick up a new language at the drop of a hat. For me, however, this is the first foreign language that I have ever tried to learn. I mean, I took French classes in school, but only because I had to. Korean, however, is something I really want to learn. I can’t explain why.

Anyway, back to the point. It basically is true what they say. Hangul is easy. Mostly. I took some very good lessons over at KoreanWikiProject which taught me very good pronunciation and all of the basics, however it is slightly incomplete. I am still having to get my head around various irregularities, such as pronunciation in batchim (this was only partially covered) and consonant clusters (not covered at all). These are quite simple to learn, but I find that I tend to forget about these when I am reading and pronouncing hangul quite frequently. I also. Hate. Diphthongs.

For reference, I’ve attached a quick-reference pronunciation table from Joop.in which you can download and keep. It doesn’t cover batchim pronunciation or consonant clusters, so I’m going to make a post about these later on when I have my head around them properly.

At least I’m getting pretty good at typing in Korean.

안녕히 계세요!