When/How did I start my Korean?

I consider this second post as a follow up to my introduction. To read the previous intro, click Who Am I, and this entry:

February 10, 2011 – Self-study and talktomeinkorean.com

This is one of the first things I’ve written. Look at that weird final consonants >.< And please don’t mind my ultra haggard face.

Maybe less than a month before February 10, I’ve immersed myself in K-pop songs, from Girls’ Generation, to 4minute. miss A to 2PM, and of course, 2NE1 and BIGBANG, my top groups.

When one boring day… I tried to learn how to read and write in Hangul. I didn’t buy a book or look at Korean learning sites. I’m pure geekery, always staying good long hours immersing myself in Wikipedia articles, so I searched ‘Hangul’ through the site. I was also non-stop listening to SNSD’s ‘소원을 말해봐 (Genie)’ during these period, so I had an idea to test myself by rewriting its romanized lyrics to 한글. I digested and half-mastered 한글 in four hours before writing. I am a kind of person who won’t stop something I’m doing especially if I like it so much or if I want to have it finished up to a certain point, so can I say uhm… result-driven?

So I have the romanized lyrics on half of my screen, and the ‘Hangul’ article on Wikipedia as a cheat sheet on the other half. Since I wouldn’t have memorized 한글 in its complexity in 4 hours, even if I studied it diligently, I need the article.

소원을 말해봐 lyrics in 한글. Written on yellow paper with pencil.

I felt very kinder-y like when you’re doing your writing homework. I would frequently erase and rewrite, and yeah it looks very dirty. I don’t know if I still have the hard copy of this, I’m pretty sure I kept it, well if not, at least I have a clear copy ^^. I retained misspelled words and checked it through its 가사, and yeap, there were a lot of errors >.<

From then on I just practiced reading, writing, and TYPING.

I hand-cut 한글 자모 but since it goes off every single time, it didn’t even reach a month. I removed it ㅡ.ㅡ

I practiced by correcting-as-I-type. I have a 한글 keyboard chart open to check positioning of the characters. Got used to it for quite some time, till I decided to just type and go as how I try to feel where the characters should be. Eventually I mastered it little by little.

Months from February towards summer and start of classes, I immersed myself in K-Pop. Having at least 700+ songs. I felt like I needed more so I started studying through Talk To Me In Korean.

My Korean notebook where I take down notes, though there are free PDF files from TTMIK lessons. *my handwriting improved greatly in my opinion.

It was during the end of the summer up to 4th year college when I studied through Talk To Me In Korean. It was those very moments when we were very hectic and busy so I haven’t had any time to focus on Korean, since my school is still the priority. I finished up to first few parts of Level 2, so basically I only learned and practiced my writing and reading, but grammatically haven’t. As for additional practice, I had the back of my notebook for K-Pop song lyrics. I would look up at lot of lyrics (가사) and hand-write it. I would also watch live performances of K-Pop groups and sing with the lyrics, until I start to catch up with the pace. For more intense practices, I try rap songs.

May 8, 2011 – Elementary Korean 1 | 한국어 초급1 (Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines)

This form

This is my application form for the Elementary Korean 1 course, Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines.

I don’t remember anything anymore about how I decided to study formally. I knew Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines (한국문화원) through a local TV show before, because they were featured with their current exhibits, their library, and their language and culture classes. But I don’t exactly know why I suddenly decided to study with my cousin. They opened their 2nd term for the year (May-Sept 2012) so I was contemplating between Basic Korean (32 hours) and Elementary Korean 1 (72 hours) but I eventually took up Elementary Korean 1 because I’m TOO GOOD for Basic. *lol that was very boastful of me*. But seriously, I didn’t feel like Basic Korean is for me, and it’s more of like a waste of time. And I felt like it’s more of a preparatory level, or something that you would only take if you plan on learning just how to read and write, a little grammar and some vocabulary. Something that you have to take up if you haven’t had self-study time prior to learning the real thing. When I learned that Basic Korean is not a requirement to take up Elementary 1, I pushed Elementary.

The online booking was HARDCORE. I enrolled for the first section, morning schedule, E1-A.  It was our baccalaureate mass back then but I haven’t had the chance to attend because of the booking. There are only 25 slots for each section so everyone should be fast to secure a position. *according to my classmate when we became friends, I was the 3rd lucky person who booked*. Well I was extremely fast back then, continuously refreshing windows before booking starts at 10am.

My reservation number and my cousin’s

Less than a month after the booking was our first day of classes.

When finally, I met TOP again. *please excuse my annoying face

Our class commenced for about three months, where I met my forever classmates, and my first 한국 선생님, 강~!

From 강 선생님의 아들, to my 친구들… Elementary Korean 1 won’t be forgotten. Up till now, we meet even if we have separated, and have our own classes.

I went to Singapore 5 days after our graduation, so I haven’t had the chance to continue on third term (Sept-Dec 2012) Elementary Korean 2. Some of my classmates who didn’t finish the class decided to retake during this term. Some continued to Elementary 2, some passed, and some didn’t bother to learn Korean anymore.

May 12, 2013 – Elementary Korean 2

Almost a year after graduation, I met my friends again because we had to attend one of our classmates’ debut party. Two of them already passed Elementary 2 (took two times, one passed Level 1 TOPIK), the other one took Elementary 2 but didn’t pass (but passed TOPIK Beginner 2), and the other one will take Elementary 1 again. Me and my other friend haven’t thought about taking our Korean to the next level, since I’m already working and she had a bad experience with work regarding her schooling. And also, I thought I wouldn’t have time to juggle two separate lives at once. But the meeting had us thinking so much.

This was a Sunday, and booking was Thursday (May 16), so I only have few more days to ask for permission from work, and to think for myself if I’m going to take it or not. I asked most trusted friends, my parents, and my coworkers if it’s okay. Well some said I should think more, weigh things, and pray. I prayed for it so much.

I wouldn’t say I really need it since I wasn’t even thinking about it before meeting my friends. But I just thought, yeah, why not take it since it was a year ago since I graduated from Elementary 1, and taking it some other more time may deteriorate the few knowledge that I had.

I eventually booked!

I had three signs (well not really ‘sign’) for me to continue. Elementary 2 is not on-site registration anymore, unlike previous years. Everything will be online, so I had to be 10x faster than I was last year. More so, this time, there would be 30 slots, but only ONE section. So this is unlike Elementary Korean 1 where I have other choices (different schedules though) if by chance I don’t get to enroll.

I booked not because I’m already a hundred percent sure, but just to reserve my slot. If… (1) I successfully book a slot, or (2) if I have money, and the biggest, (3) if my boss allows me to go, then the opportunity’s mine. *but seriously, if my boss won’t approve, I might leave the company. But thank God and the heavens, and all the K-Pop idols… he did. I only asked for an hour early off because I leave the office at 6pm, my classes starts at 6pm, so every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, I asked to leave the office at 5pm.

A week before classes start, I diligently studied my Elementary Korean 1 book. How to read the numbers, run through grammar points, and memorize some words that might come in handy *since most words I learned from Elementary 1, surprisingly, I have never forgotten so much.*

First day started, and my 선생님 hardly speak in English so I’m required to listen hardly, and think more quickly. She even define some words through simple Korean words we know. Every two weeks we have five lessons and one review day after the lessons. Our teacher would ask us to listen to dialogues, repeat after them, and after repeating cycles, our teacher herself would read them and repeat after her. If through a particular line, a grammar point for the day comes out, she will then explain it. After the dialogues, if there’s still time, we will answer the exercises. If not, they become assignments, and will be answered first time the next meeting before proceeding to the day’s lessons.

I’m very much enjoying my classes. Whenever my friend asks me to explain some things she didn’t understand, I try to explain through my broken Korean. Sometimes, when someone’s talking to me, whether it be in Filipino or English, I translate in my mind what they’re saying in Korean.

Right now we just reached half of the course, and I think I’m doing a great job so far. I ordered books through Gmarket even if as advised by our teacher, don’t study advance and alone. And yeah, she was right. Now that I have the opportunity to learn formally, it’s better if I practice what I’m learning the right way through our classes, rather than studying by myself at home and taking it up wholly without knowing if I’m still doing it right.

But I still study, lol. I don’t try to use grammars or words that I still don’t know. I only practice and review the notes and lessons that we had. And through the book that I ordered, I’ll try to clarify questions and sharpen more of my knowledge about what I currently know. I hope I pass the course though so I can take this year’s TOPIK.


8 thoughts on “When/How did I start my Korean?

  1. Hello!I’m very happy to know another KPop fan ^^. I like SNSD and other KPOp groups so much that I decide to learn Korean.If I knew KPOP earlier, maybe I would choose Korean as a major at the university

    • Hi! Thank you for your comment and the likes. How far along are you in your Korean? I was an SNSD fan before but after Hoot, I gradually lost interest in them. I still loved The Boys and Twinkle so much but their next songs were… *no comment (since you’re a SONE ^^)*. I’ll be sure to check your blog too. 오늘도 좋은 하루 보내세요~ ^^

  2. Your handwriting is neat! 부럽다! -_- Oh, and nice knowing that you are a VIP (I am too!).. Ahh, I miss the days when I always talk to 탑이랑 지드래곤 오빠들 in the exhibit area of KCC >_<

    p.s. I'm now your fan. I love your posts! ㅋㅋ

    • Oh thanks! Buuuuut, if that’s neat, maybe my recent notes are 10x neater. I just don’t like thicker point pens or bigger font size (font?). I try to keep my handwriting between without nearly touching the lines. And yeah I’m a VIP, and I might blog about it some other time, when things get boring 😀

      Noooooo silly, I think you’re waaaay better than me 🙂 But thanks anyways, I never thought someone would read my blogs since I always post more than a thousand words >.< I'm seriously 'madaldal' through writing.

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