It was one of those days when I was in the middle of ‘panggap’-ing as Korean ‘한국인 척하는 중이다’ when I realized how great it was for me to know how to type in Korean. I’m trying really hard to ‘panggap’ while I was standing inside the train, but unluckily for me, no one’s asking me to take a seat. I am studying while standing which is super super hard. Whenever I had no time to make my homeworks at home and at the office, I do it while I’m on my way to school.
So that time, I am answering my workbook, but not through my handwriting, because I don’t want my book to be super messy and that is way too impossible. Besides writing inside the train even if you’re sitting is a bit dizzy-fying. So I have my trusty Blackberry phone for these moments.
Last February, I have been contemplating for so long if I should get a Samsung SIII Mini or a Blackberry Curve 9320 for my postpaid plan, but since I hate anything Android, and SIII Mini would just sacrifice itself as a toy, not a phone (since people would be playing or do a lot of stuff in there), I chose Blackberry. And another big reason for me, is I want to learn how to type in 한글 through my 휴대폰. Not that I’m making things inconvenient (touch screen phones are the easiest way to type), I just want to feel how to type through my phone in 한글 even if there are no 자모 indicators.
Before I got this phone, I already know how to type in 한글, up to 70-80 Korean characters per minute through my laptop. Now, I’m on a whopping speed of 130 Korean characters per minute, which still may not be fast for you. Hmm, probably I still consider it slow, but I can now type long paragraphs without looking at the keyboard, with minimal typos.
Back to my ‘panggap’ moment from the train, I have the book on my left hand, and my Blackberry phone on my right. I am answering my assignment which is not a simple fill in the blank with words. You have to answer the questions in sentences. It’s hard to type in one hand since your left hand already memorized the keys, and giving it all to the right is very confusing and slow. I can now type 한글 through my phone too without looking, but with one hand, it’s just so hard, but just the thought that I could at least do it 천천히, I’m contented. Now…
How I started learning how to type
I started by sticking hand-cut 자모 letters through my keyboard but it didn’t even last a month. In short, I haven’t had any practice with it. It keeps on falling off so I got annoyed and removed it right away.
I installed Korean input and had a Korean keyboard layout picture always open. Back in the days, I was just like this:
Everything I type goes straight into my very trusty Notepad, before I paste in on Google or anywhere I might need Korean characters.
I practiced like that, without buying Korean keyboard stickers, or typing through romanizations. I just let my fingers memorize the letters as how I could see it through the layout. When I finally half-memorized the keys, I finally neglected the Korean keyboard layout picture and just did it ‘correct-as-you-type’, frequently hitting backspace and trying my luck on another key if that’s the right character. But then I had to step up, so I tried to find interactive ways how to type, looking for WPM tests, etc. And these are, for me, the best tools I’ve used for practicing my typing.
Basically it’s a Korean typing game for kids. There are three modes:
- 자리연습 – in this mode, you type per 자모. This mode is divided into three, the 기본자리, or the middle layout with practices for ㅁ ~ ㅎ or ㅗ ~ ㅣ, 윗자리, or the upper layout with practices for ㅂ ~ ㅅ or ㅃ ~ ㅒ, and the 아랫자리, or the lower layout with practices for ㅋ ~ ㅍ or ㅠ ~ ㅡ. I honestly didn’t practice through this mode because it’s boring. LOL. Or not… but this one’s actually good. There are rockets with the characters in it, and you have to make them explode before it reaches the screen.
- 낱말연습 – in this mode, there are words written on bombs, and the kid have to zap it before it destroys the whole city. This is where I practiced a lot. Before I could only get 700점 over 1300점 for Level 1, but now I can go even 1400점 easily for Level 5. Level 1 for slower fall and easiest words, Level 7 is the fastest and more complex words. I still can’t pass through Level 6 so maybe I still need more practice.
- 문장연습 – in this mode, you get to type sentences. This one’s boring so I rarely tried it.
You are given a minute to type a horizontal list of words which I’ve read from somewhere, does not make any sense, since a good typing test should be sentence-based. But anyway, I have been playing here before and I only get 70-85 WPM, but just now, I tried it and I got 97 WPM and three mistakes for first try, since playing this after a long time is tenseful. But for the second try, I got:
마지막으로… I settled here since this is more ‘accurate’ *or not* than 10FastFingers, since 112 WPM is too much. I only get 100+ for English, and I get 112 for Korean? That’s just wrong calculation, lol.
In TypeRacer, you compete with other players and you get to track your progress so it’s better than the other two. And this is more accurate since it measures CPM rather than WPM, which is more important in Korean because a word requires a lot of characters before it’s formed. There’s also a ranking system, Beginner at 0 – 60 CPM, Intermediate ate 63-75, Average at 78-103, Pro at 105-135 (I’m at 130), Typemaster at 138-198, and Megaracer at 200+.
As soon as I learned how to read and write, typing has been one of the things I mastered. I consider myself a Google genius, since I can find the hardest things to find in the internet through my carefully picked Google search terms. Now, I can also find rare Korean torrents and files (hihi) and articles through the help of my typing. If you don’t know how to type, you’ll mostly rely on online virtual keyboards or typing through romanizations which is way uncool. And besides, it’s cool if a friend sees you typing in another language, another bragging rights for you. And yeah… as much as it’s important to know Korean words, grammar, and expressions, if you can’t type, you’re nothing. LOOOOL.