twoChois Lucky Draw!

I finally received my gift from twoChois! I don’t want to consider it a ‘lucky draw prize’ because I find these items more warmer and personal than just a simple giveaway/draw. It’s so sad that I haven’t gotten any chance to purchase from twoChois yet, but through this gift I received, I got to experience their amazing and wonderful service.

http://twochois.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/16th-lucky-draw-the-winner-is/

These past week or two I’ve been talking with them through KakaoTalk and they’re just accommodating, even sending me messages occasionally by themselves, not as replies. It’s good to see their passion in what they do and it makes me want to avail their services soon *legitly, by purchasing, haha*. It’s just sad when you don’t have too much resources, or a card, or something something…

I received my notification from the post office this Thursday, and just as how excited I was, I had my day cut short from work to get the parcel myself. It was a blessing in disguise, though, since it was my first time to go to that part of Manila. I’ve always been fascinated by the beauty of our city, though there may be problems and et ceteras, I still see my city as super interesting, historical and magical.

Manila Central Post Office Building, photo from http://shutterchitecture.wordpress.com/

I had to have my first post office experience because of this package. I already bought once from Apple Online Store, twice from Gmarket, and some other local K-Pop stores on Facebook, but all of those were delivered straight to our doorstep. Though I wished for this parcel to also be delivered straight, I was also hoping it’s not, because I really wanted to visit the post office for a more appropriate reason that is, because I wouldn’t even know what to do there if I just visited without any reason.

Anyway, my package should have been claimed since maybe earlier this week, because from my tracking record, the parcel arrived from Haeundae to Manila on the 26th. Maybe there were problems with systems that’s why I failed to receive it earlier. I’ve been calling post office and other offices regarding my parcel but there were problems with tracking as I also can’t track it myself.

The package! It looks messed up because I already opened it when I stayed at some tea shop.

The package! It looks messed up because I already opened it when I stayed at some tea shop.

When I got it, I was not expecting this kind of box because I was used to getting bigger ones, lol. I was not expecting for a bigger one though because I’m only gonna be receiving one book and it would be super ridiculous if I get a bigger box, haha.

BROMIDE!!!

BROMIDE!!!

It may be very shameless of me to request for a YG-related freebie, but I did anyway, and they did anyway 🙂 They sent this Bromide magazine with B1A4 and BAP as semi-headlines, I think? But it also has G-Dragon and Seungri inside, and they were too kind enough to consider that because I think they know I’m a BIGBANG fan. I’m so touched :”> And, everything’s in 100% factory-esque condition because they wrapped the items ever so carefully.

Then I was like, "뭐야?!", they wrote my name in full, hahaha. It was cute though.

Then I was like, “뭐야?!”, they wrote my name in full, hahaha. It was cute though.

The drawing was cute, and the message too 🙂

Here's the book!!!

Here’s the book!!!

It’s still covered, not yet unearthed because I will definitely be reviewing this and through that review, I’ll be sharing the photo of the book in full 🙂

Again, from the bottom and the inner walls of my heart, thank you so much twoChois for giving opportunities like this to help us foreigners learn more about the language, and to share culture with everyone through blogging.

twoChois

twoChois is an online shopping website especially made for Korean learners run by two ‘Choi’ sisters.

If you want to order Korean books, language textbooks, specialty notebooks, other cutesy materials, CDs/DVDs, K-Pop stuff, and other Korean stuff for special ordering that they may provide, visit their website at http://www.twochois.com/ and have fun shopping. They provide book previews, free items, personalized notes and K-Pop CDs if you purchased a certain amount.

You might also win your own Korean textbook WHICH you’re required to learn from, use and review. If you want to win, visit their WordPress blog at http://twochois.wordpress.com/. It would be fun!

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세상에 너를 소리쳐! and Korean Class III | ‘세상에 너를 소리쳐!’와 한국어 수업 III

Yesterday, my package from Gmarket arrived! Wooooooh! I swear I’m gonna try twoChois for my next purchase, but for now, I chose Gmarket since I’m already at Gold status.

세상에 너를 소리쳐!

The box

The box…

…which is smaller than my previous package received. I actually encountered a little problem with this order, this one should’ve arrived last Friday but it delayed a bit. Monday morning, I called PhilPost to track my EMS package, and said that it already arrived and will be delivered the same day. What I love about Gmarket is that it’s very timely, and I don’t pay so much for stuff that is supposed to be more expensive that what I’m paying for, especially since it’s from Korea.

It's from TOP again!

It’s from TOP again!

It's from Interpark, nicely wrapped than Bandi and Luni's.

It’s from Interpark, nicely wrapped in a thick plastic container with bubbles. Better than Bandi and Luni’s.

모두 다 소리쳐!!!

모두 다 소리쳐!!!

I’m currently reading this, not because I can understand, but I will try to read it up till the end, without understanding anything. I think I will be using this for three major times. I will (1) read this continuously so as to increase my reading pace. I will read quickly when I’m on transit, and loudly when I’m at home. After reading it’s wholeness which may take months, I will (2) use the book for studying, to check words and unfamiliar grammar points that I haven’t learned before, at the same time, learning about the story in gradual. And finally, I will (3) re-read this again in time after reaching a certain level in my Korean when I’m confident enough to read a whole book. Just this morning, I already read 22 pages, and I understood about 2% of the book. Good thing about rereading this in the future, is when I evaluate myself how much I understood, even if scattered and not continuous, I would know how much progress I made. For now, I’m just gonna enjoy ‘panggap-ing’ outside, while reading the book when in reality, I can’t understand anything at all. I just hope no Korean would randomly approach me and ask me about the book, cause that would be very… HAHAHAHAHA.

I’m just looking forward to that day, when I can finally see a post in my blog, titled ‘[BOOK REVIEW] 세상에 너를 소리쳐!’.

Intermediate 1 | 중급 1

I finally booked for my Korean classes!!! I’m 100 percent on this, though my pocket’s not. Maybe I just have to find a way on how I can pay for my tuition fee. Booking started early this morning, and as I was talking with my Elementary 1 classmates, two of them would be taking Intermediate 1, and three of them, Elementary 2 (two of them repeating the course). It’s just fun because our schedules are exactly the same, so just like E1 days, we get to see each other every class days which will run for three days per week.

I finally finished Elementary 1 and 2, but in reality, I think I only learned about three-fourths or less of it since I feel like I’m still lacking. I still have too many vocabularies to learn for my level that is, but I’m just lazy to study by myself. Maybe when I finally resign from my work, I’ll be sure to study words everyday, because that’s my biggest weakness when it comes to studying Korean. My classes will start on September 16, and even if I’m not yet asking my boss for permission, I don’t care, I’m gonna take this Korean while I’m still young.

Make-up class | 화장품 수업

Okay, don’t judge me with the Korean title, it’s meant to be a joke. Lol.

Remember how bad the weather was? Well today, it’s still bad. It’s raining pretty hard yesterday night, then it will stop, and rain so hard again, you could almost feel the roof falling off. Good thing about everything though is that there’s a little glimpse of sun whenever the rain stops.

Anyway, we would be having a make-up class later. Supposedly, it’s our final exam day, but it’s just weird if we don’t have at least one review class before the finals. Most especially, I missed two lessons, and there’s just no justice if we take our final exam without studying the final lesson.

And one more thing…

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Today’s the final day for TOPIK applications. I’ll be having my first TOPIK, and I’m aiming for Level 2. I just hope I can do the 쓰기 part because it seems hard. And of course, to pass the exam. Is it weird that I’d rather fail, than pass at Level 1? HAHAHAHA.

And finally, I’ll be returning this book that I bought which has been in my possession for already 2 weeks.

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Again, please don’t mind my butt face.

I borrowed this last August 5, renewed it the next Monday, and since there were no classes for the past three weekdays, I can only return this now. I can actually renew this again, but that’s just too much. Maybe I’ll just buy this when I get the time *coughs* money.

And just now… it’s raining again 😐

Self-studying Korean | 독학으로 한국말을 배우다

Way back, I haven’t been reading a lot of blogs from people who self-study Korean, but now that I’m blogging about my learning experiences, I’m extremely curious about how hard self-studying is.

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My books

I started learning Korean through self-studying which is a good start for an intensive course. That way, I for sure, would just be learning about the most basic of the basics. So when I start with the real lessons, I won’t have to experience culture shock.

Especially, 한글 is extremely easy (sans the complex pronunciation rules, e.g. 연락, 막내, etc.), so studying it alone wouldn’t be very hard. What more, mastering how to read and write 한글 in advance is vital if you’re planning to study formally. That way, you’ll only be focusing on correct pronunciation rather than memorization. Other lessons like -(스)ㅂ니다, or -아/어요 are also exceptions but here comes the tricky part. Which speech level to learn first.

Through TTMIK, I started learning through -아/어요 form, so when I attended formal lessons, it shifted to -(스)ㅂ니다 form it was completely different. From ‘가요’ to ‘갑니다’, ‘읽어요’ to ‘읽습니다’, it was not really confusing, but I thought I would commence learning from what I already know.

Why worry about the difficulties of self-studying if you have a good textbook? It’s still hard. I’ve seen good and systematic textbooks, starting from conversations, dissection of words and grammar points, further explanation of the grammar points and student’s application. But I feel it’s not enough. There are some vocabulary entries that requires explanations. I’ve seen ‘그렇습니까’ defined as ‘That’s right’, which is really confusing if I don’t know the word ‘그렇다’ yet. And it’s more confusing since it was not used as ‘That’s right’ when you read the dialogue. Also, local bookstores (as for here) don’t carry a lot of good Korean books. More on faulty romanized dictionaries and phrase books, but as for legit textbooks… ㅡ.ㅡ

Some other words have different meanings, like for ‘쓰다’, I thought it was just ‘to write but I’ve learned four (3 verbs, 1 adjective) which I might not use if I haven’t heard it from my 선생님. Then there’s ‘사용하다’ which means the same, but when do you use them. How about -아/어서, -기 때문에, and -으니까? How about the various usages of -(으)로 and -(이)나? Of course you can always consult good books like ‘Korean Grammar in Use’ but you can’t expect to get answered instantly. Also, there are various Korean language study communities and resources online, but it’s not very instant.

Of course it’s also hard not to self-study most especially if you’re in desperate need of learning the language but no classes are being offered nearby, or it won’t fit your schedule, or it’s expensive and commute is inconvenient. But still, having a teacher is completely important. There are people who could juggle words and grammar patterns, make good sentences, but if you ask them to read what they have written, they sound like 군인, 사투리, or 평양 사람. They can introduce themselves but if you ask them in Korean what they did last weekend, they’ll be “네?? 음…. 그냥…..”.

Self-studying Pros/Cons

I try to look at both sides for every pro and con, some things can be a pro and a con at the same time.

Privacy, no fear of criticisms

Is this really a pro? Maybe in a different setting, it might be a pro, but when it comes to language, you don’t need privacy, you need criticisms. Why? Learning a language is liquid. You don’t use it just within yourself, you would never improve if you don’t want to talk with peers or a teacher about the language you’re learning. Having the confidence to read and write alone is good, but if you would not apply and use that confidence for conversations, there’s no sense in learning the language at all.

Why we need criticisms? Reading like a soldier, or in a different dialect-ish tone is just as embarrassing as being afraid to talk (though you’re proficient by yourself). People know you study hard about the language but when there’s a chance to be introduced to a native speaker, you go mute, and shy.

Time and pacing

Another good thing about self-studying is time flexibility. The ‘가나다’ book that we’re using right now is perfectly divided for the whole term of 72 hours, 1 lesson per day, and a review segment for the sixth day. Sometimes, only 1 easy grammar pattern is being taught for a lesson, and even if we can freely move on to the next, we just don’t. When you self-study, you can choose how much lessons, words or grammar patterns to study for a certain period. You can choose to ponder for a whole grammar pattern the whole day, but at school, you just have to move on. But then again, you can always ask your teacher about confusing matters.  Without this, studying alone adds more confusion and frustration.

But what’s the downside to a flexible time? Before, I would go for 3 to 5 TTMIK lessons per day and understand it perfectly, but the day after… *brain farts*. The more you learn, the quicker you forget. At school, there’s a syllabus to follow so practice and repetitions are guaranteed to increase mind’s retention.

Extensive source

This is not particularly limited to self-studying, but focusing on self-study, you are not being boxed on a single book. You can choose which method is better. You can choose to learn online if you don’t have a book. You can choose which particular book to use, etc.

But then again, if you’re having formal lessons and you have a required book, you can still look things up on different sources. I for one got very confused about -(으)ㄴ데/는데, so I looked it up through TTMIK and my confusion dissolved. You can always buy a book, ask native speakers through online communities, have exchanges with fellow learners, etc.

Syllabus

When I was still planning to learn the language, I’ve been looking for a good syllabus online. I had no access to elementary textbooks, so I wouldn’t know how to learn systematically and time-wise. Self-studying lacks this. If you’re planning to take the Beginner TOPIK you wouldn’t know up to what grammar point, and which grammar point to study first.

Which, on the other hand, if a syllabus is followed strictly, your teacher may not extend lessons outside the planned lessons. Like now, we encounter a lot of pure Korean and 한자-derived words, so I would at least want to learn how the word looks like in Chinese, so I have to look it up myself, which is deadly confusing. Self-studying is more wider and limitless, but it lacks system and order.

Motivation and confidence

Self-studying may take years until a student feels proficient and fluent enough, but conversationally, I’m not sure about their confidence and adeptness. They may be perfectly well and self-taught. May know most words up to Intermediate level. Can mix up a lot of grammar points, but when conversationally asked about things, I’m not sure.

Self-studying can be less motivating since you only study by yourself. Eventually you’ll lose practice and come to a conclusion that you don’t want to continue anymore. You don’t receive compliments if you did well. You’re not sure if you’re still learning the right thing, so when you have been studying wrongly and finally had the opportunity to converse with a Korean and you get corrected for something you thought right for a very long time, it’s embarrassing and demotivating.

With proper lessons, you get classmates and friends you can talk with, simple things about the time, weather, what happened last weekend, etc. And besides the teacher would be guiding your every step so mistakes are at minimum. It’s also demotivating depending on the teacher. There might be instructors who would make you feel down if you don’t get the lessons. But then again, it’s more important if you get criticisms and corrections… but that is…

Native teacher

It’s good to study formally if you will be handled by a native speaker. There are two sides to it. During my Elementary 1, my teacher had this hard Korean accent which was very hard to understand at first but as time went, it became bearable and music to the ears. And besides, it’s a good practice since most Koreans may also have hard English accent, so conversing with them in English might not be so hard anymore, given the chance.

It’s also okay if non-native speaker would teach, but then again, there are no deeper backgrounds from the words. A native speaker used the word all her life so explaining it from an experience rather than from a book is more fluid, accurate and more relate-able.

Romanization and translations

I never studied Korean through romanization. It is super super foul, and may I say ew?? Of course, at one point in my life, I searched for romanized lyrics, but I just didn’t want to study that way. The moment I learned how to read and write, I have always searched lyrics in 한글. I might have had difficulties reading them at first, but the results were all worth it. Now I can read and rap-along to Korean hip-hop music. For self-studying learners, this is one of the biggest mistakes. Instead of studying about how to read and write, they tend to study phrases and things they hear from dramas, then tweet or status it on Facebook, IN ROMANIZATIONS. It’s really foul, sorry.

There are mixed views about translations though. There are people who find it important. As for me, I try to skip translation as much as possible. Of course it’s necessary, but now that I can simplify definitions in Korean, I try hard not to use translations anymore. Sometimes, it’s also helpful to translate complex Korean words/grammar to own’s native language. ‘이/그/저’ for example is translated to ‘this/that/that’ in English. There are two ‘that’s and at first, it’s complicated to remember which is which, but since in Filipino it can be translated to ‘ito/ayan/ayun’, it’s easily recognizable.

Conclusion

Self-studying is probably the most convenient way to study Korean, but it’s also important to have lessons if you have the luxury of time. It might not be very necessary for some to take lessons if they can be proficient by themselves since proper studying habits and motivation are the only key in learning a language. It’s probably hard since Korean is almost always considered to be one of the hardest languages to study for English-speaking natives, but having goals on what to attain after studying is also important.

Immersion is as important as learning it by book. Having five years of self-study without personal interactions with native or Korean-speaking people is, for me, a waste of time.

It would probably be best to do both, formal lessons and self-study. As always, there are a lot of free resources online. Good thing about proper lesson gives you a system of learning, gives you a reason to stay focused, and on time. Good thing about self-study on the other hand is more on the improvement side. Things taught from school can be widened through owned books, online articles, online lessons, and people alike learning the same language.

What are your thoughts about self-studying?