17 In Korean learning journey (:

Always remember our interest

Can’t really think of an apt title so this will have to do.

Everyone takes up a language due to different reasons. Some of us may learn it for interest sake, some learn it because they need to use it or that they are required to do so. Personally, I’m really glad that I’m learning Korean because I truly like it. I have friends who, for various reasons, need to learn a language within the shortest time possible and I can understand their anxiety, stress etc. Learning a new language is no mean feat. Being confronted with a totally new structure, a new vocabulary, a new culture – that’s not something easy.

I can somehow relate to the anxiety and stress. Sometimes, I lose sight of why I started studying Korean in the first place. Korean becomes something I want to conquer, a task I want to complete in the shortest time possible. I get frustrated with my seemingly lack of progress or even backward progress. I try to absorb new knowledge faster and I want to achieve a certain proficiency by a dateline.

This may work for other studies, but not language studies. When there’s no joy in learning a new language, you simply won’t progress (much). You probably can remember all that new vocabulary, but how long can that memory last?

At times like this, I’ll remind myself why I started learning in the first place – It’s because I really love Korean: the language, the culture

It shouldn’t be something that I want to get over and done with. It’s meant to be enjoyable. I’m sort of experiencing the state where I’m questioning my lack of progress and the fact that I really want to take TOPIK advanced this year. But upon reflection, I realised that the certificate is not my goal. I want it to be a part of me that I’m proud of, something that I enjoy.

p.s. the good news that I was hoping for did not come. 그래도 괜찮아. (:

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    creativityjapanese
    2 March, 2011 at 11:58 PM

    I really agree with what you said. I was like that when I was taking my JLPT 1 exam. Forgotten my interest, instead focusing on just the results and wanting to improve in the shortest amount of time. I’m actually quite afraid that this will happen to me for Korean.

    Thanks for writing this entry. I’ll keep in mind that I should always keep my interest in mind when it comes to learning languages.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      5 March, 2011 at 12:05 AM

      i had the same experience with KLPT too. i was just studying from the guidebook and although i learnt alot in a short period of time, i couldnt remember anything a few weeks after the test

      • Reply
        alodia
        5 March, 2011 at 10:08 AM

        Same with my TOPIK last year. I learned a lot while preparing for it since I was kinda ‘forced’ to learn so much in a short period of time just to be ready for it… well not that I forgot everything I learned, but there are surely a handful of things that I know I have studied for TOPIK that I have forgotten already / haven’t used thus forgotten.

  • Reply
    Alexander Ristich
    3 March, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    I’m glad you’ve finally seen the light 😛

    I’ve never taken a Korean proficiency test, and I don’t ever have plans to do so. My passion, much in line with yours, is for the culture and the people. The language is merely a means by which I can understand those two better.

    Obviously in some cases language tests are needed (such as when applying to university, certain jobs, etc.) but I find that if your passion is one of fascination with the culture, people and language (as opposed to getting a well-paying job, being accepted into a good university, etc.) then language proficiency tests will often demotivate students because their perceived level in the language (according to the test) often doesn’t line up with their ability to truly communicate and function in that language.

    “Remember your first love”. This is a phrase I often use with language learning, as it aptly describes what got me motivated in various languages, and is often the thing that keeps me going when times get tough.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      5 March, 2011 at 12:07 AM

      Thanks! ^^ Proficiency tests are really not a good measure of our communicative level. I could score well, but I was afraid of speaking in korean and communicating with the native speakers

  • Reply
    Carl
    3 March, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    I’ve been feeling this way for a long time. I would say to myslef, “I just want to be finished with Korean. I want to start learning other languages. Didn’t other people learn Korean in less time?” I’ll keep this post in mind so that I wouldn’t get discouraged. Thanks for this post.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      5 March, 2011 at 12:08 AM

      i know what you mean. I try to compare myself with others but in the end, I realised that as long as I’m putting in effort, it doesnt matter how long i take

  • Reply
    alodia
    3 March, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    Thank you for the wonderful post and reminder. I think I have to bookmark this one so that I can easily access it whenever I need a reminder. ^^*

  • Reply
    Mandu00
    3 March, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Thanks for this very timely reminder. I think I’m more or less going through the same phase as you — wondering at my lack of progress. At times like these, however, I try to go back to doing the things I liked about Korean. For e.g. watching old variety shows that I enjoyed, listening to the songs I liked and somehow this takes the focus off my progress (or lack thereof) and makes me enjoy the journey once again. I think when you enjoy the time you spend ‘learning’ (I consider watching shows and listening to music ‘learning’ :p) the language, that is when you make the most progress.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      5 March, 2011 at 12:14 AM

      hahaha. i’m watching too many dramas at one go. hopefully that means i’m learning loads too xD

  • Reply
    Jannah
    3 March, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    I think it could be a Singaporean “complex”. 😛 Thanks to the education system, we’re not programmed to learn for the sake of learning. In schools here, we’re always being tested on our knowledge in one way or another, so Singaporean students grow up thinking we have to be certified in something in order to be good at it. I’m a product of the Singaporean education system too, and only after completing formal education did I discover the joys of learning simply for learning’s sake. 🙂

    Anyway, I started following your blog a few weeks back and find it really useful as I’m learning Korean too. I can tell you truly enjoy it, so please keep doing so, and preserve that pleasure of learning. You seem to be doing great, and much better than I am!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      5 March, 2011 at 12:14 AM

      hahaha i so agree! i think korean is the only ‘study’ that i actually enjoy. We have been trained just to do well in exams, we often forget the joy of learning!

  • Reply
    ira
    4 March, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    hi there!

    I start learning Korean this year and I’m very grateful that I stumbled upon your blog. I’ve read through lot of posts and I found lot of them keep me motivated. Thank you so much for sharing! ^^

    Hope there will be abundant good news coming! ^^

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      5 March, 2011 at 12:12 AM

      Hi ira!

      thanks for visiting my blog (: (: the good news didn’t come but it’s alright! xD

  • Reply
    isaberuchan
    6 March, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    I agree with you. Learning a language is really hard if you don’t enjoy it. I think we’re so lucky because we like it.
    I sometimes feel the same way with Korean. I have just started, and I hate knowing so little, so I want to learn it as fast as possible. I ussualy forget that learning a language takes a lot of time.
    Anyway, in my case having a goal to achieve (JLPT) has made me study more, and avoid not studying for a while (due to lazyness).

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      6 March, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      haha yeah i get the same feeling with jap xD i keep wondering why i’m progressing so slowly an I forgot how much effort i put in korean to achieve what i have now. >,<

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