How long can I last?
I think this is a question that is constantly at the back of our heads. People start to learn a foreign language due to a huge variety of reasons, ranging from the need to move to the country for work/studies, love for an actor or simply because they want a pastime. But like it or not, most of these ‘motivations’ don’t last.
There’s always something more important. Work, kids, studies, lack of time. Unless you are compelled to learn that language, most of the time, foreign languages are the bottom in our to-do lists.
Even if you are enthusiastic about the language, the nagging question is always there. You find yourself stuck at the grammar points, lament about your lack of vocabulary and you wonder what you can achieve with your strange accent.
Thinking back, I was probably not very enthusiastic about Korean at first. I just want to ‘learn a foreign language’ and it was not out of some strong conviction that I happen to choose Korean. It was kind of a ‘sounds interesting, why not try’ kind of mentality.
It was after a few months that a link was created and I felt really bonded with Korean. I didn’t give much thoughts to it, but I realized that it was the community of learners and the teachers (Hyunwoo Sun & Kyeongeun Choi) that created the link for me. They were teaching at Koreanclass101.com at that time and I was very very very much in awe of their enthusiasm and approachability. [They are now at talktomeinkorean!!]Looking at all the comments of the learners and how there was loads of interactions between the learners and teachers made me very very excited to join the community.
Korean was no longer ‘a language on paper’. There was a community, and suddenly it became real to me. I look forward to every lesson and the comments section. I learn a lot about Korean culture and Korea from there and it made me want to learn more.
I stopped asking how long I can last. But rather, I just look forward to everyday of learning.
That was not the only link created. I coincidentally bought Big Bang’s autobiography one day – without knowing who they were. I just wanted a Korean book and that one happened to look interesting. Read bits and pieces of it, and thought the boys were really inspirational. Looked them up on youtube – and I was hooked. Another link created.
Made my first Korean friend online. Another link created.
Tried Korean food for the first time. Another link created.
Created a blog. Another link created.
The list can go on forever. The links that held me to the language are so strong now, I don’t think I can ever cut them all off. Not that I have any inclination to do so.
I think the ‘trick’ to learn a foreign language is to create as many links as possible to the language. Make sure ‘studying the language’ becomes one of your priorities, instead of something that is reserved for ‘your free time’.
That being said, I’m learning Japanese now with no links to the language at all. The only link that I have is the fact that Japanese is similar to Korean. I learn Japanese almost solely through Korean resources. I like to see the differences and similarities between the two languages and the nuances.
I don’t listen to Japanese music. Except those by DBSK and Big Bang…
I don’t really watch Japanese dramas
I have no idea about Japanese culture
I don’t know about Japan
ermmm… I eat Japanese food but that’s besides the point ㅎㅎ
I wonder how long I can last like this. If I can be relatively fluent in Japanese next time, maybe I’ll take back my words that links are absolutely needed in order to learn a language ㅎㅎ