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How I study advanced Korean: #1 Read real articles

Received a question in one of the comments on how I am studying advanced Korean now. Frankly speaking, I still feel that I’m lost somewhere in the abyss of the ‘crossing over’ stage. I think I’m over the intermediate stage but still not quite there yet to call myself an advanced learner.

Contrary to ermm public belief (?), I don’t study very hard for Korean. Nowadays at least. I did remember a period of time when I will spend hours and hours poring over textbooks, resources etc and those were the good old days where I could still give my very best.

At the ‘advanced stage’, there is no good book (none that I found) to study with. Without a book and a clear structure, it becomes very hard to self study. Self studying requires a lot of discipline, structure etc and without a textbook, it just doesn’t seem right. I don’t feel very anchored to my studies and sometimes I just feel lost, confused and unmotivated.

Out of the several methods I’ve been using, I’ll just touch on one of them: READ REAL ARTICLES.

Most foreign language learners tend to get very very dependent on textbooks. Especially for intermediate learners, many of us seem to be unwilling to go beyond our textbook and to try to attempt something harder and more challenging. People tend to be contented with being able to read the prescribed texts and even up to an advanced level, they are still reading from the textbook. It’s a good thing that most advanced textbook have texts taken from external sources, but it is still not a real reflection of the language.

I suggest looking at REAL articles. News articles, blogs, texts, novels – anything and everything.

The interesting part comes with blogs and user generated content. Most of such content are less formal and they tend to contain language elements that are unfamiliar to the ‘structured language learner’.

The colloquial expressions may not be ‘correct’ from the viewpoint of pure, academic Korean, but this is how language is used in real life.

I myself is still very weak in terms of colloquial expressions etc.

I always subscribe to the belief that learning a language means picking up everything. By everything I mean jargon from all disciplines, all types of speech styles etc.

By reading real articles, we get exposed to the real language.

It’s also time for me to start to develop my own stylistic preference in writing Korean and looking at real articles give me a chance to look at how people are phrasing their sentences and I’m beginning to slowly pick up some kind of stylistic preference too. I’m not asking you to mimic a particular author etc, but picking up the nuances of the language.

Here’s preview (or rather an example?) of my next method!

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    David
    9 February, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Hello Shanna I just want to say I really enjoying reading the different methods on how people study Korean.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      9 February, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      Hi David! Thanks for the comment 😀

  • Reply
    JK
    9 February, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    ㅎㅎㅎ my question is answered!

    I also like the idea of reading real articles.

    2 of my default homepages are nate.com and naver.com
    whenever i open the browser, i take a look at what interesting headlines they have..

    for e.g. on the top right hand corner of nate.com, there’re always banners for the latest entertainment news/ hottest social issues.

    key: read what you are interested for a start…

    if you follow kpop news, entertainment news are good… don’t just depend on allkpop.. haha…

    news are generally good to study reported speech. which is rather hard to absorb..
    you can see the many different ways of speech-reporting.. not just the simplest 한다고 하다…

    since all entertainment news are first reported in korea.. if you can read them in korean, you might even feel the sense of achievement over your friends for being able to get hold of the latest info..

    on top of that, for nate news, something even more interesting is the ability to read netizens’ comments that they made just below the articles..

    there are all sorts of comments you can find…
    some are pretty funny too…

    differing from news articles, the comments are usually in colloquial form..
    this includes banmal, internet slang, 유행어 etc..

    this is just how much 1 simple news article is able to enhance learning…

    its like 반찬 서비스… ㅋㅋㅋ

    and YAY… its #1… means that there’s more to come.. look forward to your tips again…

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      9 February, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      “since all entertainment news are first reported in korea.. if you can read them in korean, you might even feel the sense of achievement over your friends for being able to get hold of the latest info.. ” – wahaha so true 😀

      I like your method too! My homepage is now google.kr. Maybe I should switch to naver for awhile ㅎㅎ

      I need a lot of self discipline to keep up a series of blog posts. ㅎㅎㅎ i have so many ‘uncompleted series’ OTL

  • Reply
    alodia
    9 February, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve been on a “crossing-over bottleneck” for quite sometime (beginner to intermediate that is) but now that I’m preparing for TOPIK I can feel somehow that I’m starting to overcome the bottleneck. I also now pair my textbook lessons (and TOPIK papers) with excerpts from real articles (though they are mostly articles about Kim Sun Ah OTL) and drama scripts.:)

  • Reply
    How I Study Advanced Korean: #1 Read Real Articles | Nanoomi.net
    9 February, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    […] can read HangukDrama’s original post here. var addthis_language = 'en'; blog comments powered by Disqus var […]

  • Reply
    ling
    15 February, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    Hi Shanna,
    I have been learning Korean as well and have completed Beginner level at NUS extension. After reading your blogs, I am inspired to do self-study as well. I tried purchasing the Yonsei Korean 2 (the one used for Intermediary at NUS extension) but they only sell it to students who have registered in their classes. Any idea where I can buy it in Singapore? Any suggestions will be much appreciated! Thanks…

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      15 February, 2012 at 7:13 AM

      NTU bookstore sells it 😀 cos they use it for their level 3 korean classes.

      • Reply
        ling
        15 February, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        Thanks heaps for this!!!

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