17 In Korean learning journey (:

[Q&A] How will you know .. if you are self studying?

Received a question from a reader and thought I’ll share my thoughts here through a post!

hi Shanna, how do u know if u r right or wrong in yr sentence structure/pronounciation/use of phrases since u do self study? How do u motivate yourself to write essays? I noe my weakness is sentence structure & essays but I just couldn’t start writing

Firstly, the answer is that you probably won’t know. Self studying means you are studying on your own and hence in that strictest sense of the word, you won’t get active correction when it comes to sentence structures etc. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn. You just have to open your eyes and ears more! Personally I also didn’t start out writing perfect sentences (I’m still not perfect, but a lot better). The key thing is to OPEN your eyes and read. The more you read, the more you will get used to sentence structure and use of phrases. Reading doesn’t mean blindly reading for the content, but really looking at how certain set phrases are used in sentences, how certain particles follow certain words etc.

Although self-studying means you don’t have a teacher, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find people to help you in your Korean! The whole world is your teacher (kinda?). Go to lang-8.com! Write your entries there and Koreans will help you correct them (return the favor too please). Maybe you can start tweeting in Korean too 😀 Anything works.

I don’t particularly need motivation to write. I think once you are learning a language, you will just want to use it naturally. The sense of satisfaction that comes with writing in a foreign language is immense and it’s just something enjoyable (: Start with just short sentences / phrases. There is no need to start writing long passages. Even a single tweet in Korean or a personal memo / checklist in Korean is a great way to start out 😀

The more you write, the more familiar you are with the skills needed, and the longer your writing will get.

If you never start, you will never be able to write. Writing is a skill that requires practice. You can get really good at reading Korean / listening to Korean, but if you never start, you probably can’t write anything much even though you are supposedly of a “good proficiency” in other areas!

 

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    amyhangukolic
    29 March, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    By attending class, you will eventually start making sentences in your homework and get corrected by teacher(apparently) but through self-study, you just need to remind yourself to continue to make sentences in Korean even though your content is about your breakfast today, the weather or any other bored stuff. XD I used Lang-8 too and so far all my articles have been corrected (a lot! XD) and I even make new friends too!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      1 April, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      yeah ^^ No matter how trivial the topic is, we must keep on writing to improve!

  • Reply
    Latchimi
    29 March, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    I agree totally. I started off with tweeting to my favourite singers & actors in small sentences like 드라마는 좋아해요 or 잘지내세요. When I started typing, then I realised that I am making mistakes in spelling. So I started to check spelling & realised the more I type, the more I remember how to spell & write. Now I have started messaging in korean with my friends who are learning korean. We don’t type the sentences in full korean. Of course English words are inserted inside but when we don’t understand any word, we ask each other & learn. The important thing is, it’s okay if we make mistakes, we learn through mistakes. Happy self-learning

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      1 April, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      that’s a good improvement 😀 Keep going and you will find yourself typing entirely in Korean soon 😀

  • Reply
    Sojin
    29 March, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    As somebody who thinks a lot of input (reading/listening) is important, I will argue that you will in fact, learn to use Korean BETTER than somebody who learns just in a classroom if you self-study.
    Having self studied and now taking classes, I notice that I use a lot more natural Korean expressions than the students who just studied in a classroom.
    If you just learn a grammar pattern in the classroom, you won’t know exactly how Koreans use it (even with an explination it’s not always as clear).
    My personal preference is to read a lot, and then look up grammar and words after I’ve seen them in a natural context. Or when I do study grammar, don’t use it until I’ve heard/read it in a natural context. (Taking a class is now useful at an upper level, and when I learn a new grammar or word, I become more aware of it in natural Korean. But if you learn Korean without seeing how it’s used naturally, then it’s hardly learning Korean to me personally.)

    • Reply
      Vanessa
      31 March, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      I think you have a great point here.
      Some people think that just attending class will make them learn a language, like, “passively”, while you do have to continue that outside the class.
      Homeworks can be boring and sometimes about something that you don’t think you will use daily or any time, so it’s important to create your own homeworks…
      I think even just the whole process of setting your mind to think on your own exercise (like transcribing something, twitting, etc) already makes some improvement in your mind.
      What may happen is that the person outside the class will study and improve so much that the class can become boring hahaha

      • Reply
        hangukdrama
        1 April, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        hehe yeah that’s why I stopped taking classes (and they are tooooo expensive)

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      1 April, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      sometimes I’ll wonder if self study is better or self study + classes is better mmmm

      • Reply
        Sojin
        5 April, 2013 at 1:45 AM

        For me, because I don’t get indepth grammar books if I study on my own, I think class + self-study is helping me at the upper level. (At least this once, it makes me realize I probably need to sit down with a grammar book and understand some of the nuances I don’t get from trying to figure it out on my own.)
        But for somebody like you, I think you can do it with just self-study.
        I think probably all of my classroom experience, in any language, has helped me form my own way of self-studying. So it can’t hurt to learn in a classroom and adapt some things to self-study (or choose to throw some things out !)

  • Reply
    aprilliax
    29 March, 2013 at 11:27 PM

    샨나씨 답변했어 고마워요! 지금부터 문장을 만들 시작할게요. 다른3분의 의견도 잘받고 재가 꼳 열심히 공부할거여요.^^

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      1 April, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      ㅎㅎㅎ 시작이 반이다! 도움이 되었으면 좋겠습니다!

  • Reply
    Van
    31 March, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    Yeah I agree with you, my friend said the exact same thing. Read more, listen more, watch more etc. That way you will recognize more sentence structures, common grammaticial structures, and particles.

    Yeah I heard of lang8 and that seems very great for learning also! I would personally suggest gaining a Korean penpal (www.interpals.net is a good site! also beware of creepy guys @.@). They probably wont know how to explain it, but they can tell you how to make your sentence sound more natural and help you in that regard. You also gain a friend which is awesome!

    Yeah practice makes perfect even though I think perfection is impossible. Thanks for the interesting topic again! See I don’t think you are running out of things to talk about 😛

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      1 April, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      hehe! I kinda gave up on language exchange. Doesn’t really work well for me. :/

      • Reply
        Van
        3 April, 2013 at 9:51 AM

        oh really? kinda? what do you mean? was it just a bad experience then :/?

        • Reply
          hangukdrama
          5 April, 2013 at 6:42 PM

          heh just not my kind of thing

  • Reply
    Alice
    1 April, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    I think this is very true. Writing is often overlooked because we think that we can miraculously learn to write better from just reading. While reading helps in improving writing as well, this only happens when we are actively observing how other writers frame their sentences, phrases, the kind of expressions they use etc. This sort of consciousness can only come if we have somewhat an intention to write in that language ourselves.

    So I guess the other important practice we must continuously force ourselves to do is to write. Make mistakes, learn from them and continue writing.

    I think keeping a blog and occasionally write Korean in it is pretty helpful for those who are self-studying too xD

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      1 April, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      yeah. ^^ Most of the time when we are reading, we tend to put the focus on the content instead of really looking at the expressions, way of writing etc. It’s only when we start to write that we realize that we lack the skills. Blogging / tweeting in Korean definitely helps!

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