8 In Korean learning journey (:

Being able to read doesn’t mean you can write it

Finally a post that’s decent. Been feeling crappy for the entire week, which explains shitty posts and non-replies, together with a lot of sighing. Having a beer and some food makes my mood better and hence the more coherent post. ^^

Although I have known this for very long already, but recently, I really feel very strongly that “being able to read doesn’t mean you can produce it”. My reading abilities have always been far ahead of my writing abilities. I can read political articles, but that doesn’t mean I can write an opinion piece or even write something remotely coherent about the subject. Of course, that may be a little too much for an example. But I kept thinking that as long as I keep on reading and improving my skills, my writing skills will sort of catch up (even though at a slower speed).

Well… that’s not untrue. But the speed is much slower than I originally thought. I could read k-pop articles a long time ago (4 yrs ago?) but even up till now, I find that I couldn’t come up with simple things as fast as I thought I will be. The other day, I was trying to translate something related to entertainment into Korean. At the very first try, I took realllllllyyyy long. It’s not like I cannot write in Korean, but somehow the writing style and the usual phrases used eluded me. I have no problems if I come across those phrases, but somehow I can’t remember them when I need to use them.

urgh. so hard to explain. There are some phrases like 눈길을 끌다, 브라운관 복귀, 충무로 복귀, 예능 프로에 출연하다 etc… set phrases that are so common in these kind of kpop articles / interviews. But it’s just so hard to remember them offhand. So I had to read a few articles to refresh my memory. ><;; But it gets a lot better after I got the hang of it!

I thought I was already very in-tune with the tone of kpop articles since they are one of the most frequent type of articles I read, but sadly, no. Maybe I didn’t read enough. Or that I didn’t pay too much attention when reading them. D:

I think I have talked about this several times before, but yeah active reading /listening is super important. Not just for the content, but listen for the structure, the kind of phrases used, the tone used etc! ^^ I have been listening to 유인나 again while doing my stuff and I’m paying a lot more attention to her choice of words etc. And I suddenly realized that “유유” means ㅠㅠ hahaha

These days I’m mainly reading for the content and the vocabulary but I think I should pay more attention to the writing style, the set phrases used etc. (:

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  • Reply
    13 March, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    You probably have done this same thing in your native language, I know I certainly have and still do. If just reading could make you write like that, then I would be as talented as Dickens. Unfortunately, I am not. I remember regularly in university reading an article or book and coming across the exact phrase that so succinctly encapsulated what I had wanted to say in a paper just a few days before. I would think that I should remember this for the next paper, and then forget it as I had done many times before, to my frustration. We do a phenomenal amount of reading in our native languages that we forget we’ve done when we’re working on a foreign language and compare ourselves to native speakers.

    • Reply
      20 March, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      haha yeah that’s true! But it’s kinda sad that 4 years into reading Korean I still can’t use simple phrases / set expressions naturally. I guess the solution is to read and write even more!

  • Reply
    13 March, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    안녕^^ 저 또 왔었요. 블로그 계속 읽고 있는데 이제야 시간을 내서 댓글을 남깁니다. 미안 >< 이번 글의 주제도 제가 한국어를 배우면서 가장 자주 느꼈던 고민이랄까요. Passive vocab bank 계속 커지고 있어도 active vocab bank가 그대로 남기만 하는건 때때는 참 한심하네요. ㅠㅠ 어떻게 해야 단어들이 다 쑥쑥 내 머리에 들어가는건지 그리고 사용할 수 있게 되는건지 생각해 봤는데 결국 사람이 한국에 있어야 하는 방법밖에 찾을 수 없네요. <- ㅋㅋㅋ 한국에 가야 할 이유 또 나왔어요. 환경이 필요하는 말이죠. 어째든 최근 나온 e-book을 잘 읽었고 오디오블로그도 잘 들었어요. ^^ e-book도 쓸쓸 중급을 위한 내용을 준비할 생각 있어요? ㅋㅋㅋ 기대할게요. ㅎㅎ 저도 대학생활의 로망이 있었지만 입학한 후 또 다른 얘기죠. 동아리활동도 하지 않고 그냥 외국어 배우기에 전념해서 이렇게 4년을 보내왔어요. 그런데 후회하지 않아요. 샨나도 그렇게 생각하겠죠? 좋아하는 일에 빠져서 얼마나 행복한지 얼마나 기쁘지 아마 한국드라마닷컴의 팬!들이 다 아실거예요. 또 긴글을 남겨 갑니다. 뿅~

    • Reply
      20 March, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      ㅎㅎ 답장 늦어서 미안해요 >< 요즘 너~무~ 정신이 없었어요 ㅠ 아아~ passive vocab bank/active vocab bank.. 참 동감!! 어려운 글을 읽을 수 있는데 직접 써야 할 일이 있으면 그냥 간단한 단어만 사용해요 ㅠ 초딩 수준 ㅋㅋㅋ e-book 읽어 주셔서 고마워요! ㅎㅎ 중급, 고급의 내용도 준비중이에요 (: 빨리 완성해서 여러분들에게 보여 줄 수 있으면 좋겠어요 ㅎ ㅎ 그리고 저도 후회하지 않아요. 한국어 ♥

  • Reply
    15 March, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    Yeah I have a lot of trouble trying to recall a word or structure sometimes. It just doesn’t come to you and then you hate yourself when you look it up. And you tell yourself, that you should have know that! It’s so frustrating sometimes!

    Omg i had no idea about the 유유 also before ㅋㅋㅋ i’m glad i was the only one haha

    • Reply
      20 March, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      I guess if we look it up a few times, it’ll eventually stick.. hopefully.

  • Reply
    17 March, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    hey i was wondering with the political articles and korean do you ever feel like reading about it in chinese since chinese is pure chinese characters while in korean they write it in hanguel and you have to figure out what the chinese character is to figure out the meaning (I mean your korean is better than mine and you know chinese so i’m sure that most of the time you can just guess or infer what chinese character the word is.. and i know sometimes they pepper the hanja in or they put it in if it’s needed to clear up ambiguity but it’s usually just like it’s only hanguel so i’m just like… annoyed)。.

    at least for me I don’t feel like reading stuff in korean (I don’t have interest inpolitical articles especially but i do know that the current korean president is female!) because i’d rather read stuff in japanese ( I’ve been learning japanese for like 5/6 years but i only went hardcore 2/3 years in so it’s more like 2/3years?? Then I dove into korean because i’m korean) because it’s written with chinese characters (the kanji). one reason is reading kanji takes less effort and it’s fsater and it’s been scientifically proven. you know what i mean by the awesomeness of chinese characters vs. an alphabet where it takes more effort to read. In fact i was reading articles about the weakness of korean like the disadvantages of korean people not knowing hanja (obviously everone speakers korean fluently. they keep changing the education law so depneding on the generation the person might be able to write and recognize or just can recognize or can’t do either) . i’ve also read similar sentiments in a book by a korean person who lived in japan for like 10 years or something. I was wondering what your thoughts are. as far as i know in korean there are 2 groups, pro-kanji and no-kanji as to whether or not they should require people to learn them in school or not.

    (I ‘m sure you already know about it but use rikai-chan if it’s needed and if you’r ealready doing japanese monoligual dictionary then i suggest downloading rikai-sama)
    there are a few of the quoting postsin japanese on my tumblr about korean and its lack of kanji. I found it really interesting. for me, i’m pro kanji. of course part of that reason is because I’ve just so used to japanese wit hthe kanji and everything. I just find it so convenient and i hate putting in effort that it requires to read korean (I know that you can’t write everything in korean in hanja like the grammar stuff but you know the words that are just completely based on hanja, i wish they would write it in hanaj)

    I just noticed that you never talked about the whole issue of whether a korean learner should learn hanja or not. or did you? but anyways if you didn’t that’s because that’s not even an issue for you since you know chinese. BUT if you’re curious and want to read about that here’s some forum posts I collected on my tumblr . I personally advise learning hanja for korean learners especially if you intend to get past conversational or want to get fluent… not necessarily learn how to write it but know what hanja makes up the word since it’ll help you remember that word/other words with hanja in the word and it just helps one develop their korean intuition to deal with sporadic stuff like when people make up words or do word-play .

    i’m just surprised you didn’t mention the chinese character issue with the korean newspaper articles.Like if they only wrote it in chinese characters (those sino words) you’d know what it means or you’d get the gist or even if you don’t know what that combination of chinese characters mean in korean at least you know what the word is made up of or where it starts and ends. I don’t read korean newspaper articles. do they start using mad hanja once it gets very hanja heavy or do they just leave almost everyting hanguel even then (I notice it’s usually now a days from my limited exposure to korean newspapers). i don’t know how good your inference skills is with the hanja… like if there’s ever any times when you look up the word and then you see what hanaj makes it up and you go damnnit i know what that means why i didn’t i notice while it was in hanguel. lolz.

    • Reply
      20 March, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      mmm actually I’ll prefer reading it in hangeul. Like what you said, most newspapers don’t actually use hanja anymore, except for a few common words like 美 for USA or 日 for Japan or in special circumstances. In the case of special circumstances, it’s usually written in hangeul first, followed by the hanja in brackets. I actually like it this way, since ultimately I’m supposed to be pronouncing them in Hangeul, and it gets annoying if all sino-korean words are presented in chinese characters. I’m pretty much for the no-hanja camp. I think that’s because I really identify with King Sejong’s original aim of creating the Hangeul system so that all commoners can read and access literature etc. I’m not saying hanja education should be abolished. It’s good to learn but I still think that mass media should be written in hangeul. If hanja starts to pepper news / academic documents, many people won’t be able to have access to them and it’ll probably create a gap between the educated/ less educated which Hangeul was meant to close. (:
      somehow I never have the problem of identifying where the word starts / ends even if it’s a new word. Since there’s spacing xD

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