Haven’t been blogging much about learning Korean these days! That’s because I have not been actually ‘learning’ anything. But I’m absorbing loads by using it. I have mentioned it several times during previous posts, but I’m surrounded by Korean everyday and I have to use Korean. I translate articles on tech startups, interview people in Korean, talk to my colleagues (most of them) in Korean, listen to their conversations in Korean, buy stuff in Korean etc.
Learning is not just about opening your books and reading it. It’s about actively finding ways to use it. I used to think that I need to have a firm basis / foundation of knowledge by using books before I start trying to use it in the real world. But now, I think differently.
I find that expressions / phrases or grammar points stick better when I tried to use it. Somehow the memory is enhanced when you try out something. For example, if you try to use a slang like 쩐다! in your sentences, you will tend to remember it more than simply reading about it from a book. I’m trying to apply the ‘use it as you learn it’ principle in learning Japanese now and I find it really useful. Making mistakes is even better. We tend to remember embarrassing moments and mistakes and if you make them during language learning, the point will stick for life! lol. 😀
This is why I try to tweet in Japanese or blog in Japanese even though I’m at the stage where my proficiency is non-existent. Making mistakes is part of language learning!
Here are some points to remember!
- Use it while learning it!
- Learn while using!
- Use it to learn even more!
Use it while learning it! This is about doing thing simultaneously. I used to have the idea that ‘I can only use something that I have learnt fully’. Thinking back, I was being too careful and conscious and there is no such thing as ‘learnt fully’ in language learning. It’s about learning, trying, using it all at the same time.
Learn while using! This is about learning from your mistakes and picking up new things when you are using it. It happens when your native speaker friends correct your sentences or when you realize that you are not too sure about certain phrases once you try them out.
Use it to learn even more! This is about constantly using the language and improving yourself. Which is what I am doing now. I am using Korean everyday to learn even more and be even more familiar and comfortable with the language.
It’s a blessing to be in the country / community / have friends who are native speakers of the language that you are learning. I cannot emphasize this more. Sorry to be blunt, but I can never understand Korean learners who choose to speak in English when they are here in Korean. It’s like giving up the best opportunity to learn. I have seen several people who chooses the easy way out and speaking English whenever possible. I refuse to do that. I remember the time when I went to the international office at KU to get them to change my timetable etc and I spoke in Korean. 😀 I could well speak in English, but I refuse to. Unless absolutely necessary.
Of course, I do get my lazy days. But this is something I have to correct too xD
I think my reading ability and translating ability have improved loads! 😀