12 In Korean learning journey (:

hello speaking skills, please improve

5 years 1 month 4 days. That’s how long I’ve been learning Korean. Scary how time flies. As I’m typing this I’m in disbelief that I’ve dedicated 6 years of my life to Korean. ><;; And that I’ll continue to do so for the rest of my life makes me half apprehensive and half proud of myself lol.

I think I’ve improved a lot over the years. I like to think that I’m doing fine for a self learner and I’m actually pretty fast (in my tiny own world at least).

5 years ago Korean was just another foreign language to me.

4 years ago I got my TOPIK level 4 and wondered how I did it

3 years ago reading was still difficult and speaking was near impossible

2 years ago I could watch Korean dramas unsubbed and I can speak Korean

1 year ago I got my TOPIK level 5 and reading/listening is no longer a problem and I can get by pretending to be a Korean (or so the Koreans tell me)

Now I can read political news articles that just one year ago was near impossible. Created a new learning log page for Korean and I think I’m reading faster than ever. It’s amazing how reading got easier and easier but I have no idea what triggered the improvement lol.

But sadly, my speaking skill is not catching up.

I couldn’t speak before my first trip to Korea (even though by then I had TOPIK 4) but each time I travel there, my speaking skills improve exponentially. Thus I should go there more often or just live there. (okay wrong conclusion)

In any case, it’s obvious that my speaking skills don’t match up to my other skills. Let me clarify that I can speak and hold conversations etc ok. Just that I can’t hold very intellectual conversations yet. (I can survive in most contexts still ok! Especially if I don’t need to open my mouth and just need to understand) I DON’T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I TALK MORE THAN 10 MINS IN KOREAN WTF. Yes it’s been ages since I used Korean. 0____0 or maybe I have a goldfish memory.

I need people to challenge my Korean skills. D: D:

Okay now I don’t know if I’m giving off the impression that my spoken Korean sucks or not. I’m still good ok? hahaha. Just that I think that I can / should be much better.

I’m still good… ok? hahaha

I need to improve.

I should go back to Korea.


sigh. The conclusion is the same.

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  • Reply
    13 February, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Same predicaments…. same predicaments. Though my speaking skill sucks big time!
    I don’t believe that one needs to go/stay/live in Korea to improve one’s speaking skills (or on any other country), but I also can’t deny the fact that it’s a good opportunity to improve for those who are willing to (like us! XD). My speaking skills were at its best when I was in Korea. I improved a lot even if it was just such a short time. 7 months of no practice and my speaking skills are starting to deteriorate. I vow to practice a lot when I go back to Korea to save what’s still remaining of my speaking skills and try to improve as much as I can because I have no idea when will I be able to come back again after my next trip. 🙂

    • Reply
      14 February, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Actually I believe in it. I think there’s a limit to how much you can improve by yourself in your own country. Even having Korean friends doesn’t help as much as being in the country itself. Although it’s better than not speaking at all. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel awkward speaking in Korean here. ㅠㅠ

  • Reply
    13 February, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Speaking skill seems to be the problem for most of people who self-study.  It is very hard to practice Korean speaking skill outside Korea.  Even the TOPIK exam does not include the Speaking skill, so naturally, I spend most of my time dedicating to other skills to survive Topik, but now I know I need to improve every skill to be proficient in language. I cannot let myself under pressure of getting language certificate.

    • Reply
      14 February, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      definitely. Language certificates doesn’t mean much. I guess it does offer you an opportunity to get noticed (by employers / schools etc) but ultimately your true skills will show. And I think it’s even worse if you are already a TOPIK 5/6 but still can’t speak D:

  • Reply
    14 February, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Is there anyone with whom you can practise? I know it can be hard to meet up but even just connect on a regular basis through Skype would help. A speech therapist once told me that speaking language skills is completely different to conversational skills, even if you are native/fluent speaker. It is about forming pathways from your mind to your mouth that only comes with practice. It’s more than just knowing what to say it is about using those words. It’s like my mother tongue, when I learn a new word. I have to force myself to use it in conversation a few times before it sticks/sounds right but after persevering it eventually becomes part of my everyday usage. Anyway, I am sure you know all this and are on your way to devising better ways to help yourself which we would be grateful to hear too.

    • Reply
      14 February, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      nope I’m totally not using Korean at all these days. Not even texting ^^ So I’m quite glad that I still can speak when the need arises. lol. I only speak Korean when I’m recording my audio blogs ><;;

  • Reply
    14 February, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    Woah, I am impressed, you did a huge progreess. I just have a question which I think is related to your topic. I’ve been self-studying korean for about 5 or 6 months, I can understand some sentences, sometimes guess the meaning of a phrase. However, I still lack in writing, is that normal? I feel like I’am progressing in understanding korean but I am still unable to express myself with the grammar that I know.
    Keep your hard work!

    • Reply
      14 February, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      that’s very normal. But that doesn’t mean that you should let it remain this way (: Expression usually come later than understanding but you should still try to write Korean whenever u can. ^^

  • Reply
    14 February, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    haha you’re still way ahead of me though i started studying korean 7 years ago ^^;; kkk anyways speaking wise, u really have to speak to koreans! that said, though i’m in korea and my speaking did improve at the start, it seems to be stuck in a rut now cos i seldom get to talk much to them except for the daily random small talk at work…… haha ><

    • Reply
      14 February, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      totally D: I need to be constantly in an environment full of Koreans (i.e. in Korea) lol. haha at least you are still immersed in that environment. Try to talk to them during lunch!!

  • Reply
    16 February, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    I am the complete opposite of you. 🙂
    I don’t spend a lot of time self-studying, and neither do I spend a lot of time writing/reading Korean. For the past three years, I’ve been going to Korea every summer and winter, spending a month there for each trip, and the most recent 6-months exchange program. I learnt to speak the hard way – having to live with Koreans who cannot speak a single word of English, and I picked it up along the way. I can sit down and have long conversations with Koreans in Korean language. I also spent a lot of time kakaotalk-ing them so I could write conversationally. But I don’t think I can sit down and write something academic in Korean. Writing is my weakest component now.

    But because of my experience, I definitely think that going to Korea is the best option if one is really interested in learning/getting used to speaking the language. There’s no other way, other than being forced to do so in an environment where you have no other options. 🙂 But in terms of improving my writing, sigh, long way to go, and so far I haven’t found a better strategy to improve it.

    P.S I also feel very awkward speaking in Korean here! 🙂

    • Reply
      16 February, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      ㅋㅋㅋ I wish I can do the same too. I need more opportunities to immerse myself in the Korean environment and somehow being with Korean friends here is still different from going there.

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