3 In Korean learning journey (:

Scanning in a foreign language

Reading in a foreign language is tough and scanning / speed reading in it is even tougher.

Scanning as in the ability to erm scan / look through pages and finding the information you need at one glance or getting a sense of the content in a quick look.

For me, I find it pretty easy to do that in English. One look and I can kinda get the gist/feel of the article or a website I’m looking at.

But for Korean it’s so different. First off most Korean sites are convoluted. There are just sooooo many details I don’t even know where to start looking.

Site layouts aside, I find it extremely hard to do scanning in Korean.

First off, the way the language is structured made it hard for me to identify keywords. All I see is a lump of text. Maybe native speakers have a different view but for me I cannot seem to focus on any keywords when presented with a Korean article. My eyes just fail to focus anywhere. Maybe it’s really cos of my untrained eyes lol

Secondly, I’m so used to reading every single word and paying so much details to every single sentence that I feel really weird and insecure if I don’t read everything. Urgh this is hard to explain but I find speed reading something that goes against my principles of detailed reading. I have the compulsive need to start reading from the top all the way to the bottom. ><;;; It feels like I'm unable to pick out important information if I don't do so. Again I feel how lacking I am when it comes to Korean proficiency skills ><;;; As I'm typing this out on my phone, I'm staring at the 대한민국사 book and I cannot absorb anything. Sure, i am tired. But if I can't read Korean when I'm tired... it just means I'm not good enough.

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  • Reply
    24 April, 2014 at 4:37 AM

    ha it’s gonna be a hard habit to break. the key to becoming fluent in a language, at least in my opinion, is that you have to reach a point where you don’t treat the language “special”. because most people don’t treat their native languages special since they’re so used to it and don’t feel the need to read every word because they know what is worth reading word for word and what is not. I think I had a similar thing with reading japanese books and feeling the need to read every word or sentence just to “prove” to myself I can read it or i can read it this fast or i can read this much in this day or whatever other reasonings i came up with. that led to suffer through books that aren’t that well written (looking back on it. even if a book wins an award it can be poorly written. it’s fact. it’s like that everywhere.). nowadays i do my best to assess the book as i read and decide to skim-skip read (whether it’s words, phraes, or pages or even chapters) or do dialogue-read (read only the dialogue which i had to do with himitsu by higashino keigo because the book was so boring and his writing style doens’t do anything for me. i do care enough to find out how it ends so i did that). don’t mystify korean. don’t treat it special. you have to learn to treat it like shit lol… like you treat your native languages. it shouldn’t be a big deal if you don’t read every word.

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    24 April, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    haha i try to scan articles too but fail, it ends up making me more confused and demoralized cos i feel that i can’t understand the article! it’s only when i read every single word then i realize that i can actually understand it lol ><

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    24 April, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    So does that mean your better at scanning in japanese since it has distinct kanji sprinkled in the text? I think for Koreans they re so used to hanguel and reading it. so they read it really fast and it’s really effortless ( I personally find kanji to be more effortless to read since u can just read for the meaning while korea U have to actually reAd it) . When it comes down it brain science people read kanji faster than alphabet languages ( some study they did with peope’s brains proved it. I don’t remember if it was english or hanguel but. Hangu is an alphabet)

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