16 In Korean learning journey (:

You’ve mastered Korean when..

1. you are making mental calculations in Korean

I remember one of my lecturers saying that numbers are one of the most difficult things to learn in a foreign language. I don’t mean the ability to recite 1-100000, but the ability to calculate in the language. Therefore, we tend to do mental calculations in our strongest language.

Hence, it is a good gauge of how good you are in that language. I used to prefer counting in Mandarin when I was a kid, but now I can count comfortably in English and Mandarin.

As for Korean.. erm.  that need abit more work! 😀

2. you understand jokes in Korean

Jokes are usually a play on language, and thus it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand them unless you have a good grasp of language. I’m just beginning to grasp some of the easier ones, but the more complicated ones still leave me completely flummoxed.

Here’s a few jokes to test yourself.

  • 가장 달콤한 술은? – 입술
  • 이자없이 꾸는 것은? – 꿈

LOL okay i shall stop 😛

3. You’re watching a Korean show but you didn’t realise that it is actually in Korean

This is when you’re so comfortable with it, everything seems natural. Speaking, writing, listening, reading. I’m nowhere near achieving all of them, but recently, I began to feel comfortable with listening to Korean. I get so engrossed in the show/clip, I didn’t realise that Korean is actually a foreign language for me. It just seem natural that I will understand the dialogue etc.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to all genres of shows. I’m more comfortable with those modern, everyday dialogue compared to those which need a specialised vocabulary. ^^ But still, it’s a start 😀

Please share your experiences too! ^^

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  • Reply
    10 April, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    I count things in english, i don’t know how to count in filipino *ashamed* but sometimes i count in korean when i feel like it. I like jokes!! ㅋㅋㅋ remember the time when we were talking on msn? I love the 입술 joke! On watching shows, I prefer variety shows since it’s more easy to understand or am I just depending on the captions? ㅠㅠ When I was in Korea I know the flow of the story but not much working on their dialogues but these days thanks to the broken english subtitle of a drama I’m watching right now I’m very much attentive to the dialouges~

    You’re near to mastering Korean!!

    • Reply
      15 April, 2010 at 9:52 PM

      hahaha yeah i love the jokes you shared 😀 i’m starting to get lazy and rely on subtitles again! ):

    • Reply
      5 February, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      lyrynne, I don’t count in Filipino either… 😛

  • Reply
    10 April, 2010 at 9:14 PM

    I love this post.

    Mental calculation? I’ve not seriously thought about that, hmm~ I think I should try and be more aware of that~ LOL

    I love the first Korean joke~ LOL~ I think it’s really funny. Hmm… but I couldn’t understand the second one, will work harder till I get better at the language.

    I have to say that being able to understand a joke in foreign language really meant that one has mastered a language. In my case, I realized that recently I laugh my head off over Japanese comedies as I could understand the word play and grammar play.

    And the last point you mentioned, SO true!! I hardly realized that Japanese was “foreign” and realized that I was just enjoying whatever I was watching. The language ceased to be “foreign” as it seems more natural than “foreign”.

    There’s no end in learning a language. Let’s work hard together!!

    • Reply
      15 April, 2010 at 9:55 PM

      the 2nd joke:

      what can you borrow without incurring interest? – dreams
      꾸다 can mean ‘borrow’ or ‘to dream(꿈을 꾸다)’

      i hope you will find Korean not foreign very soon! ^^

  • Reply
    12 April, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    When I stub my toe or drop something, I unintentionally let out a quite 아이구 no matter if I’m in an English setting or not. Gets my father-in-law every time.

    • Reply
      15 April, 2010 at 9:56 PM

      hahahaha! this shows that you’re really immersed in the culture! ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

  • Reply
    28 April, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    안녕하세요… 저는 한국어를 공부하고 있는 싱가포르 사람이에요. 인터넷 서핑을 하다가 한국님의 브로그를 우연히 발견되었어요. 한국말 정말 잘하시네요. 게다가 혼자 공부하는데 정말 대단해요.

    앞으로 자주 들어올 거예요~~~ ^^

    • Reply
      1 May, 2010 at 3:07 PM

      오! 정말 반가워요~! ^^ 만두님은 어디에서 한국어를 공부하고 있으세요? 이렇게 인터넷을 통해 만나게 되어서 정말 기뻐요.

      앞으로 좋은 친구로 지내세요!

  • Reply
    14 July, 2010 at 2:47 AM

    I saw someone else who does the same thing like if they hurt them self they say 아이구. I do the same but i like 이씨 better ㅋㅋㅋ you are an inspiration to learn korean to see that someone really can do it so wel 🙂 I have a joke fo you too. What do you call a cute kid wit no ears?…귀없다 :DD ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ so lame. What drink did 세종대왕 create?…..아야어여오요우유 :DDㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

    • Reply
      5 February, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      LOL! So I guess there weren’t so lame after all. 😀

      I didn’t know that 귀엽다/귀없다 is a ‘real’ joke though. One time me, my bestfriend and her Korean boyfriend were having dinner. My best friend, despite having a Korean boyfriend, is just too lazy (haha! she’s not gonna read this anyway) to study Korean, but has some basic knowledge (because i force her!). I said 와~ 귀엽다~ over something and I asked her if she understood it. Maybe trying to impress her boyfriend, she said 귀! And touched her ears. Me and her boyfriend burst out laughing realizing her translating 귀 of 귀엽다 separately would make it into 귀-없다 instead. And that being 귀없다 is definitely not 귀엽다. Haha. So it is a ‘real’ joke after all. ^^
      아야어여오요우유 – i don’t know why but i just keep laughing at this one! 😀

      • Reply
        6 February, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        hahaha! LOL 귀 없다 that’s a good one!

  • Reply
    5 February, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Wow! Mental calculations? I haven’t done a mental calculation in my native language. Maybe because math has always been taught in English. I also seldom (almost never) count in Filipino. And we often use Spanish when counting money. Because of this I thought everyone use english when doing mental calculations. hehehehe.
    Korean pun jokes are sprinkled on dramas. And it’s just frustrating if it wasn’t (or worst, if it can’t be) translated well.
    When I watched Secret Garden recently, there was a scene when the dialogues were pretty easy. I still have my subs on but since I get to understand one sentence after the other, I concentrated on watching. And I get more and more comfortable watching it. Suddenly a complicated sentence came up and I was caught off guard. I then realized I’m watching Korean. And had to rewind a bit to read the subs. It lasted for just about 3 mins though. Hahaha! 😀

  • Reply
    5 February, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    How about talking to oneself in Korean? Maybe it’s not mastery, but immersion.
    I’m also guilty of using some 어머s, 아이고s and 이씨s. Me and fellow Korean learners are guilty of uttering a 미안 when we accidentally bump into someone (and will be too late to stop ourselves after realizing that it was in Korean). And another friend shouted 안돼! When the MRT door is about to close before she can get off. 😀
    I talk to myself in Korean, but usually phrases to let out a frustration. 진짜 못 살아! 답답해! 진짜 정말! 미치겠다 정말! 어떡 해?

    • Reply
      6 February, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      i like to vent my frustrations in korean too. 짜증나, 저리 가!, 거져! oops 😛

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