Le Petit Prince | 어린 왕자 [Review]

It’s been a while since I bought 어린 왕자 from HeyEonni and I figured it’s about time I write a review. Having never read the original in French (insert gasp here) or even the English translation (insert even more audible gasp here), I figured reading the Korean translation was just as good a place to start as any. It looks very much like an illustrated children’s book and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it may not contain any useful vocabulary, but you couldn’t be farther off the mark if you’re an intermediate learner.

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어린 왕자

In fact, the book contains a whole lot of vocabulary that you’ll probably not come across if you’re learning through grammar books and by watching TV shows. I had to sit with online dictionary in one hand and book in the other so it did take longer than I expected to finish reading, but it was well worth the effort.

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나도 네가 좋아 <3

The illustrations are just beautiful and the fact that the text isn’t all crammed onto one page makes it easier on the eye and fools you into thinking your vocabulary isn’t all that bad when you look at all the underlined words on the page :P

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Nothing like beautiful illustrations to bring a story to life

If you’ve read the book before in another language, then this is great practice and if you haven’t, like me, then it’s a classic that shouldn’t be missed, whatever the language. There are great nuggets of wisdom to take away…

“언제나 같은 시간에 오는 게 더 좋아.” 여우가 말했다.
“가령 네가 오후 네 시에 온다면, 나는 세 시부터 행복해질 거야.
네 시가 가까워 올수록 나는 점점 더 행복해지겠지.
네 시에는 흥부해서 안절부절 못할 거야.
그래서 행복이 얼마나 값진 일인가 알게 되겠지!
하지만 네가 아무 때나 오면
몇 시에 마음의 준비를 해야 하는지 모르잖아.
의식이 필요하거든.”

And here’s one of my favourite lines of the book…

“어른들은 혼자서는 아무것도 이해하지 못한다. 그렇다고 늘 어른들에게 설명을 하자니 어린이로서는 여간 귀찮은 게 아니다.”

… 내 말이…

TTMIK Korean Word Puzzle Book [Review]

So while the world was out playing Pool on Yahoo Games, I was busy playing every word game available online. I confess, I love all kinds of word games, from crosswords to anagrams, from Scrabble to Text Twist to Wordament, and what better way to learn a language than by doing something you love.

TTMIK’s Korean Word Puzzle Book has three kinds of word games- crosswords, word scrambles and analogies all geared towards to the upper beginner/lower intermediate level language learner. Even if you’re an upper intermediate learner, I’d still recommend giving this a go, if only to pass the time and learn some words you won’t come across very easily (I mean really, what do I need to be reading to know that a triangle is called a 세모 and a wisdom tooth is called a 사랑니).

TTMIK Korean Word Puzzle Book

There are 10 crosswords that are not too difficult, but I admit my favourite part, surprisingly, turned out to be the analogies. I thought studying for the GRE had killed my enthusiasm for analogies, but this was fun and I wish I had used this technique when I started learning Korean. It would have saved me a lot of time remembering things.

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Crossword Puzzle

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Analogies – Why did I never think of this before -_-

For the intermediate learners, you’ve probably got your Korean pronunciation all down, but for the beginners, the audio track that comes with the e-book is a great tool to practice with.

If I have one complaint, it’s that the book isn’t longer. I would love to have a really tiny, thick Korean crossword book (Sudoku style) to take around with me on the metro, or better yet an app. ^^

KBS World Radio

I recently downloaded the KBS World Radio On-Air Application on Android and thought I’d do a short review.

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KBS Mobile Applications

I’ve never used the app before primarily because the broadcasting is done in about 11 languages (including Korean) and because really what’s the point of a radio show that doesn’t have 성시경 saying 잘 자요…I digress but only because I miss his voice… In any case, KBS World Radio has a number of interesting features for anyone interested in learning not only more about Korean culture and music, but also about the language.

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KBS World Radio On-Line App

Of particular interest to Korean language learners would be the following programs:

  1. Drama Lines: In which popular drama lines useful for everyday conversation are explained. Apart from listening to the broadcast, you can always go back to the website to recap previous lessons and read the conversation in case you missed anything.
  2. Korean Folk Tales: A great way of learning the culture of a country is by reading their folk tales. Folk Tales are read in English and are then made available on their website. This makes a great complement to anyone who’s reading the folk tales in Korean but needs to check their understanding.

Now if you don’t want to go to the website to find the content you’re looking for, well that’s where their second app, KBS World Radio, comes in handy because it’s basically the website condensed into app form. Just go to the drop-down menu and find the radio program you’re looking for :)

Personally I wish this would come integrated with the other app, so you don’t need to go from one app to another but hopefully they’ll find a way to work around this in their next update :)

If you have any personal favourite radio program let me know in the comments

 

Korean Webtoons Part 2 | 웹툰

So as I was writing the last blog entry on some of my favourite Korean webtoons,I realized through the comments that it would be nice if the comics were available in English too so that other people could enjoy them. Luckily enough… they are! On Line Webtoons :) Which means if you stumble across something you don’t understand in the Korean version of the webtoon, all you have to to is look over at the one in English :)

As I was searching I ended up finding a couple more that I really like so I’ve added them to my list :) So here are the links to some of my favourite webtoons which are available in both Korean and English:

  1. 아이들은 즐겁다: The story of 다이, a cute kid who goes to school and lives alone with his dad because his mum’s at the hospital.

Also known as Kids are Alright
Available in English on Line Webtoons

Dai

  1. 스마일브러시 오래된 사진: Written and illustrated by the author of 소나기야 , this webtoon is about looking though old pictures reminiscing about the past. It turns out, this author and his work are more popular than I thought, with his comics having been published as books, and featured as stickers on Line! I have only one complaint about this comic and that is… that it should say Blush not Brush :P

Also known as Smile Brush: My Old Pictures
Available in English on Line Webtoons

 

Smile Brush My Old Pictures

  1. Penguin loves Mev: 한국여자 펭귄과 영국남자 메브의 엉뚱 발랄 러브 스토리. Possibly one of the longest and most loved webtoons about an Englishman married to a Korean. It’s been so well received that you can now buy the comic as a book too from twochois or HeyEonni!

Available in English on Line Webtoons

Penguin loves Mev

  1. 스마일브러시: Look, here’s another one! Let’s just say I’m a fan :) Smile, Brush is another great webtoon and if you loved 소나기야 and 오래된사진 you’re bound to love this too! This comic was also popular enough to have been made into a book and even more stickers can be found on Line. So what’s the story this time: 반복 되는 일상 발생하는 사건 사고들- The things that happen in everyday life.

Also known as Smile Brush
Available in English on Line Webtoons

Smile Brush

 

Korean Webtoons Part 1 | 웹툰

I’ve never been a big comic/웹툰/만화 fan, but I figured they’d make a good supplement to my reading material which was dwindling pretty low. Ordering books online can be a pain for two reasons, namely the long wait and the shipping fees which can cost an arm and a leg. On the other hand, reading webtoons on Naver is completely free! And another plus points is that you get to pick up a whole lot of slang that you’d probably never come across unless you live in Korea…

I came across an old post from Shanna about Korean webtoons and I’m inclined to agree with her on two fronts:

  1. Webtoons are really not all that. In fact, it can be quite a struggle to find a webtoon good enough to sustain your interest.
  2. The devil is in the details… if the style of drawings is not appealing, you’ll probably never read what could potentially be a good comic.

I personally prefer reading something with a meaningful story and the graphics have to be appealing (I could attribute it to the childhood trauma of seeing beautiful Cartoon Network graphics go Nickelodeon…).

Here are some of my favourites:

  1. 아이들은 즐겁다: The story of 다이, a cute kid who goes to school and lives alone with his dad because his mum’s at the hospital. It’s by far my favourite webtoon.

Dai

  1. 소나기야: 시골 마을 사람들과 함께 보내는 와루의 여름 이야기. I love everything about this webtoon. It’s cute, funny, has a great storyline… ooh and it’s short! :)

Sonagi

 

  1. Penguin loves Mev: 한국여자 펭귄과 영국남자 메브의 엉뚱 발랄 러브 스토리. Possibly one of the longest and most loved webtoons about an Englishman married to a Korean. It’s been so well received that you can now buy the comic as a book too from twochois or HeyEonni!

Penguin loves Mev

 

  1. 움비처럼: 바쁜 일상 속에서 잠시 자신을 돌아보게 하는 만화. What I love about this is that the poetry at the end ties in with each episode.

움비처럼

 


 

If you guys have any recommendations for a good webtoon let me know!

 

Hello Talk

A year or so ago, I tried out a language learning app called Hello Talk. I loved the concept, but it hadn’t really caught on and the app was buggy so I gave up and focused on using lang-8. Towards the middle of 2014 however, Hello Talk made a spectacular comeback. Everyone was talking about it, everyone was using it and the app had evolved into something that’s a must have for language learners.

So what is Hello Talk?

web_logo

Hello Talk combines the live chatting language exchange experience with in-app lang-8 like corrections. The app also allows you to either voice chat, or exchange voice recordings too, which is great if you’re looking to either strike up a conversation or just get your pronunciation corrected. If you don’t understand what your partner is saying, you can even use the speech to text feature. You can also exchange pictures, and get in-app translations. The one feature that I’ve yet to try and which I’d love to try, is the doodle feature. This is really handy when you’re trying to explain something but can’t find the right words… pictures are worth a thousand words! :) But Hello Talk isn’t just about conversations, you can also send long texts which can be corrected by native speakers, similar to lang-8. What I love about Hello Talk is that it’s available as an app on both Android and iOS so you can take your learning with you.

Room for improvement… the app allows you to back-up your conversations but if you use both Android and iOS, like me, then your conversations are not available on both platforms.

So does this mean that Hello Talk is better than lang-8? Well… no. They target different language learning goals! lang-8 is still, in my opinion, the best place to go to practice writing while Hello Talk is a great way to hone your real-time communication skills through conversations with native speakers. If you haven’t tried it already, I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5 stars

난 부탁했다

So I finally got my hands on 지금 알고 있는 걸 그때도 아랐더라면 which is a  poetry anthology from poets around the world. Some of the poems, like Rudyard Kipling’s “If”, I’ve read before so reading them Korean is interesting because you get to see how subtle expressions are translated into Korean. Other poems, I’ve never read before so after reading them I started to wonder how accurate my interpretation of the poems were… which led me to search for the originals in English and compare. Happy to say I’m not too far off the mark! :)

지금 알고 있는 걸 그때도 알았더라면

When I picked up the book from the post office, I opened the package in the car and my favourite poem turned out to be the first poem I read as I flipped through.

난 부탁했다

나는 신에게 나를 강하게 만들어 달라고 부탁했다. 내가 원하는 모든 걸 이룰 수 있도록.
하지만  신은 나를 약하게 만들었다. 겸손해지는 법을 배우도록.

나는 신에게 건강을 부탁했다. 더 큰 일을 할 수 있도록.
하지만  신은  내게 허약함을 주었다. 더 의미 있는 일을 하도록.

나는 부자가 되게 해달라고 부탁했다. 행복할 수 있도록.
하지만 난 가난을 선물받았다. 지혜로운 사람이 되도록.

나는 제능을 달라고 부탁했다. 그해서 사람들의 찬사를 받을 수 있도록.
하지만 난 열등감을 선물받았다. 신의 필요성을 느끼도록.

나는 신에게 모든 것을 부탁했다. 삶을 누릴 수 있도록.
하지만 신은 내게 삶을 선물했다. 모든 것을 누릴 수 있도록.

나는 내가 부탁한 것을 하나도 받지 못했지만
내게 필요한 모들 걸 선물받았다.
나는 작은 존재임에도 불구하고
신은 내 무언의 기도를 다 들었다.

모든 사람들 중에서
나는 가장 축복받은 자이다.

작자 미상

오리 두 마리 | Two Ducks

어젯밤 저는 또 이상한 꿈을 꿨어요. 꿈에서 어린 아이하고 어딘가로 걸어가고 있었는데 무슨 중요한 약속이 있어서 아이를 주차장에 있는 차 안에 뒷자리에 앉히고, 창문을 내리고 차를 잠갔어요. 빨리 건물 안으로 달려갔어요. 거기서 오리 두 마리 만났어요. 근데 보통 오리가 아니었어요. 키도 크고 피부는 하얗고 머리카락도 있었네요… 긴 빨간 머리! 꿈 속에서 저는 어떻게 이 오리 두 마리를 같이 데려다줄까라고 생각했어요. 오리들한테 조끼를 두개 주고 입어보라고 말했어요. 조끼를 입어도 너무 이상해 보여서 저는 오리들한테 누군가가 너희들 누구인지 물어보면 “Nous sommes les genoux” 대답하라고 시켰어요. 한국어로 “우리들은 무릎이에요”라는 말이에요. 아침에 일어나자마자 제가 왜 그런 말을 시켰는지 너무 궁금했어요. 말도 안되는 소리를 시키는 것도 그렇고 저는 10년 넘게 프랑스어를 안 썼거든요. 생각해보면 프랑스어 너무 오래동안 안 써서, 원래 “Nous sommes les gens qui…”라고 말하고 싶었던 거였겠죠? 한국어로 “우리 뭐뭐 사람이에요”. 아 됐어요… 무의미한 것에 의미를 찾는 것 참 바보같지 않아요? ㅋㅋㅋ이게 무슨 이상한 꿈인가요? ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

[A big thanks to Kaylee Kon and Bella for correcting my entry on lang-8! ]

Loosely translated: 

So last night I had another strange dream. In the dream, I’m wandering around with a little kid and I apparently have to be somewhere important, so I leave the kid in the backseat of a car in the parking lot, roll down the window, lock the car and run into a building…where I meet two ducks. The thing is, they’re not just any ducks, they’re as tall as me with white feathers and… have hair… long…red…hair. I’m not sure how to take the ducks along with my to wherever it is I have to be, so I hand them two waistcoats and tell them to try them on. Of course a tall duck in a waistcoat with long red hair, is pretty much as strange as just a tall duck with red hair, so I tell them that if anyone asks, they should just say, “Nous sommes les genoux”, translated as, “We are knees.”

When I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I would ask them to say that. Not only was it absurd that I would ask them to say something that makes absolutely no sense at all, but also I haven’t spoken French for over 10 years. Come to think of it, I haven’t spoken French in a while, so maybe I was trying to say “Nous sommes les gens qui…” in my dream, translated as, “We are the people who…”. You know what… forget it… trying to make sense of something ridiculous is absurd in itself. What kind of a weird dream was this?!

까마귀 | Crow

오늘 아침에 출근할 때 정말 신기한 것을 봤어요. 죽은 까마귀 한 마리가 도로에 있었어요. 도로 옆에는 다른 까마귀가 앉아 있었어요. 도로에 차가 너무 많아서 까마귀는 어쩔 수 없이 가만히 도로 옆에 계속 앉아 있었는데 차들이 오지 않자 갑자기 죽은 까마귀의 날개를 잡고 도로 밖으로 당겼어요. 너무 신기했어요.

그때 저는 옛날 이야기가 생각 났어요. 영어로 “Abel and Cain”의 이야기예요. 형제들이 둘다 같은 여자를 좋아하고 결혼하고 싶어했는데 누가 결혼할 자격이 있는지 결정 할 수 없어서 하나님에게 뭔가를 봉납하고 하나님께서 누구의 봉납을 선택하는에 따라 그 사람이 그 여자와 결혼할 자격이 있는 것이라고 합의했어요. 아벨은 정말 좋은 사람이라서 자기가 가지고 있는 것 중에서 제일 좋은 것을 봉납했는데 카인은 그냥 보통 것을 봉납했어요. 하나님께서는 아벨이 바친 봉납을 받았어요. 근데 카인은 너무나 억울하고 화가 나서 아벨을 때려 죽였어요. 그 때까지 세상에 아무도 살인을 해본 사람이 없었어요. 이것이 첫 살인이었어요. 그래서 카인은 너무 두려워했고 어떻게 해야 할지 몰랐어요. 그 때 카인 앞에서 까마귀 두 마리 싸우고 있었어요. 싸우다가 까마귀는 한 마리가 다른 까마귀를 죽였어요. 그리고나서 땅을 파고 죽은 까마귀를 묻었어요. 카인은 그 까마귀를 따라서 아벨을 묻었어요.

[A big thank you to Shabby and organicheese for correcting my entry on lang-8! ]

Loosely translated: 

This morning, on the way to work, I saw something pretty amazing. There was a dead crow on the road (no that’s not amazing) and another crow was sitting on the pavement beside the road. Because of the heavy traffic, the crow just sat there quietly on the side of the road and as soon as the cars stopped, the crow swooped in, grabbed the dead crow’s wing and dragged it off the road. It was really something.

Watching that, I started to think of the story of Abel and Cain. For anyone who doesn’t know the story, Abel and Cain were two brothers who both wanted to marry the same girl but couldn’t make up their mind who had more right to marry her. So they decided to make an offering to God and whoever’s offering was accepted would be the one to marry the girl. Abel was a really nice guy and picked the nicest thing to offer to God, but Cain just offered something trivial. So when God accepted Abel’s offering, Cain felt so upset that he hit and killed his brother. No one had ever killed anyone before, so Cain was scared and didn’t know what to do. Just then, God sent two crows in front of Cain who started fighting. In the fight, one crow was killed and the other crow started to dig a hole in the ground to bury the dead crow. Seeing that, Cain also dug a grave and buried his brother.

정우가 좋다. 정말 좋다.

가: 영수야!

나: 오랜만이야! 오늘 일찍 퇴근하냐?

가: 아니… 난 몇 달전에 일을 그만뒀어.

나: 그래? 그럼 요즘 어떻게 지내?

가: 카페 사장이 됐어

가: 진짜? 와 대단하다! 어떤 카페인데?

나: Mango 6 알지? 그거랑 비슷해

가: 야 그럼 강남에 언제 문을 열건데?

나: 그정도는 아니야… 아직 멀었어… 넌? 요즘 뭐 해?

가: 난 사실은 핸드폰 가게를 내기로 했어

나: 놀고 있네… 너 사업할 줄 아니? 회사에서 열심히 일이나 해…

가: 아니 너 정우 기억 나? 나 정우랑 가게를 낼거야

나: 정우? 야 너 정우 잘 모르나 본데 걔가 네 뒤통수칠지도 몰라…

가: 정우가 왜? 무슨 소문이나 들었어?

나: 당연하지… 마트 낸다고 대숙이한테 돈 빌렸어… 걔가 사업 재능이 없어서 마트가 다 망해서 대숙이한테 돈 한푼도 안 갚았어…

가: 뒷북치지마… 그게 얼마 전 얘기인데.  나도 정우한테 직접 그때 얘기 다 들었거든 . 오해였어… 다 벌써 해결된 일이야

나: 해결됐다고? 누가 그랬어? 정우가? 오해했다 치고… 사업 재능이 없잖아… 그래도 너 정우랑 사업할 거야?

가: 응

나: 정말? 와 나 두 손 두 발 다 들었어… 마음대로 해.

가: 그래 내 마음이야… 알아서 할테니까 걱정마…

나: 그래 나중에 내가 경고해준 거 잊지마…

가: 명심 또 명심하겠습니다… 이제 그만해…

 [ A big thank you to jtj, invisibilitycloak and Bella for correcting my entry on lang-8! ]

결혼할 생각…없는데요

회사 같은 팀에서 일하는 동료들이 다 벌써 결혼한 분들이에요. 제가 제일 어려서 요즘 언제 결혼할건지라는 질문 자주 받아요.
이런 질문에 어떻게 대답해야 할지 잘 모르겠어요. 어렸을 때부터 결혼해 가정을 이루는 것에 대해 별 관심이 없었거든요. 시간이 갈수록 결혼에 대한 생각은 더 멀어질 뿐이에요.전 원래 너무 소심한 사람이라 다른 사람을 잘 못 믿어요. 그래서 결혼할 자신이 없어요. 믿기 어려운 사람한테 어떻게 제 인생, 제 미래를 맡길 수 있을까요? 쉬운 문제는 아니겠죠. 물론 세상의 모든 것과 같이 결혼도 좋은 점 있고 나쁜 점도 있어요. 영화와 드라마와 다르게 결혼에는 사랑이 다가 아니라고 생각해요. 사랑하는 사람과 결혼하는 것이 중요하긴 하죠 그런데 그거보다 중요한 건 그 사람은, 남자든 여자든, 상대를 책임 질 수 있다는 것이라고 생각해요. 행복할 때 사랑은 쉬운 일이겠지만, 힘들 때 믿고 존중하는 일이 더 중요한 것 같아요.
좋은 사람 만나서 결혼하는 것 좋지만 못 만난다고 걱정할 필요없는 것 같아요. 어쩔 수 없는 거잖아요. 결혼하고 싶어서 그냥 아무나와 결혼하는 것 그건 안되는 거잖아요. 확실하지 않으면 잘못 결혼하고 나중에 후회하는것보다 차라리 결혼하지 않은 것 낫지 안겠어요? 좋은 사람 만나는 것 운명이에요. 언제 어디서 어떻게 만날건지 아무도 몰라요. 근데 인생은 멈추지 않아요 그래서 그 사람 만날 때까지 열심히 살아야 돼요. 상대가 없을 수도 있잖아요. 시간은 인생에서 제일 아껴야 하기 때문에 모르는 걸 위해 기다리면서, 시간 낭비 하는 건 절대 안돼는 일이라고 생각해요. 섭섭하고 서운할 필요없고 인생을 그대로 받아 들이는 것 그게 상책인 것 같아요.
전 인생에 큰 욕심이 없고 그냥 조용하게 행복하게 생활하고 싶은 마음이에요. 누구랑 인생을 지내는 것보다 어떻게 사는지가 중요한 거 같아요. 다른 사람한테 이렇게 말하면 제 마음을 이해할 수 있을까요?

[ A big thank you to tcatkr, Yeah and Bella for correcting my entry on lang-8! ]

내꺼 아닌 내꺼 같은 돈

So I’ve decided to practice my Korean speaking and writing by coming up with vocabulary lists which I’m uploading on Memrise and making stories with those lists. Here’s my first story with Level 1. If you’re interested in doing the same, share a link to your story in the comment box and tag your post with “My Korean Story” :)

가: 집에 아무도 안 계세요?
나: 어…안녕하세요 형…여기 어떻게 왔어요?
가: 안녕! 어디 가?
나: 아니요. 좀 이따가 친구 만나러 갈 건데요.
가: 여자친구?
나: 아니에요! 그냥 친구요..
가: 여자 친구가 아니면 뭐 특별한 친구?
나: 형 그런 것 아니에요… 아주 평범한 친구인데요…
가: 그래… 몇 시에 갈 건데?
나: 1 시간후에…
가: 그래? 그럼 같이 저녁 먹으러 가자. 어때?
나: 잠깐만요 형… 여보세요? 어 왜? 아침에 몇 시에 일어나야 돼? 그래… 그때 전화할게… 끊어
가: 빨리 말해봐… 갈래 안 갈래?
나: 알았어요… 가요 형.
가: 뭐 먹고 싶어?
나: 그냥 아무거나… 배가 별로 안 고프니까 커피 한 잔 어때요? 형 커피 좋아하죠? 제가 살게요…
가: 좋아…

나: 저기요. 커피 두 잔하고 도너츠 한 개 주세요.
다: 만 사천원입니다
나: 네 잠시만요…
가: 너 혹시….?
나: 형… 저 지갑을 안 가왔나봐요… 아 맞다. 방에 깜빡 놓고 왔어… 형 오늘만 돈 좀 빌려주세요. 내일 꼭 갚을게요…
가: 야 설마… 찾아봐 한번 더… 너 어떻게 지갑을 잊어버릴 수가 있어?!
나: 잖아…형 도와줘
가: 너 지금 반말 한거야?
나: 죄송니다
가: 그래 죄송해야지… 돈도 없고 존댓말도 제대로 못하는 이 사람아…
다: 손님 다른 손님도 기다리시는데요…
나: 여러분 정말 죄송합니다… 잠깐만요… 아주 잠깐만…형…부탁해요
가: 아니 내가 왜 돈을 내야 돼? 니가 시켰잖아…
나: 형 정말… 돈 없어요?
가: 있… 하지만 꼭 갚아야돼!
나: 알았어요 형… 감사합니다!
가: 감사는 무슨… 가자…
다: 안녕히 가세요 손님
나: 네 안녕히 계세요…

가: 할 말 있어
나: 무슨 말요?
가: 첫번째… 잘 봐…내가 어떤 거 갖고 있는지
나: 그게… 그게 제 지갑인데요… 형 어떻게…?
가: 집 앞 니 주머니에서 떨어졌어. 조심해 너…두번째… 다시 네가 산다는 소리 하지 마. 내가 형이잖아…세번째 이제 돈 갚을 필요 없어…니 돈 썼거든…

[A big thanks to YG Kim and Shabby for correcting my entry on lang-8!]

If any of you know me, you’d know that I’m a really shy person and making this recording is bigger than Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind… 창피해 죽겠어요…

Online Korean Language Resources

Along my Korean learning journey, I found that the following online Korean language resources work the best for me.

Lessons

1. Talk To Me In Korean

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Talk to Me in Korean, or TTMIK as it is commonly known, is in my opinion the best free Korean language learning resource available. So what can you expect to find at TTMIK 10 levels of grammar lessons, audio/video lessons of natural conversations in Korean for a wide range of subjects, vocabulary lessons and videos, idiomatic expressions and you can always ask questions which the TTMIK will answer. The best thing about TTMIK, apart from being free, is that the team is accessible almost always on a wide range of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube (I’m sure I’ve missed a few). If you’re not too keen on learning online, and prefer the old school method of books, then you don’t need to worry since they’ve also started to get their lessons published in the form of books. While the pdf lessons are free, published books can be bought at their store. They now also offer 1 on 1 lessons on TTMIK Live where you can practice speaking Korean with native speakers. The service is paid, but if you can’d find a language exchange partner, you know you’ll be able to find one here. In addition to all that (yes, there’re more), they even offer writing correction services at Haru Korean (see review below). Did I mention that the TTMIK team also hosts live Youtube Q&A sessions and will generally let you know when they’re travelling in case you want to meet up! Can it get any better… I’m sure they’ll think of a way. :)

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2. Korean Class 101

Korean Class 101 is one of the oldest and most comprehensive online resources available. However not all its lessons are free. There is a wide range of audio and video lessons and most lessons come with a pdf but like I said, a lot of tools like flashcards and wordbanks are only accessible based on your membership level. So what can you get with a free account? Access to the most recent lessons for the past 3 weeks and the first 3 lessons of any level. With a paid Premium + account you get access to everything at around USD 50 for 1 month (as of May 2014). However, don’t let that dissuade you from signing up because they offer regular discounts and you’ll always get a chance to take advantage of some great offers! It’s all about finding the package that’s right for you.

3. SNU’s Click Korean

KOR00_topClick Korean is good for beginners, with 18 situation based lessons after the first 2 lessons on Hangeul. The lessons are built around typical situations that you would find yourself in such as introducing yourself, making plans to go somewhere and going shopping. Each lesson has a dialogue so you can practice your listening skills, along with a section on vocabulary. Key grammar points are discussed and there’s also a section for reading comprehension. I found Click really helpful for practicing just before my TOPIK beginner exam.

4. Sogang Korean Program

img_01Similar to SNU’s Click Korean, Sogang offers a set of free online lessons for novice and intermediate learners. Each lesson per level contains exercises for listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary. Since the lessons are brief, I’d recommend using these as practice to reinforce concepts learnt.  Since it’s not easy to find listening test material online, these lessons are good to practice listening skills especially if you’re getting ready for exams like the TOPIK.

Dictionaries

1. Naver Dictionary

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Okay. I’ll be very honest. I love Naver’s dictionary. In fact, I love it so much that I was unwilling to even try any other dictionary. There are a lot of people who swear by Naver’s dictionary, and I’d be one of them. The layout of the website is very user-friendly and the translations come with great examples placing the word in context. I usually have a tab permanently opened with Naver’s dictionary. That was until I was introduced to the Chrome Naver Dictionary extension. Once you download the extension, your translation is just a double click away. Double click on the word you’re looking up and the meaning pops up in the upper right hand corner of your screen. I think I’m in love.

2. Daum Dictionary

tumblr_static_logo_daumDaum Dictionary is easy to use and like Naver offers translation for Hanja as well. I personally prefer the Naver layout, but Daum is just as comprehensive, with a wide range of examples with the word being used in context. On their home page, they also have a “Word of the Day”, “Quote of the Day” and a “Topic of the Day” which is a nice way to pick up vocabulary. Daum also comes with a Chrome extension, but Naver’s is more handy.

Writing Practice and Correction

1. Lang-8

If you go to lang-8 and look up the company mission, it says,

“Create the world’s best social language learning u8_ME6Ul_400x400service.”

They’re definitely doing a great job. Lang-8 is easy to use and doesn’t waste time with distracting visuals. Sign up is easy, through email, Facebook or Twitter. Once you’re in, it’s straightforward. Post an entry in the language you want corrected and wait for people to correct it. While you wait, you can correct other people’s entries, make friends and join language learning groups. There are so many users, that you can count on your entry being corrected at least once, if not multiple times. The key to lang-8 is give and take. Correcting other people’s work gets you points and posting good corrections gets you thanks, and native nods. The more your points, the higher your post will be listed so other people can see and correct it easily. The more stars and native nods you have is an indication of how good your corrections are so people are more likely to become friends with you and correct your work, so you can help them. If you’re on lang-8 go ahead and look me up: Username: SarZ

harukorean2logo Haru Korean was developed by the Talk To Me In Korean team and was designed to help Korean learners practice what they’ve learnt through lessons and through writing practice. Haru Korean is not a free service but offers 3 different packages: Beginner Booster Membership, Basic Membership and Journal Membership. Beginners may find the first two options tempting but I’d advise more advanced learners to go for the Journal Membership which is similar to lang-8. Unlike lang-8, Haru Korean offers a guarantee that all your work will be checked by native Koreans, whereas on lang-8 anyone can correct your work, including people who are learning, just like you. If you’re confused about what kind of membership is right for you, don’t worry – there’s always the free trial! :)

Online Bookstores

1. Hey Eonni

logoAbout: Hey Eonni is an online store which offers a wide variety of items from books to Korean snacks, stationary, Kpop albums and much more. They have a wide range of books from learning Hangul for beginners to Korean novels for advanced learners. They keep adding items so keep checking to find newly released albums and books.

Requests: They take requests! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can drop them an email request asking to stock the item.

Previews: If you’re looking to buy a book but aren’t sure if it’s the right level for you, never fear! Hey Eonni has previews of the books so you can go over them before adding them to your shopping cart. Actually, Hey Eonni has previews of EVERY product on the store so you know exactly what you’re buying.

Shipping: Worldwide shipping (Yay!)

Payment: Payment can be done through Paypal or by credit card.

Discounts: If you’re looking for a bargain, Hey Eonni usually has a sale on some of its products and they sometimes also have a discount for sharing their site on social media, so keep a lookout!

2. Two Chois

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About: Two Chois is one of my favourite online stores specializing in books for learning Korean. Books can be found in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Two Chois is huge. When I say huge I mean you can find almost everything here.

Requests: If you can’t find what you’re looking for (I’m not sure that’s even possible), you can always use their Special Order Request facility.

Previews: All books have previews, so you can flip through and see if they’re the right fit for you.

Shipping: Worldwide shipping (Yay!) They offer two options for shipping- Airmail and EMS. The price and delivery time vary depending on the shipping option so go through both and pick the one you like. One of the reasons why I love Two Chois is because their come neatly shipped and you can usually find a surprise inside! :)

Payment: Payment can be done through Paypal or by credit card.

Discounts: Two Chois has a category of books that get shipped for free (you don’t say!) so look there is you’re looking to save on the shipping fees. I actually came across Two Chois on their blog, http://twochois.wordpress.com where they hold Lucky Draws where you can win free books. Make sure to take part and leave a review if you win! :)

3. My Korean Store

logo (1)About: My Korean Store is run by Talk To Me In Korean and exclusively sells TTMIK lesson related content, in the form of e-books, audio downloads, textbooks and gift cards.

Requests: Since the store is only for TTMIK content, there is no request option.

Previews: All books have previews, and audio files even have audio previews.

Shipping: Worldwide shipping (Yay!)

Payment: Payment can be done through Paypal or by credit card and they even offer the option of payment through bank transfer.

Discounts: My Korean Store runs discounts on special occasions, so make sure you follow them on their different social media platforms to catch the latest discount codes. When launching new products, they usually have special pre-order prices so if you’re really sure you want the product, don’t wait till it launches (You can also get some goodies during pre-launch!) :) Some products (E-Books) even have the option of picking how much you’d be willing to pay for the product (I’ve never seen a store with no fixed price before WOW!).