Since the past week has been spring break, you would think that I would have had plenty of time for studying Korean. Well, think again. On the other hand I have been spending plenty of time with family – both my own and my husband’s.

Of course I have been cramming Korean for 3-4 hours every day and managed to keep up to speed with “Descendants of the sun” but that’s no different from what I do on an ordinary workday. I honestly had expected to do a bit more Korean-related, since I was off work for a few days, but things turned out a bit differently. Well, plans are made to be changed.

I did, however, manage to teach some Korean over the holidays. When we visited my husband’s sister who has two girls aged 1 and 3, I taught the oldest how to dance Gangnam Style and even the youngest was quite interested in copying our quirky moves. I also taught her to sing the chorus to song and she especially nailed the “Oppan Gangnam Style” part. “I know it from kindergarten!” she proudly proclaimed. I also taught my curious sister-in-law basic Korean phrases and how to read Hangeul. By the end of the afternoon the oldest of my nieces was running around chanting “안녕! 안녕!” I then teased my husband that our 3-year-old niece seemed to catch on quicker than him, when it came to learning Korean.

The curiousity of the child inspired me to change my study routine a bit. I had been struggling getting through my “Integrated Korean, Advanced 1” textbook simply because it’s so ridiculously boring. No dialogues and just never-ending chapters about the engineering behind Korean floor heating systems, or how email is changing how the world communicates (the book is from 2004). Of course I learn some new words and phrases, but being at the advanced level, they are hardly phrases I can apply to my everyday conversations. Nonetheless, I finished it this week together with my TTMIK intermediate conversations e-book, which I absolutely loved. I think I’ve listened to the audio recordings of the chapters so many times that I now know several of them by heart. If you haven’t checked it out yet I strongly suggest you do. But back to my new study strategy. Since I wanted to learn like a child, what better way than to do so with Korean children’s books.

Several months ago I bought a richly illustrated book explaining the origin of 100 of the most common Korean proverbs for children. Until now I had only read the first 25 or so, since more important things kept coming in the way, almost making me forget that I owned this book. Anyway, I’m soooo glad that I rediscovered it. I’m almost done with it, and the goal is to finish it completely by tomorrow. I’ve learned a ton of everyday words that I didn’t know. Apparently “flea” in Korean is 벼룩 and when put together with the Korean word for market 시장, you get “flea market”. Awesome! I’ve learned the names of a lot of animals, I either didn’t know or had forgotten, a dozen of onomatopoeas (sound words), not to mention the actual proverbs. It deserves a separate post when I’m completely done with it. I love having so many Korean books in my shelf that I may simply go from one to another if one happens to be boring. In this way, learning always stays fun!


  1. I am glad to hear that someone else thinks that Advanced 1 book is so boring. 🙂

    After going to Lotte World and seeing the kids ride where they go up like the sun and the moon (해님 달님) I bought a book of 전래 동화 and learned a lot about the language and the culture, then my friend gave me a similar book and I learned even more interesting things.

    In case anyone is interested the titles are:
    전래 동화로 배우는 한국어 by 김순례

    엄마 아빠가 들려 주는 이야기, 옛날 옛적에 (which literally translates to “once upon a time”)


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