Once again, I’ve reached a point where I feel that my Korean skills are developing a bit asymmetrically. I’m reading faster than ever, I understand most of what is being said around me as long as the topic isn’t too technical, and I generally feel quite comfortable with the language. So, what’s the problem? Lately, I don’t feel that my speaking skills have progressed in the same way as my reading and listening skills. Granted, I speak less Korean than I did a few months ago but I had still been hoping to see at least some progress. I find that what I truly lack most when speaking is natural-sounding narrative skills. I’m fine having a ping-pong conversation, but I always feel more insecure when entering into full Korean story-telling mode. I’ve written a post on how to build your Korean speaking confidence but evidently, I sometimes have to remind myself that I must practice what I preach. I have also written a lot about listening, reading, and shadowing but all too often, I forget these principles myself and limit my Korean studying to reading and drama watching.

So, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. From this week things shall be different. I’ll prove to myself and others that I can easily improve my speaking skills using my own techniques.

So what do I plan to do? Once more I’ve decided to turn to Talk To Me In Korean’s Iyagi lessons. I’ve been through all of them at least once before, but sometimes I have to remind myself that true progress actually comes from revision rather than from constantly diving into new and more advanced topics.

Here’s how I’ve been studying with the Iyagi lessons recently:

  1. Listen to the lesson twice (they are usually between 7 and 10 mins long)
  2. Read the script out loud as fast as possible (the goal is to sound natural with correct intonation)
  3. Look up new words – write down the sentences where they appear for better retention
  4. Write down 10-20 key expressions from each lesson
  5. Make an equal number of own sentences using the the same patterns from the key expressions
  6. Internalize useful expressions by repeating them out loud at different paces (this is the fun part)

I’m amazed at how much I can recall from each episode when I study in this way, and it already feels easier to form complex sentences.

Just to give you an example, here’s how I was applying points 3-5 yesterday when I studied with lesson 129 (Topic: dream jobs 장래 희망).

  1. New word: 기필코 = Surely, centainly (synonyms:꼭, 반드시) Appeared in: 나는 기필코 5개국어 이상을 하는 통역사가 되겠다
  2. Key expression: 장래 희망을 쓰라고 하면 과학자를 쓰곤 했었는데요
  3. Own sentence: 가고 싶은 목적지를 쓰라고 하면 한국을 쓰곤 했었는데요

Going through a lesson in this manner takes about an hour. I plan on continuing to do so every morning in the time to come, and I’m sure that it’ll pay off. Happy studying!

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