When I was a child, I could easily spend 90 minutes watching a Disney movie just to rewind the tape and watch the same thing all over again. With a child’s enthusiasm I enjoyed the second viewing no less than the first. If anything, I may actually have enjoyed it more the second time because I knew exactly what to expect.
Even though it may seem trivial or even boring, this practice is extremely useful for language learners. Right now I’m rewatching the Korean drama “My love from the star” (seriously, who doesn’t love it?) for the 4th time, but this time I’m going about it a bit differently.
In the evening, I watch an episode with Korean subtitles (I only ever watched this drama with Korean subtitles). Then, in the morning I rewatch the same episode (technically this should mean that I’ll have watched the drama 5 times when I’m done), but this time I make sure to pause and look up all the words I don’t know the exact meaning of, and write these words down. I never write the English translations of the words, as I somehow find that if I don’t do so, I force my brain to internalize the meaning of the word. If necessary I also sometimes write down the sentence or the context in which the word appears.
Even though I know the story and all the subplots very well, I still manage to pick up new details and nuances. This makes this way of studying Korean both effective and fun.
If you have a Korean drama or movie that you really enjoy, I highly recommend this way of practicing. My Korean language partner, who had just critized me for not improving last week, even noticed a difference in my speech and flow when we last talked on the phone. Given that his expressions of praise for my Korean skills are usually few and far between, I take this as proof that this method is indeed working.