Koen speaks…

Sharing my experiences of self-learning Korean language!

Learning language through Cognates & loan words (Konglish) — October 31, 2015

Learning language through Cognates & loan words (Konglish)

(Special focus on Konglish & false cognates)

Learning any language is all about learning just the 6000 or 7000 … most frequently words in that language. It does not entail being a walking dictionary in that language (I doubt if it is even humanly possible. It is impossible even for the native speakers). So, at the first glance, it does not seem like such a herculean task. But, it may still be a daunting goal for someone who is learning a language which is VEEERRRY different from his/her own language, or worse, which has its own unique script or alphabet (quite alien from his/her own language) and not to forget for people like me who have been foredoomed with a terrible memory.

So, one quick way of getting your hands on those lexicons is to look for cognates existing between your target language and your own language. I got this idea from Jimmy Naraine’s video entitled “Accelerate Language Learning Speed with 2 GREAT Techniques”.

Since, the language I am using to learn my target language (Korean) is English, and my blog is also essentially intended to cater for English readers, I am presuming that your language is English as well. Therefore, the trick is to find the cognates between your target language and English. Continue reading

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Learn 35 NEW WORDS from the NEW EPISODES (9-11) of the K-drama: “그녀는 예뻤다” (She was pretty) — October 24, 2015

Learn 35 NEW WORDS from the NEW EPISODES (9-11) of the K-drama: “그녀는 예뻤다” (She was pretty)

35 Additional Korean Vocabulary Words

In my last post, I gave you 20 Korean words from the 8 episodes of the latest Korean drama “그녀는 예뻤다”-“She was pretty”.

In this post, I have compiled 35 additional words from the remaining three episodes (9 to 11) which have been aired so far.(Damn! I wish we had got the 12th episode too. If only the episode hadn’t been cancelled due to the live baseball telecast).

If you are also a visual learner like me then I am sure that hard-core vocabulary lists and plain flash cards are not your cup of tea. Flashcards with pictures are definitely a better option but nothing works magic like videos, especially drama series, movies and similar audio-video contents. In my case, since I am learning Korean, it’s the K-dramas and other K-TV programmes. Like I said in my earlier post, dramas and movies are a great way of learning the most commonly used phrases and enriching your vocabulary.

Talking about me, the phrases and words that I learn through them are imprinted in my brain right away. So I can easily remember them and recall them. (Association works great when you remember the plot of the drama). Moreover, they serve as excellent listening exercises and therefore are extremely effective. Hence, I try to watch k-programmes and dramas as much as possible.

One of the latest K-dramas that I am currently hooked on is the MBC 수목 드라마 – Wednesday-Thursday drama called  “그녀는 예뻤다”-“She was pretty”, which is pretty fun so far and I am already learning many new words through it. So I am writing these posts so that other Korean language learners can also learn these words. Here have a look at my 35-word-vocabulary list from episodes 9 to 11.


  1. 주근깨= freckles
  2. 투덜대다 (also 투덜거리다) = to complain, to grumble
  3. 핑계대다 = to make or give excuses
  4. 정작 =  actually, really
  5. 빼먹다 = to omit, to leave out, to miss
  6. 화려하게 = glamorously, splendidly, brilliantly, impressively, fancily, dramatically
  7. 오글거리다 = to get goosebumps
  8. 사회자 = emcee (MC-Master of ceremony), host, anchor (of a show, program, etc)
  9. 마감 =  deadline
  10. 수명을 줄이다 = reduce the length of one’s life/lifespan (수명을 줄여가다 = be reduced (lifespan), passive form)
  11. 취재 = news gathering assignment (of a reporter), coverage
  12. 동화 = children’s story book, fairy tale
  13. 재해석하다 = to reinterpret
  14. 기발하다 = novel, brilliant, original, innovative
  15. 망설이다= to hesitate, waver, (망설임= hesitation)
  16. 종점=last stop, end of the line of a route, terminal (station)
  17. 막상 = Now that (something has actually happened)
  18. 신경쓰다=to bother, to get on one’s nerves (신경 쓰이다=to be bothered, be annoyed by, be nervous about something, passive form of 신경 쓰다)
  19. 정직한= honest, frank
  20. 몹시= very, really, extremely, terribly
  21. 압수= confiscation, seizure
  22. 개명하다= to change one’s name
  23. 거슬리다= to be unpleasant, offensive, irritating, annoying
  24. 꼬이다 = get messed up, get screwed, get twisted, entangled
  25. 응원하다 =  to cheer, to root for
  26. 동창 = classmate, alumni, school friend, batch-mate
  27. 공과 사를 구분하다 = to keep one’s private and public (professional) matter separate
  28. 호무하다 = be not in the least, be not at all, be not a bit , empty
  29. 시사회 =  preview (of movies, dramas, books, shows, etc)
  30. 애초에 = at first, in the beginning, primarily, originally
  31. 무리한 =  unreasonable/impractical
  32. 발전 가능성 = development possibility/ possibility for development/progress
  33. 유일한 = one and only, only
  34. 판매 부수 = number of copies sold, circulation
  35. 오싹하다 = to get/have the chills, to be freaked out by something

Continue reading

Korean writing practice through “Picture Story Writing” — October 17, 2015

Korean writing practice through “Picture Story Writing”

A great method of learning and remember new vocabulary words and grammar structures for people with terrible memory

For the past couple of months I have been concentrating my time and efforts towards some Korean writing practice. Of course I am still continuing my listening exercises and word memorization (through dramas and others) on my free time. But I have been making conscious efforts to do some free writing practice in Korean as well. So this week, I have started a great new method of practising Korean writing, which is “Picture story writing”. This was actually one of my Korean friends :신지원, Jiwon Shin’s idea (another good friend I met on the language exchange app HelloTalk). I am really grateful for her for her simple yet fantastic idea. It is perhaps the simplest exercise that has always been there. But it is really effective, especially for a visual learner like me (who, by the way, has a terrible memory). As you may have already guessed from the name itself, what you do essentially is you write a story in your target language (in my case it is Korean) from a picture. Just simple as that! You create a story in as much detail as you want. You are free to let your imagination run.

The picture that my friend Jiwon sent me was a series of pictures quite similar to the famous old fairy tale “Goldilocks and the three bears”. So all I had to do was to guess a story from the picture and write it in Korean.

(source: www.wikihow.com)
(source: http://www.wikihow.com)

Now if you ask me “What’s so damn special about writing a story from a picture?” well my answer would be that it is “learning through imagination”. The picture is not just a random static picture, but rather a series of pictures that depict a “STORY”. Therefore, when you sit down to write a story from it, you will obviously imagine the story. You will imagine the scenes, from the first scene of Goldilocks discovering the porridge to the last scene where she runs away from the bears. So when you do your “vocabulary search” before writing the story in your target language (Korean), there is a much greater chance that you will remember them better than if you were learning it from a rigid vocabulary list, or through some “word-to-meaning” kind of memorizing techniques.

What I have realized through this exercise, is that you will learn the new words and remember them much more effectively, through three main techniques:

Continue reading

Learning new words through the K-drama: “그녀는 예뻤다” (She was pretty) — October 12, 2015

Learning new words through the K-drama: “그녀는 예뻤다” (She was pretty)

20 New Korean Vocabulary Words

If you are also a visual learner like me then I am sure that hard-core vocabulary lists and plain flash cards are not your cup of tea. Flashcards with pictures are definitely a better option but nothing works magic like videos, especially drama series, movies and similar audio-video contents. In my case, since I am learning Korean, it’s the K-dramas and other K-TV programmes. Like I said in my earlier post, dramas and movies are a great way of learning the most commonly used phrases and enriching your vocabulary.

Talking about me, the phrases and words that I learn through them are imprinted in my brain right away. So I can easily remember them and recall them. (Association works great when you remember the plot of the drama). Moreover, they serve as excellent listening exercises and therefore are extremely effective. Hence, I try to watch k-programmes and dramas as much as possible.

One of the latest K-dramas that I am currently hooked on is the MBC 수목 드라마 – Wednesday-Thursday drama called  “그녀는 예뻤다”-“She was pretty”, which is pretty fun so far and I am already learning many new words through it. So I thought why don’t I share my latest list of words that I learnt from this drama with you all. So here’s my 20-word vocabulary list from the 8 episodes of  “She was pretty” that has been aired so far.


20- Word Korean Vocabulary List

  1. 재혼하다= to remarry
  2. 회사원=employee, office worker
  3. 방해하다=to disturb, to interrupt
  4. 착각하다=to misunderstand, to mistake
  5. 오버하다=to overreact, to overdo, to go overboard, to exaggerate
  6. 사원증=employee ID card
  7. 유난스럽다=unusual, out of ordinary, fussy, fastidious
  8. 가뜩이나= (it’s bad enough) already
  9. 피하다=to avoid, to dodge, to evade ( 피해=harm, damage)
  10. 요상스러운=bizarre, strange, odd
  11. 공유하다=to share
  12. 기준=standard, criteria
  13. 적용하다=to apply (rules, regulations, law, reasoning, logic,etc)
  14. 심부름=errand
  15. (국제) 왼손잡이의 날 = International left-handers’ day
  16. 이동하다=to travel, move, migrate
  17. 떠올리다=to recall, recollect
  18. 박제되다=be stuffed, kept
  19. 호= issue, edition (of a magazine)
  20. 실리다=to be put, inserted, published, reported on a board, magazine, advertisements, literary works, etc

  1. 재혼하다= to remarry 

remarried2

아버지 혹시 재혼하셨나해서.

Perhaps your father had remarried.

Naver dictionary link (네이버 사전 링크)

Continue reading

One of the best language apps – “HelloTalk”- Review plus my experience — October 4, 2015

One of the best language apps – “HelloTalk”- Review plus my experience

I have been self-learning Korean for a little over a year now. And like all enthusiastic language learners, I’ve explored almost all resources available out there to help me learn the language. Since I am learning Korean on my own and that too not in South Korea, it is not easy finding a language partner to practise my language skills. So I was desperately looking for a solution, which came in the form of this awesome app called HELLOTALK (Thank heavens for that!). HelloTalk is basically a language exchange and learning app, which provides you with an online messenger platform, to meet native speakers of the language you are trying to learn. The idea is to find language partners so that you can teach each other your native language (or languages that you are fluent in).

I found out about this app from Hyunwoo Sun (선현우) of the Talk to me in Korea (TTMIK). If any of you are learning Korean, then I am sure you are well aware of Hyunwoo, his awesome TTMIK team and his abundant resources (most of which are absolutely free) at talktomeinkorean.com. The fact that TTMIK was introducing this app itself was quite reassuring for me. So I tried it and I am in love with it ever since.

HelloTalk has the widest assortment of fantastic features, which have been especially tailored designed for the language learning purpose. (I’ll explain in more detail in a while). But the best thing about this app is that it has a huge community of users, 2 million users worldwide, which I think is the largest among all (strictly) language exchange apps till this date (you are welcome to please correct me if I am wrong). Since I am learning Korean, I can vouch for a humongous community of Korean users in the app. There are dozens of Koreans joining this app every single day). And from the app reviews by other users, I gather it is the same for multiple other languages too. So as there are more than enough number of native language speakers, it is very easy to meet friends or language partners of all ages, gender and places around the world. Especially I have seen that Koreans are pretty keen on learning multiple languages.  English tops the list by far, as good English skills are regarded as a valuable skill in the South Korean job market. (TOEIC is a big deal in South Korea).

I have been using this app since June 2015, and I have made many good Korean friends through the app. I have met Koreans who want to genuinely learn English and we’ve been helping each other through regular “paragraph writing in the target language” exchanges, grammar corrections, pronunciation mistake corrections as well as simply chatting and more chatting in our target languages. And “Oh My!” I have made four times the progress in my language skill, especially my Korean writing skills (I sucked before) than I made in the entire year.

Language learning is all about training your brain to remember the new patterns of words and new sounds. Similarly, as one Korean teacher Mr. Sung Bong Lee (이성봉) puts it, “It is not making your own sentences in the target language but rather finding the sentences that are already there (previously used by native speakers)”. So language exchange apps like HelloTalk help us to do just that- get used to the sentences so that you can easily retrieve them from your memory when you need them.

To fulfil that very purpose I have tried almost all language exchange apps available out there. But so far, none of them have managed to beat HelloTalk and its features and especially its community of users. Some apps had features similar to HelloTalk but they just didn’t have enough users to communicate with. It’s the tiniest details like the font size, the help centre response time, the speed, the memory usage, that kept me sending back to HelloTalk. So here I am spending my evening sharing my lovely experience with the app so that all language learners out there can take the benefit of it too (If they already aren’t using it).


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