Sunday, October 16, 2011

한국어 - WEEK 2 Korean 1 (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies)

The book I am using is 한국어1 which is the Korean for Foreigners course book of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. This is not a Korean language learning program and I am no teacher. This is a personalized journal of my Korean language journey, and the target audience would be other students of Korean, beginners if possible. If you are an advanced learner, kindly give us tips and correct some of the errors we are bound to make. Your feedback is important to us since books could not teach all. Let’s start! But before we do please watch the video after or while reading, it’s meant to complement the content of this blog article. If you watch just the video and not read, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. The book has 35 chapters. I only study Monday to Friday, two days each for lessons 1 - 15 and three days each for lessons 16 - 35 which means it will take us 90 days or 18 weeks to finish the whole book. Target end date is February 3, 2012.

MONDAY: Chapter Three -가족 사신입니다?
Today I listened to the main dialogue again and I am glad that I understood every word this time. It was a different story with the practice exercise. What I noticed about me is that my attention span is short. Most of the time I would just listen and recognize the words, but not take note of them either mentally or with a pen. This is stupid because when you converse everything should not stop at understanding. You have to at least retain something. And so I listened again and I started taking mental notes. I now know that the narrator is a Japanese teacher (both from Japan and teaching Japanese) who is married to a Korean office worker. They have a daughter named Mina. My mind slipped away again after that, so I had to listen to it a third time and found out that the son’s name is Minsu. I did not listen to it a fourth time even when I did not understand the last sentence. I found a word that I don’t recognize: 강하지 whose name, according to the sentence, was 루루. The word is not found in the glossary at the back and the only other character in the picture is a dog, which in Korean is . Perhaps it is another word for dog? As for grammar there is nothing new aside from negating sentences, where you add the / ending to the noun and then plug in the conjugated form of 아니다. So, if “It is an umbrella” is 우산입니다, “It is not an umbrella” would be 우산이아닙니다.

TUESDAY: Chapter Four - 교실입니까?
Remember last week when we learned how to put // in front of nouns to mean “this/that/that over there”? In this new lesson I learned how to say “here/there/over there” which works in a similar fashion: 여기/거기/저기. They might look different, but if you compare the sounds they make, you’ll find out how the relation. Since we are talking about location, for asking “where” you would have to use the question word 어디. Let’s have an example. To ask “Where are we?” you have to say 여기가어디입니까? Which literally translates to “Here where is?” Most of the words in that sentence have already been used last week. The only new word are 여기 (here) and 어디 (where). We’ve already met the subject particle last week ( if the noun ends with a consonant), and 입니까 is the question form of the verb 이다. The lesson introduces place names for some common buildings. Before we end the day, just one expression of agreement: 그렇습니다 which you say when you want to confirm a statement as true, very much like saying, “Yeah, that’s true!” If you are asking a question of confirmation, you already know how to change the ending. Saying goodbye? You say 안녕히계세요 to the one staying and안녕히가세요 to the one leaving. Why? Don’t ask me why. I’m not the author of the book. What I do know though, is that they are derived from the verbs 가다 (go) and 계시다 (stay).

WEDNESDAY: Chapter Four -교실입니까?
Again I listened to the practice exercise. The first time was more on word recognition. The second time was more on understanding. The narrator is talking about his neighborhood (동네). Well, to tell you the truth I am guessing its definition. I find it weird that it is not in the glossary again, but the context seems to make the meaning clear. I made a mistake. The second sentence actually says 지하철역이있습니다 meaning “There is a subway station.” I interpreted it as지하철여기있습니다 which means “Here is the subway.” There are similarities in terms of context in that I was immediately given the image of a subway, but they don’t mean the same thing. This is one of the difficult things about learning Korean. They have many ambiguous sounds, which could make understanding a big challenge if you do not pay attention. As for the next sentences I easily understood that the department store is over there and there are a lot of people, and the park is over there and it has a lot of trees. Hooray me! Last stop for this chapter, two new verbs! 있다 (to have) and없다 (to not have) which are used to mean “There is” and “There isn’t” in English. Example! 책있습니다 is “There is a book” while책이없습니다 is “There is no book.” It could also mean “I have a book” and “I have no book” respectively if it is clear from the context that we are talking about me having a book or not. Koreans tend to drop pronouns when the context is clear. Do not confuse있다 with 이다. The two have overlapping meanings at times but they are different. Take a look at these: 동생입니다 ( a younger sibling) versus동생있습니다 (...have a younger sibling). The second sentence could even mean “Younger sibling is here”.

THURSDAY: Chapter Five - 고향은 어디입니까?
Chapter Five is all about origins. I don’t know what 고향 means exactly but I would assume it has something to do with “home land”. As for grammar structures, most of what’s new in this chapter are still related to location, in particular asking where something is by the use of particle - which indicates where something is. You just plug in that suffix after a place name and you are good to go. If you add -있습니다 after the place name and that suffix, you would be saying that that something or someone is at that place. 유리씨는 상하이에있습니다 (Yuri is in Shanghai). As an English speaker you might be tempted to use -이다 instead of -있다, I don’t know if that would be correct, so we better just stick with this sentence construction.

FRIDAY: Chapter Five - 고향은 어디입니까?
Another particle is introduced in Chapter Five and that is the particle - which means “also” and is very easy to memorize because it sounds like the English word “too”. Fine, maybe not so much but it’s a good memory tool! You add this at the end of the first noun before adding the next noun if you are stating a series of things. If there is just one thing but you want to tag it as “also” meaning it is not the only one, whatever it is you are talking about, just add that particle at the end of that noun. Example time! “There is a bed. There is a table too!” 침대 있습니다. 책상도 있습니다! You could also add that particle to another particle! Take a look at this sentence: 상하이에도 있습니다? “In Shanghai too, there is?” Whatever there is, we don’t care. What we care about is that you could use that particle with that other particle. Cool, huh? These two particles are very useful and not that hard to memorize, so befriend them as early as now.

See you next weekend! For next week I would be covering lesson six until the second half of lesson eight. We can do this guys! AJA! The goal is to pass the lowest level of TOPIK in April 2012! =)

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