Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Learn to Read Korean this July!

First Korean Reading 1
This is my language learning goal for the month--- to finally learn the Korean alphabet, and to gain practice typing the language. I am going to be sharing things about my quest on this blog. I'm also probably going to cross-post to my other blog that has actual readers.

The cool thing about the Korean language is that even though it looks like Chinese characters, it is actually a language with an alphabet, so it's way easier to learn than Chinese or Japanese, but equally impressive to your uninformed friends.

My reading-Korean efforts this month has four basic tools, which I am going to share with you, the reader.
  1. Setting up my computer so it's easy to switch to a Korean keyboard. I will explain how to do this in a future blog post. However, if you download BYKI Express or BYKI Deluxe for Korean, it will tell you how to set up Windows on your computer for Korean.
  2. Using BYKI Express, a free language-learning software available in many languages. It's a series of computerized flash-cards, which can include sound and picture. You drill with the cards, it records how many words you have learned, and can refresh you on 'stale items' which you have learned a longer time ago. There is also a version, BYKI Deluxe, which enables you to make your own sets of cards--- great if you are learning Korean or some other language in school. You can make card sets for the vocabulary words in your textbooks. The main problem I've had with using BYKI is that it's very hard to go from not knowing the Korean alphabet, to spelling out your new words in Korean letters, which  you have to do in one of the steps of BYKI. But that is where item 3 comes in.
  3. First Korean Reading 1 by Yonsei University Press. For the first chapter, it includes only Korean words written with just the Korean vowels. The next chapter gradually introduces the consonants through several word lists. I am planning to create BYKI word lists with my BYKI Deluxe (on my old computer) and share the lists on the BYKI Korean list sharing page. (It won't include audio as I don't know how to pronounce Korean well yet.) You will be able to download these lists for your own study. I have a list of the first chapter words up now, but I am going to be re-doing it as I have the textbook name wrong (it's only in Korean on the book) and I'm going to make a change in the transliteration system as well, so I'm not encouraging you to download the list that's up now. When I put up the new list, I will announce it in a blog post. You don't need to buy the book to get some use out of learning the words in the first few chapters of the book, but it is available through various sellers on Amazon.com.
  4. A Korean writing practice notebook. I use a composition book. I first started using the book I have now in 2007, when I first got hooked on Korean soap operas. I only worked on it now and again, which is why I still am not good at Korean. I suggest practicing the new Korean letters you are learning, and the new words. Just do a few lines a day--- think of it like you are doing a crossword puzzle or some other minor little thing you might be doing as a hobby. 
So, are you game? Then download your BYKI Express and some lists, and start learning!

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