신기해

I’m probably one of the best examples of what a self-studying person should not be. After progressing a little, I take a long, long break from studying and enter this…hibernating phase where I don’t give a care about my head slowly losing the vocabulary and grammar points I’ve studied in the past. This happened when I finished Beginning 1 and lasted about a year and a half (or so) before I went and picked up Beginning 2. After finishing Beginning 2, the same thing happens.

Language learning will never be easy for me, that I am sure of. To progress in any language, you have to devote huge amounts of your time. I remember when I started reading Beginning 1, I maintained a strict schedule, allotting three to four 1-hour blocks of Korean study in between studying for my exams. I didn’t do much of anything else–no computer, no reading novels, although maybe a teeny, tiny bit of Korean drama watching (heh). Looking back, I can’t believe I managed to keep up with the schedule, because I’m really not a stickler for schedules of  any sort.

…But maybe I diligently kept with it back then because learning Korean at that time, compared to studying for my exams, was just so fun. Not that it isn’t anymore (it still is), but really, the best days of learning anything are right in the beginning, when you fawn at every new word and every new grammar point and delight at forming the most basic of sentences. Those are the fun times. And then you reach a certain point when you start to think, I should know something else by now. I should be able to write more complicated stuff right now. Why am I not learning anything new? Why am I not progressing at all? That’s when it gets less fun and more of a chore. I hate thinking of language learning as a chore because it definitely isn’t and by all means it shouldn’t be, but sometimes it becomes exactly that. It becomes nothing but a set of hurdles to jump through and really, what else can take away the fun out of language learning other than that?

Right now if there’s one thing I wish while studying Korean, it would probably be for me to go back to the mindset I used to have in the earliest stages of learning Korean: that language learning is fun. That every new word is 신기해. That I don’t have to rush it all because every moment I soak up the language I’m learning something new–and that in itself is wonderful.

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4 thoughts on “신기해

  1. meloncreme says:

    Are you me? XD I found myself nodding in agreement as I continued reading everything. Haha! I’ve been studying for almost a year and just like you, I feel like I should already be able to write a paragraph about a certain topic but whenever I try to write something, I can only barely make a 3-sentence paragraph. >_< Sometimes I wish I could be as enthusiatic as when I was just starting out. Back then, I had no problems learning and remembering words. But as time passed by, the seemingly endless journey of learning words started to overwhelm me and questions like 'When will this ever end?' and 'How many more words do I have to learn?' started to cross my mind and that's when I began to doubt myself. Now I'm looking for ways to bring back the fun in learning Korean or find an inspiration to keep my passion for learning Korean burning.

    • kaaaaaaat says:

      What we need is constant writing practice, probably (lang8?)–but to be honest, right now I’m still too scared to write anything more than a few sentences AND have a native speaker read and critique it. I know making mistakes is part of the learning process, but just the thought of someone looking at the sentences I wrote (which sound like it’s written by a five-year-old…or worse, a toddler) gives me the shivers.

  2. ira says:

    You spoke my mind, too. I’m wondering where’s that big passion that could make me push my brain to dwell in Korean after a long day of work. One thing that I’m doing now is trying to accept my current slow speed of progress and present anything Korean/Korea to my mind in daily basis. Who knows, perhaps this less enthusiastic condition will teach me something new about the learning process or the language. 화이팅!

    • kaaaaaaat says:

      I’m trying to accept that fact, too–that progress on my part will be slow. The good thing about that is we’re not giving up, right? It’s infinitely better to be slow than to stop halfway through. :D

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