For anyone considering studying Korean, the absolute first thing you should do is learn Hangul. I love Hangul, its beautiful and logical and just…ahh ^^. There’s no reason you can’t learn it, I used the book ‘Yes! You Can Learn Korean Language Structure in 40 Minutes’ (~$15) which was quite good and explained concepts well. If you knuckle down you can easily learn it in a day or two, and then you don’t have to use those horrible romanizations (if there’s one thing I hate it’s Korean textbooks which use romanizations – instant turnoff!)
Use all the resources that you have available
No textbook or website is perfect (although TalktomeinKorean is close! ^^) and there isn’t a ‘right’ way to learn Korean – so don’t restrict yourself. Learning a language doesn’t have to mean constantly slaving over the same textbook, there’s tons of resources out there that can help with Korean ~ websites, books, newspapers, music, television shows, etc. Listen out for new vocab in that great new Big Bang song! (ㅋㅋㅋ) Read a short cartoon in the Korean paper! Watch a Kdrama! There’s a whole world of ways to advance your Korean, so mix things up ^^
[Hopefully I’ll get around to making a list soon of online Korean resources soon :)]
Know your strengths and weaknesses
One of my high school teachers once said “Know what you know and know what you don’t know”, which I always thought was good advice. Personally I’m much better at reading/writing Korean compared to speaking/listening – so I know that its something I have to focus on more. By knowing what your weaknesses are, you can work towards making them strengths 😉
Find something to keep you motivated!
If you want to have any chance at success in self-studying Korean or any other language, you’re going to have to find something that will keep you motivated, whether it’s Korean culture, Kpop, your family or friends, or something else entirely.
For a long time I probably never would have been able to have stuck with Korean if I didn’t have the motivation of my Korean boyfriend and his family – it was because of them I first started learning Korean. Now it’s become more than that, I learn Korean for the language itself, the culture, Kpop, the country, because I want to live and work there one day, because I enjoy it. But without all these ties and motivation I wouldn’t suceed at learning Korean.
Hangukdrama wrote a great post about creating links with a language — check it out here ^^
Avoid getting stuck in a language rut
You know those times, whether studying Korean or a subject at uni, and you feel like you’re getting no where? I hate those times 😐 I feel like I’m not absorbing any new vocab or grammar and ask myself “Am I even getting anywhere with this?” Never fear! You’re just stuck in a language rut, and truth is, you probably are getting somewhere, we often just don’t realise it.
Try looking back on some of your earlier work or exercises – do you think you could’ve understood them a week/month/year ago? Probably not – you have learnt something! Sometimes you just need a reminder that you are getting better and to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day – and you’re not going to be fluent overnight. Self-studying is difficult and time-consuming, but with the right effort and attitude you’ll get there 😉
What’s your best tip to keep yourself motivated or get out of a rut?