Archive | November 2012

Learning the Kana

It took me forever to memorize Hiragana when I was taking my beginner’s class and it only took a few minutes for me to totally forget everything.

Now that I’m learning Japanese again, I must memorize Hiragana again and finally learn Katakana (and of course, Kanji). But learning Hiragana is simply very difficult for me. Spoiled by the simplicity of Hangeul, Hiragana, despite it’s prettiness  often frustrates me.

But after a week, I finally managed to decently remember Hiragana. I keep writing them over and over until I memorized them. My problem is retention. Yes, I’ve memorized them, but I can easily forget them. What I did I chose a Japanese song that I like (not really a favorite) that has been a part of my playlist for years. I searched for the lyrics and converted them all to Hiragana. I printed it and I keep reading/singing it. I’m still slow in reading, but I’m getting faster as I get more and more familiar with Hiragana in the lyrics I printed. I’m planning to do the same thing with Katakana. 🙂

The Five: Kim Sun Ah’s possible next movie project

Kyaaa!!! I’m so happy with the news about Kim Sun Ah‘s possible next film! I won’t go into details since I actually haven’t read much about it because I’ve been busy with school lately. You can read details of the possible movie HERE.


But when I found out it will be based on a webtoon, The Five, I immediately searched for it and read it. Unfortunately the webtoon is not for free, so I only get to read the prologue/teaser and chapter 1~2. I would love to read the rest and I don’t mind paying 500won/5 chapters but I don’t know how (and don’t want to bother knowing how).

I loved chapters 1~2 and I’m so excited to see my dear Kim Sun Ah on it (though her character doesn’t appear yet on chapters 1~2). I’ve always wanted to see her in a suspense thriller and I still can’t get over the fact that she didn’t get to finish doing Thursday’s Child (Seven Days) with Kim Hyang Ki. :p

I’m sooo looking forward to this movie. I really hope this project will push through. And I would love to see it on the big screen, if ever! 🙂

I also want to read the rest of the webtoon chapters! 엉엉엉!


Learning (to like) Japanese

Last year I attended a beginner Japanese class. I was never motivated and I ended up just being frustrated and annoyed – complaining on almost everything about it. Why are Hiragana and Katana so difficult to memorize? I want to practice reading interesting stuff online after I learned the Kana but those difficult Kanjis are just everywhere, it made me frustrated and I stopped reading before I even reach the end of a stanza of a song. Why does the sentence endings have to be so complicated and confusing? Why are there so many rules in conjugating verbs? Where are the freaking spaces?

It doesn’t help that I didn’t enjoy our class either. A number of my classmates are already familiar with the language and most of them are know-it-alls (well, that’s how I felt then). They are also so into Japanese culture and they keep talking spazzing over this actor and this singing group and that drama and that manga and that anime. I felt so out of place in our class. It also doesn’t help that I dislike our professor. Not him per se but the way he conducts classes. He doesn’t make the non-Japanese culture fans fell at ease (say for example trying to introduce Japanese culture). I also felt he is not very keen in teaching beginners. The class’ pace was also very fast. I dreaded every class meeting because I felt so stressed.

I know it was also partly my fault. I should’ve exerted more effort. I should’ve spent more time studying. I should’ve tried getting to know more about the culture. I should’ve tried exposing myself to the language. But I just didn’t have enough time to do all that, that semester. I have zero motivation too.

But even if I don’t have a lot of interest and motivation, I really really wanted to try learning Japanese. But I ended up giving up on it after a semester of “torture”.  I thought it was just something not for me.

But due to some stroke of fate, I suddenly found myself sitting in an intermediate (Yes, INTERMEDIATE) Japanese class this semester. So I am now relearning Japanese.

Honestly I was so lost in the class. Just imagine the entire class was already talking about short-forms and quoted speech while I’m still trying my best to relearn Hiragana.

I’m still intimidated by my classmates and I still feel so stressed whenever I step in our classroom. From day 1 I never answered anything correctly during the recitation. I even greeted everyone おはよう ございます when our class is in the afternoon. BUT I’m happy to be part of the class because of our sensei.

Our professor is the best language professor I’ve had! Since he also teaches introductory linguistics subjects, his approach in teaching is very ‘linguistics’. We don’t follow our textbook religiously, rather he connects one lesson with another and we go back and forth our textbook in accordance to the way he sequenced the lessons. I’ve learned a lot already with his ‘personalized’ lessons. He  also integrates cultural stuff everyday and I’m liking the way he do it. It doesn’t make the ‘noobs’ like me feel out of place, yet the Japanese culture fans are also enjoying and spazzing about it. Maybe because he doesn’t join the spazzing (and talk in ‘gibberish’ fan-language that only fans can understand) and just let the students spazz on their own and make sure the others understand his points. And most of all he tries to inspire his students. He doesn’t make fun of those who keeps failing their quizzes and those who keeps making mistakes, rather he encourages them. He also doesn’t ‘praise’ those who always have perfect scores on their exam, rather he reminds them that scores are not the most important thing on earth.

“…what I really wanted to point out is that you should never just study/learn to meet the requirements of the course, especially something as widely applicable as a language course. Aim for a high grade, but don’t stop there. よい三連休を!”

Did I say I’m loving him now? He’s just too good that I’ll feel bad if I fail learning Japanese this time.

I’m still getting zeros on my quizzes (because I don’t really know and I don’t really understand a thing) but I’m working hard everyday, trying to learn what I should’ve learned already from my beginner’s class (until I catch up on our lessons). It’s difficult, but I finally am enjoying learning Japanese now. There are times that I can’t help but sigh and mutter “Why does it have to be this difficult?” or “Why can’t it be as simple as how it is in Korean?” but the thought of giving up is something that is absolutely not going to happen now. Never!

I still am struggling to learn the vocabs that I should know by now and I know it’ll take time. But I’m enjoying learning the grammar now (because I want to learn the beginner grammar as fast as I could because I’m so excited to catch up with the grammar that is being taught in class). I also don’t mind the Kanjis now. I’m more familiar with the characters because of my 2 Mandarin classes and at the same time I never let the Kanjis stop me from reading things. I just convert them to Hiragana for now since my Kanjis are still limited.

I also find time to expose myself to Japanese now. Though it doesn’t come as natural as it is with Korean, I just carefully chose songs and dramas that matches my taste. And I find time to watch Japanese dramas everyday despite my busy schedule. And it looks like it’s paying off because I no longer feel very much ‘distant’ with Japanese this time.

Any good Japanese beginner to intermediate lesson podcast? Something like Talk To Me In Korean conducted in either English or Korean. Actually I’ll be very interested in Japanese lessons in Korean. 🙂

Facebook in Korean

Deadlines for thesis and other papers are getting nearer and I am still far from finishing half of them. So I decided to pause my me2day and not to log-in to my Facebook often.

I have a tendency to stay online 24/7. I tried plugging out the internet and it only made me fell asleep. I thought of deactivating my Facebook but I don’t want to stop stalking someone miss important updates from important people and friends. So I decided to create a new account with just selected friends. That way, I’ll check my main Facebook account when I log in, spend maybe just 15 minutes checking notifications and answering messages and then log-out. And log-in to my new account and stay logged in forever. It’s more quiet now, very few notifications and fewer new newsfeeds. I can still stalk get updates from really close friends, I can post status and they can comment. Bottomline is, it is not taking too much of my time anymore. On my main Facebook account I have so many friends, there are a lot of new interesting (and uninteresting) things on my newsfeed and a lot of notifications waiting to be clicked.

Anyway, the exciting part is, I also changed my new Facebook account’s language to Korean. And it was awesome! I still have no confidence changing my entire computer system to Korean. I only changed my phone setting to Korean a year or two ago; and my me2day, Naverblog, Nate On and our Daum fancafe have always been in Korean and now Facebook. And it was not difficult afterall. Of course there are many words that are new to me, but I’m too familiar with Facebook, I guess, thus I know my way around and I’m now learning new words. I’ll definitely change my main Facebook account to Korean too when I become active at it again… 125 days from now. ^^

Korean Learners’ Blogs

I just went through my list of Korean Learners’ Blogs. I’ve been too busy these past months and I’ve missed both writing and reading blogs. Somehow it’s sad to see some have cobwebs on their blogs and haven’t updated in ages. But it’s sadder that some blogs no longer exist – especially those with real good stuff on them. It makes me wonder if those fellow bloggers have completely given up learning Korean? If so, why? Were they too busy to blog? Do they still find time to study even if they are no longer blogging? Or have they achieved their goal in learning Korean (ie watching show without subtitles or getting a TOPIK certificate or being fluent). I’m not really questioning why they stopped. I’m just curious.

Anyway my heart skips whenever I see one with a recent update. And of course always happy to come across new blogs too. 🙂

Please Teach Me Korean: 27회 TOPIK 어휘 및 문법

I just finished going through the 어휘 및 문법 section of the 27th TOPIK and there are some things that I still can’t understand. So I’m putting them up here so that I can go back to it later. Hopefully also, some good souls would come across this and answer my questions. 🙂

EDITED: Received answers from Shanna and 2 good souls (reineblanc, Superhero1 & bobon2023) from Wordreference. I am a happy girl because I can now clearly understand! Thanks everyone! 🙂

Do check the comments of Shanna below. Thanks Shanna! 🙂


공연이 늦게 끝나 밤 열한 시가 넘어서 집에 도착했다.

* Why is there no conjunction between 공연이 늦게 끝나 and 밤 열한 시가…
Why not 늦게 끝나서 or 늦게 끝나고. How can this be translated in English? The performance ended late so I got (arrived) home at (when it turned) 11pm (?)


– In this sentence, the ending ‘-아’ (like in 끝나) has almost the same role as ‘-아서'(in 끝나서). It can refer to time order or cause-and-effect relation.
These pages may be of help : ‘-아’ , ‘-아서’

– 끝나고 doesn’t work here

– Best translated as “I arrived home after 11 p.m because it (공연) finished late. 넘어서 – after (in this context) 

– “I arrived home late after 11 at night because the gig finished late.” is another possible translation (bonbon2023)

‘끝나’ in your sentence has – 아10「2」까닭이나 근거 따위를 나타내는 연결 어미.
The reason why you can’t see ending -아 is 한글맞춤법.
Article 34 of section 5, chapter 4: It is written as the shortened form if ‘-아/-어, -았-/-었-‘ combines with vowel ‘ㅏ, ㅓ’.
e.g 가아 >가, 나아> 나, 가았다>갔다

-고, -아, -서 are conjunction-endings that attach to verb or adjective stems. The conjunction 그리고, 그래서 don’t attach to stems.

I don’t see any difference if ‘나’ is changed to ‘나서’ in meaning, but it seems clumsy because of the repeated ‘-서’, 끝나서 and 넘어서.
(The reason why it clumsy is since we avoid using same endings, josas if possible.) But, there’s some difference if you use ‘끝나고’ conjunction-ending ‘-고’ relates ‘공연이~고’ clause and ‘밤~도착했다’ clause.
공연이 늦게 끝나 밤 열한 시가 넘어서 집에 도착했다. (fine)
공연이 늦게 끝나고 밤 열한 시가 넘어서 집에 도착했다.(fine but different from two)
공연이 늦게 끝나서 밤 열한 시가 넘어서 집에 도착했다.(no error but a bit clumsy) – bonbon2023


짐을 ( ) 밖으로 나왔다.
책상 위에 신문을 ( ) 두었다.
아들의 전화를 받고 마음을 ( ).
① 들다 ② 풀다 ③ 놓다 ④ 펴다

* I know the answer is 놓다 but some of the choices can be used on some sentences while not on some.

짐을 ( ) 밖으로 나왔다. You can say 짐을 들고 밖으로 나왔다, right? 짐을 풀고 밖으로 나왔다 is also possible, right? Of  course 짐을 놓고 밖으로 나왔다. I googled 가방을 펴고 and I saw the phrase 구겨진 가방 펴는 방법. So I guess it’s possible but not often use. So one can carry a bag and go outside, unpack a bag and go outside, put down a bag and go outside and well yeah, unfold a bag and go outside.

책상 위에 신문을 ( ) 두었다. Is it correct to say that 놓다 and 두다 comes in pair? 책상 위에 신문을 놓아 두었다. 놔 뒀어다. 신문을 들고 있다 is possible but not with 두다? And I guess 풀다 just doesn’t go with a 신문. But 신문을 펴다 is commonly used but does 펴다 go with 두다. Can one say 신문을 펴고 두었다?

아들의 전화를 받고 마음을 ( ). 마음을 들다 is a very common idiom(?) which means to like something/someone but I don’t think it works in this context. 마음을 풀다 is also an idiom which means to ease one’s mind so I guess it could work. 마음을 놓다 also means to be at ease. When I googled 마음을 펴다 I didn’t get any results.


– 짐. Although 짐 can mean bag – as in luggage it may not necessarily be a bag, even on this context. Because it could also mean box/es, cargo, freight. So it’s almost impossible to use 펴다 here. Unless your luggage is a foldable one like this: 😄

– 신문을 펴 두었다? 신문을 펴 두었다 or 신문을 펴 놓았다 (I don’t know why I have so much affinity with the -아/어/여서 and 고 conjugations!!! Well, I just learned that 아 is sort of a conjugation on it’s own ㅠㅠ)

– No such this as 마음 들다 because it’s supposed to be 마음에 들다 .

– When a mother was angry about her son’s rudeness (so they might have a trouble), but after son’s ringing, she reconciled with him. We describe this situation as 아들의 전화를 받고 마음을 풀었다 (superhero1). It’s usually used when you are worried about someone misunderstanding you but the misunderstanding is resolved (Shanna).

– When one’s young son enlisted to the army, one might worry about his being safe. After getting phone call from one’s son, one would say 아들의 전화를 받고 마음을 놓았다.


집을 ( ) 뒤에 다시 생각해 봅시다.
그는 의류 사업으로 많은 이익을 ( ).
어머니의 상태를 ( ) 입원을 결정하려고 한다.
① 보다 ② 내다 ③ 구하다 ④ 살피다

* So the answer is 보다 but…

집을 ( ) 뒤에 다시 생각해 봅시다. You see (보다) a house and you can think about it after seeing it. You can find (구하다) a house but does it make sense to think about it again after already finding one? You can vacate a house 집내다 and think about it after (but what else can you do?). I guess you can also 살피다 a 집 but again, why think about it again?

그는 의류 사업으로 많은 이익을 ( ). 이익을 보다 is to make/see a profit. 이익을 내다 is to make a profit. I think obtain/getting a profit 이익을 구하다 can also work. 이익을 살피다 I’m not sure. But naver has this sentence 그는 자기 자신의 이익을 살피는 데 능하다. However I don’t think it’ll work in the context of this question?

어머니의 상태를 ( ) 입원을 결정하려고 한다. Once can look 보다 at a 상태 before hospital admission. I saw some 상태을 내다 but I don’t think it’ll work on this context. I’m not sure if 구하다 works for 상태 but do we need to 구하다 a 상태 before deciding hospital admission? Of course one can also evaluate 살피다 first a 상태.


– You can say 집을 구한 뒤에 다시 생각해 봅시다. When you tried to get a house, for some reason, you did not have time to look around many houses, therefore, you had to rent a house for a month in a hurry, and then, you could search other places to live, staying at the house rented for 1 month. In 집을 살핀 뒤에 다시 생각해봅시다., suppose that there are two detectives. One said to the other, ‘I’m not sure he is the culprit. After combing through the house, let’s think again.’ (Superhero1).

– We very occasionally use the verb 구하다 (which means 좇다 here) with the objective 이익. e.g. 눈 앞의 이익만을 구하지 말고 멀리 내다 보아라. You should weigh short-term gains against long-term consequences.(Do not follow the immediate profit.) Look further (Superhero1).

– 이익을 살피다 is a different meaning altogether. it’s a figurative use (Shanna)

– In “그는 자기 자신의 이익을 살피는 데 능하다. ” ‘이익을 살피다’ is ‘to manage profits’ (bobon2023)

alodia: 헐! Really my most hated part in the TOPIK paper! Very difficult!!! But thanks for all the answers, it’s clearer now but I’m not sure if I can remember this well. 


① 사회가 너무 빨리 변해 가서 적응하기 힘들다.
② 어려운 일을 끝내고 나니 기분이 매우 좋았다.
③ 아이들이 너무 떠들어 대서 일을 할 수가 없었다.
④ 지금까지 힘들게 운영해 버린 가게를 닫기로 했다.

What is the 대서 on ③? 대다? Can’t you just say 떠들어서 일을 할 수가 없었다. How is 떠들어 대다 differs from just 떠들다?

*Just a reminder to myself, ④ should be 버리는 가게 because it’s not in the past. The 했다 at the end made me confused at first then I realized that -기로 usually takes the past form because you already planned on doing it (even if you haven’t done it). And the 지금까지 is obviously something that is NOT in the past.


–  x + 대다 is a grammar structure meaning ‘repetitively doing something’  (Shanna)

TOPIK Study plans

So, this time I’m serious I want to be serious! Since there’s still 168 days before the next TOPIK, I want to use these remaining days wisely. I came up with a 15-day study plan for every TOPIK paper.

  1. 어휘 맟 문법. Input all unfamiliar words to ANKI; Review ANKI
  2. Study 어휘 맟 문법 1 – 10; Review ANKI
  3. Study 어휘 맟 문법 11  20; Review ANKI
  4. Study 어휘 맟 문법 21 – 30; Review ANKI
  5. 쓰기. Input all unfamiliar words to ANKI; Review ANKI
  6. Study 쓰기 31 – 40; Review ANKI
  7. Study 쓰기 41 – 44; Write essay; Review ANKI
  8. 읽기. Input all unfamiliar words to ANKI; Review ANKI
  9. Study 읽기 31 – 40; Review ANKI
  10. Study 읽기 41 – 50; Review ANKI
  11. Study 읽기 51 – 60; Review ANKI
  12. 듣기. Input all unfamiliar words to ANKI; Review ANKI
  13. Study 듣기 1 – 10; Review ANKI
  14. Study 듣기 11 – 20; Review ANKI
  15. Study 듣기 21 – 30; Review ANKI

Repeat for the next TOPIK paper.

At this rate, I can study at least 10 TOPIK papers before the 30th TOPIK – or more, if I have more time.

Yes I’m back with ANKI. Just to review and help me NOT forget the words that I’ve encountered on the TOPIK papers. But I don’t memorize the words. I still use Naver Dictionary, Google search and my drama transcripts to learn new words. I also just recently compiled lyrics of my favorite songs into one html file and added it to my drama transcripts html files so that I can also CTRL + F my way through song lyrics! 🙂

I would like to stick to this plan. After all it’s not that time consuming anyway. Of course it’s not the only things that I’ll be studying for the next 168 days. I’ll pair it with other lessons or textbooks if I have time (for now I’m working on TTMIK lessons). But will make sure to study the ‘required lessons’ of the day even if I will be very busy.