Korean Grammar Database, where did it go?

어디갔지? 어디?

없어졌나보다! 안돼!!!! ㅠㅠ

Since I’ve started going over old TOPIK papers, I visited my favorite grammar website Korean Grammar Database so that I can do quick searches for grammar patterns I don’t know yet. But I was greeted by an ad from their previous host.

It makes me sad! All those grammar database gone now? Forever?

Can anyone recommend a good grammar database/dictionary?

ㅠㅠ I’ve been using Korean Grammar Database for a long time and I love how easy it is to search for what you are looking for and how direct the definitions and sample sentences they provide.


32nd TOPIK 중급 Study Log # 1

Today I literally wipe the dusts off old TOPIK papers and notes I studied last year when I was preparing for the 28th Intermediate TOPIK. I kinda left them sitting on my desk for almost a year now and they got really dusty.

Along with old TOPIK papers, I made a compilation of dialogues from my favorite dramas that uses vocabulary and grammar patterns I encountered in the TOPIK papers. I first read my drama script compilation and I was a bit surprised with myself because I was able to breeze through most of it. I put highlights, underlines and jotted down notes for words that I do not know and when I see them now I can’t believe that those were words that I didn’t know then.

Same goes when I go over an old TOPIK paper I answered last year for practice. There were many words that I know (and comfortably using now) were marked last year because I was struggling with them then.

And the funny thing is I have no idea that 1.) I learned that much in one year and 2.) how exactly I learned all of them! To be honest, I never really studied seriously after taking the 28th TOPIK last year – thus the dust-covered papers and notes.

Of course many things have happened this past year. I’ve stayed in Korea for a month and a half using only Korean everyday. I’ve been talking to AND stalking The Crush The Ex-Crush almost everyday. And I’ve overdosed on Korean dramas for the past 4 months.

What I’ve learned over the year though is not something I’m proud of. Had I studied seriously I wonder how much better I would be now. But nonetheless it makes me happy as I go over my notes and mutter to myself, “Seriously? You didn’t know that word/grammar pattern last year?”

Happy? Did I say happy?

Is this the effect of 보여줄께? ^^

Had I known that these little notes I crammed on the margins of these old TOPIK papers could make me feel happy, I would’ve checked them out months ago.

3:18am. Tired and sleepy. But my mind is still fully awake as I try to finish the 어휘 및 문법 section of the 18th TOPIK paper. Maybe I’ll continue until the 쓰기 section too. ^^ I love feeling this way again. Studying until morning. Getting excited in getting correct answers. Getting more excited in learning new things.

내 자리를 지키기 위해



“자리를 지켜라!”

In the midst of my unending whining, self-pity, anger and depression someone told me “자리를 지켜라”.

Honestly, I still don’t know how. I still don’t have the confidence to protect whatever’s left of myself. I’m still afraid to do anything.

After much thought and hesitation, I muster my courage and registered for the 32nd Intermediate TOPIK on the last day of registration.

I don’t have the confidence to pass even Level 3. And I know there isn’t much time left to prepare for it. But… 나도 내 자리를 지키고 싶다. Maybe… hopefully with this I’ll be able to remember how I was before and will be able to find my old self back.

And at least I’ll have something to focus on instead of thinking useless thoughts day in and day out.

일하는 것, 운동하는 것, 드라마 보는 것, 생각하는 것. 요즘에 그것을 밖에 안 해.

I miss studying Korean. I miss blogging.

The Legend of The Missing Subtitle

Ok, so there’s really no legend. I just can’t think of a better title for the post. XD.

Anyway I was happily marathoning a Korean drama. I just finished an episode and the next one automatically played… 1 minute… 2 minutes… 3 minutes… 4 minutes… then the character said a sentence that I’ve come across My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel I am currently reading and translating. I know what the sentence mean but it doesn’t sound very natural when I translated it literally to English. “Wait! What’s the best way to say it in English?” So, curious as to how it was subbed, I paused my video player and pressed the rewind button so I can “read again” the subtitles carefully. I will probably have to edit my translation to phrase it better in English…

The video played.

Subtitles didn’t appear!

Apparently I have been watching without subtitles for a whole 4-minute. I forgot to rename the subtitle file for the next episode so my video player didn’t pick it up automatically.

This is not really the first time it happened to me. Usually because of not renaming my subtitles properly subs won’t appear on the next episode. I would only notice it once I had that ‘wait-what-did-she-say-again’ moment on the first few moments. But this time I was really surprised when no subtitles appeared after I played the video again. I have been understanding everything completely I really thought I had my subtitles on. It makes me wonder, if I didn’t rewind it, how far I can go watching without subtitles?

I actually noticed that on this latest drama that I’m watching, I’m listening more than reading the English subtitles. I’m glad I’m also improving on my listening skills (even if I’m not working hard on it lately – I’m reading more these days while trying to get my mouth do its job). But I’m still far from letting my subtitles go. Not yet. I’m still very much dependent on them. But I can’t wait to finally let them go.

It feels like when I was first learning how to ride a bicycle. Riding a bike is difficult and scary. Just like most kids learning how to bike for the first time, I needed my grandfather’s help so he used to hold the rear of the bike for me while I try to pedal. Aware that someone’s holding it for me, I kept pedaling. But there are moments I didn’t know he already let go minutes ago. However the moment I found out he is no longer holding my bike, I panicked and wobbled and fell down. Even if I managed to bike on my own a few minutes ago, I wouldn’t start until I know somebody’s holding it for me. Eventually, after lots of efforts, I learned how to bike – racing after boys, standing on it and sometimes I don’t hold the bike handles for fun!

Just like in watching my dramas, I still need help from subtitles. I can survive a few minutes without it especially when I’m aware that I don’t have them. But the moment I realize they are not on, I panic and put them on again. But I believe, eventually I’ll let go of them. Soon! 🙂

Analyzing a Korean Sentence Linguistically

One of the many long sentences I encountered while reading My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel is this:

오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며 밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다.

Again, even if I understood almost every word perfectly the problem of who did what, who did what, who did what to whom, what was done by whom clouded my mind.

Eventually, using my DIY-aka-pseudo-linguistic method again, I was able to figure out who’s who and what’s what. But a user, bonbon2023, from WordReference was able to explain the sentence awesomely in a linguistic way and I’d like to share it with you guys – especially to those who are also studying / are interested in linguistics.

For lexical explanation오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며 밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다.(Mom raises her right hand, which have held rice spatula, with glaring eyes seeing daughter defiant today for some reason.) In this context, though different wording, 눈에 힘을 주다 can be otherwise expressed as 눈을 부릅뜨다 or 눈을 번뜩이다. ‘오늘따라’ means ‘왠일인지 오늘, which is today for some reason, and ‘따라’ signifies there’s no specific reason.’강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에’ suggests ‘Daughter is being defiant’

For grammar explanation, this is how I analyze the sentence by morphology or syntax.
Basically when we analyze sentences in morphology, we usually reveal the nine parts of speech in the sentence.
오늘(noun, 명사)/따라(particle 조사)/ 강하게(adjective, 형용사)/ 나오는(verb, 동사)/ 딸(noun, 명사)/의(particle, 조사)/반발(noun, 명사)에(particle, 조사)/ 엄마(noun, 명사)/는(particle, 조사)/ 눈(noun, 명사)/에(particle, 조사)/ 힘(noun, 명사)/을(particle, 조사)/ 주며(verb, 동사)/ 밥주걱(noun, 명사)/을(particle, 조사)/ 들고(verb, 동사)/ 있던(verb, 동사)/ 오른손(noun, 명사)/을(particle, 조사)/ 치켜드신다(verb, 동사).

The above is based on nine parts of speech. If I go further, ‘따라, 는’ is ‘focus particle or delimiter'(보조사), ‘의’ is 관형격조사, ‘에’ is adverbial case particle(부사격조사), , ‘을’ is objective case particle(목적격조사) in your sentence. And when it comes to word-building ‘치켜드시다’ is the complex verb(합성동사), which ‘치키다’ and ‘드시다’ are mixed by the ending ‘-어’ attaching to the stem ‘치키-‘.

Given the sentence in terms of inflection(활용), which refers to change in form of verb or adjective, ‘주며’ ‘
들고’, ‘있던’, ‘나오는’, ‘치켜드신다’ are considered.
The ending -며 in 주며 is coordinate conjunctive ending(대등적연결어미) because it links the preceding clause and following clause on grammatically equal terms.
-고 in 들고 is supplementary conjunctive ending(보조적연결어미) since it enables 있던 to modify ‘들고’, thereby adds progressive meaning in the chunk. ‘-ㄴ’ in 있던 and ‘-는’ in 나오는 are 관형사형어미 so 있던, 나오는 modify noun ‘오른손’, ‘딸’ respectively. -ㄴ다 in 치켜드신다 is closing ending(종결어미).

On the other hand in syntax, there are seven parts of sentence 부사어, 관형어, subject(주어), object(목적어), 서술어, complement(보어), 독립어 when basically analyzing the sentence.
Thus the compound sentence is analysed as:
오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의(관형어) 반발에(부사어)/ 엄마는(subject)/ 눈에(부사어) 힘을(object) 주며(서술어)/ 밥주걱을 들고 있던(관형어)/ 오른손을(object)/ 치켜드신다(서술어).
The subject ‘엄마는’ is the third person singular. 부사어, 관형어 are additional constituents when it comes to constituents of sentences, thus the sentence can make sense even after omitting them like the following> “엄마는 힘을 주며 오른손을 치켜드신다.” This is main sentence.

The type of compound sentence is extended sentence(이어진문장) since ‘엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며’ and ‘밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다’ are coordinate clauses(대등절) linked by ‘-며’.
Consider the following:
오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의(관형구) 반발에(adverbial phrase)/ 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며(coordinate clause)/ 밥주걱을 들고 있던(관형구)/ 오른손을 치켜드신다(coordinate clause). 
‘오늘 따라 강하게 나오는 딸의'(관형구) performs as the 관형어
 that modifies noun 반발 in adverbial phrase(부사구). 밥주걱을 들고 있던 modifies noun 오른손. 
When we look at ‘치켜드신다’. 
The ‘-시-‘ prefinal ending shows the respect to the agent ‘엄마’ and there’s ‘-ㄴ다’, which is the form of 해라체 of declarative form.
the sentence on the whole shows the sentence is not aimed for specific audience. In other words, closing ending ‘-ㄴ다’ in this sentence is not closing ending of 해라체 in 상대높임법 used for face-to-face or conversational situation(상관적장면) but neutral-register(하라체) of in declarative sentence used for writing(단독적장면). 

Given the tense, the tense of main sentence is present tense determined by closing ending ‘-ㄴ다’. If
 the ‘inflected forms performing as noun, numeral, pronoun modifier'(관형사형) are underlined for explaining relative tense based on time of event in main sentence, it is shown as the following:
오늘따라 강하게 나오는 딸의 반발에 엄마는 눈에 힘을 주며 밥주걱을 들고 있던 오른손을 치켜드신다. 
The first 관형사형, the ‘time of event(사건시)’ of ‘나오는’ coincides with the time of event in main sentence, thus it’s present tense. The second, the time of event of ‘있던’ precedes that of main sentence, thus it signifies lasting of movement precedes the point of ‘time of event’. 

FYI: Think about nine parts of speech and seven constituents of sentence when you analyzing sentence.

WOW! Like, really WOW! Not anyone can explain this sentence the way he explained it. And for a moment I even thought he’s probably one of our professors. I wish he (she?) is my professor though. Not only did I learn how to analyze the sentence, but I also learned a lot about syntax.

I’m not sure if I can do it on my own though when it comes to analyzing sentences as I go on with my reading but I will try my best.

This is one of the few moments I love being a linguistic student! 🙂

I love going to WordReference Forums whenever I have questions about Korean. The people who answer are really awesome! And I also like browsing through the questions of others because most of them were stuff I’m also curious/confused about.


I was stuck in traffic yesterday for a good 4 hours. Thanks to the traffic jam I was able to finish 4 chapters of the novel I am reading :). And the more I read, the faster and easier it becomes. ^^

Finding A Language Exchange Partner

First and foremost, I’d like to thank those you left comments on my recent rant about my Korean speakings skills. I was just feeling crappy that day so I wrote my crappy thoughts down. I was surprised by the comments, especially the lengthy ones. It does made me feel better, made me think and made me want to do better. Thanks guys! I wish there’s a like button on comments too! 🙂

Following most of the suggestions, I think it’s time for me to find a language exchange partner. Actually I’m quite envious with some bloggers who have really great language exchange partners. I guess it’s a good idea to start looking for one.

Actually I have lots of Korean friends. Some were exchange students I’ve met in our university and some were my schoolmates from CNU when I was on exchange. Some were friends of friends. But most of them are from Kim Sun Ah’s fandom ^^ and they were my closest friends. Some foreigner fans of Kim Sun Ah also studied/are studying Korean so I also get to talk to them in Korean (since they claim they don’t speak English/they refuse to speak English and I don’t speak their native languages and they don’t speak mine). With that being said, I actually shouldn’t have any problems finding someone to practice my Korean with. True. And not. Yes I often contact them and I often get to talk to them through email, our fancafe, facebook and on kakaotalk. But we are not close enough to call each other regularly and I’m sure they are all busy so I don’t want to bother them. Thus my writing and reading skills keeps getting better while my speaking skill is left behind.

I’ve tried looking for a language exchange partner before via Sharedtalk. After talking to few people I deleted my account because I found a partner. A very sweet 11-year old girl XD. She’s very enthusiastic in Skype video call. She likes talking and I like talking to her as well. But it didn’t work well. She even made schedules for us but whenever it’s our schedule to practice English she’ll suddenly stop being talkative and then will start talking in Korean. I get to talk in Korean, yes, but I get bored. Well, kids are kids so she only talks about the same thing over and over. We also can’t keep time because she wants to talk longer and I only want/need about 30mins of talk time because I’m very busy. Though it didn’t work out for us when it comes to language exchange, we became really good friends until now. She’s actually the reason why I was able to go to Lotte World. She bought me tickets and keeps buying me stuff and accessories while we were there. I still talk to her if we have time. Not in a language-exchange way but just as friends. Since then I never tried looking for another language-exchange partner – until yesterday.

So yesterday I tried my luck once more in finding a language exchange partner. I made a new account in Sharedtalk again and I also went to Interpals and Iaminkorea. I browsed some members and sent a few messages to some members.

I’m looking for a female partner because I often feel 어색하다 with males. It would be nice if it’s an 언니. And of course someone willing to talk via Skype regularly and is not just looking for friendship but someone really serious in language exchange. I don’t want to just be able to practice Korean. I also want to help them. I don’t want it to be a one-way exchange.

I saw many comments online saying it’s difficult to find Korean friends online. Many foreigners said they sent messages but never gets a reply. So I was surprised that since yesterday I kept receiving messages and emails. Was it because of how I wrote my profile? I wrote it 100% in Korean. And I guess mentioning I an online English tutor gave me an edge? XD

My first language partner is actually a guy and younger than me. Opposite of what I was looking for initially. But he is very enthusiastic about the idea of having a language exchange partner. We exchange email messages and chatted a lot before we started talking in Skype. Another good thing about him, he’s actually attending an online English tutorial – similar to where I work – so the idea of free talk via Skype is not new to him so we were able to start right away. Some Koreans I’ve talked with feels awkward in talking right away and wants us to get to know each other by email first, correcting each other’s mistake and the likes and do skype if we are more comfortable with each other. Though it’s a good idea, as I’ve mentioned I have many friends with whom I can practice my Korean writing with. I need to practice talking right away. So far I am enjoying my first partner’s talk time. We talked in English yesterday and we talked in Korean today. His Korean voice is actually very nice. It felt like talking to TTMIK’s Hyun Woo. And he is good in matching my pace and correcting my mistakes – something my 11-year old partner wasn’t able to do. He also have loads of time these days. Looks like we can hit it off. I just hope we can have matching schedule when a new semester starts in Korea next month.

I’m still getting to know and trying to figure out schedules for 2, 3 other female Koreans. I think all of them were serious too. One of them is 2 years younger than me and is also taking online English lessons so we can drop the formalities and we’ll start right away. The other one is an 언니 and fairly serious about this too. I feel very comfortable talking to her via email so I’m looking forward to talk to her. But she’s pretty new to the whole language-exchange and skype thing so we’ll take it slowly (actually I’ll wait for her to install skype). She also seems busy so we might not be talking in a regular basis. It’s okay though because I think my first 2 partners are enough. The third one is also an 언니 but haven’t replied to me again.

There are many more others. I’m tempted to talk to them too but I know I don’t have the luxury of time. I’ll send them replies and if they are really serious I’m pretty sure they’ll keep contacting me. It’s not bad to have new friends, but I might have to sign out of the language exchange websites soon before my inbox gets full.

So far, among the language exchange sites, my favorite is Iaminkorea. I’ve met a number of serious language exchange partners there. If you are looking for one, try that website. 🙂

My Lowest Point in My Korean Learning

As I’ve said in a previous post, my “lows” over my Korean skills lack of Korean skills often happen after a good “high”. A few days ago I managed to finish reading an entire manhwa (all 52 chapters) and though I didn’t understand 100% of it, I understood enough for me to laugh, for me to cry brawl, for my skin to crawl… I even covered my eyes twice or thrice and had to suffer withdrawal syndrome after. So overwhelmed with the manhwa, I even wrote a little review (or should I say ‘reaction’) about it. The longest serious and non-prattle text I’ve ever written in Korean by myself. Yes it’s still too child-sounding and have errors here and there, but I’m quite satisfied and happy with what I’ve written. If I’m more comfortable using more grammar and vocabulary I could’ve expressed myself better but nonetheless I guess I was able to somehow convey my thoughts pretty well. Satisfactory enough for me and my level in writing.

I am happy with my recent reads (a manhwa, a novel, and a new textbook). I learn a lot each day. And the more I read, the easier it gets. I was foolishly skipping in my own little cloud nine when I was whacked in the head by my deteriorating speaking skills. And I fell flat on the ground.

Speaking has been my weakest point. I think a part of it was because I didn’t begin my study “properly”. Not thinking that I would, someday, speak in Korean I focused more on words, grammar, anything, everything but proper pronunciation. Since then and until now I usually study with my eyes and brain. Reading, thinking, writing in Korean – quietly. I seldom open my mouth and speak. And because I know I am not good, my confidence in speaking is not that great either, making speaking a lot more difficult for me.

In a place where I do volunteering, there are a number of Filipino employees who can speak Korean well. And when I said well, I mean they can carry continuous and spontaneous conversation with the other Korean employees/volunteers. I also have classmates that went on exchange in Korea who are very good in conversation. The funny thing is, they would often ask me what is X in Korean or how do you spell Y in Korean and what does Korean sentence/phrase Z (especially when they are reading/writing something). I wonder how they can speak so comfortably despite not knowing a bunch of fairly easy words/grammar.

I honestly feel bad that my speaking skills are not at par with other Filipinos I know that speaks Korean. I used to calm fool myself with the excuse that they all have studied in Korea and I haven’t. I don’t actually believe that one needs to be in Korea just to be able to speak Korean well. I believe that one can speak Korean well even if they haven’t stepped in Korea (same goes for other languages). But after I became an exchange student, even if it’s just for a month, I can no longer fool myself and use the same old excuse.

I want to believe that different people have different learning curves. That I can also improve if I will exert enough efforts. So I am patiently trying. But my patience ran out last Saturday.

Last Saturday I met a good Japanese friend who is good in Korean. Since my Japanese skills is almost non-existent and she “claims” she’s not good in English and refused to speak to me in English (She’s been like that since the first time we’ve met, but I know she can speak and understand English because she speaks to others in English. But she never speak a single English word to me. Not a single one! And I love her all the more for that!) we talked in Korean. I showed them around Manila – mostly on historical places. Lacking knowledge on historical terms in Korean, it was difficult to explain the different places and different events that occurred in our country in Korean. But it’s not only that that I was frustrated about. I can’t even fully express myself even if we were just talking about random things. There were so many things I wanted to tell her, ask her, things I want to talk about. She asked me lots of things and I want to tell her exactly what’s in my 마음속. But I failed. I just can’t. I can’t find the right words and the right sentence ending that can convey my feelings well. I didn’t know where my -더라, -더니, -듯, -바람에, -수록, -도록 went. All I know they all left me and only the -이에요s, -죠s, -잖아s, -는데s, -아/어서s, 갓같아s that stayed! 개다가 has visited me once along with my favorite -자마자. And as always all the -가다 and -오다 verb combination confused me to hell! I was both tongue-tied and mind-tied. Most of the time I can’t even finish my sentences. The moment she shows understanding of what I was about to say I stop without  finishing my sentences. My word choices were not that great either! And don’t ask me about my pronunciation either.

I was frustrated and very tired as I try to rack my brains. But she said one two things that snapped my patience with myself. She saw my My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel and I told her I am reading it now. She said she gave up reading it a long time ago because it was so difficult and there were so many words she doesn’t know. She also asked me to tell her the story of the manhwa we were both reading because she still can’t finish it because it’s difficult so she just quickly scan through it and look at the picture.



She’s so fluent in Korean. She can talk to our Korean friends without any trouble. She can perfectly blend in as if a native speaker. Just like my co-workers. Just like my classmates who went on exchange. Comfortably.

What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I speak like them? I can read a novel. I can finish a manhwa. I can pour my heart on writing. But why does my stupid mouth won’t open properly. Why do words just won’t come out of my mouth. Why do I feel so 긴장하다 and my thoughts turn into a bowl of 비빔밥 whenever I need to speak up.

And for the first time I cried over my Korean skills.

I must be doing something wrong. Why am I the only one like this? I should do something about this. But until now I don’t know what to do.

I tried convincing myself that I’ve improved a lot already. 2 and a half years ago, when I first met her, my Japanese friend, we barely talk. A few words. A few short sentences. Some signs. And a lot of smiles. And now we were able to finally talk. I should be grateful. I should be happy. Well I am. But that was 2 and a half years ago! Yes I’m glad I made an improvement. But if that was 2 years ago, I should’ve been way better than how I was last Saturday!

I felt so sad sending my friend away. I’ll miss her. And I also hated myself because there were really lots and lots and lots of things I wanted to tell her. We talked about many things and I discovered that we have similar opinions on several issues we are both facing. I want to tell her my experiences and my feelings. I really wanted to open my heart to her the way she did to me. But I wasn’t able to. I wanted to hit my stupid mouth!

But no, not giving up of course! Darn, no! After crying last Saturday on my way home, I promised myself that the next time I’ll see my friend, I’ll be able to express myself well! Although I don’t know yet how I can improve my speaking skills, I’ll find a way. Maybe I should start listening to radios? Korean podcasts? Start an audio blog? Get a language partner?

아는 방법을 알려주세요~

My Daily Dose of Korean

If it’s one of those days when I actually didn’t sleep through my alarm, I usually wake up with either an upbeat Korean music (these days it’s Rooftop Prince’s 해피엔딩) or one of those noisy-cute Korean ringtones (야! 받아! 빨리!). If I’m in the mood to check my phone (and if the battery is not all drained!), it’s entirely in Korean.

I would log-in to the internet and do my usual daily internet rounds. 1. Email – Not much Korean unless one my good Korean friends would send me long emails (but that’s quite rare). 2. Facebook – My Facebook is in Korean. I have some Korean friends / Korean-speaking friends so some of the posts in my newsfeed are in Korean. I follow stalk 2 people – Kim Sun Ah and my Korean crush. Both post only in Korean. So if they have something new, I will try to understand it, sometimes translate it (Kim Sun Ah’s posts at least) and I’ll leave a comment, in Korean of course, if I’m in the mood for it. Lucky if I get to chat with them – usually with The Crush, but sometimes with Kim Sun Ah as well. 3. Me2day – My me2day is in Korean too and most of my friends are Koreans. I usually just check it once a day (or sometimes I don’t) to check if Kim Sun Ah left a post. Would roughly read some of my friends posts in the process. 4. Blogs – 100% of the blogs I follow are all in English. But all of them are related to Korea/Korean. 5. Sunaforever Fan Cafe – Hardcore Korean reading – internet slang and all. If I have something interesting to say, I’d post in Korean in a blog-like/diary-style. If Kim Sun Ah have an ongoing project I frequent her DC Gallery too – also a hardcore Korean fansite.

If I have to go out (school, work, whatnot), I usually spend 1.5 hours at least (one-way) since I live outside the metro. My travel time is usually spent listening to Korean music/Korean drama audio/Korean lessons. And/or reading something in Korean. These days I interchange 중급 한국어2 and My Name Is Kim Sam Soon novel.

When I’m at home I’m usually in front of my computer. Korean music are in loop most of the time. Main stuff lately are 한국어2 and Kim Sam Soon novel because I’m trying to finish both. If there are some news about Kim Sun Ah I read them using FLTR (or even old news/articles / blog posts related or not to Kim Sun Ah). Translate them if I’m in the mood for it. Watch some Korean drama/movie (especially if there’s a drama that I can’t stop watching – right now it’s 18 vs 29). If I have time I’ll work on my current project. My little project now is compiling an itinerary of the places I want to visit in Korea. Though internet search is mostly in English, I also google for the Korean names and addresses of the places. I write/compile my itinerary in Korean (except for very specific directions). It involves a lot of typing in Korean! Sub-project: compiling all of Kim Sun Ah’s drama’s filming location – which involves re-watching her dramas (in full! yey!) and a lots of googling in Korean! Just finished compiling My Name Is Kim Sam Soon locations a week or 2 ago and currently re-watching When It’s At Night and will start compiling it’s filming locations once I’m done.

When I’m doing my part-time (online), I usually have 5-minute breaks in between 25-minute classes – usually my music will automatically turn on during the 5-minute break. Sometimes I have free time when there are no students. I’ll either continue reading 한국어2 or Kim Sam Soon. Or watch a Korean movie (if I have a new one downloaded) or try to catch up on my Korean dramas. Work on my itinerary project. Or just surf the internet (may not necessarily be in Korean but will most of the time be Korea/Korean related). Old TOPIK papers are on my desk all the time so I also browse on them sometimes – even while working. ㅋㅋㅋ

I would really love to read before sleeping, but I want to sleep with my lights out. And I’m too lazy to get up and turn it off when I’m finally sleepy. So I can’t read 한국어2 or Kim Sam Soon because I usually turn off the lights before I lie down. Sometimes mom watches Korean dramas on DVDs (we share a room). I don’t usually watch with her because we either watch different ones or we are not on the same episode. But I do hear it in the background while I do my own thing on my tablet. My own thing: either a Korean drama, a movie, Anki (but too lazy to do that recently), webtoon reading (these days it’s 와라편의점 and Penguin Loves), Korean blog reading, or some ebooks. Well, yes, sometimes movies, ebooks and blog readings are not in Korean. Sometimes. 🙂

Now, would I still be surprised if my Japanese is going nowhere?


FLTR or Foreign Language Text Reader is a… uhm… foreign language text reader.

Seriously, it is wonderful tool to use when reading articles or blogs or just about any softcopies that can be copy-pasted (well, no one’s stopping you to encode a text from a physical source such as books, magazines or newspapers).

I learned about this from Korean Notebook late last year. I installed it and made myself familiar on how to use it. I started with an article but I stopped halfway. Plain laziness I must say.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to read more these days. Reading used to be one of my strongest suits when I was still a beginner. But it has become one of my weakest areas (along with speaking) since I transitioned to the intermediate stage because I never read.


I so love this little tool because this is exactly what I need. When reading I encounter new words of course. So I check the definition, then I wrote them down or type it on a document. All these checking and note taking kills the momentum of reading and it will become tedious and boring. But if I just won’t take down notes the obsessive-compulsive me can’t be at ease (even though I know I’ll end up not reading the notes I wrote!).

Anyway, what I love with FLTR, it’s easy and fast to check the definition of a word, paste the definition and mark it then continue reading. You can also write sample sentences using the word you looked-up and it will be stored in the program. It’s easy to review because as you hover to a word, and you’ll be able to read the definition you wrote. I am also encouraged by the different colors you can use to mark the words. The more light green colors I see (color for well-known words), the more I’m encouraged to read.

I tried reading THIS ARTICLE today. I was a bit scared because it’s kinda long, but I had fun reading using FLTR, happily checking words out and color coding them. Before I knew it, I finished the article. I even have to double check if left out some paragraphs when I was importing the text to the program. Well, the article is not really that difficult I think. But still, it’s satisfying to read something in full.

How to use FLTR? Visit Korean Vitamin. 🙂


Korean Modifiers!

I’m often overwhelmed (and simply stunned) when reading Korean sentences that can get as long as… forever.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to read a simple article about 씨름, for intermediate learners and I just can’t move on with this one simple sentence:

승자 진출 방식으로 진행되는 씨름 경기에서 최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다.

After looking up new words in the dictionary I do get that this sentence means “The winner gets a cow.” Period. I know I can move on and proceed with my reading. But the obsessive-compulsive me doesn’t want to let go and I spent all my breaks today to figure, not just the meaning, but how this sentence was structured.

I almost gave up and was about to ask a friend to translate it for me in English, once and for all. But after typing the sentence in kakao, I gave it one more try and this time I attempted to break the sentence into parts or “blocks” and I think it did work for me.

I started with 황소.

An ox (황소를) was given (주었다).

Given as a what? As a prize (상으로).

상으로 황소를 주었다 – an ox was given as a prize.

To whom? To the strong man (aka contestant/participant that has to be a strong man) (장사에게(는)).

What about the participant / What kind of participant? What participant?

A participant that won (이긴 장사).

So an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won (이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다).

Won what? What kind of win? An ultimate win (최종적으로) aka grand prize aka grand champion (after playoffs/elimination games).

So, an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won as the champion. (최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다)

Where? Champion where?

In a Ssireum match (씨름 경기에서).

So, one more time, an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won as the champion in a ssireum match (씨름 경기에서 최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다).

But… what kind of ssireum match / what kind of match/game is a ssireum / what is ssireum? Aka how does the game proceeds?

A ssireum game that proceeds by the method of knock-out rounds (승자 진출 방식으로 진행되는 씨름 경기).

I want to interpret it like this:


The above pseudo tree structure may not be linguistically correct, but it’s how I can easily see how I interpreted this long sentence. The simplest sentence I can form here is:

[   [씨름 경기에서]    [이긴 장사에게는]    [황소를 주었다]   ]

And the rest of the words that goes in between modifies each “block”.

[  [((승자 진출 방식으로) 진행되는) 씨름 경기에서]   [(최종적으로0 인긴 장사에게는]    [(상으로) 황소를 주었다] ]

So, one last time:

The ultimate champion in a ssireum match, that (usually) proceeds in (a series of) knock-out rounds, was given an ox as a prize.

Not a good translation. But I don’t really want to translate the sentence. I want to understand what are the functions of each of the elements of this sentence.

Now this is actually one of the shortest “long Korean sentences” (shortest long? Go figure!). It can go on and on and on and on… as they add more and more modifiers to describe each “block”.

It took me hours to analyze a sentence as short as this one! Must practice reading more (because these types of sentences doesn’t usually appear on my dramas XD) so that I can analyze faster and eventually, hopefully, can analyze long sentences in real time (without having to draw tree structures! OTL).