Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears

I remember when I was starting to learn Korean and LAWD all I heard was complete and utter gibberish whenever it was spoken. After months of struggle, I finally started to hear Korean as Korean and was ecstatic.


I’m weeping in a corner.


I’ll hear bits and pieces that I understand and then the rest sounds like Zelo when he says, “심장에 울리는 내 말이 니말과 다르니 화가나니 들어 4마디 잔소리”. It makes me so sad, haha. I want to be able to transcribe what I’m hearing so I can look new words up, but nope. Looks like that won’t happen for a while.

For Japanese, I have NO problem transcribing things. I’m starting to wonder if it’s because Japanese has syllables that don’t have all the pronunciation rules Korean has and each syllable is (ugh how do I describe it…) cut/short? I really don’t know how to describe it, but Japanese syllables are each short and kinda stand out on their own while Korean syllables kind of meld together. I’ve also been listening to Japanese and singing songs I heard for YEARS. I’m talking elementary school years so… that’s about 14 years now.

I think it has to do with the way Korean sounds can meld together. In the beginning or even now, you may not know if you heard, 심장에 or 심짱에 or 씸잔게 and you just have to sit there looking at whoever spoke like “BRUH…”

Japanese comes so easy to me and Korean makes me run to the hills and back. That is literally the best way to describe it. Wanna tell me to learn something difficult or abstract in Japanese? Woohoo! Sure! Awesome! I got this! Wanna tell me to learn some basic or intermediate Korean? LOL WAT APRIL FOOLS IS BACK COOL NICE ONE.

Korean is going to rip me to shreds, but it’s okay. I still have tons of love for the language. Painful… Sad… Love.

Still here? Great!

Let’s have a little side chat about a man named Lee Jong Suk or as I like to call him, GTFO.

DISCLAIMER: I will not be held liable for any injuries, distractions, arousal, tears, or heartaches caused by the following pictures of Lee Jong Suk. You have the right to remain silent or bring the issue up to the man himself, but I also will not be responsible for any further damage he may cause.


See, now, Mr. GTFO has forced me to watch all of his dramas and movies. I’m currently on Doctor Stranger after watching Pinocchio and School 2013. Being the language learner that I am, I try to listen and transcribe any phrases I want to learn or just try to see if I can understand without subs. Mr GTFO has other plans. He doesn’t want me to understand more than one word out of every 10 sentences that comes from his gorgeous lips. This is probably more of my fault than his, but lets completely ignore that for the sake of… well, nothing actually. Just go with it.

Usually I can get SOME sense of, “I can hear the syllables,” when someone speaks in this drama, but when I get to Mr. GTFO, it becomes a battlefield. I don’t know if he’s mumbling, speaking fast, or if his beauty is just messing up my existence. It’s probably the latter mixed with him speaking fast, but let’s also ignore that for the sake of nothing.

What I’m trying to basically say is…

He needs to go.

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See that smirk? That is the smirk of “I need to get the F### out.”



Yepp… Definitely needs to go.


You Had It Right The First Time…

I always look at the different ways people study Korean and Japanese to pick up new ideas, but I never really thought to see how other people learn English. It’s actually pretty interesting and some of it reminds me of elementary school when we did ELA (English Language Arts). My ELA teacher at the time literally gave us an intensive course on English every year. We’d learn grammar and syntax rules in depth, take sentences apart, examine the structure, etc. I loved it. Well, I kinda hated that school for many reasons, but if there’s one good thing I got out of it, it’s everything I know about how English is constructed. It’s about 425% of the reason I’m a bit of a grammar Nazi. (And by bit, I mean more than a bit.)

Many people will say to you as you’re learning languages, “People can’t explain why something is a certain way in their native language, because they just don’t know. They don’t learn conjugations and all of that in school. They just speak it.”


I know my grammar and syntax and if you ask me why something is a certain way in English, nine times out of ten I could probably explain to you why. The sad thing is, that statement about people not learning why things are the way they are is true for many people. When I entered high school back in ’07, a lot of people never had a proper ELA course and made countless errors in their writing. Same thing happened in college and in both places I was “praised” for my “advanced knowledge” when in my opinion those were the mere basics of English.

Welp, back to my first point about how people learn English…

Here’s a blog post I stumbled across with a good example of what I was talking about: Look mid-page at the pictures where they’re examining things phrase by phrase and marking what goes with what. For some ridiculous reason, even though this is how I was taught to analyze sentences, I never thought to do this with Japanese or Korean. It’s like when you try to connect a USB and turn it over 5 times just to realize you had it right the first time.

For Korean and Japanese, I usually underline or highlight words and phrases I don’t understand, but I rarely dig into the sentence. If I could understand it, it was good enough for me, haha. Studying a little more actively won’t hurt. (Well, actually, anything can hurt… >.> But it’s all about the reward.)

I don’t like writing long posts without pictures! Blocks of text are scary to some people! Please don’t run! ( 」゚Д゚)」

To Workbook Or Not To Workbook

This is always the question.

Short post, but how does everyone feel about workbooks? I don’t really use them because instead of efficiently working through ch. 4 of the workbook AS I do ch. 4 of the textbook, I do ch.4 of the workbook when I’m a) on chapter 12 or b) done with the entire book.

It’s like my brain does a memory dump on what workbooks are and that they exist.

I noticed that even though I can breeze through learning Korean vocab and grammar, it doesn’t stick like Japanese did. I thought it was because I was more familiar with Japanese, but then I noticed it was because I was using a good workbook with the main material. When I use a good workbook (not a non-self-study friendly boring one), it lets me put the medal to the pedal (whoops… pedal to the medal…. metal? medal? See, I can’t even speak my first language and I’m too lazy to look it up) and see what I can remember on my own without re-reading notes.

So yeah, workbooks work for me… Hee hee. Workbooks, WORK. Ha. Haha. Ha.

I’ll stop now.

So do workbooks earn minimum wage? Imagine a lil book going to its office with its lil suitcase.

….Okay, now I’ll stop. I couldn’t help it.

They have their benefits, however, it’s always a question of “Do I want to part my bank account with its money and make it weep like a kid who got their lollipop taken away?”

So how do you all feel about workbooks? Good workbooks. We all hate the bad ones of course. Are they worth the extra money or are they nice to have but not really worth it?

(I’m trying to decide whether to get Ewha and Yonsei workbooks later on, that’s why haha.)

【Review】Talk to Me in Korean – News In Korean


Hello there!

A couple of months ago, Talk to Me in Korean released a new way for their learners to practice reading Korean called “News In Korean.” Every week on Tuesday and Friday, you’ll be sent three short news articles, mp3 files of the readings in three speeds (fast, normal, and slow), and a commentary. You can choose between a one-month subscription (5 weeks) for $8 or a three-month subscription (13 weeks) for $18. It does not automatically renew so don’t worry about it pulling out money you don’t have when you least expect it. I went and got the 3-month subscription about a week after they started it and I regret nothing!

Full review under the invisible dotted line~

Continue reading

Vocab Lists Should Be Banned

I am so serious.
There should be a large protest against vocab lists.

When I was taking Japanese at college, we had to learn a page of vocab from the Genki textbook we used. This would be anywhere from 20 – 30 new words for a little quiz on a randomly selected 10. You were then expected to remember that word for the rest of your Japanese learning life.

Guess how many of them I forgot?
Don’t actually try because I don’t know the answer and I don’t want you to hurt your brain. Those are precious brain cells you have there.

The point I’m trying to make is that stuffing all those words on lists into your head won’t help you. Well, it didn’t help me nor did it help most of the other students in my class. You’re going to forget it. You’re much more likely to remember a word if you learn it from a conversation you heard or a passage you read.

This example is with my Korean studies, but it’s all the same vocab business:
Not too long ago I was doing a bit of reviewing with Korean. There were words I tried to learn and remember through SRS and vocab lists and I remembered ZILCH. I couldn’t even recall most of them. However, the words I learned IN CONTEXT from Sogang’s free online lessons were sooooo easy to recall even though I hadn’t looked at them in 8 to 10 months. These were the words I learned from the dialogues and readings.

Although I’ve proven to myself I remember much better from context than lists, I still feel like if there’s a word I don’t know on my list for that chapter, I NEED to learn it then and there or it’ll disappear into the mass of other words in the language never to be seen again.

I’m so dramatic.

The thing is, the word will definitely come up again- especially if it’s a word from the early stages. I can’t run after every word all the time especially since I’m out of shape stamina-wise. I wouldn’t get too far.

I highly suggest learning in context and at your own pace. Think of it as food. You don’t wanna scarf everything down at once and get indigestion. Enjoy your food at your own pace (and ignore all the pesky people who ask why you eat so slow or so fast).


Yay context!



Oh, remember what I said a couple posts ago too: Don’t be a me. Don’t be a Keisha and have to go back and review chapters and chapters. I’m not learning anything new yet. I’m still reviewing stuff. 6 more chapters to review/re-learn.
( ´Д`)ノ(´・ω・`)


I’m yelling about novels in particular- novels in the languages in learning to be even more particular.

I’m soooo eager to read a novel in another language, but honestly I’ve been delaying it because I keep telling myself it’s too early. I can’t wait until I feel “ready” because I’ll never really feel “ready” BUT most novels would require me to look up every other word which may or may not bother me. It literally depends on the book, the day, how I feel, the positioning of the sun, the wind velocity, etc.

Let me give you an idea of just why I’m dying to start a novel:


Yes, all of these are mine. This is from two trips to BookOff! in NYC. Good news: I have lots of reading material and it was all for cheap. Bad news: I have lots of scary reading material with big mean words I don’t know yet.

The most I’ve done is read here and there in 세상에 너를 소리쳐! and picked up 우리들의 행복한 시간 at the library. But that’s for Korean.

So yeah I’m skeptical to read a full novel right now but the difference is that for Korean I’m like (゚¬゚*) and for Japanese I’m like Σ(゚Д゚ノ)ノ and щ(゚Д゚`щ). Guess which one I’ve been studying longer? (Hint: The one with the emojis that look ready to leave life.) I think my comprehension has to do with the fact that I casually read BAP’s tweets and translate them so little by little I got better at reading Korean. So basically, it’s BAP’s fault.

Also, Japanese is written very abstractly (which I love) and adds to the difficulty of understanding what you read (which I hate).

I actually don’t know what I’m saying anymore or what you’re getting out of this other than that I’m a wuss when it comes to trying to read Japanese.

To everyone out there learning languages, when did you start reading your first novel? Did you feel “ready” when you started? How much did you need to rely on a dictionary?


I cannot stress this enough: take notes RIGHT AFTER you learn something because if you don’t you’ll be a Keisha. (My name is Keisha in case you didn’t know.) What Keisha does is read through the lesson and if she feels she understands it, she won’t take notes until “later.” Because Keisha thought she was smart and responsible, she ends up not taking notes until she’s done with the entire book. Keisha then has to go backtrack through the book and take notes because she has nothing to look back on other than the textbook.

Don’t be a Keisha.

(I’m laughing at how I’m pretty much scolding myself lmao.)


Quick Update!

Hello there!

I haven’t forgotten about all of you lovely people. I’m usually around in the far winds, hidden in the shadows, reading posts and stuff. I have to admit that I’ve been slacking horribly with language learning and I’m embarrassed that I allowed myself to slack so much.

I still feel that it would be best for me to pick one language- either Japanese or Korean -and put all my time and energy into that one language until I’m at and advanced level or near fluent and THEN go on to the next language. I’d be able to use what I learned to study the other language too. (Ex.: Study Japanese with a Korean textbook.) However, I have this astounding ability to switch to the next language if I tell myself to stick with one. Not too long ago I told myself, “Okay, we’re going to go full force with Korean and then come back to Japanese.” But what did I do? I followed a couple of Japanese BABYz (B.A.P fans) on twitter and started talking to them. ._. So then I said, “Crud. Okay, full force with Japanese,” BUT I picked up my Korean Grammar in Use book.

Sometimes I want to kick myself in the butt and I do but I don’t try to do it anymore because I pulled a muscle in my front thigh.

I amuse myself with the nonsense I do, haha.


Ooooooo, speaking of KGIU, I owe you all about 100 book and website reviews, don’t I?





-1 hour later-

I changed up the theme and even made my own little logo. I literally threw it together in GIMP in about 5 minutes because I wanted to look cool and have a logo.


I Did It Again

I really hate coming back and making a post after not updating in a long time. I don’t hate the updating part. I hate that I took so long to post something. >.< One of my resolutions for this year was to post regularly (every day I think omg) and I still have the rest of the year to work on it. I got this. キラ――( ☆ω☆)――ン

I've been studying. I just haven't been blogging lol. I've been commenting on fellow learners' blogs and getting inspired by them, trying out different study methods, making attempts to study (even if it's just for 20 minutes that day), and tweeting in Japanese and Korean.

I've noticed that I have a weird habit of studying one language 90% of the time and other 10% and then switching the "favoritism" every 3-4 weeks. It kinda works and kinda doesn't so I'm implementing a new plan.

I'm not going to worry about if I study one more than the next or if there is a gap in levels. I'll study whatever I'm in the mood for. This goes material-wise too. If I'm feeling up for a long study session then I'll go for it, but if I don't and I haven't studied that day or in a while, I'll do something that takes 20 minutes just so I don't have large gaps in between study sessions. I think I think too much sometimes. (Wow… Think I think too much. Think-ception.)

This is another one of my "I'm good and alive and survived the apocalypse" posts. XD

I'm starting to second guess my decision on taking the N3 this year. I could probably do the N4, but the whole point of aiming for N3 was because N4 was too easy. I'm still going to work towards it and wait for registration to roll around. (The thought of aiming even higher and going for the N2 in 2015 has crossed my mind a couple of times. LOL NOPE.)