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《그렇습니까? 기린입니다》박민규
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~Finished / 読了 / 已读
"Factory Girls" Lesley Chang
"Your Republic is Calling You" Kim Young-ha
"River Town" Peter Hessler
"Oracle Bones" Peter Hessler
"Country Driving" Peter Hessler
「火の鳥9」 手塚治虫
"Inside the Kingdom" Robert Lacey
"A Room of One's Own" Virginia Woolf
《倾城之恋 》张爱玲
「1973年のピンボール」 村上春樹
"One Foot In Eden" Ron Rash

[Korean] Language learning check-in

My Korean Language Journey to date

I’ve been learning Korean since fall 2013. At that time, I had just finished a one-year study program at Fudan University, in Chinese literature. I was fluent in Chinese, having learned it since 2010, and Japanese (since 2007, with a year at Kyushu University 2009-2010). I decided to learn Spanish and Korean. I started with Talk to Me in Korean Anki sentence decks and reviewed a lot of sentences. I didn’t really catch on to either Spanish or Korean; I pledged to do the Add One Challenge (back when it was free) for Korean, and then for Spanish, but I couldn’t stick to my planned routine, and I didn’t complete either one. In summer 2014 I got a job that could have actually used some strong Korean ability, but I didn’t have it. Thus, I’ve been learning Korean consistently but slowly over the last three years, and not without progress–I can read decently with a dictionary–but I feel I haven’t really worked out a method that I feel is efficient enough. Lately, I’ve been taking 1:1 in-person lessons with a (great) teacher, and exploring how I can fast-forward this process.

The “Fluent Forever” Method

I’ve been a fan of Gabriel Wyner for a while; among other things, he introduced me to using core Word Lists with Google Images Basic Version on his blog. His content has only gotten better over time, and I’m going to try every approach in his 2014 book Fluent Forever. I’ll try to cover this as I go along.


  1. gbevers says:

    Hi, Kieran. My name is Gerry Bevers and I manage the “Korean Language Notes” blog. Three years ago we exchanged comments when you pledged to learn Korean in three months. I expressed doubt that it would be possible, based on how hard it was for me to learn the language, but you had learned Japanese and Chinese very quickly, so I was somewhat curious to see if you could possibly do the same with Korean, even though I still felt it would be almost impossible. Today, I happened to see your post in the results of a search I was doing and decided to comment.

    I am curious to know how much more difficult it has been for you to learn Korean relative to Chinese and Japanese. Did you find learning Korean to be much more difficult than you expected? What do you think is the most difficult thing to learn about Korean?

    Since communicating with you, I have had a chance to look through the textbook series published by the University of Hawaii entitled “Integrated Korean,” which was a project of the Korean Language Education and Research Center (KLEAR). I was impressed with the progressive series, especially the beginning texts. Not only are there English translations for all the reading material in the series, there are also comprehensive grammar indices and Korean-English/English-Korea glossaries in the backs of all the books in the series, helping to make them self-study friendly. You might want to check them out.

    For the past few years I have been trying to casually teach myself Classical Chinese, which I now find more interesting than just studying Korean, itself. I have not bothered to learn the Chinese pronunciations of the characters, but simply use the Korean pronunciations. I am currently creating a textbook that teaches Korean-language learners to read Classical Chinese sentences. That essentially means I am teaching the Korean pronunciation of the characters and explaining Classical Chinese grammar in terms of both the English and Korean grammars. Most of the time it is easier to understand Chinese sentences with English translations, but there are times when adding a Korean translation makes it even easier.

    Anyway, I wish you continued success in your language studies.

Your thoughts?

Kieran Maynard

Kieran Maynard

Writer, translator, researcher, traveler specializing in Japanese and Chinese literature.

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