Month: February 2012

お久しぶりの日本語!

My interest in Japanese has continued to wax and wane for about, oh, seven years now?  But I never seriously tried learning it until I took two semesters of introductory Japanese in college last year.  I didn’t hate it, but considering I was at the peak of my Korean studies and in the throes of graduate school applications, I just could not immerse myself in Japanese as easily as I could Korean. But, at very very long last, I think I may have found the right stimulus. credit:  rkgsflumpool Flumpool.  Flumpool.  Flumpool. Where have you been all my life?! I feel silly because I’d known of Flumpool for ages but never bothered to listen to them because I used to kind of have this mental block against Japanese music (not sure why; it’s a beautiful language but maybe I’ve just been listening to the wrong things till now).  It’s very rare for me to stumble upon a band I like so much that I can pretty much enjoy every single one of their songs – and …

Tips on reading in a foreign language

So this post is a sort of addendum to the post I made a while back about my experiences reading 해를 품은 달.  Unfortunately, for the time being, my Korean “studying” has dwindled down to reading a page or two every night out of the couple Korean books I own.  I haven’t touched a grammar book in six months or so (this I do not advise) and, yet, I still feel myself improving.  Slowly, yes, but there’s improvement nonetheless and that’s much better than stagnation. I think once in a while, it’s probably a good idea to take a break from grammar books and their “artificial” passages/dialogues and switch to primary reading material.  News articles, short stories, novels, nonfiction books, magazine articles etc. can really broaden your knowledge in general, not to mention your knowledge of the language you are learning. There are a couple things worth keeping in mind if you want to maximize your learning through reading primary material (novels, in particular) without getting bogged down and discouraged. Choose something above your reading level.  I …

Happy 1st Birthday

…to my blog! I started blogging about my Korean studies on February 20, 2011.  I’m not sure what’s more surprising – the fact that Korean is now, in all veracity, an irrevocably integral part of my daily life and existence (dramatic, but true) or the fact that I’ve somehow managed to harp on about how much I love it for an entire year.  Heh. More than anything, I’ve come to realize how much I treasure being able to share my thoughts, discoveries, worries, and musings about language learning to a wonderful community of fellow language learners.  Whether you are a silent reader or a fellow blogger (or both), I’m glad you guys are here with me!  *Group hug*

V + 자꾸나

Hwon and Woon are lost in the forest.  Night is upon them and a misty rain begins to fall. 제운은 아랑곳없이 눈을 감은 채 고개를 숙이고 주위의 움직임을 읽었다.  먼 곳을 보던 훤이 산자락에 있는 희미한 불빛을 발견하고 반갑게 말했다. “아!  잠시 저기서 비를 피하자꾸나.” -정을궐, 해를 품은 달 First off, here’s a structure most of you are probably very familiar with:  “V + 자” – the casual way to propose something you want to do with someone else. 예) 먹자! = Let’s eat! 예) 가자! = Let’s go! -자꾸나 is equivalent to -자.  It can mean “Let’s…” or “How about… [we do something]?” but it tends to sound more intimate and is often used by an older person when addressing a younger person.  (In this case, Woon is older but Hwon is the king.) 예) 한잔 하자(꾸나) = Let’s have a drink. 예)  잠시 저기서 비를 피하자(꾸나). = Let us seek shelter from the rain for a moment over there.

V + 아/어/여 다오

Since I really love sageuks and “old” Korean, I think it would be fun to occasionally post some grammar points and vocabulary from the dramas and novels I’m currently reading.  I’m not sure how accurate some of these posts might be, so feel free to correct me if I get something wrong!  Most of this is just a summary of stuff I’ve read while browsing Korean language forums and such. I think I’ll just post a few of my favorite passages from 해를 품은 달 and 성균관 유생들의 나날 as examples of the grammar/vocabulary that I want to write about (nothing spoilery, I promise!)  Without further ado: “왕인 이 몸에 주술을 걸었다면 넌 능지처참*을 당할 것이다.  말해보아라. 주술을 건 것이냐?” 월이 놀란 눈으로 다시 훤을 돌아보았다.  그의 눈빛이 따뜻하게 웃고 있었다. “아니면 내 마음이 왜 이런 것이냐?  설명해 다오.  목소리를….., 들려 다오.”  *능지처참:  death by dismemberment  – from 해를 품은 달 I cheated a little bit in that 다오 is an example of 하오체 which isn’t exclusively heard in sageuks (it can be heard in contemporary Korean and …

해를 품은 달 and reading in Korean

Jung Eun-gwol, the author of 해를 품은 달 and 성균관 유생들의 나날, sure knows how to craft a story that pierces one’s heart.  I don’t think I ever fully recovered from Sungkyunkwan Scandal, which is why I think I was so fervently anticipating The Moon That Embraces the Sun ages before they even started casting.  I was dying to get my hands on the book, too, which Jeannie so kindly sent for me from Korea! The drama deviates quite a bit from the novel, but both of them have their own charm so I will forgive this otherwise heinous crime this one time.  Heh.  The drama also had an incredible cast of child actors for the first six episodes; and currently, Kim Soohyun is stealing the screen, blazing as the young, bitter king whose heart longs for the girl he loved as a boy. The drama is garnering shockingly high ratings week after week; whether that’s to be attributed to the pure genius that was Tree With Deep Roots or the Joseon crack that was The Princess’s …