Bungakushoujo’s Korean Immersion Log! ✨

Hi all! I thought I would start a study log to track and document my Korean progress since there don’t seem to be too many of these from Korean learners in general. Join me as I try to reach TOPIK 6급!

About me as a learner:

I’ve been learning Korean since January, 2022 and am currently around the TOPIK 5 level. If you read that and are thinking to yourself, “Wait, that seems like awfully fast progress!”, I would say that there have been two secrets to my success thus far:

  1. I have studied at least one hour if not more everyday since I started. Consistency makes all the difference! (Before anyone asks :joy: yes, I work full time and have a life - language learning is just my primary hobby and fun way to relax so I make study time a priority).

  2. I have also studied Japanese for over a decade. The transfer between Japanese and Korean grammar and vocabulary cannot be overstated and has been a huge boost, allowing me to understand concepts and memorize vocabulary faster.

My study methods:

I center my study routine around learning grammar concepts and vocabulary from textbooks + immersion and anki to help reinforce what I learn. I use a lot of Japanese textbooks and resources in general but also some in English or Korean.

I am currently focused on vocabulary acquisition, listening, shadowing, and writing. Speaking is not a priority for me at the moment.

Previous Goals
  • Take the TOPIK in October (Cancelled)
  • :ballot_box_with_check: Finish the vocabulary textbook できる韓国語韓国語能力試験 必須単語集 (DONE 2400/2400)
  • :ballot_box_with_check:Get to 300 hours of listening (DONE 302/300)
  • :ballot_box_with_check:Read 30 newspaper articles (DONE 30/30)
  • Finish the textbook TOPIK 합격 레시피 (23/26 sections done)
  • Write 30 practice essays for the TOPIK (Cancelled)

Current Goals

  • Read 5 novels before the end of the year
  • Watch 2 dramas before the end of the year

Let’s see how much I can manage to learn before the end of the year! 화이팅!

5 Likes

Welcome to the forums @bungakushoujo ! I’m super happy you’re enjoying the Korean side :slight_smile:

While you try to explain it away, that still IS fast progress! As someone who had studied some Japanese as well and started in December 2021, i’m still probably around TOPIK 3/4. I just haven’t been as consistent as you, as you say. Super impressive! 부러워요… :face_holding_back_tears:

Do you have any goals around # of books / TV shows?

2 Likes

Wow, your progress is so impressive! :star_struck:

2 Likes

Thank you! :face_holding_back_tears: You’ve set up this awesome site in that time, though! I’m really glad to have a place to look for and track Korean media since it can be hard finding recommendations! 너무 감사해요! :pray:t2:

My goals in the short to mid-term are reaching 15 full length novels read (about halfway there already :smiling_face:) and 10 dramas watched only with Korean subtitles because I really need the listening practice! How about yourself?

2 Likes

Study activities from Aug 16:

  • Reviewed anki cards and paper vocab flashcards
  • Listened to a podcast episode from 라디오 북클럽 김겨울입니다 while cleaning
  • Watched 1.5 episodes of 신성한, 이혼 on Netflix with Korean subs, looking up unknown words here and there

Total(s):
~2.5 hours listening

Comprehension, challenges, misc notes:
My comprehension for the podcast hovered at around 50% because the episode I listened to was discussing a book about astronomy and there was a lot of vocab I didn’t know. :melting_face:

Discovery of the day:
면이 붇는다 - for expressing when noodles suck up soup and get soggy :ramen:
붇다 means to swell up or increase

4 Likes

Let’s say I’ll try to get to 100 episodes watched by the end of the year… I’m at 60 now. That’s little over 2 a week. Could be more aggressive, but that’ll be hard enough as is! These kdrama episodes are long.

2 Likes

I totally feel that! Kdrama episodes are super long and I often struggle to watch more than a few a week too! I can read for hours but somehow when it comes to watching things my attention span is a lot shorter. :upside_down_face: It sounds like you are well on track to completing your goal by the end of the year, though.

I see you’re watching 마당이 있는 집? How is that? I’m thinking of trying to read the original book after I finish my current book so I’m curious about the drama.

2 Likes

I’m only part way through the 4th episode, but it’s great so far! Dark, eerie mystery with really great production quality… right up my alley. You feel like you’re going a little insane right along with the main characters :melting_face:. Could end up my favorite Kdrama of the year at this rate!

@bibliothecary mentioned they were also planning to read the book too I think, but with the great music, long silences and 김태희’s big awkward eyes staring suspiciously at her 여보, I think the tv format is working well for the story.

EDIT: I should note… there is some abuse… but not overly so, like a lot of recent dramas. Those scenes are still a hard watch, but if you can’t handle any of it, this may not be for you then.

1 Like

I was planning to read the book first, but given how much you’re enjoying the show… I’m torn! :laughing:

1 Like

Same here, I’m tempted too! :laughing: Watching the drama first would also make reading the story easier, too…

Sounds like a good option for a book club book if there was enough interest though!

3 Likes

Study activities from Aug 17:

Total(s):
~.5 hours shadowing
~.5 hours listening
1 news article

Comprehension, challenges, misc notes:
Dictation is always challenging because I’m still not able to hear new words I haven’t encountered before very well. Today 이륙 후 (after takeoff) came up in dictation and I couldn’t grasp what was being said even though I understood it when I read it. It sounded almost like the numbers 169 to me, but 9 would be 구 and not 쿠 like it was here, so it was a good reminder and reinforcement of minimal pairs.

Discovery of the day:
In addition to the word 비행기 there is also 항공기! Similar to airplane vs aircraft :airplane:

3 Likes

Oh nice another 항공!

I’d also like to make a formal complaint… naming airport ‘공항’, but all these other aviation things 항공 (항공사, 항공권… etc) is some kind of horrible joke on language learners. I only knew 공항 when I arrived in Korea and it took me weeks to realize why I kept mixing it up with 항공. It also doesn’t help that my mnemonic for 공항 was ‘king kong hanging out out at the airport’… which works either way :sweat_smile:

1 Like

You could also just remember it as 空港 (same as in Japanese). Sadly the right part is pronounced quite differently than in Japanese, but is closer to the Chinese one (as far as I know).

Meanwhile, aviation things are 航空 (also same as in Japanese). Once again, the pronunciation of 航 is close to the Chinese one, not the Japanese one… but it really helps anyway!

Generally speaking, I only started learning Korean a week ago, but I agree with @bungakushoujo that knowing Japanese has been a huge help so far.
I feel like, considering that the website covers both Japanese and Korean, there’s a huge opportunity here somewhere.

3 Likes

Interesting! I guess I didn’t notice that at the time. Thankfully I have now figured it out :slight_smile:

:eyes: … in the pursuit to help Natively, right? You’re truly an outstanding contributor :star2:

Maybe. There’s definitely similarities. However, even as a lowish intermediate in Japanese when I started Korean, I didn’t get that much benefit from vocab… idk. Mostly from sentence structure and similar grammar constructs. But the further I got with Korean, the less benefit I got. If your Japanese vocabulary is very large like yours, I’m sure you’ll get continual benefits.

For someone like you though, I think if you really want to leverage your Japanese, you simply look at Japanese language learning materials for Korean :slight_smile:. I’d guess it’d be a small market for advanced polyglot users, but it’s definitely an area to think about.

3 Likes

I mean… it’s literally the Korean section of the website that made me start, so, I guess? It’s the first time I am learning a language for no other purpose than learning.

That’s mostly what I am doing so far, using mostly free online resources. But I’d love to have recs about beginner level textbooks from @bungakushoujo… (also as a way to not further derail this thread :sweat_drops:)

Well, I could also imagine someone learning both languages at the same time. 空港 is pronounced differently, but it’s the same word in both languages. 도서관 uses the “old” version of 図 and 館, but close enough…
Now, I don’t know if that would end up helping people or confusing them even more :joy:

Maybe you could have a pop up the first time someone registers a Japanese book level 41+ telling them “hey have you considered learning Korean as well :eyes:” (joking)

4 Likes

That’s awesome and makes me happy!! Korean is really fun, i’m sure you’ll enjoy. Welcome :slight_smile:

The only rec i’d give is for Korean Grammar in Use (series) | L0-27, but that’s not for Japanese learners. In any case though, yes… I think we’ve derailed this thread enough. Lets let @bungakushoujo get back to their logging :joy:

3 Likes

Korean has a lot of translated Japanese books available. I’m planning on reading 책벌레의 하극상 제1부 - 병사의 딸 1 | L28 alongside the Japanese version for the LN book club.

This just reminded me that How To Sound Like A Native Korean Speaker | L0 is an excellent resource if anyone’s looking for books on pronunciation - lots of minimal pairs exercises with audio. I’ve got a handful of books on the subject, both in English and Korean, and this is definitely the most accessible.

3 Likes

Haha no worries both @brandon and @Naphthalene! I’m always (overly) enthusiastic when it comes to talking about learning Korean from Japanese and resources. Here are some of my thoughts and resource suggestions:

Knowing Japanese helps in a big way with learning grammar and vocabulary. I think the grammar similarities are more clear so I am going to skip over that. The boost you get for vocabulary only really comes in big amounts when you reach the advanced levels of both languages, as sino-derived words (漢語/한자어) are used more in the formal and academic register. However, if you know how to leverage your knowledge of 한자 from Japanese you can already use it to help you remember vocabulary in the lower levels as well. :blush:

For example:
화장실 → 化粧室、실 = しつ
살인 → 殺人、살 = さつ
You can surmise how つ changes to become ㄹ.

Or there can be homophones just like in Japanese:
등장 → 登場、등 = とう
갈등 → 葛藤、등 = とう

If 場 = 장, 現場 = 현장. Then, if 現 = 현, 現実 = 현실 and now we are back at the 실 from the first example but we’ve also learned that じつ still becomes 실, even though it is a voiced consonant.

Like this, you can keep out for sound changes and learn the Korean “音読み” for a lot of Japanese words you already know that are actually Sino-derived, even from less advanced levels already when you get nouns like 화장실, 전기, 지하철 - these all match their Japanese equivalent, just with sound changes. Learning to connect the two will help you memorize vocabulary in both languages more easily as you get a deeper connection and association with the word in your mind. :blush:

Some further thoughts and specific Japanese resource recommendations for anyone out there that’s interested in Korean that I shall hide under a click-down as this post is already long enough (no links for now, will perhaps comeback later to edit and add them):

Pitch accent & intonation

I recommend the textbook 韓国語の発音と抑揚トレーニング! It explains Korean intonation and pitch and also compares and contrasts it with Japanese examples so you can learn about both at the same time.

Vocabulary

I recommend the キクタン韓国語シリーズ! I have used every single one of them from the first beginner to advanced (working through this now) as nearly my only dedicated vocabulary resource. The audio is available on the “booco” app which has many controls that make shadowing and repetitive listening very easy. The format worked really well for me and how I like to learn so someone else’s mileage may vary but I highly recommend them.

Grammar

I highly recommend the 本気で学ぶ韓国語シリーズ! There are three books for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. I’ve used intermediate and am working through advanced now and they are very good as resources for self studying, as they cover reading, listening, writing and theoretically speaking. The intermediate level book is 神 level and has fantastic grammar explanations that deepened my understanding not only of the Korean but unexpectedly also the equivalent Japanese grammar point in a way that no textbook for Japanese ever did for me.

General textbooks

I highly recommend any textbook written by 前田真彦! They are some of the most thoughtfully designed textbooks I’ve ever encountered while learning any language, and take a logical approach to targeting often overlooked or problem areas that need to be overcome to get out of the intermediate zone. They are also not your standard textbook with grammar explanations and exercises, but contain lots of creative, culturally educational, and practical topics so they’re very fun to work through.

4 Likes

I’ve been really curious about this book! I’m going to have to try it out after I finish my current dictation and shadowing one. :blush: Thanks!

3 Likes

Thank you! I’m glad to have found a place to talk about something that is

That’s a pretty good idea! After one week (at a slow pace, not 1h+ per day), I can read 책, 하 (from 이하(以下)) and 상 (from 以上)… and 극 does sound like 剋 but I have to admit I used the context here. Still, I’m super happy I could guess which book it was with just that :joy:
(Ah, also, I haven’t quite remembered the particles yet, but 의 is の? I think?)

Yes! I’ve been going through 【一覧】韓国語の漢字語の覚え方|具体例やアプリも交えて徹底解説 so far, but I’m having some troubles keeping it all in mind, so I’m not quite making the connections yet, but it sure helps (for instance between 영어 and 영화, also 일 (日) in general, like in ~요일 i love that it’s literally 曜日)

That being said, pronunciation is a topic on which I don’t trust Japanese. I looked quickly at stuff in French, since some sounds feel closer… that being said, French doesn’t have pitch accents, so I may reconsider :thinking:

Thank you for the recommendations! That’s a lot! I’m probably going to start with the beginner book in the 本気で学ぶ韓国語シリーズ (I don’t think I would really call myself 本気, but why not shoot for the moon)

4 Likes