Learning Korean in 60 days (for free)! Last week I talked about setting this as my “new year’s resolution” and now you may be wondering: is it actually doable? I say YES, and today I’ll talk about why I’m doing it and what I’m doing to make learning it easier.
Okay, so why 60 days? I could’ve picked a nicer number like 50 or 100 but I went with 60 because I’ve actually booked a trip to South Korea for March, and I want to use that as a deadline for my Korean learning. I actually got the idea after I got flight tickets, thinking the timing would be perfect since the new year is approaching. After all, I thought going on the trip would be a great way to culminate this whole challenge. Obviously, not everyone can do this (and to be honest, I was only able to do this because I came across cheap airfare) so don’t view this as a requirement!
Over a time period of 60 days (Starting last January 1, 2017) up until my trip on March 2, I’ll be learning Korean, enough to read, speak basic tourist phrases, and have a conversation about simple things with a Korean native. This is also while I’m taking care of other commitments. While I would love to learn Korean the whole day because it gives me an excuse to watch Korean dramas for 8 hours straight, I have other commitments I have to take care of. I’m sure you know what I mean: on top of classes, extracurriculars, and learning Japanese (yes, I know I’m crazy), I still plan to learn Korean.
This means automating some things and effectively prioritizing tasks so I can balance everything on my plate. It’s also good that I’ve set a realistic goal of being able to converse with the locals in simple sentences. This, compared to setting a goal of reaching native speaker fluency in just two months. This makes my goal less scary and makes it feel like something actually achievable.
Phase 1: Reading/Writing with a little pronouncing
Since I have classes and a final exam by the third week of January, I’ll prioritize that more by setting a slow pace for Korean while putting Japanese at the forefront. Putting the exact same amount of focus on both at the same time wouldn’t be very good. After all, I have an exam to pass. That’s why for the first 30 days it’s all about the Korean “alphabet” or writing system, with emphasis on pronunciation since I want natives to be able to understand what I’m saying. I also want to be able to write things properly in case I get lost. Even if they can speak English, I think it wouldn’t hurt if I can communicate with them in their native language, don’t you think?
Phase 2: Basic Grammar and Helpful Vocabulary
After 30 days or learning the writing system, whichever comes first, now comes the grammar. I don’t plan to know complicated grammar structures, just the basics for me to form simple ideas. Along with grammar is a focus on vocabulary, specifically for tourist related things. By the end of this period, I want to be able to ask the basic who, what, when, where, and how much things are. Especially important for me would be asking directions because I am completely useless as a navigator if I didn’t have my smartphone apps with me. Seriously, I’ve been here for more than 3 months and I still get lost. Since this period is more focused, I’m setting a shorter timespan of around 20 days for this.
Phase 3: Conversations, Pronunciations, and Slang
The last 10 days will be all about simple conversations. In this phase, the aim is to practice actually speaking the language in a conversation. Ideally, this is to be done with people who already know the language (hi Joanne, I’m looking at you) and then asking them for advice and tips on how to make better sentences, how to pronounce things properly, and of course, slang. Slang is always fun to learn and I want to use some them with locals when I go to Korea.
Learning Korean (or any other language) isn’t hard.
Learning Korean in 60 days isn’t actually hard when I think about it. The goal itself is doable in that amount of time. It’s not too big to scare me and not too small to bore me. I think the only reason why it looks difficult is because of the amount of consistency it requires. Can I really make myself study for two months straight without stopping? That’s the real challenge for me. Learning Korean is easy. Making myself study foreign characters and new grammar every day for the next two months? Hmm.
The same can be said for most things we want to be able to do in life, don’t you think? Goals are easy. Committing every single day to doing the work needed to reach those goals? That’s the hard part.
Click here for part 2 for my Korean learning resources dump Please wait as I write this post! \(˘◡˘)/
Love and Light,