How I started learning Korean in 2010

by Ceylan J. Morgan
1 comment

How I discovered the Korean language for myself

Before embarking on my journey to learn Korean, I grappled with doubts and uncertainties. There were not many Korean learners at that time. So I wasn’t sure, thoughts like, “Can I really do this? Is it too difficult? I know nothing about its grammar,” repeatedly clouded my mind whenever I heard the beautiful language spoken. I longed to speak and comprehend it.

Just like many other Korean learners, I became fully exposed to the language through media and Kdramas. After everything I’ve shared until now, I can reassure you that it wasn’t the Korean actors I fell in love with (✿◡‿◡).

One day, while watching a currently airing Kdrama, I stumbled upon an episode without subtitles and to my surprise, I found myself understanding some phrases and short conversations.

My previous doubts about learning Korean and achieving fluency began to fade away. I became curious and wondered: if I could pick up this much just by listening, how much more could I learn if I embarked on an intentional learning journey? This curiosity became the driving force that made me take the leap into learning Korean.

How I actually started to learn Korean

All this had happened before July 2010. I decided to remember the month I started learning, in order to be able to mention it in situations like this today.

I distinctly recall the moment when I wrote my first Hangeul letters into my study book, while flying in an airplane to Turkey.

During my holidays in Turkey, I made a commitment to study Korean whenever I could even when I didn’t feel like it. I vividly remember placing my study book in front of me while getting ready, reading the vocabularies out loud, and diligently attempting to memorize them. Although it was annoying sometimes, as I was forcing myself to study, the effort proved worthwhile as the words gradually started to stick in my mind, outweighing any initial frustration and instead, filling me with a sense of positivity.

What kept me consistently motivated to learn Korean

I constantly reminded myself that my present actions shape my future, I knew that if I truly wanted my goal to become reality, I had to take action today. If I missed one day of practice, then another, and perhaps more, I understood that these small omissions, when accumulated, could lead to weeks, months, and even years of lost progress. Holding onto this mindset and realizing the significance of consistency kept me going.

I don’t clearly remember this part, but I think about two, three years in I was practicing pretty diligently.

At the beginning, progress felt smoother, but as I reached a certain level, I encountered challenges that made it difficult to move forward. The learning curve slowed down, prompting me to shift my focus towards a difference way of learning. Maybe this was an excuse to drop my study books too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

That’s when I started focusing on learning Korean by speaking to people online, practicing writing, reading texts, and more. I had fun, but I must admit that my progress did slow down at that time, perhaps I really just wanted to drop the study books ( ̄y▽, ̄)╭ .

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1 comment

Rahi November 17, 2023 - 7:35 pm

Your journey resonates with me on so many levels! The transition from textbook learning to speaking with people online. I’m currently navigating that phase myself. Any specific online platforms or communities you found particularly helpful for practicing speaking?

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