ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 25

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on December 4, 2016 by shenanitim

There was no class last night, officially no class. This is acceptable though, as none was expected. We had our class Christmas/holiday party, so it was more about celebrating and not so much about studying. Which is fine, because earlier this week I found the newest latest love of my life: my Basic (Korean) Grammar Book.

Now I’ve owned this book for awhile now, and besides occasionally cracking it open, never really dove into it. I figured I would pay more attention to it later, after I finished my current Korean book. What a fool I’ve been.

On the off-chance that I had looked into it, I mainly stuck to grammatical concepts I already knew. Using the book (and its quizzes/questions) to practice using the past tense, would/could, etc. Things I knew but might not be using enough, or just things I felt I needed more (official) practice with.

So while looking up Would/Could/Will (V겠어요/V겠습니다) I happened to look at the previous chapter: Going to. New concept = more fun! So “going to V” in Korean is: A/V(으)ㄹ 거예요. Short and super easy to use (no sliding letters like the related V겠어요/V겠습니다). So that was my big win this week.

This and the realization (while listening to Hyuna’s fantastic A’wesome EP that I can pick out maybe 4-5% of the Korean words she’s singing. Which, while it doesn’t seem like much when you write it out numerically, means a lot more in action. It’s a start, an understanding, a (baby (아기)) step in the right direction.


On the Anki front, nothing really new to report. My accuracy scores are still trending downward, which might correspond to my spending less time studying said words. I used to crack my vocab. book while waiting for the traffic lights on my morning bike ride, but as I’m holed up in recovery (bronchitis), I should be studying more. I could be studying more. But I’m not.

My old routine: class/homework/study/check-up isn’t available as a structure anymore, so I’m currently looking for a new routine that’ll handle that criteria.

모악산에 돌아가요

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on December 2, 2016 by shenanitim

Translation: Back to Moak-san.

Awhile ago my Korean class took a field trip to Moak Mountain. I’ve been there before, numerous times, but this trip was different because we went to a different peak on the range. Apparently it’s a popular spot for Koreans to visit because it’s far enough from the city to allow them to breathe clean air.

The class (field trip?) concluded with dinner (as usual), this one made special by the fact that we went back to our (the foreigners at least) favorite 식당 (Korean restaurant). Where I had acorn jelly! (Looked and ate like tofu. Forgot to take a picture, sorry.)


이것은 제가 이번주에 배운것 입니다

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on December 1, 2016 by shenanitim

Translation: What I learned this week.

The title above practically deserves its own blog post. Instead it’ll be placed here as the opening. My first attempt at the title looked a little something like this: “무엇을 금주 저는 배우었어요.”

Completely off the mark, as there was no subject, and thus the “what” (무엇을) wasn’t referring to anything.


Have I mentioned how much easier learning a language is when you’re friends with teachers in said language?

Now onto the show, what I actually learned (besides “이번구” which is “this week”).


Not the greatest showing (there’s no Perfects! there), but the last correction answers a sentence construction question I’ve been struggling with for quite awhile.

Linking verbs together in Korean is easy, you drop the -다 and add -고 in its place. But that links the verbs, like saying I bought an apple and ate it. They’re directly related here. What to do in longer sentences, ones bisected with a comma even, remained a mystery. Do you conjugate both verbs normally? Or is there some other way yet unknown to me. After trying to work around it for weeks, finally I dove right in.

I used “우리 동의하고, 그 너무 추워요.” Which would (word-for-word) translate as “We agree, and it is too cold.” The point gets across, but you sound like a broken robot. It turns out the comma there acts as a minor period, and you just construct two smaller sentences. “우리는 동의해요, 너무 추워요,” “We agree, it’s too cold.”

This might seem minor to an outsider looking in, but it explains a lot when dealing with the language. One issue I had was, would a sentence use “-요” twice? “-요” is a polite ending, so would you attack it the last verb, the first, or both? This is the kind of low key stuff that they don’t mention in books but can really puzzle you.

ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 24

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , , on November 28, 2016 by shenanitim

Ouch. Perhaps the roughest week yet. A new teacher, one which speaks nearly zero English. Making for a very tough class. Not to mention a very long class.

First things first, the teacher is super nice. So nice, in fact, that I occasionally started feeling bad for him about halfway through the night. He could clearly see that I was either a.) frustrated, b.) pissed, or c.) both, and I, being a teacher, know exactly how that feels. When you’re stuck in a room with one person, who’s just not getting anything you’re saying, and you’re at your wit’s end trying to make contact. Get some kind of involvement.

And that’s largely what it was about: involvement. I would routinely check out; just let his words wash over me as I stared blankly ahead wondering what time it was, and how much longer this would go on before the night’s dinner plans were announced.

Granted, part of the reason behind this was my inability to comprehend 90% of what he was saying, but understanding that slim 10% still gave me hope. I can remember picking out two words: 기분 (mood) and 나쁘다 (to be bad). So he was clearly asking me if I was in a bad mood. And I clearly was…

A big part of my attitude came, not from the teacher change (that’s happened enough recently to be nothing new), but from his ignoring my book. And/or my signals about said book. I follow a textbook. Last week we had almost completed a chapter. So I was looking forward to being quizzed on the chapter’s vocabulary (which I had been studying all week), fluency using said vocabulary (usually done via reading the chapter’s dialogue), and finally using the everything together to construct my own sentences (shades of my Lang-8 work here).

None of which was done. It took ~20 minutes to get him to look at the chapter, and from then on out he spent the time reading the chapter to himself, and then telling me about it in Korean. The chapter is on getting a taxi ride. How to get to where you want to, and how to say it. Not an unreasonable chapter considering how prevalent cabs are in Korea.

The first thing I was being taught, after my teacher determined that I could greet the driver, wasn’t telling him where to go, but rather asking him if he spoke English. We must’ve spent five minutes going back and forth over this. Me saying I didn’t want the driver to use English, while he reassured me that most Koreans (and especially Korean tazi drivers) know enough English to understand me. Finally I broke out my Lang-8 notebook and wrote specifically (or as specifically as I can write) “I don’t want him to speak Korean” (저는 기사를 한국어 안 말해요).

According to Naver Translate I was nowhere near close to being correct, but he got the gist. I think. Or maybe he didn’t, as I immediately followed it up with “저는 기사가 한국어 말해요.” Nope, that’s wrong too. Perhaps “저는 기사가 한국어 말하고 원해요” (I want the driver to speak Korean” or my closest equivalent (I want speak Korean and the driver). But that he understood. And we started conversing more and more before the bottom fell out (again), and I went back into my shell.

And this essentially sums up the night: me being taught things I didn’t want to learn. Followed by me refusing to learn what was being taught because I saw no point in it. As I said earlier, it was rough for both of us, as I’ve felt what he was feeling with my non-participating ass.

Which is really the one takeaway: I’ve now taken on, and experienced, the role of frustrated, bewildered student. Hopefully I’ll be able to channel this the next time no one my students becomes unresponsive.


ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 23

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on November 20, 2016 by shenanitim

Another week, another chapter. And the same teacher for two weeks in a row! It’s practically a new thing for me now. Lots of teaching, learning, mispronounciations. You know, normal classtime. Leaving me with a lot to digest this week.

I learned a new tense this week! Another one that I’ll probably never use, but I guess I should get comfortable with it in case I hear it someday. (I.e. learn it, hear it, sit puzzled for awhile as I try to remember how I know it/what it means, (possibly) remember, move on with my day.)

It’s V내요, and it’s used (as per the book) when the speaker is surprised by something. When you’re really impressed or shocked. The sound of awe made phonetic. Granted, that definition makes it sound super limited in scope and use.

Let’s be honest, no one is going to be shocked by my conversational Korean. My handwriting? Sure, been there, and have been doing that. But conversationally no one is going to be surprised by anything I say. Surprised in a good way at least…

But one advantage of one-on-one Korean teaching is learning more about the lesson. It seems that ~내요 isn’t limited to just surprising revelations. It can also be used to stress that you know something’s true. 너가 현명하네요 (You ARE smart)!

I’ll definitely be using this on Lang-8 in the weeks to come. Possibly forever!

I also learned that I can parse meaning out of reading Korean a lot better than I can hearing it in normal, conversational-speed Korean. Sometimes I think these new teachers forget that I’m still a beginner, so speaking normal speed is way too fast.


Data-wise, at the end of last week I started putting a lot of new words into Anki. A condition that should remain active throughout this week, as I have a new words from the chapter, from my teacher himself, and also lifted from work.

The kids are gearing up for their English proficiency tests, and so have been getting bigger vocabulary homework everyday, instead of just two or three times a week. This is giving me more options on what I can choose to learn, as I’m just picking and choosing what words I can see myself using. Not a foolproof tactic, but one I’ll be using for the remainder of the week.

In less fantastic news, my glorious Mature card count took a dive last week. My accuracy has been hovering around ~90% for the past two weeks, so it was only a matter of time before my lovely 30 Mature card day was relegated to a 22 Mature card day. While it stinks to lose them, it also shows the system is working. I either know them, or remember them correctly, or I don’t. At which point we come back to day one with relearning. When learning a language, the journey is just as important as the (final) destination.


저는 문장 간단한 말 수 있어요

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on November 18, 2016 by shenanitim

Translation: I can say simple sentences.

So I’ve taken to writing more in between my classes. It’s a win-win situation, as I’ve found I need to keep the sentences I tell the students simple as they’re a.) children, and b.) learning English. (Hell, the “keep it simple” rule of Occum’s thumb works just as well with kids who use English as a 1st language.) So I think of simple (간단하다) sentences, and then try to write them down in Korean before the next class comes marching in.

Wednesday (목요일) brought the perfect storm, as class started off with me being questioned by my students in the most rudimentary way.

S1: “Teacher, you eat food?”

Me: “Eat food? Yes, I eat food!”

S1: “Gimbab?”

Me: “Hurricane, Korean!”

(The kids aren’t allowed to use Korean in class. Now this is probably an error on my part, as Korean food names are generally okay, as there’s no English equivalent. But for some reason I was being an ass that day. But it lead to the next round of exchange which totally absolves me.)

S1 [looking towards classmates in shock and disbelief]: “Korean? Teacher eats Korean food?”


As the evidence above shows, I didn’t do that bad translating this conversation. Granted, it was extremely simple, but that also corresponds to my level of Korean. I still have plenty of work to do, but looking at this, and thinking back to where I was three months ago, let alone two years ago, gives me hope for the future.

Not to toot my own horn (again), but even this post shows signs of improvement. The original title was “저는 문장 간단한 말해요” (I Say Simple Sentences). But that statement was too primitive even for my basic sensibilities. Then I remembered that I do technically know how to conjugate verbs to say “I can… V.” Here “to speak” (말하다) + “can do” (~을 수 있다.

Granted, it did take me a moment to remember the conjugation. I knew _수 있다, but had trouble remembering the ~을 onset. Certainly not seamless, but the more I use said conjugation the easier it’ll become to use.

Things I Find…

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hobo-licious, Oldies But Baddies with tags , , on November 15, 2016 by shenanitim

When traveling around the city:


수업 시간에 다른 날

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , , on November 14, 2016 by shenanitim

Translation: Another day in class.


ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 22

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on November 13, 2016 by shenanitim

Another week, another new teacher. It actually worked out well this time though, as we just clicked. We’re on the same wavelength. He introduced himself, asked my name, looked at my book and then asked, “Okay, what unit are you on?”


Perfect. Saw that I’m working on my own thing, and asked where he fit in. He also bemoaned how each student in this club (당아리) is using a different book (책) and gets a different teacher more often than not. Something something about like minds. He also brought a lot less personal talk, which is something I enjoy. I come to learn, we can bound and make small talk (수다덜다) when we’re at dinner. I get ~60 minutes a week with a native Korean; I don’t wish to squander any of that time.


In Anki-Land not much has changed. My Mature card accuracy has fallen from its heyday around 95% to 89%. Though this didn’t just happen this week (it’s been a steady fall), this is the first time I’ve noticed it. I’d say it’s pretty accurate though. And when you look at the pie graph you see that nearly 3/4 of my deck is now Mature cards, the drop in accuracy should come as no surprise.

Legit too, as I pull a genuine blank when some of these words come up. Absolutely no clue.


Like this card. Last time I had to bring out 흥미진진한 (excited) was back when I had been given an overly large page of vocabulary words to learn (Round 2!). It’s funny, even way back then (Round 2!!) I was angry (성난) at myself for not following through on learning new vocabulary enough. Some things never change.

Though I have been using Lang-8 a lot more consistantly now. Which is helpful in remembering many of these words, as there’s nothing more humiliating than having to look a word you want to use only to find out it’s a word you should already know. And not “should already know” in a “all Koreans use it” type of sense. “Should already know” because you literally already knew it at one point.

Though with the rate I talk about movies (영봐) on Lang-8, it’ll only be a matter of time before I find uses for 흥미진진한. All things come around in the end.

단단한 일하고 있다

Posted in Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on November 8, 2016 by shenanitim

Translation: Working hard.

Yesterday’s foray into Lang-8 land gave me a boost that I have to share here. So that next time I get bummed out, I can literally see the progress I’m making.

So I did my normal routine of writing a few sentences in Korean and then checking them on Lang-8. Nothing new there. What was different though, was how positive the responses I received were.

See? Right there at the bottom: 한글을 정말 잘쓰시네요. ^^. According to Naver Translate, that means: Hangul You’re a really good. Which I assume is what Great Job! translates to when a Korean who’s not too comfortable writing in English tries to create a sentence in English. Which, of course, is then run through an online translator.

But the intent shines through! And that’s all I need. A compliment is a compliment, no matter how broken the English. Especially when the messages I was getting before sounded like this: