Coming from a diverse cultural background, I realised that I had quite a few relatives of other nationalities and countries who had married into our family,having done so they didn’t have many people with whom they could communicate easily in their languages.I felt the need to want to be there for them and appreciate them and their culture and make them feel more at home with us. This is the reason why I chose to learn Korean amongst several other languages, as a way to appreciate,acknowledge and respect them and their cultures.Having said so, my family has tried their best to be more accepting and respectful of the members who were married into our family by incorporating their culture,food and celebrating festivals to make them feel comfortable.
Another reason for pursuing the language Korean was that during the pandemic the Asian community faced a lot of hatred and hostility,this brought the sense that as an Asian it was my responsibility to show my support and respect to the Asian communities by learning more Asian languages and being more aware,embracing and appreciating their cultures.
Having stated my reasons and purposes for learning the language, I hope this article can be a helpful guide to learn languages.
The Korean language has a script of its own ,just like many other Asian languages. Known as Hangul in South Korea,it is the Modern official writing system for the Korean language.
Hangul is a featural writing system because the vowel letters are consistently changed for related sounds, and the five main consonant letters are routinely changed to represent the shape of the speech organs required to utter them. Although it is not necessarily an abugida(pseudo alphabet), it has been referred to as a syllabic alphabet because it combines the characteristics of alphabetic and syllabic writing systems. The creator of the Hangul system of writing was King Sejong of Joseon and was created in 1443 CE.
Modern Hangul orthography uses 24 basic letters: 14 consonant letters and 10 vowel letters.There are also 27 complex letters that are formed by combining the basic letters: 5 tense consonant letters, 11 complex consonant letters, and 11 complex vowel letters. Korean grammar follows an informal and formal structure of communication having a formal and informal tone for all tenses namely past, present and future,With a polite tone.The only way to learn Korean grammar and alphabets or any language basics thoroughly is by practising.
Some basic tips and tricks that eased the journey of learning the korean language were:
The method of writing down anything that was difficult such as grammar or even alphabets ,acted as a comprehensive and accessible guide to learn quickly.
Practising words or pronunciations by enunciating or saying words out loud helped with understanding and registering the language better.
Listening to more Korean music,and using the lyric script helped me grasp the spellings and pronunciation of words. And also helped me improve my vocabulary.
Watching movies,k-Dramas, videos or daily television or even reality shows with English subtitles helped to get a better understanding of the day to day communication or slangs used.
YouTube videos that catered to teaching Korean were resourceful in the process . Eg : Learn Korean with Korean class 101,Learn Korean with Go Billy Korean and Korean with Ina.
Flash cards play a crucial role in learning and understanding as they are accessible and an easy on the go tool for learning. Concise and simple way to spend short periods of time to learn information with minimal effort rather than prolonged periods of studying.
Language Apps Language learning apps such as Duolingo and Memrise aided the learning process and eased learning. These helped in creating sentences,learning basics like alphabets,grammar,conversational techniques,spellings and improving vocabulary.
Being able to learn a new language with a different script has genuinely helped me with my memorisation and recall skills.
And has challenged my ability to think while minimising distractions. It has also proven to be a wonderful hobby and effective communication tool with globalisation being a major part of our daily lives.
It has helped me get in touch with my Asian roots and help connect and create bonds with people over the similarities and differences.
Learning Korean has also piqued my interest and curiosity to learn more languages and has eased the intimidating nature of language learning and made it more realistic,fun and a rewarding experience.