The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
‒Ludwig Wittgenstein


Why is your Korean learning journey at turtle verdammt slow?

You are focusing too much on grammar

I have been there guys… When I began learning Korean, approximately 3 years ago, I was highly convinced that grammar should be of top priority when learning a language. After 3 years, I strongly disagree with that opinion. I am not disregarding the importance of grammar, since sentence structure or word order may differ from one language to the other. But if you wait until you “master” the entire grammar principles of Korean, which is a lot by the way, you will end up wasting a considerable amount of time. I will advise you to do both.Learn a little bit of grammar here and do other things there. That way, you aren’t just “taking in” content but applying them.

You are not speaking with natives

Now if you are a self- learner and you are not speaking with natives, you still do not get a pass!. I am a self-learner as well (for over 3 years now) and I have managed to find methods that are just perfect for my time and my energy. Note: I have never being to South Korea and I rarely speak to native koreans in real life. However, the internet has saved introverts like moi. I use apps like Hello-talk and Tandem to find native speakers who are willing to spend 10 – 20 minutes speaking on a topic.

Do you choose the topic before the call or do you just speak randomly?

We do both. It depends on if I have a topic at hand and if I have researched on the appropriate vocabulary and phrases for that topic. But most times I prefer speaking on random things, even though my life is not that adventurous. Mainly because, you notice your “weak spots” or words that are not in the “passive/long term memory” zone more often than when speaking on a topic you had prepared for a few days ago. But I do the latter at most once a week.

How often do you speak with your Korean language partner

This is strongly based on both of our schedules. I personally aim for practicing 3x in a week (even though scholars recommend daily exercise), but I end of speaking 2x.  I do not believe in the “NEED” to speak daily especially since I am still in the “INPUT” stage. I will get to that later.

How do you handle perverts on these apps


If my language partner is not available during the week, what should I do?

This is why I use 2 apps, hello-talk and tandem. I have my more “consistent” language partner on hello-talk, while I only use tandem when I need a short”er” term language partner.

Does your language partner get frustrated ?

I am not particularly sure, but at the beginning stages, probably. But fortunately, he is also an enthusiastic language partner who knows “Le Struggle” or could stand in my shoes. So he was very patient and it worked out I guess.

I feel I am slowing my language partner down, what should I do ?

I personally like to choose language partners that are on the same “speaking” experience level as I am. But ironically, my language partner was already advanced and had travelled a lot while all I knew was “안녕하세요, 저는 Comfort입니다”. As I mentioned, he was very patient So if you can find someone similar, great! Else try to tell the person in advance about your “little to no” experience in the language. If he or she is willing to move forward, why not!

What do you speak about ?

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Do I need to start practising speaking from Day 1?

You do not have to, but it is an option. I personally waited  2 years (because of my opinion on grammar, which was unnecessary). I will recommend waiting 1 – 2 months or at least till you have 100 to 200 basic words and phrases combined. You could use Duolingo or memrise.

You are not reading and listening enough

This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress, emphasise this point enough! Regardless of your level in Korean, you need “INPUT”. Now, you may delay your reading if you do not know hangul, but start listening from day 1. Most Korean language learners tend to come from a background of kpop or k-drama, so we sort-of have a upper hand here. But outside of kpop and k-drama there is still a lot of K-content. This varies depending on your stage. If you are a beginner, I will recommend you stick to K-music. Intermediate – IYAGI series from TTMIK. Advanced – Every korean youtube channel.  I hate the news but I guess you can also listen to that.

Is there any other content for beginner listeners

Yes, but I will make a separate blog for that.

My accent sounds weird when I speak in Korean

No, stahhhhp it!…Look, *comes closer to whisper in your ear*: “if your language partner is a beginner as well, he/she is most likely going to have a very painful english accent”. By the way, how do you expect to improve on your accent, if you do not speak???!! Gurl how?

You are afraid of getting embarrassed

I am allergic to embarrassing moments. What makes me cringe isn’t the moment itself, but the memory of it in random situations. That is the beautiful and sad aspect of embarrassing moments, you remember them for the rest of your life!!. So if you used a term or you said something “wrongly”, you are mostly likely not going to repeat it when you have an embarrassing experience associated to that word/phrase.

You start speaking in your desired language but end up speaking in your own language

This still happens to me. But I write down what word /phrase triggered the switch. That way, after the call /chat, I search for its translation and memorise it before the next call.

You have more actively learned vocabulary than passively learned.

This is tied to my “listen and read more “ point. In a more natural or random conversation, the words that are there for you are those that you have heard, seen and probably used several times. Not those you memorised from your Anki flashcard the night before. I memorise words and phrases actively using anki but I do not rely on those words during my conversations with my language partner. This is why I listen and read a lot to “solidify” or “switch” those actively memorised words into “passive”.

You are inconsistent

Niiiiyes.Inconsistent in what ? listening and reading ? then that is a problem. Speaking ? probably not so problematic. Ideal would be consistency, but things happens: fatigue, frustration, food…. (i did not plan the “f´s”). This is why I like listening a lot, because you can do this anywhere.

You are not adding variety to your learning

Sometimes doing the same thing over and over again could make you forget why you started the journey. Add something new daily, weekly or monthly. You don’t have to learn grammar every tuesday. Why not on saturday this week and on monday next week. Why not read a naver article or a web toon today and only watch k-drama or k-movie tomorrow. Add some spice !!!

You are not trusting the process

“Sorry I needed a 10th reason”…  but yes, you language learning isn’t a 3 months or 6 months challenge. I am still learning english even after 26 years of being this planet. So yea, if you are underage, drink some milk. If you are an adult, drink some wine and enjoy the process. You can also listen to some content while you “enjoy” the process. See how easy it is..

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