8 January 2014

My 90-Day Korean Challenge

In a week from now I’m going to jump into Korean. I mean that I’m going to focus on this language for 90 days. I’m not new to Korean, I have dabbled in it over the years. I get tongue tied when I tried to say anything more than the few standard phrases that I’ve mastered, and I have trouble understanding what people say to me. I guess I am sort of an advanced beginner, and I hope to become a solid intermediate. Time will tell what I can achieve. I know from experience, however, that focusing with intensity is going to deliver results. I am doing this within the framework of the 90-Day Challenge.

It was while studying Mandarin Chinese in 1968 that I realized just how important intensity is in language learning. I remember thinking at that time that the more you can cram exposure to the language into a shorter period of time, the better you will learn, almost exponentially. A lot of people are too passive in their learning. They find reasons not to interact with their language. Consistency is key to success. Some people only have an hour a day while others have five or more hours a day to spend on their language. I don’t know how much time I will have every day. But I know that I’m going to make sure that I work with more intensity that I have done in the past.

I am going to let you know how things go, how I find resources, how I create the time to study more, and what kinds of activities I am involved in, and I invite you to follow me as I keep a daily vlog about my progress.

I won’t start until January 15th, so for now I’m staying with my Slavic languages. I listened to a Czech podcast this morning, and I am listening to Uncle Vanya by Chekhov in Russian in the car, and studying the transcript on my computer at LingQ. I have a week to go with my two Slavic languages and then I will be moving away from them for three months or so. I’m looking forward to doing Korean but I know it’ll be hard to leave these two languages which I enjoy so much.

My activities during my 90-Day Korean challenge will all be measured and made public at LingQ. I will also be vlogging and blogging frequently about my activities and my progress. You will be able to follow me and my Korean learning activities here, at my diary blog, and on my YouTube channel

If you want to join me and take up your own language for 90 days, have a look at the 90-Day Challenge on LingQ as well!

4 Comments

  1. Kenneth Washington
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    This 90-day Korean challenge sounds great! I’ve wanted you to do a series of videos showing in detail how you go about learning a language.

    So, I’m looking forward to seeing how some of the principles of language learning
    that you’ve talked about in your u-tube videos are applied to learning Korean.

    Thanks

  2. Ben
    Posted January 9, 2014 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Good luck Steve! Fascinated to watch your progress. I fully agree with your statement about intensity and consistency and am intrigued to see it “in action”.

    I started studying Korean a few months ago but had to consciously “shelf it” as it detracted too much time from my Mandarin and Russian studies. I work full time, but manage to get in a good 90 mins a day of language study (daily commute, gym, dedicated study time). Sadly this time couldn’t be split 3 ways and yield solid, productive study. I do hope to study Korean again in the (near) future once I am comfortable slowing down the Mandarin/Russian acquisition!

    Out of interest, I saw a video statement by you commenting on Benny Lewis’s fluent in 3 month approach and how it’s impossible (rough paraphrasing!). I know you’re not going for the same thing, but it’d be good to compare and contrast your 90 day study to his, in terms of study methods and timeframes and not so much results. You both do fantastic work!

    Anyway, good luck. Exciting times indeed!

    • Posted January 9, 2014 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Sounds great, I’m looking forward to seeing your progress in Korean! I just got an opportunity to go to Germany this spring, so I’ll be taking up the 90 day challenge to really push and see how much German I can learn before then.

  3. Lela
    Posted January 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Recommend you find subtitled K-dramas Dream High (or Dream High 2), Winter Sonata (the drama that was seen as the start of Hallyu wave), and The Legend of the First King’s Four Gods (TWSSG is its Korean acronym).

    The first drama is about arts/music students at a performing arts school and their challenges. Second drama is about a romance that spans teen years into adulthood and unanswered questions. Third drama is a historical period piece with action, humour and lots of costume. Not a formal court drama for long but lots of action -horseriding, archers, swords, etc.
    The subtitling will help you identify short passages or words. After a few dramas, you’ll recognize certain expressions that tend to be peppered in dramas.

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