Language Learning Frustrations

I have been feeling frustrated with my language skills recently. Korean used to be my biggest passion and recently I have felt the fire to get back into it. However, I was never formally trained in Korean, so I don’t really know where to start up again. I don’t know what my skill level is or how to test it. I know I can have normal conversations with people and make my way around South Korea if I was suddenly transplanted there. But I can’t make sense of TV shows or specialized conversation topics. It is also very draining for me to try to read long texts in Korean, such as a news article or dialogue in a video game.

To explain my skill level visually, here are some song lyrics from a recent K-pop song.

Yellow = I know these words.

Blue = I can kind of understand it.

No Highlight = I don’t know what this means.

I think my biggest problem is vocabulary. There are a ton of words that I don’t know. Simple things too, like refrigerator. I am alright with grammar, although more complex grammar structures and verb conjugations are something I struggle with. I am bad at compound sentences. Also, because Korean has a different structure than English, sometimes I struggle determining who or what is being spoken to or about.

I’ve tried doing placement tests, both in person and online. They didn’t really help place my skill level though. I have some textbooks that I can use to learn certain topics, but it’s going to take a lot of work to organize because I’ll be jumping chapters a lot since I know bits and pieces of different things. Any of the apps that help you learn languages don’t really do much for me. They are very repetitive and I do not feel that I learn much from them. They are also super simple. Although Memrise has been useful in learning vocabulary, so I may keep up with that one.

My #1 focus right now should be vocabulary. I think that would help a LOT.

I still listen to a lot of K-pop and watch a lot of Korean clips on Youtube. I also talk to my friend Taehoon every day, which has been helping immensely. My goal is to be fluent…and I really want to achieve that goal. I am just venting right now. I know that the bottom line is that I need to sit down and concentrate on learning. Which I will do…someday.