so i have thrown myself pretty hard into learning korean now. the school year is essentially over, and i will soon have massive amounts of time on my hands. it is interesting for me to learn a foreign language at this point in my life in that i get to compare it to when i (and most US students?) first learned foreign languages (middle school through college).
the biggest difference is my amount of patience. when i was studying foreign languages the first time around (3 years of latin, 1 year of german, 3 disjointed years of french) i would get extremely frustrated not being able to express myself as well as i could in english and then see no use for it--what is the point in learning how to say 'there is a window in the classroom'? let's see if i can still remember: il y a une fenetre in dans classe that definitely is close, but definitely not right.
what else is helping me in studying a foreign language currently?
clearly living in a country wherein i dont speak the dominate language is a reason to give it a go. i mean, and i may have written about this before, i have many korean friends with varying degrees of english (from fluent to rocky), but i also know that that means i am interacting with a very specific segment of this country. granted, english education is now mandatory, but still not everyone excels in a mandatory subject.
so i desire to speak with more koreans, and to make my life easier, is there more than that? yes. i also want to show my korean friends that i am making an effort to meet them, there are times where i can tell they wish they could just speak korean with me. i know i won't reach that level of fluency any time soon, but just being able to make plans via text message in korean, i have been told, means alot to them.
also, there are basically about 4 people i can talk to at school currently (2 1/2s equal a whole) and many of my co-workers seem like genuinely nice people that i would at least like to be able to say something more than 'hello' to.
that is the basic sketch of why, here are my thoughts on the actual learning/what i am learning:
1. the inversion of english syntax is wild.
subject adjectives/prepositions direct object verb.
I smart at home korean am studying.
2. pronouns are often implied, but not used. this is nice as you don't conjugate verbs for each pronoun, it is basically 1 or 2 changes to the infinitive, and off you go.
3. currently i am just in the present tense. the closest thing to the future i can talk about is anticipating something. for example: 여자친구의 방문을 기대하고 있어요. in order: girlfriend her journey looking forward to. (i wish i had a hangul keyboard at home, it would help in practicing.)
being in the present tense is kind of fun. it makes my think i am an animal ('if a lion spoke, we wouldn't understand it'--or vice versa). i am eating, i want to sleep, i don't like him, etc.
4. pronunciation. oh what a treat this is. i laugh as when i try to use my korean if i am a little off in speaking people aren't quite sure what it is i am saying, whereas in my life here nearly everyone is a little off in what they say, but i get to use context clues to figure it out. i mean, when people were talking to me about 'the american erection' a few months ago, i knew what they meant. here, i can just meet someone and ask them their name and if i am a little off they look at me like they have no idea what i could possibly be saying. my friend rob made a decent point on this, namely how often do you think someone has spoken to them with an incredibly thick foreign accent. but still, work with me a bit, please.
anyway, that's it.