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I really have to make sure I finish up this blog quickly because I was looking back at my Laundry List of Blog Posts post and realized that, in addition to NOT finishing a post a day like I said I would,  I’m starting to forget exactly what I wanted to write about in the first place. So, I’m going to be a good blogger and try and get them all written down this weekend. I’d hate to look back at this in a few years and see some line about how I wanted to write about something but couldn’t remember it, because if I can’t remember it now, I’m certainly not going to be remembering it in a few years.

Anyway, procrastinating some more, I’ve recently been introduced to a website called Quizlet , which basically lets you upload, download and study flashcards for different subjects. It also has a “learn” and “test” program set up to help you along. And of course, now I’m using it to help learn more Korean. For Korean, the flash cards are written in Hangul with the English below them. However, if you don’t yet know how to read Hangul, there’s audio for the cards (or at least the ones I’ve been using) to hear what the Hangul sounds like. So you can use them to learn Hangul too, yay!

I stumbled onto to it because my sister had been making flashcards (by hand, not by computer) to study for her college final in a Japanese course. Unfortunately for her, they ended up being basically useless. But it did remind me of how nice it is to carry around cards that you can just whip out and begin studying if you have random free time, like while riding on the subway or waiting to me up with someone. Some people play Angry Birds on their iPhone, I study vocabulary! Of course, unless I’m using a smart phone, I can’t really carry Quizlet’s flashcards around with me, but whatever. It’s another free resource to use.

Okay, so I’ve gotten majorly off track this past week. I blame finishing up my job because it’s thrown off my sleep schedule. I’ve pretty much studied zero Korean for several days now. And yesterday my TV remote completely disappeared so I think that’s a sign I need to get back on track.

I will say the one Korean-related thing I’ve been doing (although even that I haven’t done since Friday) is check out the website Galbijim. I put a link for it on the Korean Resources page, but thought I’d just check it out here. It’s a wiki of Korean culture and actually has pages dedicated to people who are going to be teaching English in Korea – people like me! That page was really helpful and I’ll definitely be writing some of this stuff down so I can have it when I first go other there, since I don’t know how long it’ll take me to get internet set up. It has a lot of other information too, like free online resources for learning Korean and pages for geographical areas.

Also, here’s the blog by the guys who run Galbijim.

A few days ago, my dad recommended I take a look at Live Mocha, which is a free language learning website anyone can sign up for. I’ve been checking it out for the past couple of days and I’m fairly impressed. It’s billed as a superior alternative to Rosetta Stone. I don’t know that I would necessarily call it superior but it’s definitely a very good learning tool. And if you don’t want to pay a lot of money for an expensive class or a program like Rosetta Stone, Live Mocha is a really good alternative.

Once you’ve signed up with Live Mocha, you can enroll in up to 30 different language lessons. There are also premium lessons that you can pay for, like a Travel Crash course (which is unfortunately only available in Spanish, French, Mandarin, German and Italian) but even these are fairly cheap. After you sign up for your language(s), you gradually progress through the lessons. Each lesson starts with introducing you to knew words using pictures, audio recordings and the words in the target language. Once you’ve finished those, you can choose to finish the lesson or do one of their practices. There’s reading, listening and ‘magnet’ practice (magnet is basically sentence construction practice) and you can also quiz yourself. To finish the lesson, you have to complete exercises from the practice sessions (so it’s useful to do them, even if you don’t have to) and you’re done! You can move onto a new lesson or redo your earlier ones.

Right now I’m doing Unit 1 Lesson 5 of Korean, which introduces numbers 1-20. Unfortunately, it’s only introducing the set of Korean numbers used for counting things, while Rosetta Stone does both. It’s a little hard to learn both at once but I like knowing them both. There are a few things that Rosetta Stone has that Live Mocha doesn’t. My big issue with Live Mocha is I feel there’s way too much English being said. For the magnet exercises, example sentences are given in English but it wouldn’t be hard to have them in Korean.

But there’s also one major thing Live Mocha has that Rosetta Stone doesn’t: social networking. Aside from being able to have friends through Live Mocha, you can also interact with people who are fluent in the language. You can also do exercises, either written or spoken, in the target language, which native speakers can then correct. It’s pretty cool. So far, they don’t have any of these exercises in Korean, but they do have them in English so I some times correct the exercises of people learning English. I really like the feature so I hope they expand it to all of the 30 languages you can learn.

If you want to learn a language for free, Live Mocha is definitely a route you should consider. If you’ve already paid for classes or software like Rosetta Stone, I would still recommend checking this out. It’s important to vary the things you do to learn a language and this is definitely worth incorporating into the other things you’re doing.

PS. Just for fun, I also signed up for the introductory lesson of Japanese. They present new words in both Japanese and romanji, which is nice but I think I’ll be focusing on just Korean for right now!

So I’d like to talk up Sogang University’s Korean Language program, since I’ve talked a lot about Rosetta Stone but also want to present other methods of learning Korean. I really like this website they have set up. It’s not really enough to use as a primary source for learning Korean but it’s been really, REALLY helpful for practicing reading hangul and for polishing up my Korean grammar. Of course, I’m only the first lesson on the Sogang program.

In addition to an Introductory Korean page, which basically introduces you to hangul, they’ve broken down their lessons into Novice Korea (levels 1,2,3) and Intermediate Korea (levels 1,2,3), and each level has 10 lessons. And each lesson has key expressions, reading, listening and vocabulary activities and grammar lessons. Personally I was drawn to the grammar lessons. Like I said before, I’ve studied German and German is a grammar heavy language so I think for me, being able to understand the finer points of Korean that I can’t learn (or haven’t yet learned) through Rosetta Stone is kind of like a safety net for me.

I’ve been going through the lessons (okay, really only lesson 1 so far…) and copying down the grammar lessons into a notebook so I can keep studying Korean even without my laptop. (Right now, that’s been a problem since all my methods of studying are computer based). On that note, I would HIGHLY recommend getting a graph paper notebook for writing hangul. The blocks make it a lot easier to get the 자모 (jamo – that is, letters) together and properly sized. I picked up this trick when I (briefly) studied Japanese. (Chotto nihongo ga hanaseru!)

Plus, the website is completely free. It’s a pretty good deal if you ask me so definitely check it out.