[Scrap] Learning Korean Language


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원문 http://blog.naver.com/tanta/120011009703

Author Gives New Perspective on Learning Korean Language



Not all Koreans can be good Korean-language teachers, as it is difficult for them to be objective about their mother tongue. In fact, non-Koreans may sometimes be better instructors, as they understand what obstacles learners face.

Stephen Revere, host of Arirang TV's ``Let's Speak Korean'' and author of a new book on learning the language, is one of those instructors who knows firsthand what it means to study Korean.

``Most Korean textbooks don't understand the perspectives and difficulties of foreigners,'' Revere said. ``As I went through those, I can communicate a little better, I think, for beginners.''

The 33-year-old American said when foreigners learn Korean each level has different difficulties. ``When we are starting out, syntax, changing your word order around is very challenging. Then as you progress, `chondaemal (honorifics used to those older or in a higher position than oneself)' become difficult,'' he said.

For the higher level, it will take a long time to be able to communicate difficult ideas with a large vocabulary, he added.

Born in California, Revere came to Korea in 1995 and ended up falling in love with the nation, which led him to decide to take on the linguistic challenge. In 2004, he received a master's degree in teaching Korean as a foreign language at Yonsei University Graduate School of Education.

Such is his fluency that, during the interview, he often came up with Korean phrases and used the English translation.

However, Revere says his language ability is still far from perfect. ``My difficulty nowadays will be roughly similar to Korean high school students'. `Sajasongo (sayings with four Chinese characters epitomizing historic events or lessons),' use of correct collocation and that sort of thing,'' he said.

Then, what was the most difficult vowel and consonant to master? ``ㅡ was the most difficult when I was a beginner,'' Revere said, pronouncing the vowel sound almost perfectly now. ``And `ㅓ' and `ㅗ' sounded too similar to tell apart.''

When it came to consonants, Revere said that the hardest nut to crack was distinguishing ``yesasori,'' namely ``ㄱ,'' ``ㄷ,'' ``ㅈ'' and ``kosensori,'' like ``ㄲ,'' ``ㄸ,'' ``ㅉ'' (each sounds like k, t, ch).

With the knowledge gained from his studies, Revere wrote a Korean language practice book, ``Survival Korea.'' The book was published last month by Nexus, and is priced at 21,500 won with two cassettes.

``I put a lot of teaching techniques in the book,'' he said.

Among the major differences, even if not its excelling point, with other textbooks is that it does not use any romanization of Korean text for pronunciation. ``I think the method is useless, as Korean is so perfectly phonetic.''

Another peculiarity of the 272-page book is the cultural tips, which enables beginners to better understand the background of Korean. The writer's observance of the culture here is perceptive and often hilarious. One of the tips was on the Koreans' customary use of ``Our'' or ``Uri'' in Korean, like ``Uri'' nation, ``Uri'' house, ``Uri'' Father or even ``Uri'' wife! In the book, he writes ``Asia is always said to be more community-focused while the West is more individualistic… The concept of `we' and `us' permeate the Korean language and society.''

That is also the very point Revere loves in the nation he ``inadvertently'' came to a decade ago. ``I really like how people interact here. People work very hard at accommodating other people… They try to hard to keep conflicts down in `Uri' groups,'' he said.

``I enjoy the Korean lifestyle. I enjoy my work. I love teaching English. I love teaching Korean even more.''

Revere's love for teaching Korean led him to volunteer to teach the language to immigrant workers every other Sunday at a welfare center in Sindang-dong, central Seoul, despite a tight schedule filled with lectures and TV appearances.

Any tips to beginners of Korean? ``Get a good beginner level cassette and listen to them until you memorize them,'' he said.


Stephen Revere

02-20-2005 koreatimes

by 무동 | 2008/04/16 08:46 | Scrap Book | 트랙백 | 덧글(0)

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