Lesson 20 (Beginner 1B L4): Ending Chapter 5

This lesson was finishing up chapter 5 in the book. We had finished the handout last week, and the homework handout was completed as part of the previous lesson's homework. This week's homework is a writing assignment - 3 journal entries: 1 weekday, 1 for Saturday and 1 for Sunday.

We covered the textbook, starting on p. 135 with the listening activity and until the end of the chapter. It's like déjà vu, you know, the listening activity which was to hear the dates and mark it out on the calendar. It's always the numbers that kill at the beginning. We skipped the culture note, where the first part was on how Koreans use both the solar and lunar calendar. They're not unfamiliar to me.

Once again we talked abut things we did, and this time we had to include the place and also who we did it with (or specify if we did it alone). Naturally we also were sometimes asked to string 2 events together using that 고 construct from last lesson.

This was the third week talking about things we did on the weekend, to the point where it was hard for me to invent new things to say because my weekends (and my life) are rather predicatable. I said it's boring then, but actually, it's not that boring. I like how it plays out.

And yes, Audrey didn't come again, so I would think she is not joining for this term.

We finished off the lesson with a mini test, part of the preparation for the real test in 2 weeks' time, ahead of the revision lesson next week.

Pronunciation

Two rules were covered, both have to do with how the numbers are pronounced, though the first is definitely generalisable. (I don't know about the second since it is very specific.)

1) When ㄱ, ㅅ are after the final consonant ㅂ, they are pronounced [ㄲ, ㅆ].

Examples:

  1. 십삼 [십쌈] - (13)
  2. 십구 [십꾸] - (19)

This one... well, I guess the problem is that I never really could pronounce ㅅ. The English 's' is the stronger variant and is more like the double 's' which is ㅆ.

2) When 육 (6) comes after the final consonant ㅂ, 육 is pronounced [뉵] and ㅂ is pronounced [ㅁ].

This second rule was already taught when we learnt numbers way back in the foundation class.

It seems that the pace for each chapter is holding. Chapter 3's pronunciation was in Lesson 14 and Chapter 4's was in Lesson 17.

Vocabulary

Korean English Chinese
동료 colleague 同僚 (tóngliáo)
부모 parents 父母
동급생 classmate 同級生
모두 all
이따 later
수업 class

Some of these were from the discussions in class, some of this was me finally deciphering what the teacher has been sending in the Kakaotalk group. :x

Example:

  1. 모두 이따 만나요!

Extra: A Wake-up Call

All right, now that the main content is over, I guess I want to talk a bit more about that test above, and how I felt about it.

It was a mini test, and the teacher graded it immediately. Rather, she graded the first part as we were done (the class has 5 students so it's not very difficult logistically), then we did the second part, and she graded that. It was a single sheet of paper. The duration was not more than 15 minutes.

The first half was to conjugate a bunch of verbs into the past tense. That was straightforward, or should be, but I realise due to my extensive revision on Anki and not writing outside of the assigned homework, I have very poor muscle memory in terms of how to write words. If I can't sound it out in my head, that makes it worse. But even if I can, it may feel alien because I may not have seen it enough, either because I went too fast when doing Anki (yes, that is the bad thing about Anki, you need to be very disciplined, otherwise it's easy to cheat yourself - if you use a platform like Memrise you get marked wrong even for typos and that's that), or I didn't include a card for conjugating that verb in that particular tense.

So what I realised reflecting on this was that Anki as I am using it now is good for MCQ tests, because I started with Anki for a doctrine/theology course where the entire paper is MCQ. With spaced repetition, and some forced recall, some interleaving thrown in, it worked pretty well. Actually, it worked and is working very well still for that context, I can easily score 100% or close to it. Anki is also good when you only have to worry about remembering facts, and simple vocabulary.

The way it's going is not working out too well for learning a language, since there are many more skills involved to be good at a language. I am clearly not getting enough comprehensible input (in fact it's none at all). It's really atrocious how I thought I could carry on like this, and perhaps also a bit of hubris on my part, thinking that because I'd learnt some other langauges before I am exempt from putting in the work in this area. I think the worse trap to fall into is one where you know what to do, but don't do it because you think you are better and thus exempt from the rules.

(There's also pronunciation practice, but since I do not - did not - normally do that, I would say that it's not that big of a deal as you can survive without it, though you will probably feel your confidence in speaking reduce because of the mispronunciations.)

For the second part of the mini test, there was a sample journal entry that we had to read and then the main task was to write one. I really struggled with this, in part because I felt like I was being watched. There's that pressure, and also the pressure that others were completing the assignment faster than I was. I started on the second part late too, I know that I was last, or definitely in the second half of the people who finished the first part. That threw me off, since usually I don't think I'm that slow...

But the main problem is that I don't know what to write. It's the same problem I have for German when it's "talk about your day", that sort of thing. I don't like to talk about my life in that sense. My immediate reaction is to downplay my day as boring. This reminded me of how I used to get past this in my other language tests - basically, make some stuff up. Prepare some model essay of sorts, and then regurgitate it on the test. After all, the point is to prove that you can express yourself, and not about whether it's true or not, but I dislike it because it's unfactual.

It's very effective when you are at the beginner level, because there are only that many things that they can ask you to do. I would guess that on the actual test, if they didn't ask me to write a journal entry about my day, it would be a self-introduction, either in casual or formal language. (For languages where there is this distinction, there is probably a scenario which you must read and realise which to use. At least, that has been my experience, though I tend to "comfort" myself by saying that I'm not the worst. Small comfort, that.)

I don't believe that it's the best way to go about tests - this sort of rote memory method. In the past there was that pressure to do well because university grades meant that scoring poorly on any class pulls down your GPA. (I was fortunate enough that my language classes generally pulled me up as I tended to score As, with the exception of one French class that was a B+, and that sad semester, I even had to cancel that grade to a pass/fail even though it pulled down the semester's GPA, because it would lead to an increase in my overall GPA...)

Now, I would still write some sample essays, more for practise rather than trying to memorise them. These two weeks, I have to put more effort into Korean. I'll set aside some time every day to do some revision.


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