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to Study Korean - where's the best?
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Joined: 14 Oct 2007

PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adventurrre wrote:
rooster_2006 wrote:
molotovwars wrote:
I thought Pimsleur was a really good set of audio CDs/MP3s. Each lesson is 30 minutes long (maybe there are 16 total) and focuses on a main conversation. Then it breaks down each word for pronunciation and explains the sentences and has you repeat and respond to questions. Each lesson builds on the previous one, and while I only did 6 of the lessons before I came to Korea I felt like they were very good. I was confident that I was learning. I would listen do each lesson twice before moving on to the next one. I think I've done lesson 6 maybe 4 times though just because so much time passes from when I go back to it.

Once I got to Korea its been too busy to do the tapes, but I'm going to pick them back up again soon.
Pimsleur is awful.

I did the entire Pimsleur Program for Korean way back in the winter of 2006 while I was waiting for my REAL Korean level 2 course to start...

The main problem is that it just teaches far too few words. The lessons work well -- FOR TEACHING THE FIRST 200 WORDS. Unfortunately, a decent conversation in Korean is basically impossible without about 3,000 words (or 6,000+ for more advanced, abstract topics). Ask any reputable language teacher if you can have a conversation with 200 words.

If Pimsleur could create a program for Korean that had 300 lessons instead of 30, then maybe they'd be getting somewhere, but regardless of anyone's "core vocabulary" theories, Pimsleur will not make anyone even semi-functional in Korean.

Add to that that it's overpriced, doesn't teach writing, and that it teaches things like nouns with particles attached, and it's just a shoddy product that is way overrated.

And BTW, I graduated from Yonsei University Korean Language Institute. Which, unlike Pimsleur, actually taught me to speak Korean. And I got a KLPT Level 5 score, so I can go to university in Korea. thanks to Pimsleur.

Rooster, how long did it take you to get that good at Korean? How long did you study there? Did you learn a lot outside the classroom as well?
I lived in Korea for three years as an adult. Did two years at Yonsei University's program (e.g. graduated and did Level 7 twice after graduation). I lived with a Korean woman for over a year. Before coming, I did two 10-week Korean courses through Fairfax County Adult Education, which allowed me to hit the ground running when I reached Korea.

How long did it take me to get to the level I'm at now? All in all, about four years, BUT if you are really driven, you can do it faster. I did not just study in Korea. I was also doing my associate's degree (I completed the whole program from start to finish in Korea), I also did my CELTA there, and I was also working there under the table. If you cut out the other things I did, my progress could easily be duplicated in 1.5 or 2 years. Which is exactly what the US military does at the Defense Language Institute. Those guys study for 63 weeks, approximately 11 hours a day, and they reach my level in just over a year, at the expense of all other activities and pursuits.
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Joined: 18 Jul 2009
Location: Gyeonggi-do

PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been working my way through Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone at the moment and it's sinking in quite well. I've been advised that due to the location of my school that I'll have to wait until weekends to go to Seoul to take lessons. How easy is it to arrange private Korean lessons in the countryside? What should I expect to pay? I'd like to try and arrange a couple of language exchanges to cut back on the cost of learning - how easy is it to do this in the countryside? I'd like to really crack on with the language as soon as I'm in the country.
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Joined: 07 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:45 am    Post subject: JM English Institute Reply with quote


I just got offered a Job in Seoul to work at the JM English Institute - has anyone ever heard of this private institute, and if so, is it reputable, any good? Thoughts and comments would be much appreciated!!!

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Joined: 22 May 2009

PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could someone explain what the different levels for the night classes study? The websites for Sogang and Yonsei show their respective regular program curricula broken down for each level, but not for the evening programs. My job is during the day and I cannot afford to quit the job to study full-time.

I want to learn Korean to prepare for graduate study back in America (I need to know two foreign languages, so this is the other one).
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Joined: 04 Feb 2009

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 to Hater Depot

Class or no class, it's the time you put in on your own that determines the speed of your progress. If there's sometime in the day where you have an hour gap, make that zone-into-the=-MP3-player hour and study the book every time you're on the bus, waiting for lunch, etc. Then go out with a couple of Koreans and do an informal language exchange. If you stay motivated (the hard part) you'll progress faster than the people who just roll into the classes and do the minimum the class requires.
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Joined: 08 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:18 am    Post subject: Ewha vs. Seoul National vs. Sogang Reply with quote

A few months ago I was searching this site for info on different universities' Korean language programs to try to find a program that was a good fit for my learning style. I didn't find much that was current, so after taking full-time Korean language courses at Ewha and at Seoul National, I decided to share my thoughts, just in case someone else is looking for information.

Seoul National is very intensely focused on grammar. Daytime classes are very large (usually 14 people) and cover ~5 grammar points per day. This is quite high compared to Yonsei's 2 grammar points per day. As a result, Seoul National teachers lecture a lot, which doesn't give students the opportunity to talk much. In addition, teachers did not correct our pronunciation and we did very few reading, writing and listening exercises in class or at home for homework. (And this was at Level 3!) Needless to say, you have to spend a lot of time outside of class working on your speaking, reading, listening and writing skills. My Korean grammar knowledge greatly improved at Seoul National but everything else either stayed the same or went downhill because I was not practicing them in class every day.

Ewha has the most comprehensive combination of speaking, writing, reading and listening exercises that I've seen or heard about. They attempt to do as much grammar as Yonsei but also attempt to do speaking, reading and listening exercises in class. As a result, there's not a strong focus on any one particular area. Because the teachers try to do it all each class and class sizes are large (13-14 people), there is very little time in class to get questions answered. Teachers also do not correct pronunciation, although there is one very small section in each chapter that discusses pronunciation. Other words of caution: they are revising most of their textbooks this year (2010) and do not have exercise books for some levels. There are also a LOT of errors in the first editions. My Japanese classmates and I both noticed the errors in grammar and in vocabulary. The errors were so bad that I bought a comprehensive Korean grammar book at Yonsei and double-checked each and every grammar point and all vocabulary definitions so that I didn't learn the wrong thing. I've also heard of several people who got all the way through Ewha's program but still couldn't speak Korean.

I've never been in the Sogang program so I can't offer much personal insight. However, everyone that I know who has attended has really liked it and found it helpful. Those who graduate typically are able to hold meaningful conversations and debate topics. The biggest drawback of Sogang's program is that because Sogang focuses so much on speaking, the grammar is very light. The grammar they teach in Level 4 is taught in Level 2 or 3 in other programs. The Level 4 Sogang grammar book (part A) has ~100 "supplemental grammar points." Many, although not all, of these points are very helpful in expressing yourself fully in Korean. If you want to work in a Korean company, I really recommend you get more grammar somehow. I've worked in a Korean company and there's no way around it.

The best thing I can recommend is to make sure you know what your own personal learning goals and objectives are for learning Korean and choose the program based on that. And speak a LOT of Korean with Korean friends!!

Hope this helps!
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Joined: 14 Oct 2007

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I graduated from Yonsei University Korean Language Institute.

Although for a while, I attributed my fairly decent Korean skills to its program, I have since realized that if you live in a country for several years, have a basic foundation in the language (either from a class or a textbook), and continuously interact with the locals and have a decent study regimen going, you'll learn the language regardless of which university program you're enrolled in, and in some cases, even if you're not enrolled in any formal program at all.

I took a Chinese 101 course at a community college. Came to Taiwan. Been here for about a year. Now I reckon I can speak Chinese at about the same level that I spoke Korean when I was Yonsei University Level 3.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying "all you need is a phrase book and to hang out with the guys at the local bar," but I think the role of the university/language school is vastly overplayed. It's not really that important -- what is FAR more important is what you do in your free time. Assuming you sleep eight hours, 16 hours of each day are spent awake. There is only so much they can do in four hours at these intensive uni programs. These programs are not magic. They have you do workbook exercises, CD listening, writing with feedback, conversation practice, etc. However, these are things that any experienced English teacher would know how to self-administer anyway.

I have a lot of good memories from YSKLI, lots of good pictures, stories, anecdotes, etc. but do not plan to learn Chinese or Japanese the same way, because it's expensive and I can do a better job myself.
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Joined: 08 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:11 am    Post subject: language programs at universities Reply with quote

I agree with you to a large extent, "Rooster." A lot really depends on how well you apply yourself to the learning in your free time. That being said, studying by oneself is definitely not for everyone, so some type of program - at a university, hagwon, or private tutor - is usually helpful to people. That being said, I truly believe there's no way that any one program can teach everything in 18 months, which is what all of the university programs and most hagwons say they do. The Korean language is very complex, too complex for most non-Japanese to do in 18 months. Language learners really need to get out and mix with Koreans in order to reinforce the skills they learn in class.
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Joined: 14 Feb 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are interested in doing serious Korean study, ignore the private academies and free classes. They are suited for more leisure learning and I can honestly tell you, you would be getting about the same amount of learning done whether you're paying for it or not. Homework is checked for completion and correction of grammar mistakes. There are no tests. There is virtually no penalty if you do not do work. You automatically level up once you finish the course. So even if you actually do belong in Level 4, there might be a couple of Level 2s and 3s holding your class back. If you miss your class and need to make up during the week, there is no guarantee that the make up class is in the same place as you. They can be as ahead as 13 units, and this can ultimately doom a student who doesn't have the basic foundations to understand the class. This is a waste of the $140-$200 you might be spending each month.

It is great for general exposure to the language if you find yourself in a situation where people are just speaking English to you. Also great if you're just trying to casually learn and tailor something to your busy work schedule. However, if you're looking for a serious learning experience, go the university route.

Source: I've taken classes at SookMyung University's Saturday free class, SookMyung Gawol Community Center (free), Seoul Language Academy (paid), a class near JongHap Station (free) and (the best) my university in America
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Joined: 19 May 2011

PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 8:59 pm    Post subject: University Reply with quote


I will be coming to Korea later in the year and would like to know more about the universities that teaches Korean

Ewha Womans University , Hankuk University , Kyunghee University and Sogang University

Does any one have any recommendations on which university is better? I just want to learn Korean to help me out with the business that I am dealing with.

Thank you and hope to hear from you guys soon.
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