Author Topic: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress  (Read 4501 times)

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2019, 06:18:03 AM »
Test results for the JLPT were posted. I passed the N4! Listening was hard, but my score was on par with what I got on the N5 listening section, so I'm pretty happy about that.

Already started an intermediate textbook. Enjoying it so far, though the listening comprehension has gotten tough there. Audio is a lot faster and it's hard to keep up. I know that's part of what's needed in order to think in the language and not mentally translate or search about for the meaning of a word. Still rough while making that transition.

Congratulations! That is great.

FunkyStickman

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #51 on: January 25, 2019, 06:34:26 AM »
I started learning Japanese about a year and a half ago. I'm currently using only apps on my phone (so I can do them anywhere). I'm using Mango (free from library), Memrise, Duolingo, and Anki cards. Each ones has strong points.

I'm nowhere near fluent, but I'm to the point where I can pick up on a lot of phrases I hear in anime. I haven't touched it in a few months, it's probably time I got back to it...

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #52 on: February 03, 2019, 03:32:18 PM »
Test results for the JLPT were posted. I passed the N4! Listening was hard, but my score was on par with what I got on the N5 listening section, so I'm pretty happy about that.

Already started an intermediate textbook. Enjoying it so far, though the listening comprehension has gotten tough there. Audio is a lot faster and it's hard to keep up. I know that's part of what's needed in order to think in the language and not mentally translate or search about for the meaning of a word. Still rough while making that transition.

Belated congratulations for this. It is nice to have a real milestone like that. Good luck with the intermediate textbook.

For my part, I'm beginning to spend more and more time on Korean. My weekly language exchange meetings have started back up after a holiday hiatus. I'm watching Korean dramas on Viki in the evenings, and I'm drilling vocabulary on Quizlet (this set). I've also gotten out a couple TOPIK prep books, though I haven't spent nearly as much time with them as on Quizlet. I've listened to a few Talk to Me in Korean podcasts, but I find it hard to get into podcast listening.

One big thing is that I told my boss I would be going for the Korean language exam, so it is now officially part of my job to pass this thing. I can't spend much time on this at work because of all the other things that need doing, but at least I can drill vocabulary now and then or listen to a Korean podcast while working on something tedious.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2019, 05:04:20 AM »
One big thing is that I told my boss I would be going for the Korean language exam, so it is now officially part of my job to pass this thing.

The other day, I finally sat down and did a proper timed mock test for the reading section of the TOPIK 1. It was awful. In spite of all the time I have spent on this so far, I would have been better off guessing at random. I'm not sure what happened with the test I'd taken online before and passed, whether it wasn't accurate or whether I was just better with listening. I spent a lot of time on Korean the past couple weeks because I had some quiet time at work and also stayed late and brought things home and had language exchange sessions one evening a week and watch Korean dramas at night with dual subtitles (English and Korean). It is super frustrating, especially now that I've told people I'm doing this.

My post-mortem on the mock test is that I need to prioritise TOPIK-specific vocabulary memorisation. This should help with both accuracy and speed. I only finished 60% of the questions, which obviously hurt me. I think my time management should improve just by having done it once and having a better sense of the big picture. I do feel I'm following the words and Korean subtitles more closely now with the dramas, and I'm recognising words I've studied. That makes me feel a little better, but it's not giving me new vocabulary, only reinforcing what I've done. On Quizlet, I'm now showing 14% progress on the TOPIK 1 vocabulary list, but it seems like I get more questions wrong than right, especially when it comes to spelling words in Korean.

omachi

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2019, 09:30:33 AM »
Vocab on tests is one of the biggest frustrations that I have with Japanese as well. There's what I've learned through whatever sources, and then there's test specific stuff that you're expected to know. I'd say my textbooks probably covered 3/4 of what was needed, along with a whole bunch of stuff that's not needed for that specific test. Like, I was 1/4 of the way through the N3 vocabulary when I looked at what was needed for it, because in learning N5 and N4, I picked all that up.

I guess what's particularly frustrating is that if you don't look at test specific vocab, then you'll end up not doing well. But if you do, you're just learning to the test. A lot of that vocab hasn't stuck particularly well because the context I have for it is just a couple flashcards I had to make to get exposure to the word, not something I came across in a more organic manner. My big goal is to learn the language, not just pass a test at a certain time, so it's a little less fun to cram that stuff.

What's particularly funny is that in reading childrens' books, first grade level stuff, I'm picking up a bunch of N1 ("fluent") words. So a first grader is expected to know the word, or ask a parent and then know it, but foreign learners don't need it until they're approaching fluency. Yay tests.

Hope you can get things in shape before the TOPIK test. If you only got through 60%, you're obviously going to be hurting at scoring time. My only tip there is that if you don't know something on a question, mark it in your booklet, skip it, and come back to it if there's time. If you're only going to get through ~60% of the questions, make sure they're the ones you know. It's possible you could have nailed the remaining 40% if you'd just gotten to them in time.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2019, 12:00:46 PM »
Vocab on tests is one of the biggest frustrations that I have with Japanese as well. There's what I've learned through whatever sources, and then there's test specific stuff that you're expected to know. I'd say my textbooks probably covered 3/4 of what was needed, along with a whole bunch of stuff that's not needed for that specific test. Like, I was 1/4 of the way through the N3 vocabulary when I looked at what was needed for it, because in learning N5 and N4, I picked all that up.

I guess what's particularly frustrating is that if you don't look at test specific vocab, then you'll end up not doing well. But if you do, you're just learning to the test. A lot of that vocab hasn't stuck particularly well because the context I have for it is just a couple flashcards I had to make to get exposure to the word, not something I came across in a more organic manner. My big goal is to learn the language, not just pass a test at a certain time, so it's a little less fun to cram that stuff.

What's particularly funny is that in reading childrens' books, first grade level stuff, I'm picking up a bunch of N1 ("fluent") words. So a first grader is expected to know the word, or ask a parent and then know it, but foreign learners don't need it until they're approaching fluency. Yay tests.

Hope you can get things in shape before the TOPIK test. If you only got through 60%, you're obviously going to be hurting at scoring time. My only tip there is that if you don't know something on a question, mark it in your booklet, skip it, and come back to it if there's time. If you're only going to get through ~60% of the questions, make sure they're the ones you know. It's possible you could have nailed the remaining 40% if you'd just gotten to them in time.

Thank you, Omachi. This was a helpful and encouraging post.

I hope I can catch up, but to be honest, I found there were very few questions that I could have answered in any amount of time. I've got just over 2 months. I'm hoping that drilling the vocabulary first and then doing more mock tests will make a difference.

Yeah, vocab for tests is different from vocab for life, but I think this one is based on studies of word frequency in Korean. It should be helpful to know the most frequent words. I just really haven't made as much progress as I had hoped at this point. I wonder sometimes if it's because I'm much older than I was when I started learning Japanese or if it's because this time I'm trying to teach myself instead of taking structured classes.

In committing to taking the TOPIK, I wanted to give myself a definite goal to work toward. Even if it's just a test, it provides some structure, and there's a set of vocabulary and grammar on which I can focus. I guess even if I don't pass it this time, I will still get the benefit of whatever preparation I do for it.

omachi

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2019, 01:18:09 PM »
Yeah, vocab for tests is different from vocab for life, but I think this one is based on studies of word frequency in Korean. It should be helpful to know the most frequent words. I just really haven't made as much progress as I had hoped at this point. I wonder sometimes if it's because I'm much older than I was when I started learning Japanese or if it's because this time I'm trying to teach myself instead of taking structured classes.

In committing to taking the TOPIK, I wanted to give myself a definite goal to work toward. Even if it's just a test, it provides some structure, and there's a set of vocabulary and grammar on which I can focus. I guess even if I don't pass it this time, I will still get the benefit of whatever preparation I do for it.
That's pretty much my reason for taking the JLPT as well. Something small and concrete to work towards instead of trying to eat the whole elephant in one go. Failure wouldn't be a problem so long as it gives me good direction on what I need to study. Of course, passing is nice, so good luck.

None of the JLPT vocab was useless, it's just that there were probably other words that might be more useful in frequent contexts. Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word" before "embassy". One is really useful in a learning context, the other only if you have a big issue in Japan.

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2019, 10:12:30 AM »
Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word"
単語? I'm finding there are a lot of words that map to the same or close English definition so I often don't know which is the correct one to use in a certain situation without having seen it in the wild numerous times. E.g. 納得 vs 承知. I should probably start using Japanese definitions.

@Kwill how are you studying vocabulary? I find it useful to write down (in my case, add to my Anki deck) every unfamiliar word I come across in context, such as when watching a show with Japanese subtitles or reading a book. It was really tedious in the beginning when I was looking up 4/5 words but I have about 4200 in my deck now and it's a lot smoother. This approach definitely forces you to pick up a lot of vocab relatively quickly.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2019, 03:05:01 PM »
Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word"
単語? I'm finding there are a lot of words that map to the same or close English definition so I often don't know which is the correct one to use in a certain situation without having seen it in the wild numerous times. E.g. 納得 vs 承知. I should probably start using Japanese definitions.

@Kwill how are you studying vocabulary? I find it useful to write down (in my case, add to my Anki deck) every unfamiliar word I come across in context, such as when watching a show with Japanese subtitles or reading a book. It was really tedious in the beginning when I was looking up 4/5 words but I have about 4200 in my deck now and it's a lot smoother. This approach definitely forces you to pick up a lot of vocab relatively quickly.

It's a good idea. Right now I am focusing on the vocabulary for this specific test, so I'm mainly using Quizlet with flashcards that someone else made up for the test. There are 1153 cards. Lately I've been doing them in 'Learn Mode' which tests vocabulary. It uses spaced repetition and only introduces a few terms at a time. Sometimes I'll just let the flashcards play, and sometimes I'll do a matching game if I'm waiting somewhere.

As you said, context helps. Once I recognise a word in the wild, I remember it better. Right now I'm re-watching 'W' with both Korean and English subtitles, and I'm recognising more words than before.

yakamashii

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2019, 06:10:42 PM »
Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word"
単語? I'm finding there are a lot of words that map to the same or close English definition so I often don't know which is the correct one to use in a certain situation without having seen it in the wild numerous times. E.g. 納得 vs 承知. I should probably start using Japanese definitions.

Using Japanese definitions is an excellent idea. That will make it a lot easier to see differences that aren't apparent in the most common English gloss (and you'll see that, particularly with 漢語 words, you can't rely on the most common gloss).

In your example, 納得 means to understand _and_ accept ("Yeah, that makes sense/sounds reasonable"), while 承知 as in 承知しました is simply acknowledging receipt of information ("I have been informed."). The difference is stark in Japanese, but that's hard to see without hearing it in the wild, as everyone's saying. A 和和 dictionary will help.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 08:36:22 PM by yakamashii »

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #60 on: February 12, 2019, 09:49:33 AM »
In your example, 納得 means to understand _and_ accept ("Yeah, that makes sense/sounds reasonable"), while 承知 as in 承知しました is simply acknowledging receipt of information ("I have been informed."). The difference is stark in Japanese, but that's hard to see without hearing it in the wild, as everyone's saying. A 和和 dictionary will help.

That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #61 on: March 03, 2019, 04:08:56 PM »
I tried a new book this weekend: Let's Speak Korean. I wasn't expecting much because it is a bit old (originally published 1987), and it provides Romanisation for almost everything. Plus the Romanisation is an older style that isn't used as much now. On the other hand, a free copy was available, and I was tired of the things I'd been using.

Turns out it was really helpful. I started it yesterday morning and went through the whole thing this weekend -- fairly carefully for the first few chapters and then just going quickly through the conversations and grammar notes and vocabulary lists for the rest so that I could finish. I found the grammar explanations helpful. The Romanisation helped me much more than I realised it would. A lot of this was review of things I'd encountered elsewhere, but it felt like it stuck with me better. I want to go back through the whole thing a couple more times.

The vocabulary and grammar covered seemed to fit well enough with what I encountered on the TOPIK practice test, though there is more vocabulary in the TOPIK than is covered in this book. I'm still going through the practice test carefully to understand what I should have answered, so I was able to see specific points there. Also, this mainly uses a more formal set of verb forms (like 입니다), which is what is on the test, instead of the slightly more informal set (like 이에요) that is what I encountered in the MOOCs and in some other study material.

I'm now re-watching Goblin with just Korean-language subtitles. I still only recognise a tiny proportion of the words, but I can follow the story since I saw it before. It feels like I've really made progress this weekend.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #62 on: March 11, 2019, 06:22:21 AM »
Things are moving along and getting better. I now think I honestly have a chance to do well on the TOPIK on 20 April.

Last week I tried another practice exam. This time I only did the first half of the reading portion (20 out of 40 questions), and it took me 37 minutes (more than half of the 1 hour allotted for the full reading portion). I got 65% right. I was really happy with the improvement, even though I recognise I'm still slow and the second half of the questions may be harder. I think the last time, I got about 12% or 14% right, partly due to only finishing 60% of the questions before the time limit.

What made the difference? Going over the question instructions and question types with my language partner ahead of time so that I didn't need to spend time understanding the question format during the exam. Going through the last practice test carefully to understand what I did wrong for each question. Understanding more of the grammar thanks to the textbook I used last weekend. Learning more vocabulary.

I switched from Quizlet to Memrise, and I wish I'd done that months ago. I'm finding Memrise much quicker and less frustrating for learning new vocabulary, so after about a week, I've gotten through 29.5% of the vocabulary on a TOPIK 1 list (1516 words), compared to the 18% of a shorter vocabulary list (1186 words) I reviewed in a few months of Quizlet. I also feel I've got a better grasp of the vocabulary now. I'm spending more time on Memrise than I had on Quizlet, but partly that is because it is more interesting and easier to use.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #63 on: March 25, 2019, 02:52:45 PM »
Still going with Memrise at about 50 words per day. It's getting easier now that I'm used to it, and I'm recognising a lot of words from Japanese, English, or prior study of Korean. I'm now 75% of the way through the TOPIK 1 vocabulary, and I'm recognising a lot of vocabulary when I watch Korean dramas. My goal is now to finish the vocabulary about 8 days from now and then spend the remaining time before the exam doing practice tests and reviewing grammar and vocabulary. I go back and forth between kicking myself for not studying this way before and thinking that maybe it's easier now because I studied in a slower way for the prior few years.

Kwill

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TOPIK 1 : exam done
« Reply #64 on: April 22, 2019, 12:27:51 PM »
I just took the TOPIK 1 exam on Saturday. It was really hard. The results won't be out until the end of May, but my guess is that I passed at the low beginner level and fell short of the high beginner level. If I did pass the high beginner level, it was just by the skin of my teeth and with some lucky guessing. The hardest parts for me were the reading comprehension questions toward the end of the reading section, where you read short paragraphs and answer questions based on them. I am just not fast enough at reading. I'm barely hanging on to the vocabulary, and I didn't have time to really work on grammar and reading practice.

I feel discouraged after all the hard work, especially over the past two months when I was working as intensely as I could on Korean with a full-time job and other commitments. There were a lot of things that got put on the back burner during the past two months, and now I wonder if I should have focused on those instead.

Is a low beginner TOPIK pass worth all the time that I put into it? I have enough Korean knowledge now to handle some of the very basic tasks I wanted to be able to do at work: puzzle out book titles, recognise navigation buttons on websites that use images for their buttons that can't be auto-translated, and understand very basic and common greetings. Maybe I can build on that foundation over time, but right now I need a good long break from it. I think I'll at least continue with vocabulary reviews on Memrise, but the time spent on that should decrease over time.

How do you handle a break-up with a language exchange partner? I'm considering making this week my last meeting with my conversation partner, but I feel bad about cancelling on her after she's been so helpful the past several months.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #65 on: May 30, 2019, 01:49:31 PM »
TOPIK results came out today! I passed level 1 but not level 2. This morning before I saw the scores I wrote down a prediction of 93 points total, and in the end I got 130 total, beating my prediction by quite a bit. Level 2 needs 140 points, so I wasn't far off.

The situation with the language exchange partner was completely fine. I don't know why I was worried. Turned out that she was busy, too. It's been awhile now since we've met, but I just wrote to let her know I passed the exam and to thank her for her help.

Since the exam, I've been keeping up with reviews on Memrise but not adding much new vocabulary or content. I've been watching less Korean dramas, but I started listening to Iyagi conversation podcasts. I also started listening to NHK news podcasts in Japanese to balance it out. Once some time goes by and I feel ready, I want to go ahead and focus on passing level 3 next, rather than spending more time on TOPIK I.

omachi

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #66 on: September 10, 2019, 08:32:43 PM »
Sorry for bailing on this thread. Life got in the way. I've still done nearly no studying this whole year. I miss it and also don't have the bandwidth. Just the way it's going to be for a while. I won't be targeting the JLPT this year for obvious reasons.

A belated congrats on passing the TOPIK level 1 exam! Best of luck on the next exam you take.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #67 on: September 11, 2019, 01:47:08 AM »
Sorry for bailing on this thread. Life got in the way. I've still done nearly no studying this whole year. I miss it and also don't have the bandwidth. Just the way it's going to be for a while. I won't be targeting the JLPT this year for obvious reasons.

A belated congrats on passing the TOPIK level 1 exam! Best of luck on the next exam you take.

Thank you, omachi. I hope life gets better and easier so that you feel like you have the energy to get back to whatever challenges seem worthwhile and exciting.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #68 on: September 12, 2019, 02:28:52 PM »
I'd love to hear more updates from people.

Here are a couple updates on my language progress.

Japanese: I passed the Pro test on mygengo.com. I have never done enough on the site to make it worth paying a fee to get money out, but it was nice to have the validation of passing and the prospect of taking jobs that pay at a higher rate. There never seems to be much work available there, so it's more of a theoretical sideline than a real one.

Lately I'm using Japanese a bit at work (reading, listening, and speaking) and occasionally watching some anime without subtitles. I've got a couple small unpaid literary translations to work on as well.

Korean: I was burnt out on Korean for a long time. I pushed myself long enough to get through the TOPIK, but I'm only just barely coming around again to the idea of studying. I kept up with the Memrise flashcards in the interim, so at least I've solidified that vocabulary. I'm currently doing Duolingo and the Memrise reviews, and I'm occasionally watching Korean dramas.

Today I went looking for a new textbook and borrowed Intermediate College Korean in paper before realising it had a site with text and audio clips. It's designed to be a second-year university course, but I think I'll give it a try. (Edit to note that the URL for the audio for the first lesson is not quite right. You can download it if you change the end bit to lesson1-text.mp3 insteaad of lesson01-text.mp3 )
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 02:41:29 PM by Kwill »