Woorden KO App

Over the last several months I’ve build an impressive collection of Korean language learning apps on my iPhone. So over the next several posts I’ll be sharing them with you.

Right now the one I use the most is Woorden KO. This is no longer free (bummer!). If you are taking a class or working with an independent teacher, this app with be worth the purchase price.

It allows you to build flashcards on your phone. It’s been invaluable to me lately since our current Korean school teacher gives us a vocabulary test every week. Now I just put in the words and phrases into the app, and my flashcards are with me wherever I go.

I love the convenience of it and that certainly encourages me to study more.


KinderKalendars: A Daily Language Help

This is a cool product that I’ve just learned about from another adoptive mom who homeschools. They are Kinder Kalendars, which is a calendar that teaches basic words and phrases each day. And they have a Korean-English calendar.

Language included are: days of the week, months, colors, animals, numbers, and some basic phrases.

You can check them out at: http://kinderkal.com/home_main.html

What a great daily prompt to help a family learn Korean! Thanks for sharing, Jen!

Korable Blocks for Language Learning

IMG_2668Given that our whole family is now learning the Korean language, I’m always looking for language helps. And since my son is multi-sensory learner, the more hands-on the language help is the better. So I was very excited when I stumbled across Korable Blocks (http://korableblock.bigcartel.com/) on Pinterest.

I was even more excited when Korable agreed to send me a review set of the blocks for me to share with you. The set that I’m reviewing includes the four blocks, a storage tray, a book of words, and a brochure about using the blocks. The book includes 120 words that you can build using the blocks, including animals, numbers, directions, and more.

While the idea is simple, I have to say I think these blocks are really cool! There are so many ways to use them that several levels of language learners can benefit from the blocks.

True beginners, like my husband, can role the blocks like dice and practice saying the sound of the character that they rolled. The font used for the Korean characters is modern, which is also good for my husband who struggles with confusing some of the characters when they are written this way.

Then for our son, who is just learning to read in Korean, they are great because he can build words using the book and practice reading them. Building the words helps make a solid connection between the Korean characters and their sounds.

For me, a more intermediate beginner, I can quiz myself by trying to build as many words as I can with the blocks.

With the one product, you can do alphabet drills, reading drills, speed drills, and much more. Since we homeschool, I see us getting a lot of use out of these Korable Blocks. The product is well-made and, I believe, will stand up to use.

So if you’re looking for a fun way to practice Korean, check them out. In addition to this set, their other products include a set of just the four blocks (having two sets of blocks would enable you to build many more Korean words) and a matching game with words in Korean and English.

Korean for Every Day

Just came across this blog that has some Korean phrases you can use everyday. My goal is to add more Korean into our everyday conversations so I was Googling looking for ideas when I came across this site.

We actually already use a lot of these phrases each day. Again I would caution against relying too heavy on the romanized Korean. It is very hard to correctly pronounce Korean words just looking at the romanization. The Korean alphabet is only 24 characters and pretty phonetic. It’s not hard to learn and I highly recommend starting with the alphabet.

Hopefully this site can help you add more Korean words and phrases to your day too. 🙂


Cursing in Korean

Let’s just start this post by saying that I don’t condone cursing. In my 20s I went through a stage during which I cursed like a sailor, as they say. But now I think there is too much rich vocabulary out there to be limited to curse words. That being said, sometimes it’s a good thing to know these words, if for no other reason than to avoid them.

Tonight, for instance, if I had been educated in Korean cursing, I would have avoid a situation that was very awkward for our new exchange student. Here is how it went down. He mentioned that he had 18 text messages after a short school trip and I tried to say “18” using the Sino-Korean numbers.

He freaked out and was waving his hands, telling me to stop. I said, “I was just trying to say …” and he interrupted me to say stop again. Well, he wouldn’t tell me what the word was I was saying, only that it was a really bad word.

So I went to Facebook and thankfully a friend who knows Korean enlightened me. She suggested that if we’re going to have teenage Korean exchange students living in our house, we might want to familiarize ourselves with some of the more unsavory words of the language. Especially since many of the words are fine in context of a conversation, but are curse words when used alone.

My friend recommended this web site: www.coolslang.com/in/korean/index.php for my education in such matters.

Of course, as I learn things about the Korean language or culture, I must share them with you, my readers. I can’t say “Enjoy” but at least by enlightened by the information. 🙂

Introduction to Korean for Kids by Dino Lingo

A random Internet search several weeks ago yielded a new Korean language resource for kids (or beginners). But when I inquired about the products, they hadn’t been released yet. Now the products are ready for release and last week I received a review copy of the first DVD in the series, as well as the flashcards and posters that accompany it. The language program is byDino Lingo, and it can be found at DinoLingo.com.

The first DVD in the series (and the one I reviewed) is the Greetings and Animals Set. Included are the DVD (which is about 35 minutes long), a poster, a fold-out booklet, flashcards, calendar, and a parents’ guide.

In the DVD animal names are repeated in Korean several times, as are common phrases such as hello, how are you, and it is a …. . Toward the end of the video there are little quizzes with the phrase “what is this” asked in Korean and time given for the child to answer.

My son is 6 and really enjoyed the DVD. Some of the cartoons are little silly, which of course he loved. The flashcards are business-card size, which I actually like since they are easier to take with us and quiz while we’re out and about.

The two things I would suggest are more for the parents than the kids. Since the program is recommended for children 7 and under, the written stuff likely won’t affect the kids. First, I would suggest that the Parents’ Guide include a list of the phrases and greetings that are said throughout the DVD. The poster, flashcards, etc., are wonderful at sharing the words for the animals, but unless you’re already familiar with the Korean language, you might be a little lost when the greetings and phrases are being said. UPDATE: I’ve just heard back from Dino Lingo that are working on adding a guide for the greetings and phrases. Yeah!

Second, I don’t believe the romanization follows the current standard for putting Korean sounds into English. This isn’t a huge bother for me because I personally hate romanization and think it hinders rather than helps in learning Korean since so many of the sounds just don’t correctly translate. In these products all of the animal names are written in hangul on every piece. So my suggestion is to ignore the romanization on the products; they’ll likely not help you pronounce the words and phrases correctly in Korean.

What will help is the pronunciation, which is right on (I double checked with our Korean exchange student). And if you stick with reviewing the hangul as you listen, you’ll begin to pick up the sounds that each hangul character makes.

The Greetings and Animals DVD set is available now and can be purchased from the web site DinoLingo.com. The full set (5 DVDs) should be released in the a few weeks, according to the company.

So if you’re looking for a Korean language resource, you should check it out. You can see a clip from the Greetings and Animals DVD on the web site. I’m sure our son will be watching this one regularly.

Awesome Alphabet Site

So our family is loving Korean school. We go every Saturday and learn about language and culture. And our teacher shares some wonderful Internet resources with us that I’ll, in turn, pass along to you.

Today I’m sharing an alphabet pronunciation site that our teacher assigned us as homework. And it’s an excellent resource! [Edited: The original site shared by our teacher was removed when Yahoo pulled out of Korea in 2012. But the following is a link shared by a reader (Thanks, Ryan Wiley!) that does basically the same thing.] Heres’ the link: http://www.speakoutlanguages.com/korean-chart/

On this site you’ll find a chart of the Korean alphabet. Along the top are the vowels; along the left side are the consonants. When you click on any of the letters, you’ll hear it pronounced by a native speaker. Then the interior of the chart combines the consonant and vowels sounds. Those combinations are what makes this chart great since some of the sounds change when they are said together.

This is a great place to start if you’re learning the language or just good practice if you’re well on the way with your Korean.

Pororo Flashcard App

Well, since I’ve recently joined the land connected to apps (previously I had a phone that would only make calls; so 20th century 🙂 ), I’m getting to enjoy some of the language resources that my friends have been using. As I continue to get connected, I’ll share what I’m finding, but if you have kids, this one is a must.

The iPhone app is Korean language flashcards featuring Pororo. You can find it by searching for this 뽀로로 첫 낱말놀이 in the app store.

It goes over several categories of words, like words used at home, colors, animals, and numbers. It’s really cute and I think most younger kids would enjoy using it. A great way to begin building a vocabulary.

Learn Korean with Professor Oh (formerly AnyongKorea.com)

Right now I have more language resources than I have time to use, but I’m still excited when I find new avenues for learning Korean. You just never know when a new system or site will really work for your learning style.

This site, http://sweetandtastytv.com/shows/learnkoreanwithprofessoroh/, looks like it’s just getting started. There are four lessons on there, as of this post, but it starts with the basic alphabet and works up from there.

That may be a little too basic for me at this point, but it might be good for a refresher or for helping Little Man learn the alphabet. I also think it’s good to hear as many different people speak Korean as possible, just to get used to hearing variations in pronounciation.

Anyway, it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re just starting your Korean language journey. As with yesterday’s post, I want to give credit where it’s due. I again found this one through http://curdsandkimchi.blogspot.com/, who highlighted one of the videos in a recent post.

Inspiration for Learning Korean

Learning a second language is hard, no doubt about it. And sometimes when you’re older (say 40) it seems like you’ll never get past a certain point (for me it’s particles and verb tenses; ugh!). And while this story is about a teenager, I have to say it inspired me to press on and work harder.

Alyssa Donovan of Maine (a caucasian American) recently became the first person of non-Korean descent to place in a Korean speech contest, which was hosted by the U.S. National Association for Korean Schools in Burlingame, California. An attempt to impress a boy in junior high prompted Alyssa to learn Korean, but instead has resulted in a life-changing path for her. She’s been studying since 2007 and, as you can see from the video I link to below, she has far surpassed my preschool Korean (and I started studying in 2006).

Of course, you can’t compare learning timelines or paths since everyone is different (and obviously as a 40-year-old part-time working, full-time homeschooling mother of a 5-year-old I must, at times, have other priorities). Still I found Alyssa’s story encouraging. I believe with all my heart that knowing the Korean language will be important and beneficial to Little Man. And who better to help him along the way than his mom.

So read more about Alyssa and watch the video at the links below. And 화이팅 Korean language learners!

Here’s a write-up about Alyssa from the Chosun Ilbo. http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/07/18/2011071800463.html

And this mention on the KoreAm site includes a video of Alyssa speaking Korean, in case you had any doubts about the story. http://iamkoream.com/maine-teen-first-non-korean-to-place-in-korean-speech-contest/