Every few or several years, I decide to study a new language. When I was young, it was an easy way to get an “A” in school. Now, studying a new language is part of my Neuron Retention Program. And I have selected Korean as the guardian of my neurons.
Korean poses a few physical challenges for me. For one thing, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, my voice-recognition software, cannot interface with Hangul, the Korean alphabet. I suppose it could, if I said “press key X.” for every key to correspond to the template, but that is too attenuated from the thought flow. So, when I e-mail a Korean friend, wishing to impress him with my brilliant progress, I write the Korean by hand, scan it, crop it into a manageable JPEG, and insert it where needed in the note. The triumph of my life is that, having studied Greek and Hebrew, I now have terrible handwriting in four alphabets.
I am beginning Korean with an enthusiasm with which I have never studied another language. For one thing, I will be able to use it immediately with local friends and in local stores. I have people who can help me and are very happy and eager to do so. For another thing, everything about the language: the sounds, the writing, and the organization so far as I can perceive at this early stage, communicate an efficient beauty that strongly attracts me.
While awaiting the arrival of my Rosetta Stone Korean Level I course, I have been working with this website and a set of Declan’s Korean flashcards that have audio, written, and word recognition training. I downloaded the flashcards from a link at the above website, and have them for a 15-day free trial. Rosetta Stone will replace them but they will last until it arrives. I have been learning some very basic phrases, and between the grammar of the Learning Korean Language website and the flashcards, I am already able to expound profound ideas and opinions as I walk about the house. “There is a cat.” “I have a pencil.” “Long time, no see.” “See you again.” “Thank you.” Usually I am intoning these deep thoughts to the Cat, but lately I have brought my husband in on it, too. I hope to stir his interest to join me in learning Korean. Korean is very infectious, and I have no doubt he’ll catch it. He’ll need it when we attend a Korean church.
My aspiration for the year is to be able to read a Korean 1st grade level primer. One of my friends who is in Korea right now is looking for something appropriate for me. Unfortunately, since my Cat’s health keeps me under house arrest and my own health poses limitations as well, travel is not on the day’s horizon. By immersing myself in Korean, I am entering a new world while remaining within my own.
Oh the things that I’ll learn,
and the people I’ll meet,
and to think that Korean is my Mulberry Street….