Knee deep in advanced grammar and it has me thinking

Or is ankle deep? I’m only just now starting the third chapter.

So far, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. For some reason I was under the impression that “advanced” anything would just be difficult. I’ve only learned a total of 8 grammar points in the last few days and if anything, I find that Korean is getting easier. Not because Korean is an easy language for a native English speaker to learn, but because I’ve exposed my brain to Korean for so long that it was bound to feel easier at some point, right?

Then something hit me. Beginner’s grammar is, of course, easy. Intermediate grammar is a bit more complex, but the grammar points themselves aren’t difficult to comprehend, so why would advanced grammar be any different? When I finished my intimidate level Darakwon book last year and opened up my first intermediate level reading, I struggled. Not because I didn’t know the words, not because I didn’t know the grammar, but because I wasn’t able to fully understand the sentences in front of me. Korean, just like English, has complex sentences that use dependent clauses, independent clauses, relative clauses etc which I found difficult to read.

Will I encounter the same problem once I learn advanced grammar?

This is what I’ve been thinking about these past few days. I would like to be an advanced student of Korean after finishing this book, however my writing ability, and reading ability likely are not up to par. So, to fix this, I’ve decided to hire a tutor. I plan on meeting with this tutor only a few hours a week to help me with my writing (I’m currently only focusing on writing to the intermediate level since I still need to learn advanced grammar) and my my reading. You might be wondering, “What about listening and speaking?”. To me, these are less important because I’ve always been a visual learner so my listening and speaking abilities have always been affect by my writing and reading abilities.

I once read that a language can only be taught up to a certain point. While most of a language can be explained and summarized nicely in a book and given to those who aim to learn it, a large chunk of it remains highly ambiguous. I felt this ambiguity when I crossed the threshold from beginner’s reading to intermediate. Without black and white “rules” my writing and reading abilities got better, but they aren’t as good as I’d like them to be.

For the past few months everything that I read or hear in English automatically gets translated to Korean in my head. I’m confident in the accuracy of these translates about 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time, my brain knows it has the information there to translate it, but doesn’t know exactly how the sentence would work. I’m stuck in the awkward phase of language learning, if there is such a thing. Language puberty anyone?



By Charm

I am an American living in Korea, teaching English to Korean students, and Korean to myself. Topik here I come!

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