Hangul Love For the love of Korean


Advanced Korean and a whole lot of nope

Remember when I was so excited to start my new advanced grammar book?

That high did not last that long. Ever since I started the Darakwon series, I could blow through several grammar points in a few hours and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of my studying. I think I finished the first grammar book in like 25 days or something. The intermediate book took me about 3 months because I took a 4 week break from all things Korean. When I fist started this book I thought it wasn’t that bad. Many of the grammar points are just the advanced versions of ones I’d previously learned.


Then I got to 길래….


The first time I’d ever seen this grammar point was in the 150 Essential Topik Grammar book. According to that book 길래 is yet another version of ‘so’ in Korean. “That’s easy to remember”, I thought. I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong. This grammar point is akin to ‘so’ in Korean but it also has like 10 different rules for it. I had been on a roll until I stumbled upon 길래. Turning the page and seeing all of those grammar rules made me want to stop. Nope. Nope. Nope. This is probably how people feel when learning English. Even at the basic level it has a ton of grammar rules. Up until 길래, I felt so lucky learning Korean because it has so few exclusions and rules with grammar. Everything is (or was) so straight forward.


It should be expected for grammar to have a lot of rules at the advanced level but I didn’t take to well to it. So, I quit. Well took a break for a few days. I felt like my mind just needed to rest. Ideally I’d like to finish the grammar book by the end of May, but I’m now thinking I need to be more realistic and push that back to the end of June. It’s only 83 or so grammar points, and I’ve finished about 30 (I think) so 6 weeks to finish the remaining ones doesn’t seem like too much work considering I can make it through a few chapters in one sitting. Only on days that I’m feeling really lucky, though.




P.S. I should have the other part of my website up and running this weekend. I went to Seoul yesterday and despite spending a lot of money I still have a couple things that I need. Odds and ends type stuff which is annoying. However, I will be adding to my video collection (does 2 vids qualify as a collection? lol) by next weekend. I’m really excited to be doing things with Korean the way I want to!

Good explanation for particles 은/는, 이/가 and 을/를

I understand the use of the object marker 을/를 but since I first started studying Korean, I could never understand the difference between 은/는 and 이/가. I stumbled across this explanation of it on Lang-8 while milling around.This is the best explanation so far that I’ve seen for it. While I’m still a little fuzzy on using them in the same sentence, this definitely helps me understand them separately. It was written by audioslave on Lang-8. You can find the original here.

을/를 are object markers. They go after the object of the sentence 
피자를 먹었어요. I ate pizza. 
In this sentence, the noun “pizza” is the object of the verb, so we use the object marker 를. 

은/는 are topic markers. They go after the topic of the sentence. 
나는 행복해요. I am happy. 
In this sentence, “I” am the /topic of the sentence, so we use the topic marker 는. 

이/가 are subject markers. They go after the subject of the sentence. 
사과가 너무 비싸요. Apples are very expensive. 

This is where it becomes a little tricky. You may have noticed that 이/가 & 은/는 are similar in usage. This is true. Context is important to knowing which one to use (for sentences with no context, like, on an exam or something, ask your teacher what they prefer. my professor told us to use 은/는 on exams when there’s no context, but others may want something else). The best way I can describe the difference between the two is to compare it to English. 

If I am telling a story in English, I introduce something to the story by using “a/an.” This is similar to 이/가. After I’ve introduced the subject, I can continue to talk about it using “the” (it becomes the topic of conversation). This is similar to 은/는. If I want to change the topic, I introduce something new using “a/an” again. For example: 

“There was [a] woman.” (woman = subject.) 
“[The] woman had long hair.” (woman = topic.) 
“[The] woman had [a] best friend.” (woman = topic, best friend = new subject; its possible to have multiple subjects and topics within one sentence) 
“[The] best friend… (best friend = subject) 

A good way to check if you’ve used the particles correctly is to remember that nouns followed by 을/를 always have an ACTION VERB at the end of the sentence. The nouns followed by 은/는 (or 이/가) will have an ADJECTIVE (or 이다/아니다 & 있다/없다) at the end of the sentence. 

Hope this helps! <3


If you understand the use of ‘a/an’ versus ‘the’ in English, this could definitely help you in understanding the use of these four particles. I’m hope it benefits you as much as it did me.




charm youtube

Introducting my Youtube channel Hangul Love

Hello everyone!

So remember that surprise I was alluding to? This is it!


I have had this channel “officially” for a few weeks now, but I haven’t been able to do much with it because I didn’t have a good microphone. I’d ordered one Gmarket and got slapped with it “delayed shipping” message that really set me back a bit. However, I now have my microphone so I uploaded my first video. You can view it here. If you like it, please subscribe!

Are you surprised?

Actually, I’ve always wanted to own a website and have my own Youtube channel, so this is all really exciting for me. I’ve spent so much time searching around the internet for Korean-related sites and videos and after not finding exactly what I was looking for I decided to make some of my own. The first series is called Bit of Korean. I decided to create this series for native English speaking teachers (or any person) living in Korea. It will include very useful Korean expressions that I’ve learned while living in Korea. They have helped make my life in Korea go just a little bit more smoothly. I will be uploading the first video for that soon (it’s converting as I type).

The surprises don’t end there.

Within the next week or so, I will be starting another series. You’ll just have to wait to see what that is about, but trust me,  you won’t be disappoint (at least I hope not, lol).

I’m going to run now. My dog is begging me to take her on a walk. I should be uploading my first Bit of Korean video within 1.5 hours of making this post. Stay tuned.



Update: Ick! It took me longer than I anticipated to get everything set up. But it’s finally set up. Like my Korean notebooks, all of my blogging will be kept separately as well. The Bit of Korean series can be found here  and you can see the very first video for it here on YouTube. I really appreciate the few people who follow me. Thanks again!



My Korean Notebooks

To date, I have 4 notebooks for Korean. I started my notebook collection 1.5 years ago when I decided to really start studying Korean. I keep notebooks with all the information in it because I like to have things in one place rather than spread across many books.


My main notebook is my Korean grammar notebook. It is by far the largest notebook that I have. It has 400 pages in it. This notebook includes all of the grammar I have learned from the beginning to end. When you open it up to the first page, it starts with 은/는 and ends currently at (느)ㄴ 답시고. So right now I have about 255 grammar points in one place so that I can review at any time. I write down the grammar point, highlight it, then the explanation and all of its conjugation form. Then I write down all the practice problems and answers. Despite having several Korean books, I’ve never written in any of them as I remember more when I write it all down. Here are so more photos from inside my grammar book:

My notebook index. Its handwritten. It goes for 400 pages so I can easily find stuff. 

This is an inside page of my notebook.

Notice my handwritten numbers and highlighted grammar and practice problems. I probably could have saved so time had I just written stuff in the Darakwon books, but I like it this way.



Next up is my vocabulary book…..



This is my second favorite book for Korean. I’ve written nearly 4000 or so words in this book. Many people seem to discourage writing words down in a list and memorizing them that way because many people think that reading them in context is better. I agree, it’s easier to recall them in context, however, there are many words I’ve been able to learn long before ever reading them in context anywhere. A while ago I bought a vocabulary book with 3500 words in it and learned all of the parts of the body (inside and out) which wouldn’t come up in reading until the advanced level. Also, I can just carry this around if I want to review words rather than all the readings that include them. Here is a shot from my vocabulary book:

This a a page from the beginning part of my vocabulary book. 

I usually write down all of the words in groups. I number them to keep track of how many words or in a group and how many I study a day. I used to memorize about 50 or so a day when I was studying for the intermediate Topik.

20140430_102227Next in line there is my writing notebook…



Many people struggle with Korean writing and before the test I decided it was a good idea to start practicing writing. I put all of my writings in one notebook so that I could review them at anytime or look up sentence patterns and grammar I’d previously written but couldn’t remember well. I think that anyone studying Korean seriously should have a writing-only notebook. I love being able too look back on the things I’ve written and to see how far my writing abilities have come. Here is the inside:

This is a previous essay I’ve written. 

I usually write the essay in English. Then, I translate it into Korean. Then I have my tutor look at it and correct it. I re-write the entire essay and include all of the corrections in read so I can visually see what I did wrong and how many mistakes there were.



My final notebook is my Korean grammar practice book.



I started this book a long time ago. When I first started reviewing the beginner’s Darakwon book, I wanted to make sure I knew how to use all of the grammar points in that book correctly. So I started a new notebook in which I would just make practice sentences for every type of grammar conjugation. This helped me to practice grammar which helped me to remember them.


So those are my 4 notebooks. I like to keep everything Korean related in its own separate place so that I can focus on each part at one time. If I did combine them, I think it would be very hard to find stuff without leafing through half of the notebook. Also, if I want to practice writing and I need to look up the correct form of a grammar point I can do it easily with another book rather than trying to do it within the same. To some people, 4 notebooks might seem like a lot, but it sure beats the 6 books that I found all of this information in.

How do you keep track of your Korean studying?




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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?



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