Weeks ago, our family began studying the Korean language. Our studies began methodically, learning Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Fortunately, King Sejong developed Hangul to be accessible to all, not only the wealthy and learned upper classes. Indeed, with 14 basic consonants and 10 basic vowels, one can learn Hangul quickly with effort.
We have been relying heavily on free online videos, including those from talktomeinkorean.com, koreanclass101.com, and sweetandtastytv.com. [S] has taken to watching free clips from Dino Lingo, which she refers to “the monkeys and dinosaurs” video. I would be more impressed with that content if she used the Korean word for monkeys, but it’s a start. Regardless of the amount of quality free content, we’ve found it necessary to supplement our learning with workbooks and a useful phrases dictionary. We also listen to Yonhap News streaming and try to read as much Korean as possible.
Our goal, at the beginning of this endeavor, was to be able to speak with our son. I love you. Mother, father, sister. Are you hungry? What hurts? Further, we wanted to be able to communicate with our son’s foster mother, the adoption agency workers, and our court interpreter (yes, the irony). But our quest for knowledge has turned into something else. It’s become a deep rooted desire to learn a second language. To be proficient. To be able to understand and be understood.
Studies have demonstrated that learning a second language strengthens and develops the brain, just as push-ups strengthen and develop our muscles. I’m not certain that’s the case. Indeed, each morning, I sit with my cup of coffee and attempt to write the Korean alphabet. Inevitably, I omit between one to three consonants. Upon correction, I start again. My learning method? It’s simple and modeled after [S]’s. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.