It’s already a week into the new year, but I’m just now getting around to posting my language learning goals for 2018. Even though I mentioned in my last post that my goals tend to change a lot throughout the year and that’s why I didn’t meet my original goals for 2017, I still enjoy the process of setting goals. It’s fun to have something to work towards throughout the year, and I enjoy looking back through old posts and seeing what goals were important to me in times past.
That said, here are my goals for the remaining 51 weeks of the year:
1. Keep better records of my studying
I love keeping records of what specific studying I do each day, so that I can look back months and years later and see what I was doing with my Korean learning (and life in general). The problem with this is that I’m horrible at keeping records of anything — I’m that person who buys a planner and then only uses it for a week and a half before leaving it to quietly collect dust in the corner of my room. I have a fresh new planner for 2018 and I’m hoping to keep better track of my life/schoolwork/appointments and especially my language studying habits this year.
2. Finish 재미있는 한국어 (Fun! Fun! Korean) Level 3 textbook/workbook
If that sounds familiar, that’s because this was a goal that I didn’t accomplish from last year. While I’m not a huge fan of the setup of this textbook, and I already am familiar with most of the grammar, I still might as well get my money’s worth out of the book by going through the remaining dialogues and exercises for vocabulary and listening/reading practice. I’m currently about halfway through the textbook (I think I’m on chapter 7 or 8 out of 15).
3. Study more Hanja
For a well-developed argument about why Hanja (Chinese-based characters) are important to learn, you can read Sofie’s convincing article here. In years past I have done woefully little Hanja studying, but I do know a little bit based on my 3 years of Mandarin study. This past Christmas my parents bought me TTMIK’s book Your First Hanja Guide, and I’m hoping to study a few characters here and there throughout the year.
4. Read as much as possible
One of the best ways to build your vocabulary in any language (including your native language) is to read as much as possible, and to read a variety of material. This year I specifically want to finish reading the remaining two novels I own – the Korean version of the second Harry Potter book, and a kid’s chapter book I picked up in Seoul called 아빠와 배트맨 (My Dad and Batman). I’m also planning on reading more webtoons (currently I’m reading 다이스/Dice on Naver) as well as TTMIK’s Iyagi series. Speaking of which…
5. Study more 이야기/Iyagi lessons
Throughout the past year and a half I have continually been a fan of Talk to Me in Korean’s Iyagi series, which consists of an audio and written version of relatively short (5-10 minutes) natural dialogues that the crew members have.
By the end of last year I studied all the way through Iyagi #50, and I would love to finish all of Season 1 by the end of the year. Season 1 contains 148 total Iyagi lessons, so that means I need to study 98 more throughout 2018. (More mediocre goal: if I make it through #100 I will be rather satisfied — that’s around 1 per week).
6. Write some Korean every day
This year I’m really focused on having more Korean output present in my studies. My goal is to write a little bit of Korean every day, whether it’s having a conversation via text with my Korean friends or writing a short 일기/diary on a site like lang-8 or italki to be corrected.
7. Speak more Korean!!!
I saved my most desperate goal for last. I’ve made huge leaps and bounds in the amount of Korean in my daily life by finding both Korean friends at my university as well as a Korean Skyping partner via italki, but the amount of Korean speaking that I do is still very minimal. It’s not very satisfying to do all of this studying in reading, listening, and reading if when I try to actually form a spoken sentence on the fly, it comes out as a stammering blubber. (Okay, I’m not that bad. Usually.)
My status as a shy perfectionist really makes this goal difficult (and is the reason why my Korean speaking output still isn’t that impressive even though I have Korean friends and a language exchange partner). My goal is to get out of my comfort zone and practice a lot more. My friends won’t think I’m stupid or make fun of me if I make the occasional mistake. Probably.
So those are my seven goals for the new year. Hopefully I will be better at achieving these goals than I was last year! This year’s goals are more broad, so I probably will be more successful. Time will tell!