Posted in Korean Learning Log, Weekly/Daily Goals

Language Goals for 2018

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

mks-hanja-cover_2_1024x1024For 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!

23 thoughts on “Language Goals for 2018

  1. Practice makes perfect! I’m still in the hangul/patchim/grammer stages, so I’m not ready for conversation but even hearing it being spoken with proper pronunciation is training your brain to speak better. If you’re able, try to attempt”immersion” by listening to podcasts or music too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve also heard that even just passively listening to a foreign language being spoken is helpful. I listen to a lot of Korean music and watch a lot of Korean television, so hopefully my brain is soaking all of that passive listening up haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I notice if I go through the lyrics of a song and then listen to it passively I hear it so much better. It’s best to make the content comprehensible instead of passively mass listening to gibberish

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha, “passively mass listening to gibberish”. Thankfully, in most cases I’m able to understand at least 75% of a song’s lyrics without looking them up (with the exception of fast-paced rap, I suppose), so I’m not just listening to gibberish with a nice beat, but I do enjoy learning the lyrics of my favorite songs. I agree that after you read the lyrics to a song, those lyrics magically sound so much clearer whenever you listen to it later.


      3. Well I mention gibberish in case you’re one of those people that listen to news or podcast in the background. For most songs if I love it and listen it to a hundred times there will be parts I cannot catch or figure out despite listening to it so many times but when I see the lyrics things click or I have to look up the word for things to click. Of course I would’ve gotten more benefit if I looked up the lyrics soooner but that’s usually not the case

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you considered remembering the hanzi??

    I lvodd remeber the kanji?

    And how do you read? My strategy is circle all unknown words/grammar with a Reddit pen while reading then look up the stuff on naver translate as I mentioned in my post. I finally deodorized the books that came early 207 and I read one chapter of a book written by kim yong ha and i was engrossed. At least half the time in reading I’m like I know this word that is not super common and easy because it’s in my anki deck !! It was gratifying to see the fruits of my anki labor

    I was contemplating if I wanted to write in the books or not because before I was circling stuff I print outs of articles or short stories. But then I just pulled the trigger because book darts just wouldn’t cut it because the number of unknown words is too much. Book darts work fine for Japanese books that I read that I also have the ebook version for ( for anki card generating)

    On a quick look I circle anywhere from 0 words to 2 words to 9 words on a page so without having looked anything up I followed the chapter just fine.

    Speaking of anki that’s the only data I collect and keep track of.

    My only goal for 2018 is to mass generate my anki cards because I think fluency ultimate comes down a numbers game as in vocabulary and I know how to use anki to best benefit myself.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. What do you mean by remembering the hanzi? Like remembering how to write them? Or how to read them? Or both?

      How I read depends on what I’m reading, to be honest. When I’m reading an 이야기 lesson, I open it in Adobe reader on my computer, highlight all the words I don’t know while I read, and then look them up on Naver, similar to you. I then put them in a flashcard deck on Memrise, which is similar to Anki.

      I don’t like to write in books, so when I read a book, I either make a list on my computer or on paper of all the words I don’t know and their definitions, or I just look them up on Naver and don’t write them down when I’m feeling lazy.

      I agree with you that fluency is dependent on knowledge of vocabulary. Grammar only gets you so far if you don’t have the words to make sentences with haha. The more words you know, the more you can say and understand.


      1. Sorry, I always assume everyone knows about RTK (remember the kanji). Remember the hanzi is the hanzi version of that and it only teaches you how to write the hanzi via making up stories with the radicals. I mention it because it enables you to learn how to write it and remember the associated meaning as opposed to “brute-force” memorizing hanja sound with associated meaning (which I heard someone try to do on anki which didn’t work lol).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I agree that using mnemonic devices to help memorize characters can be really helpful. Memorizing by brute force has never helped me actually retain any knowledge long-term.

        Sounds like you’ve got a good underlining system going on. I really like the idea of the marking words that you encounter more than one time.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s for practical reasons since I don’t waste time looking up the same word multiple times and also when I look up the words I am rereading the sentences so I can finally get the complete picture and the context is the whole reason why I’m looking up the word in the first place.


      4. I have the same feeling about writing in books because I’ve read over 140 books in japanese and i never marked them even though they’re all used and i bought most of them for $1 at book-off. now I use my phone’s camera and take pictures or use book darts IF I also have the ebook. but for korean i’m at the point of f it i ain’t wasting unnecessary time. i initially tried using book darts but then i realized i would save much more time by underlining the words in red instead (it actually doesn’t look that bad lol. i think it would if you circled the word or if the number of unknown words was high)… the reason is parsing text in japanese (kanji, hiragana, katakana) is much easier for the purpose of looking up words and adding to the anki deck.


      5. I was thinking of different strategies for underlining to save myself more time like squiggly line for grammar thing or straight line for unknown word or underline and write 2 next to the line if it’s the second instance of the unknown word since i look up the words all at once on a later day.


  3. BY the way have you tried changing you inner dialogue to korean? I don’t have anyone to talk to in japanese but me trying to think in japanese and changing my inner dialogue to japanese and talking to myself in japanese has enabled me to come a long way with production over the years. if you’re one of those people that have a tendency to talk to themselves, do it in korean!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely talk to myself a lot lol, and I usually talk to myself in Korean, mixed in with random English words that I don’t know the Korean definition for. But for some reason it’s always so much easier to talk to myself than it is to talk to other people, probably because of the self-imposed pressure I put on myself.


      1. YOU could also practice your korean production by forcing yourself to either talk around the unknown word or describe the unknown word rather than resorting to english. in fact, i think being very comfortable and good and fast at using basic constructions will impress native speakers more than using uncommon words/grammar constructions.


  4. It’s almost like you wrote down my goals for this year (except maybe for 2 and 3 as I can already recognize a fair amount of Hanja thanks to my previous Mandarin study).

    Lang-8 is definitely worth it. I managed to do it every day for almost a full month last year, just by typing in the wordpress app while commuting to work and then copy pasting it into lang-8 for correction before publication.

    Do you have a particular Italki teacher to recommend (and what is her/his rate?). I have set myself to go for a free-talking session every other day first thing in the morning (5000 KRW for 30 minutes). A bit like the morning work out 🙂

    Webtoons in book format are great, I’ve discovered it couple of months ago. With the pictures it really helps the reading without having to look up every word (even though my perfectionism forces me to do it eventually anyhow).

    Right now, I’m using Beelinguapp as an alternative to Italki as the app allows for an easy transcript of the story I’m reading/listening to. Drawback, it’s mostly fairytales with rather specific vocabulary.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So far I haven’t tried any actual teachers — I found a free language exchange partner through the community. As a broke graduate student, I tend to focus on the free resources available to me. Let me know if you find any good teachers or tutors, though! I am considering doing some paid lessons though italki this summer when I have a part-time job.


  5. Ahhh thanks for the follow, because I’m excited to discover your blog! Definitely like these goals, and I’m also using that hanja text! Here’s to us conquering some hanja and other language-learning goals this year 🙂 정말 반갑네요!

    Liked by 1 person

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