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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The sum of all my korean knowledge

As of yesterday, I completed my final book of Korean studying. In total, in 2 yeas, I went through:

-"Teach Yourself Korean" (purchased in the USA")
-"Korean through English 1"
-"Korean through English 2"(this series was real crap, so I never used 3, though I bought it)
-"Korean for Foreigners: Elementary 2" (Having already finished 3 books, I skipped Elementary 1)
-"Korean for Foreigners: Intermediate 1"
-"Korean for Foreigners: Intermediate 2"
-I've also made good use of my "Korean Grammar for International Learners" book, which has some sweet intensive grammar stuff, but the workbook is pretty boring, so I only use it as a reference.
-I've dabbled in "How Koreans Talk," that book of expressions, less than 10 of which I've set up to randomly generate on top of the blog.
-I've also dabbled in my bilingual versions of Sarte's Nausea and Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
Just some quick calculations lead me to the conclusion that I covered 153 chapters over 100 weeks. Assuming each chapter took an hour (usually they don't take that long), that's 150 hours of studying in 100 weeks, or 90 minutes of studying a week. Once I started the "Korean for Foreigners" series, I started inputting the words and grammar into spreadsheets on my computer, so that I could access them with a flashcard program. The program statistics tell me that I have added over 3000 cards, which I'm guessing are about 90% vocabulary and 10% grammar. That means I have managed to absorb some 300 grammatical formations as well as 2700 or so words. However, that's not counting all the more basic words (personal pronouns, prepositions, foods, fruits, places, items, etc) that I had learned before I started the Korean for Foreigners books, as well as other stuff I've learned since, but which I haven't included in the spreadsheets. So, estimating upwards, maybe I've learned about 375 grammar forms and 4000 words. Over a period of 700 days, that means a new piece of grammar every 2 days and about 6 words every day.

Having done these calculations, next time someone asks me why I wasted my time and put so much effort into studying Korean, I will happily tell them that they probably spend more time watching TV and movies in two months than I have studying Korean in two years.

Other things I can think of that take about 90 minutes a week:
-cooking and eating breakfast
-walking around the store because you don't know how to ask where the bathroom is and can't bear to ask via charades, or when you want someone to make color copies instead of black and white, or you want your tuna kimbap with no mayo, etc etc etc
-those times when for some reason or other you have to converse with Koreans who can't speak English, so you wind up spending an implausible amount of time just to figure out that they saw you at the grocery store one time a few months back.

Please submit other meaningless or bothersome experiences that take up a similar amount of time. I'm sure all of you exceedingly clever people can think up some other stuff that will help me feel vindicated.