Korean study update 1 – Harry Potter progress

Mike Grist Korean study, Life Leave a Comment

My language study is an ever-evolving beast. For the last year I took 3 terms of Korean study at SOAS university, with a class and a teacher. It was definitely good, but after 3 terms I was starting to feel a little left behind. I needed some time to absorb everything I’d learned, and to see it in context multiple times.

How to achieve that?

Su’s sister brought me a lot of baby study books when they came over to visit. That was very generous and I thought an awesome chance – but actually each one is not so grammatical, uses weird baby Korean that is not the in dictionary, and wasnt really helping.

So I turned to my old standby. Back in my first year of Japan I took this same approach – I bought a copy of Harry Potter in Japanese. I thought Id be reading it in no time, but Japanese characters (like Chinese ideograms) are far too opaque. Even looking them up in the dictionary is basically impossible unless you already kind of know what they mean.

So, I never got beyond page 1.

Now I am trying that with Korean. It is a much easier to read language – as in, you can read it even if you dont know what it means. And boy, am I reading! Who knew the opening pages of Harry Potter spent so much time with Mr. and Mrs. Dursley? It is agonizing with difficult, convoluted grammar and vocab.

However, now McGonaggle and Dumbledore have arrived. They are discussing leaving Harry with the Dursleys. To be precise, I am up to:

– page 27

I have memorised:

– 3 A4 pages of new vocab

And it is fun. It’s getting more fun, now I’m not just following Mr. Dursley for days on end, going to Grunnings (his drill company) and watching people in capes wander round the streets, with lots of owls swooping.

Pretty soon we may even meet Harry!

I had to get this book shipped from America! It cost $40. When I move up to book 2, I’ll have to get it sent direct from Korean family, as it seems no one has that in stock in the Western world.

This a typical page spread. I normally do this study on the train. Most vocabulary is new to me. But, it’s getting better.

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