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Archive for the ‘Korean’ Category

Experiment – Korean vowels as exclamations

This video is an experiment of mine. I realized that Korean vowels sound like English exclamations. Or more properly, English/American vocalizations.

I’m horribly camera shy, so the odds of me posting another video are slim to “미쳤어?”

Also, I’m bad at Korean, so this is more for fun then teaching. 🙂



Korean through English Book 1 Review

Front Cover

Front Cover

There are many things I like about Korean through English Book 1 (KtE) , but there are also some things I dislike.  But before I get through all of that, let me talk about the structure of the book itself.


KtE is laid out very logically:

  • Preface (background of why it was created/updated)
  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

  • Lesson Details Table (The details are Title, Key Points, Grammar, Vocabulary & Expressions, Pronunciation, and Information)

    Lesson Details

    Lesson Details

  • Charts with technical details on sound formation (my own heading for it)

    sound formation charts

    sound formation charts

  • Four lessons on 한글:
    • Basic Letters
    • Tense and Aspirated Consonants
    • Compound Vowels
    • Consonants at the Bottom (받침)
  • 21 General Lessons
  • 3 Appendices
    • Essay “The Korean Language: An Informal Introduction for English Speakers” – Including references
    • Answer Key
    • Vocabulary Index
    • Grammar Index
  • Audio CD (25 tracks, a little over an hour total)

Lesson Outline

Each of the general lessons follows a specific outline and contains lots of callouts and notes:

  • Vocabulary
  • Conversation
  • Grammatical Forms (usually 3 to 6)
  • Exercise (usually 3)
  • Information (normally culture information about Korea, including a 3 step recipe for bulgogi)



There is a lot to like about KtE.

  • Tons and tons of notes, stickies and callouts, especially at the beginning.
  • All new words are called out in a list on the side bar (even if they aren’t part of the official vocabulary list)
  • It includes information that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  This might be the most useful thing ever. A chart of what letters actually sound like when they are at the bottom of a syllable.  It is awesome.



  • Whenever there is something a bit weird about pronunciation, it calls it out in a side bar, call out or note. (e.g., 비빔밥 sounds like 비빔빱)
  •  It has a vocabulary index. I love that I can just look up a word for the definition or to see how to spell it or simply to make it easier to make flashcards or update my homemade dictionary.
  • It has a grammar index. I love being able to just go to the lesson when I’m trying to figure something out.
  • It doesn’t look boring.
  • It isn’t dry.


  • There is no romanization. At all. Not even in the first four lessons when you are learning 한글. It says this sounds like that and then gives you vocal words. While this does prevent you from being on dependent on a crutch, sometimes a crutch is needed. I have the worst problem remembering how to pronounce the diphthongs, and sometimes I need a crutch, or at least an ace bandage.
  • Cost: It was $25 on Amazon.


I have two dislikes; the 2nd is much bigger then the 1st.

  • It isn’t stand alone. I can’t imagine using only this to learn Korean.  While they say the goal is for this to be used in self-study, you really need a teacher or at the very least other books, video, audio.  The information it has is good, but sometimes it is missing vital pieces of the puzzle,

which brings me to my big #1 annoyance and the reason I wrote this review.

  • Numbers are one of the hardest Korean concepts for me to understand. I just don’t get it, but I keep trying.  Lesson 9 had this on counters.


How to use Counters

Counter chart

  • This was the related exercise:
Counter exercise

Counter exercise

  • Look at #3. I couldn’t figure out what the counter would be for a cup of coffee. My best guess was the general counter, 개.
    The answer was  .
    What the heck. Where did that come from? I checked the index to see if I missed it. Nope, not there either. KtE-16 IMG_0047

So I had no idea what else 잔 is used for.   If I had been starting out in Korean using just this book, I would probably have stopped right there just from frustration.  Thankfully, I’m not a new learner and I have the internet at my fingertips. I googled it & according to wikipedia – it is a counter for cups & glasses. But the point is, I shouldn’t have had to google it.

1 Sentence Review

KtE is a good book to be used a supplement to other materials or as part of a class-room course, but I wouldn’t recommend that it be used on its own.


I’ve included a Gallery with a random sampling of pages and callouts so you can get an idea if you like the format.

My 2nd childhood and 1st FangirlHood

This is the story about how I slowly  became a fangirl.

When I was a teenager, I was never a fangirl. Other girls my age would listen to New Kids on the Block and I would think they were weird for having posters on the wall of a boyband.  (They thought I was weird for listening to the Carpenters.) I didn’t really have a normal childhood in that way, I didn’t obsess over TV shows or actors or musicians. I read books (library), and read books and read books and watched musicals and some science fiction. My family also didn’t have a lot of money, so I never wanted anything expensive (except my Samantha Doll – which I got as an adult – long story) because I knew I wouldn’t get it. (99% of my toys came from yard sales.) As a teenager even tho I loved the Musical Newsies, I knew I couldn’t afford the soundtrack on my $1/hr babysitting money, so I made my own by holding up my tape recorder to the TV. I was an adult before I had anything that I didn’t create related to “modern” popculture. Don’t get me wrong, I was Ok (most of the time) with being a decade of so behind my “friends” in the toy department. I had the public library full of books. Nancy Drew was more important to me then some boy band.

As I became an adult and a geek, I found myself wanting things related to stuff I liked. So I bought soundtracks and science fiction toys. Not too long ago, my bedroom was decorated with Star Trek and (few) Doctor Who & Star Wars toys & posters.  It wasn’t a collection just a few odds & ends.

A long time ago on FaceBook, I discovered an App called Pieces of Flair. I had fun creating virtual pins and was inspired to create real ones. So I went to Zazzle (don’t recommend) and created custom mini-magnets on Zazzle related to my favorite lesser-known shows & books (primarily sci-fi) related. I decorated the cabinets at work with them for a couple years and then moved them to my fridge at home.  I was well on my way to becoming a collector.

I discovered kdramas and through them kpop a few years ago. I fell in love with You’re Beautiful and wanted anything I could find. Which wasn’t much. Shipping from Korea is very costly, so much of the “oh that’s so cool. I want.” stuff that I see online has to stay in Korea.  I was able to go to Korea last year. And between that trip and online shopping, I have been able to pick of a few things, mostly You’re Beautiful with some FTIsland mixed in for good measure.

I even had enough stuff to redecorate my bedroom (well, 1/2 of it – I can’t get rid of all my Star Trek/Doctor Who stuff). Between that and checking off my qualities on Kim JongKook’s DreamGirl list, I have become a fangirl. But with no feasible way to supply my obsession, what’s a girl to do?

Easy. I bought what I had been wanting for years. A Button maker. The 1st day I had it, I realized my printer wasn’t working, so I cannibalized TV Guides for Star Trek, StarGate and other buttons. I also converted various Korea-related stickers into buttons.  Since then, I have designed and created loads of You’re Beautiful buttons and then thrown in my other favorites like Faith, Pasta, King2Hearts, Rooftop Prince, Queen In-Hyun’s Man, Best Love, and of course, Running Man.

I’ve been surprised to see how many things can make very cool buttons. I’ve even created buttons from You’re Beautiful trading card wrappers that I couldn’t bear to throw away. Yesterday, I moved most of my collection to the classic button display – a jean jacket.  I still have lots more ideas for buttons and new dramas come out all the time, so I see no end to this latest manifestation of my new fangirlhood.

Non Kdrama Buttons

ANJell TC Wrapper Buttons

Not bad for trading card wrappers.

Button Jacket


Acknowledge Song JiHyo campaign

Since at least February (, I have been asking to update their Running Man page to show Song JiHyo as a member of Running Man. She is nowhere to be seen in the cast photo. Instead, they show Song JoongKi.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Song JoongKi, but he is no longer a member of the Running Man cast and Song JiHyo is. If DramaFever can only include one Song in the cast photo, it should be her. She’s earned it. She is the Ace.

I don’t know why this mistake occurred because DramaFever doesn’t even have rights to episodes with Song JoongKi as a member. I hate to believe that the same family name is the reason, or that JoongKi looks a bit feminine. Or even worse that DramaFever is showing a bit of bias by only showing the male members (and former members) in the cast photo.

Whatever the reason for the mistake, it needs to be fixed, soon. I would say now, but I bet they have to get rights to a use a different image – so they need to get busy and tell us they are trying to fix it.

I’m starting a HashTag campaign. Tweet Dramafever ( with the Hashtag #AcknowledgeSongJiHyo – if enough of us raise our voices…err… tweets, then maybe they will listen and acknowledge that Song JiHyo is Running Man’s Ace, but I’ll settle for her just being in the cast photo as she deserves.
Update: 1 day later and Dramafever changed the photo. Woohoo. My one woman campaign worked when asking didn’t. 🙂


Running Man Dream

Please forgive any grammatical/spelling errors. I have to get this down so I don’t forget and then I have to get ready for work! This dream happened during the 1/2 awake/dozing stage just before real sleep. If I had a normal dream last night, I don’t remember it.

My dream opens with my BFF and I at the Asian Corner Mall in Charlotte. (My Fav. church is there and were on our way to church.) Info: this mall was kinda run-down (pot-lakes instead of pot-holes) when I was last there so Running Man would never go there unless they were lost and saw the Korean grocery store sign.

We are walking into the mall when I hear “Excuse Me.” We turn around and my hands go over my mouth. “Chol-ma/ChinCha?” (I’m not writing Korean here because it takes too long and the phonetics are bad, but oh well.) In front of me are HaHa and Yoo JaeSuk. (HaHa was the one who had spoken). Yoo JaeSuk was especially taken back by the white girl’s (attempts at) Korean.

I bow and say “Yoo JaeSuk Nim, HaHa Shi…” and then I see Kim JongKook coming up behind them a few steps away. “JongKook Oppa.” (I actually saw the graphics of his face turning red – so I think i was also watching the ep as well as being in it)

I had to explain to them (in broken Korean/English) as they teased JongKook that HaHa was younger then I so he couldn’t be an Oppa. (I didn’t tell them I didn’t know how to address someone older than I because I thought I couldn’t use Shi so I called Yoo JaeSuk Nim) Then I remembered BFF, and we introduced her as being from Brazil (she is – just originally from the US). “You know Korean food?” “dae” JaeSuk then asked me to participate in a mission. I look at my watch (which I don’t wear), and said I had a few minutes. I asked for a sec. “Cho Ko Min Yo” and I asked BFF to hold my Bible and told her she could go in or wait. They were surprised that there was a church in the mall (I’m pretty sure I invited them to church). Anyway, back to the Mission. They had to find a white person (or non-Asian), which is why they were excited to see me and BFF because they couldn’t find anyone. I’m not sure why, but we’ll go with it. I was the 1st one they asked.

The 1st part was they had to piggy-back me to the mission location and they asked who I wanted to do it. “JongKook Oppa because I’m kinda heavy.” (only by Korean standards would I be heavy, but OK) Apparently, my skirt was very full that day because I don’t remember having a wardrobe malfunction. 😀 nor did my wild hair (it wasn’t in The Braid) cause a problem. i actually don’t remember the ride.

We arrive at the mission location and the mission (I think there were 2) is for me to identify 5 Korean foods by picture (I’m not sure what the guys job were) .

SamGyeTang – “oh I’m hungry for SamGyeTang”

Bulgogi – “that bulgogi looks so good”

Seaweed soup – I apparently knew the Korea word for it (can’t remember now), but I struggled with pronunciation.

Galbi – I just say Galbi

and i can’t remember the 5th one. I think it was cubed radish kimchi, but I couldn’t remember the korean for it so I called it radish kimchi and it passed. They won in 1 try and were way ahead of everyone else.

They did the whole jumping around thing and hugging thing. and got ready to leave, but the crew had to do something so we talked for a couple mins and they asked me if I had been to Korea and I said for short vacation. They (I think HaHa) also asked if there was anything I wanted from Korea if they won the game because of me. I think HaHa said “We Win. We send you present. You want something Korean?’ I said “Yes, But I don’t know how much it costs so I wouldn’t want to ask – it’s really pretty tho.” HaHa says and gets a dirty look (I think), something along the line that the 3 of them will pay for it together, so it won’t be that expensive. I can see they think I’m gonna ask for a designer bag or something fancy and I show them a picture of the ladybug suitcase that I happen to have on my phone that I’m still kicking myself about not buying or even asking how much it was was.”The big one, but you don’t have to. I just like it.” I think they borrow my phone and texted it to a PD.

Anyway, the dream ends there. I don’t know if they won, and I don’t know if they sent me the suitcase.
I vaguely remember signing paperwork & giving a PD my full name and address.Bits and pieces keep coming back to me:

I’m pretty sure I remember JongKook singing Loveable and I had to sing along and also getting their autographs. 😀 (at some point I said, Pan-e-a-yo)
I kinda remember addressing JaeSuk’s VJ by name, which is odd because I have no idea how to pronounce it.
I also remember writing out my name in Hangul 캐렌, because they were making 개 jokes and linking me to Gary. (Side Note: I wish I knew why Gary Shi was supposed to be funny.)

The funniest part of this whole dream is I’m totally camera shy.

I hope the dream continues tonight 🙂

Sub Rating: Running Man

My new favorite Korean show is Running Man. It isn’t a kdrama – it is a variety show. It is just hilarious. With variety shows, the important part of subs is how the onscreen text is subbed because sometimes (alot of times) crucial bits of information are only text – not audio. I’ve used 3 different subbing sites/groups and here is my review.

Pro: Authorized site so I would assume that eventually someone in power will know that people outside Korea love/watch Running Man.
Also, fast subs for new eps.

Con: Only some onscreen text is subbed. Pain in the …neck to find the episode you want because Dramafever numbers eps completely wrong (they don’t have the 1st 2 years or so, so they start with 1). The air date & guests are listed is in the show description, but the new Dramafever UI (hate it) only allows the Dramafever ep number to be shown in the episode picker, so having the date is pointless. It took me at least 5 times to find ep. 118. I’ve suggested that they put the # in the description, but I don’t think they did it.

Pro: Excellent subs. Not only is onscreen text subbed, but it is formatted to match the Korean text. even the background music is identified. Available on DailyMotion, FaceBook and for download.

Con: Good subs & type setting takes time so it isn’t exactly a simulcast. Also, sometimes they overwrite the Korean text with the English text, so if you want to read the Korean you can’t, probably not a big deal. Unauthorized fan-subs so at any moment a meanie could issue a take down notice.


Pro: It is a knockoff of iSubs.

Con: It is a poor knockoff of iSubs. Not all the onscreen text is subbed, and the subs aren’t very good. And when I say it is a knock-off of iSubs, I’ve started watching a episode and thought that iSubs had an off day and then noticed the different logo. Complete plagiarism of iSubs’ typesetting style.


iSubs all the way. Best subs out there. If you have to watch a new ep right away, then use dramafever, but go back later and see what you missed.

If you don’t use the links from (sign up to get access), then google carefully for the ep you want. DailyMotion has a neat thing where you can see what playlists the video you are watching is in so you can watch all the parts one after the other. I’ve done that, and then seen what other playlists that person created. It works well for me.

Be careful on DailyMotion that you don’t get a K-showNow video accidentally. You’ll know in a few minutes. And don’t use unauthorized sites that make money off of iSubs.

Oh warning on DailyMotion, it has started putting ads in the middle of a video and not just between. I’ve had a problem with the picture not coming back afterwards, so I decided to watch on Firefox with a video ad blocker. I’ve no problems with watching ads between videos, but not in the middle where it causes the video to fail.