[KS] another failed Koreanist?
mongwon77 at yahoo.com.au
Wed Apr 16 00:57:43 EDT 2003
I am neither a heritage learner, a man of God or war nor someone motivated by lucrative financial incentives but have pursued the sometimes difficult path of Korean for some 4 years now. I cannot say I've attained anything more than a moderate level of proficiency (and could perhaps be defined a failure). I have thoroughly enjoyed my time studying and would recommend it to any such learner despite the difficulties. Three years I spent at an Australian University followed by one year at Yonsei University's Korean Language institute in Seoul. Definately the time spent in Korea yielded greater results than the time spent studying in my home country. Therefore I would recommend that anyone designing a course for "non-heritage" learners make study abroad in Korea a compulsory part of the course (preferably early on, maybe after 1 or 2 years of study). Studying abroad in USA, Australia - whereever - would be greatly enhanced by spending time in direct exposure to Korean language and society. Also, I am not sure why this debate is so often seen in such terms as success and failure and why so much time has been spent discussing the difficulty involved in learning Korean. Sure learning a foreign language like Korean is never going to be easy. But I would prefer to see language learning as something that has inherent value no matter which "level" one achieves. Why not promote Korean learning as something "interesting"? In my experience of learning Korean in both Australia and Korea, the interesting nature of learning learning itself, the cultural insights this brings, the ability to communite across different cultures, no matter how limited this is -- all these things are reasons and ends in themselves to learn Korean. Of course the economic and poltical value of learning Korean as well as its relative difficulty will have an impact on learners and prospective learners. However, let's not forget that the process itself, even for a non-heritage learner, can actually be interesting and rewarding - despite and perhaps because of its "difficulty".
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