Foreign Language Tip #9 | Write Down What You Don’t Understand When It’s Said

“…sometimes, even if they do speak slowly, you still aren’t quite understanding. Maybe they’re using words you’re unfamiliar with or maybe you’re catching the familiar words but can’t seem to put the sentence together…If you’re in a position to ask this, i.e., “tutoring session”, “with friends”, etc. then request this if you’re still not understanding.”

It may seem a bit ridiculous to ask someone to write down something that you didn’t fully understand when they said it. No matter how slowly it was said, how clearly it was pronounced, or even how many more words added to help you grasp the meaning of the sentence, sometimes there are things said that we don’t understand when said but understand when we see them written down.

Even in your native tongue, you may have noticed that there are times you have to see things in order to understand what it means. Maybe someone pronounced it differently than you do. i.e., “Gyro” or they said it incorrectly and you need to see it in order to understand what was said or maybe you’ve never even heard that word before! Whatever the reason, it’ll be helpful to ask to see it first.

Take for example this sentence: 그치 | “Right; Am I right?”

I saw a video of this where people literally had no idea what was actually being said. They thought it was something entirely different. But when it was spelled out, it made the word make a lot more sense.

나는 불고기 와 소주 를 원하는. | “I want some bulgogi and soju.”

If you can only understand a key word in this but not all of it, though you could theoretically guess at the meaning, it may not be 100% easy to understand what was said to you. If the speaker is in a position to write it down so you can see it, ask them to do so.

The point is, you want to be able to understand but sometimes that means writing things down as well to get the point.

So keep practicing and don’t get discouraged!


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