Foreign Language Tip 2 (#17) | I Can Read Hangul… But I Don’t Understand It

Welcome back to the Foreign Language Tip series! I have been working diligently to bring you guys some more tips and videos! 

Here’s the scenario, you’ve learned 한글, you can read and recognize every 자모 but… you have no idea what you just read. It’s all still really foreign! It’s like reading a full page of a book and not remotely understanding a word of it because you weren’t paying attention to what you read.

Have you ever run into this problem?

I deal with this regularly and what I’ve found that will help you are these three tips below!

Force Yourself to Focus

It’s really easy to get so lost in what you’re reading that you forget that you actually are reading. How does this happen? Well, you start concentrating more on how to pronounce things and then your mind starts to wonder. When your mind begins wondering, you may still have kept your place all the way to the end, but you don’t remember any of what you read.

To overcome this, you have to force yourself to focus. When you feel yourself becoming distracted, take a break. Save your place and take a breather. After you regroup, pick back up where you left off.

Worry Less about Pronunciation 

Chances are, you’re not reading this article aloud to anyone. So the probability of you reading a Korean sample, article, book, etc aloud to anyone while you’re studying is very slim too. With that said, there’s really no need to worry about how you’re pronouncing what you’re reading because the whole point is comprehension. Instead of “reading to speak”, try reading to comprehend or understand more.

How do you do this? If you were following last week’s “Kpop Teaches Korean Too” posts, you may have been able to pick up some tips on how to translate your favorite kpop songs without searching the web for one. You can use that same method to comprehend what you’re reading. You don’t want to translate your reading sample, but you do want to make sure you understand what you’re reading.

How?

  1. Read the full sentence and pick out words you understand to grasp the meaning of what you’re reading
  2. Write down words that you’ve never seen before, words you don’t know the meaning of, or grammar concepts that may seem confusing and research them

Because you’re not translating, you don’t need to worry too much about putting the full sentence together. You just want to make sure you can recognize these words and concepts again in the future.

Check the Difficulty Level

Often times, we may read and not understand what we read because the difficulty level is too high, so make sure you’re reading on your level. The words and grammar concepts are designed to match up with your understanding.

So be honest with yourself when choosing reading material.

If you’re looking for books or articles you can read in Korean, check out the links below! Some of these are free and some you have to pay for, but this is just to give you an idea of things you can read.

Children’s books in Hangul [amazon]

Naver webtoons | http://comic.naver.com/webtoon/weekday.nhn

Naver news | http://news.naver.com/

Web Comics | http://koreancomics.blogspot.com/

  • 24 in total with vocabulary on the side for each comic
  • Comes with an English version

Young Adult Novels/Short Stories [amazon]

Hanbooks.com

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