So, I’ve had three lessons already with Mandarin. I think I will take about 10 of these lessons in total. I really want to continue with Japanese as this is my strongest language, but learning Chinese in this way is really eye opening! And I’ve made so many wonderful Chinese friends. I really want to be able to connect with them just a little bit in their native tongue once in a while. It’s very important to me.
Of course, I’m in Korea now and I’ve taught my Korean tutor how to do TPRS! It feels a little different than my Mandarin Chinese tutor who is wicked experienced in teaching with TPRS. But, my Korean lessons are working wonderfully nonetheless.
I am a little worried that we go a bit too fast. I partially blame this on myself, because I have so much energy and interest in learning the language that it gives my tutor a false sense that I always comprehend everything right after she says it. So I’ve trained myself to make sure I ask when I don’t quite understand something.
Also, in Korean, I am answering the story questions in full sentences. This is how it was when I taught her how to teach with “Where Are Your Keys” (WAYK). Although this is great for practice, my Chinese tutor tells me to answer simply because it’s more natural and she’s providing the input so I don’t have to worry too much about output. (And her method works wonders as the Chinese flows out naturally! )
The thing is, Korean grammar is quite different and therefore complex for a native English speaker. Although Korean is very similar to Japanese grammatically, there are still many differences. However through the simple stories we created, we used very complex grammar. I would get lots of repetition and practice with this grammar, although I wish I heard it from the native speaker more often. She does help pull me through it with gestures and by mouthing the words.
How did it go today? Swimmingly! Here’s the chalkboard:
As you can see, we separated the words on the chalkboard. We first listed a few nouns, some verbs, and then a few adjectives. After, we added a few adverbs and conjunctions to expand the questions and story.
Here is the story we made together:
예전에 스파이더맨과 여자가 있었어요.
그들은 서로 좋아했었어요.
그런데 어느날 배트맨이 나타났어요.
배트맨은 완벽한 여자를 보고 첫눈에 반했어요.
그래서 배트맨과 스파이더맨은 서로 싸우게됐어요.
그래서 그녀는 그녀자신을 (저기자신을) 위해서 음식을 만들기 시작했어요.
And here is my own translation of the story:
Once upon a time, there was spiderman and a woman.
They liked each other.
And then one day Batman appeared.
Batman had a hard crush on that perfect woman at first sight.
And so Batman and Spiderman began to fight with each other.
She became sad.
And so she started to make food for herself.
Pretty cool eh? Next week I think we’ll expand on this story. My tutor said she was worried the story was too short, but honestly It is a lot of new vocabulary and grammar for me.
Japanese study plans
I’ve decided to study for one of the JLPT exams. My Japanese tutor told me that I need to study lots of vocabulary, and she is totally right. I know lots of different vocabulary, but I can’t always remember them off the top of my head. I don’t know it all explicitly either. So, I’ll be doing a few things to remedy this. I will be building flashcards with memory hooks for the vocab using vocab lists for the JLPT. I will start with 5 then work my way up to 4 and then 3. I think I’ll stop at 3 because I know my level of Japanese still isn’t quite there. So I’ll aim to take the N3 in July. I’ll go over vocabulary by making stories with my tutor in much the same way as TPRS.
Although I know lots of Japanese, it just doesn’t flow off the tongue as quickly as I would like at times. This is where the TPRS comes in. It makes the language effortless because we are focused deeply on a few things, rather than trying to rush through a bunch of unrelated words and phrases. The story unites the words and phrases in it’s own world that my mind can easily store. That’s why TPRS is so beautiful.
TPRS isn’t the end all be all. But it is a very powerful approach to teaching and learning. This approach has a lot of science and research backing it up. I wish more language teachers were aware of this method and could experience the results first hand. All I can do is share my story. 🙂