14 Days of the German Volume Method for Korean

I thought I’d post an update again, even though I posted one on Friday.

German Volume Update for Korean

I did the calculations and it looks like I’ve been doing a little under 2 hours a day on average. Last night I did 152 minutes which includes half an hour using audacity and practicing describing family members.

Family members have different names depending on their relation to you. It’s not as crazy as Chinese. You don’t just have an older brother. If you’re a woman you have an 오빠 (older brother). If you’re a man your older borther is called 형 (or 행 where I’m living)

I knew all of this before of course from living here and studying Korean before. But I couldn’t remember simple things like 여동생 (younger sister). Probably because I just don’t hear it very often and If I do hear it, I wouldn’t be able to recognize it unless the context was very apparent. Also Koreans just use first names for younger siblings usually, whereas they use “big brother” and “big sister” a lot more often.

Using Pimsleur for Korean again

I had purchased the Pimsleur Korean 1 and 2 on ITunes about 10 months ago with the intention of using it, but at that time I was doing too many other things such as training a tutor to do TPRS, and lots of extensive reading in Japanese among other things.

I had used Pimsleur for Japanese with great results. During that time I was in Boston going to weekly Meetups for the wonderful Japanese/English group. I was also using a textbook called Japanese from Zero. It’s probably one of the best textbooks out there as it has lots of examples, exercises, decent explanations, and it doesn’t make you feel stupid. This is put out by a guy who’s a translator in Japan and also runs his own school and website.

Aaahh the nostalgia is really setting in. This was fall of 2009/ winter of 2010.

Anyways, back to Korean. I’ll be using Pimsleur Korean again starting today. It makes sense to me to use this with what I’m doing now in the German Volume method. I really have to nail the basics down and build up that foundation. Especially the functional foundation. I’m still pointing and pantomiming for silly stuff that I should know how to say because I can’t quite remember the right words. Not good. Example “I’ve got to run to the ATM because I left my cash card at home, I’ll be right back.” this is when I’m in the supermarket about to pay for groceries.

Where am I in the book?

I’ve just finished the 3rd chapter in a 20 chapter elementary textbook. Around chapter ten I’ll start to implement the right brain techniques. I don’t have enough of a base to use the techniques yet. Even though I’ve studied Korean before and know quite a bit, I’ll hold off until chapter 10 for now. I really need to concentrate on the basics before I do anything else.

Chapter 4 is 어디에갑니까? This is about going places, directions, and describing what you’re going to do. It’s still very simple and basic. The language is still very honorific. Honestly I need more practice with the honorific cuz I just don’t get enough exposure to that unless I’m watching the news in Korean. (way above my level)

I’ll probably be working with the dialogues tonight in Audacity like I did before. It proved very helpful last time I did it.

What happened to Hangul Type Attack?

I’ve got to put up the typing app again. It’s been down for way too long. I just didn’t keep it up to date and let it go. Can’t do that. It was helping too many people. There are other applications out there, but they were all complicated and/or not free to use. My app was very simple. It got you to ramp up your muscle memory and increase your speed. People were asking for whole words instead of just the character elements and timed sentences and all sorts of junk.

I say just pick up some Korean text, switch your keyboard to Korean mode and start typing once you’ve got the keys in your muscle memory. That’s how I did it. You need to get off the training wheels eventually.

Okay, so that’s another project I have to get back up and running. Stay tuned for more updates on that.

Diet and Exercise

Well, It’s too early to post updates on that. I will say that the water-fast is going well. But I only just started. Stay tuned.

 

Tracking Diet and Exercise

I feel like crap right now. This always happens during the winter when I’m tired and cold and crave things. I’ve been eating out of the convenience store for many days while also eating healthy foods. I feel my tummy and neck are bloated and chubby. It’s really uncomfortable when I sit down and feel my thighs and belly.

I’ve decided to track all of my food here on this blog. I hope it will be helpful as I feel I can’t really lie on this blog.

What am I doing? I’m going to first get rid of the sweet cravings I have for high processed junk food. Some of that stuff wasn’t vegan. I’ll be doing a water fast for at least a day. I want to try for three days to make sure I cleanse myself. I don’t want to be on it for too long.

Then I’m going to follow a nutritarian diet promoted by Dr. Furhman for 8 weeks.

I also I’ll be attending the gym at least 3 times per week. I’ll start out with light workouts and weight lifting with half of what I think I can lift for 4 weeks. Then, I’ll kick it up to what I think I can lift for another 4 weeks.

I’ll be tracking it daily in a notebook and taking pictures on my phone. I can’t let what happens to me every winter get the best of me.

After the 8 weeks of dieting, I’ll still go to the gym, and perhaps fall back on a more Mc Dougall diet by introducing sweet potatoes and rice and other whole food starches into the diet.

Tracking is essential, as I see how it’s playing a role in my language learning efforts right now.

12 days of the German Volume Method with Korean

My hands don’t tire so much from writing, and I’m writing faster now. I’m just filling up pages and pages of notes fast from practice.

One thing that has really helped me realize what I’m doing is more exact tracking. I’m tracking time more precisely now. And I can see how much I have improved thus far. it seems that as I learn new things, I’m slower, and then I get faster as I over learn it. This would seem obvious, but tracking it helps me stay motivated.

It also helps me see what 3 hours feels like and what 1 hour and 2 minutes feels like. Today I’m proud to say I did 3 hours and 4 minutes of korean study. That excludes the little breaks I took in between. So it’s 184 minutes straight!

I know what it feels like, and I know what I need to do to take that to 4 hours. That’s the goal. I want to fill up at least 4 hours of straight study a day.

And yes, it’s hard. It’s extremely intensive to do what I’m doing for 4 hours straight every day. But I can do it. I see myself doing it. I feel the foundation slowly getting stronger. Though I’m only on chapter 3 still. After 12 days, I guess that’s not bad. A chapter every 4 days. But I should admit that everyday was not the same amount of time so a day is not accurate enough. You can’t simply go “Did I study today?” That is terrible.

The one thing I feel great about is that I’ve been keeping it up everyday for at least an hour.

When I get my Japanese books in, I feel confident that I can keep up with the study for both languages. That is as long as I am tracking tightly what I’m doing. I’m learning a lot about myself and my habits lately just by tracking.

And now it’s time to go to sleep as I see myself babbling on and on in circles…

 

Korean with German Volume Method; Sixth day update.

Okay, so I’m using the german volume method. I still have some planning to do on my end. I’ve been doing this for six straight days. my tracking has been good, but it needs to be better. I see myself taking lots of breaks and getting distractions here and there.

I also haven’t been using Audacity much at all, as I just want to get through these sentences. But then I started to do something. I started to read aloud when I was writing. I can only imagine this is good. Because I caught myself pronouncing vowels wrong and getting tongue tied at times. then I just stopped to work it out in my mouth and in my head.

Zebra Mechanical Pencil Orange

My hands hurt and now my eyes hurt a bit. I bought a good mechanical pencil with a thick grip so my hand doesn’t hurt so much when I write for so long. It’s working. I’m not sure if it’s the pencil or if it’s because my hand is getting stronger. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

First thing I need to do is to set up a goal for myself. I haven’t really thought about this. Should I have a time or page count? Or even a chapter count?

I think with a time limit I could get lazy and drag out the time. Therefore I should have both a time and page number goal.

I think I can do 3 pages and 4 hours of Korean study during the week until I get my Japanese textbooks. That’s including taping my voice and translating the playback. That’s about 90 pages a month.

So I would finish this textbook in 2 months? Maybe I should push myself to go through more pages… I’m no sure yet. We’ll see how well I do. Maybe I’ll get faster the more I do it.

This is why more exact measuring is so crucial. I need to see where I am and where I need to be. But most importantly I need to focus on the processes while I track my progress. Tracking really helps me keep on track. 🙂

After day 4 of Learning Korean with the German Volume Method

It feels like I’m starting all over again. I’m using a elementary textbook produced by the Sungkyun Language Institute. “Easy to Learn Korean 1”

Easy To Learn Korean 1

I bought this book almost 11 months ago with 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. My plan was to study all six books and get really fluent… and then I didn’t do that.

Yep. I know. I failed. I lost interest fast and I thought the textbooks were really boring. Also these books were made for classroom instruction because it has very little English translation.

I honestly just didn’t know what to do with the books. I made flashcards and then that got boring and I never studied from them. I lost sight of the process of studying from them. And also I didn’t see myself improving very much at all doing it on my own.

I did manage to rush through 11 chapters in the book to the part where they talk about being on the telephone. And then… 迷ってしまった〜

Now with the German Volume method, this book proves to be very handy. I’m not rushing through the chapters to see how many I can get through in a day. I’m not putting the example sentences on flash cards like I was doing.

German Volume means over learning. Repeating like crazy till you build those reflexes. You build that strong foundation. And it’s working out pretty well.

German Volume Method: WritingI noticed that I wasn’t always very fast especially at some very basic words and phrases.

In this method we write a lot. I can’t tell you how much or what times. Again, It’s not my method to give away for free. I will tell you that we write a lot and my hand hurts. And, It’s more than just writing too.

 

It really is truly an elite method. The more I do it, the more motivated I am. This is day 4.

I started on November 12th. I still need to keep better time tracking of the method. And I need to set up the process a little bit better.

More to come on my progress!

A first look at KanjiPro

KanjiPro and me

I just got KanjiPro in the mail a few days ago, and I must say it is really awesome! It came all the way from New Zealand. The book is written by Michael Mackinven.

It feels like they put a lot of hard work into making a quality book for learning Japanese Kanji.

My first thoughts was that is was going to be Heisig’s Remembering The Kanji 1 but even better. And as it is very similar, it isn’t like Heisig’s RTK1 for a few reasons;

1. Sequence of Kanji to be learned

Heisig’s RTK is in a logical order according to how the radicals build off of each other. The learning order is very important for remembering how the kanji are put together. Example; 日, 昌 and 晶 are grouped together in order so it’s easy to learn.  Some would argue it’s a bad sequence because some kanji that is learned at the beginning isn’t very useful. 昌 is not very commonly seen.

KanjiPro is grouped into grade levels that Japanese kids will learn in school. The kanji you first learn are much more commonly used. And if you read kids books, you will see most of the kanji that you learn in the beginning. Such kanji are 右, 雨 and 手.

Honestly, I’d rather learn with the order of Heisig’s RTK 1. It just seems so much better for learning how to write and remember. That’s just my opinion. We’ll see what happens when I actually go through the KanjiPro book.

2. Memory techniques.

Heisig’s RTK1 uses mnemonic stories, kanji order, and he tells you to use flashcards. All of this is to remember a single unique keyword to represent the meaning of the kanji. These keywords get used in other kanji. Sometimes the keyword is kind of awkward. But, it works to get you to remember the one single meaning to make it simple. Simple is good!

KanjiPro uses a whole bunch of stuff to help you memorize. Although the sequence isn’t logical, they still use either a pictograph or a mnemonics. They use keywords in a short phrase. And finally they use a story with the keywords just like RTK1. They also have the onyomi and kunyomi (Chinese and Japanese-derived reading) as well as two example words that you should memorize. Unfortunately, there are no mnemonics for the readings.

3. Instructions on how to use the book.

Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji 1’s instructions are very clear on how to go about learning it. You use flashcards (some people use computer flashcards such as spaced repetition system), and you make stories. You first look at the story and see if you can draw it. Then you look at the back of the card. Done.

KanjiPro’s is a little different. The author suggests four rungs on a ladder; Warm up, Incubator, Consolidation and Revision. I won’t go into too much detail, but it basically suggests to first look at it, then memorize the mnemonic stories or pictographs. After that You want to write the Kanji and say the mnemonic in your head as you write it. Finally, you want to learn the radicals and study the sample words to memorize the kanji readings.

At this point KanjiPro seems all very complicated. They give you all a lot of information at once to focus on one kanji. Whereas in Remembering the Kanji, the whole thing fits together as one rolling story.

KanjiPro Unboxed.Which is better KanjiPro or Remembering the Kanji?

I don’t know! I can’t make a fair assessment, yet.

I have only gone through RTK 1 before which is why I’m very familiar with many kanji, however I did not consistently review and continue to study Japanese after that so therefore, I have forgotten a lot of the stories from Heisig’s book.

Also, I have not gone through the KanjiPro book to learn all of the Kanji, so I can’t make a completely fair judgement on it’s effectiveness. I will post an update once I get started. It could prove to be more powerful than RTK 1.

But, only because of the kanji order and focusing on too many things do I think it will not be the case. We’ll see. Maybe having more things to attach to the kanji will prove to be an asset.

How will I use KanjiPro?

They mention KanjiPro Flashcards and Software, which I tried to look for online. If someone knows where I could find them, It would be helpful. However, I think I’ll make my own system. I’ll probably go through the book and repeat it several times writing out the kanji and reading the mnemonic as well as incorporating some TPR for myself.

I’ll keep you posted!

German Volume Method (Eastern Bloc Volume Method)

I’ve been waiting for the German Volume Method to finally be disclosed by Christophe Clugston.

I finally got it last night. I read through it this morning and reading through it one more time tonight.

I will not go over any specifics of the method as those interested will have to buy the PDF for the man’s hard work. And I must say he did put a lot of time and effort into this. It’s not a bunch of anecdotes and useless rants like some of the other guys who will sell you a PDF on how to learn languages. This is actually a legitimate well researched plan.

As he says, it is heavily a left-brain approach with lots of over-learning. He goes into greater detail about why it’s important to go through the over-learning. It’s so essential to develop the language as a reflex so you can cut down on processing time. This is a hard thing accomplish with other self study methods.

I think TPRS works better, but it’s more expensive and you need a tutor who knows what he or she is doing. You also need to work around your tutor’s time. That’s what I did for Chinese. Clugston is right. You do need to learn it from people using Right-brain approaches because they are more powerful. This method is for serious self-study that can also bring powerful results if you put the work into it.

Okay, let me tell you more about the German(Eastern Bloc) Volume Method.

He also offers a right-brain extension pack for an additional $10. It’s kind of a no-brainer to get this (no pun intended.)

As he says, yes, this is a lot of hard work for the elite. These types of methods were used in the former eastern bloc countries with great results due to their amazingly efficient and well funded education system. They were leaps and bounds ahead of the US in terms of education and science considering that they had to rebuild their country after WWII. And also the US made sure the Soviet Union was very much economically isolated.

I will be writing about my experiences and progress in this blog. I will not disclose any information about how to do the method, so don’t ask me. If you are serious and you want that information go here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl6TPqlHf5I

For this method he talks about getting 10 good solid text books for the language. I am ordering two right now, and on my next trip to Japan I will get the rest. I have a few already, but those are in the “specialized” category and don’t cover the whole language. So I have ordered Genki I and II and I plan to get some more intermediate and advanced texts when I go to Japan in a few months to visit.

I am contemplating using this with Korean, as I already have many textbooks, however many of them are in textbooks not intended for self study. They have lots of Korean and little to no English.

I do however know a bit of Korean already. So, I think I should be fine. Luckily I am here in Korea with many wonderful beautiful Korean friends to help me along the way if I am truly stuck.

I have to be honest, I don’t want to devote too much time with Korean right now. But… I have break periods at school as well as time in the morning for Korean. And, I really only want to study Japanese after work. I really need Korean. I’m here in Korea with so much happening around me that I’m missing because of this language barrier.

And yes, it helps the lower students if I can help bridge the gap by using their L1 in my English class more often. Sorry strictly English people. Unless you are using methods such as “Where are your keys” or TPR, you need to use the L1.

Okay, more about this method;

This will suck up a lot of time. Is it worth it?

Yes, absolutely. One of the main problems I have sometimes is response time and processing time. This method helps cut down that response time and processing time. This is crucial for speaking and listening in real situations!

After reading the PDF, I really learned something about myself and what I’ve been doing. People try to reach for the stars too quickly but end up not bringing enough oxygen and fuel with them. I’ve been doing the same. And also, my consistency and tracking have been almost nonexistent. My times were best when I was actually tracking myself.

More updates to come. Maybe the Genki books will show up next week. I’m not sure. I do have other books I can use but I don’t want to start from there and skip around. I need to maintain a consistent and sequential study regimen.

More to come.