Slow, repeated listening in Korean

I had been struggling to find slow but mostly real spoken Korean to listen to repeatedly, but in the last few days I’ve found two resources which I will use a lot. 

The first is by Paul Shin, a Korean-American living in Incheon. One of his playlists is Learning Korean while you sleep. I can’t promise the “while you sleep” part, but he presents a large number of reasonably realistic sentences at full sleep, then slowly, then word-by-word, then a literal translation, then a more-or-less idiomatic translation. Some of his videos are only aural and others have the sentence written as well.  

Korean Class 101 is a major site for learning Korean. Their Slow listening for absolute beginners uses a totally different understanding of “absolute beginners” than mine, but they also have videos of repeated slow listening which work in the same way. They don’t have a playlist (at least, that I can find), but here is their main page and here is one slow listening video, from which you can link to others.

For real-life listening (with scenery thrown in) I found a hiking video channel by a young woman calling herself 찌니 jjiny (maybe officially 진희). She talks at full speed, but in short sentences, and with on-screen text you can pause and read.

My reading is better than my listening. I can hear and understand very little the first go, but can read and understand most things at this level.

I’ve been pondering the need for comprehensible input in language learning, and a lot of it. The “10,000 hour rule” may or may not be the whole explanation, but certainly it’s a preliminary guide. Wikipedia summarises Malcolm Gladwell’s thesis as “the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours”. The catch is “the correct way”. Practicing the incorrect way won’t help. 

10,000 hours boils down to one hour per day for 27 years, or two hours per day for 13.5 years, or five hours per day for five and a half years. Five hours. Every day. Five and half years. But ESL students in Australia study for 20 hours per week, for several months or maybe a year or two. 

Even first language acquisition may (just may) fall within the 10,000 hour rule. Babies are awake for approximately 9 hours per day for the first year and 12 hours per day after that. At that rate, 18 months is 5,500 hours and two and a half years is just on 10,000 hours. But babies’ brains are uniquely wired to learn a first language. 

The practical upshot is that I’ve got to do a lot more practice yet. Especially because I don’t have a baby brain any more.


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