It occurred to me recently that I am a complete novice who is trying to run, except as a novice learner I am more like a baby. I can babble and maybe roll over, but there are no marathons in my near future. Haha.
I looked at the initial lessons, and I wanted to gobble them up quickly to get past the introductory stuff and on to the “good stuff”. Because I have tried a lot of books, audio, and websites, I have done “Greetings” a hundred times. Yeah, yeah, I can say “Hello my name is …” Teach me something new!
Koreans have a saying. 빨리 빨리! It means QUICK QUICK! I want my language learning to quick, quick get past saying hello and teach me something I can actually use in conversation with my Korean pen pals.
Have you felt impatience with language learning? Have you wanted to rush ahead? Have you jumped in to the lake before you could swim?
I have no right to be corresponding with Koreans. I can’t even form sentences yet. I know nouns. Hundreds of nouns. I write English sentences and toss in nouns I know. I look up more nouns in the dictionary every time I sit down to write a letter to a pen pal, because I am so eager to express myself and learn.
What has been good about jumping in is I am motivated. Having real people to talk to made the difference in changing me from someone who was language curious to someone hungry enough to learn that I was able to overcome my shyness and fear of making mistakes and embarrassment at being unable to pronounce words. I had to overcome the fact that I sound like a child, not an intelligent adult, when I try to express myself with limited vocabulary.
I am someone who has never learned a language successfully. I don’t know how. High school Spanish was a dismal failure.
My 3 months of self study has given me hope that perhaps I can learn Korean. Perhaps with years of practice, I will be able to speak.
But I want to communicate now. I have these really nice people I have met, and we write or chat or call every week. They have confidence that I will learn Korean quickly. Some of them really push and challenge me.
For example, I, who can’t form even 2 word sentences, have been sent in all Korean with no English to assist me the following items:
- the Korean national anthem
- haiku poem
- a 5 stanza poem
- a 4 paragraph long email all in Korean
- links to all Korean website with articles of interest
- Korean musical performance videos
I break out in a sweat some times at these gifts. I am not ready to translate these items, but I work SO hard trying. It is part of what drives me to feel such impatience.
Life just keeps giving me pop quizzes in Korean. Like calling someone and being sent to voice mail … in Korean. Or dialing a wrong number and speaking live to a confused Korean. I’m not prepared. Sure, I can say the pencil is on the table, sit on the blue chair, where is the bathroom, but noting actually relevant or interesting.
So I am impatient. I am in a rush. My Korean friends are fast paced, busy, and impatient. They want to see progress from me. I want to show them I am earnestly studying. I want to prove to myself that I won’t end up like high school language lessons for 4 years and being unable to speak a word.
I would love to hear your stories. Have you been impatient? Are there different stages, and my impatience is just something that will pass? Has rushing ahead caused you problems? Is throwing yourself off the deep end into a language you want to learn a good thing?