Learn a Language in Six Months?
As you should all know by know, I am moving to South Korea in about 6 months. While I speak some rudimentary Korean, on the off chance I’m sent to the middle of nowhere, I would like to speak the language a lot better. I‘ve been reading a lot of blogs and watching some Youtubers who claim that one can learn a language in six months at a good conversational level.
In order to keep myself on track I’m going to be documenting my experience on a weekly basis.
The Korean Language
I’ve been doing a lot of research into how best to learn a language in a short amount of time (it is entirely possible to do so) and I have just enough time to get to a fluency level (I believe). Most people place Korean as one of the hardest language for an English speaker to learn. I don’t see how this could be accurate. From my knowledge of how some of these languages work, Korean is nowhere near as difficult to learn as any Chinese variant. I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t learn Korean at a fluent level in six months.
Why do I think this?
I already speak a language on a pretty fluent basis: French. My fluency level has dropped considerably but it’s still there and I still generally understand everything (and I was never as focused while learning French as I am hoping to do with Korean). In essence, my brain already understands how learning a language works.
I’m highly interested in linguistics, which means I have a more intimate knowledge of the inner workings of languages.
I have a firm beginning. I’m not starting from scratch. I know basic grammar, a lot of random vocab, and some useful phrases. I already know I love Korean entertainment (from music to variety shows to dramas) so I won’t be at a loss for things to immerse myself in. If I didn’t have this, I think I would need to add another month or two onto my task.
I’m motivated and generally reliable. I feel confident I can keep this up.
My Current Schedule Plan
January 1-February 28:
- Starting once a week tutoring through italki.
- Continue watching at least one episode of Korean dramas a day
- 20 minutes a day of general study through Memrise, Duolingo, and a textbook I haven’t bought yet (I’m still looking around) or Pimsleur (I’ll get it out of the library)
Cost: Tutor + Textbook $160
March 1-April 30th:
- Increase tutoring to 2 times a week
- Continue with the korean dramas, perhaps move on to re-watching some dramas without subtitles by April
- Only listening to Korean music, attempting to fully immerse myself
- Continue with the 20 minutes a day
Cost: Tutor $260
May 1-June 2:
(so it’s not really two months as I will be traveling to a skating camp in June, but I will be trying to keep myself up-to-date while there)
- Increase tutoring to four times a week
- Try to watch dramas without any subtitles, fingers crossed
- Higher level textbook 15 mins a day (to account for tutor increase)
Cost: Tutor + Textbook $290
So I can learn a language in 6 months for $710 – i.e. so much cheaper than getting classes in person with distractions and inferior methods that haven’t been updated in decades.
I‘m testing this idea, because if it works, I’m never doing anything else.
I‘m going to try to keep you all updated with weekly check-ins on my progress. Throughout December I’ve been slowly dipping my toes back into the Korean language, and I really think I have a nice starting point. Stay tuned!