Korean tree finished! 한국어 나무를 다 했습니다!
Finished the Korean tree today! Overall, a great course. My only real frustration was the tendency to treat the different verb endings as incorrect (e.g. '해' would be accepted, but '해요' and '합니다' would show as incorrect) when they are all equally valid responses. But it's in beta, so hopefully all of my reports that 'My answer was correct' all get added to the acceptable answer lists. The Korean team has been adding my tagged responses as 'now accepted' as I've been making them, so I'm sure it will work itself out. 한국어 팀에게 축하 드립니다! 수고 하셨습니다!
I started this Korean course yesterday (I have zero prior knowledge of Korean, and I didn't even find Hangul especially easy yesterday, though today, my second day, I think I understand it much better :-) ).
I have only completed the first four skills (and the first three skills of the reverse tree, "English from Korean") and, up to now (I know it is only my second day) I don't find it much easier than, for example, Japanese (that I started around five or six weeks ago).
I think some people said Korean is easier than Japanese, don't know what you may think of this.
I guess you had prior experience with Korean, right?
What do you think about this course for a person that has zero prior knowledge of Korean? Do you think it can be learned without any grammar information, just like toddlers learn their mother tongue? (by the way, this is just what I am doing in most of these languages here, completing the trees without looking into grammar information, as an experiment, to see if it is achievable for an adult to learn languages this way).
Think of how children talk. Yeah. You don't really develop a good grasp of grammar until you're around 10 years old, so looking at grammar notes will help tremendously. While I guess it's POSSIBLE to learn a language with no grammar study, it'd be extremely slow and probably very frustrating.
Thanks. I would recommend that you download an image of the Korean alphabet, and learn the letters individually. That way you'll more easily see why the syllables make the sounds they do when formed and presented in the early lessons. For example, how 'ㅇ' makes a 'ng' sound if it's the last letter in a syllable, but is just a silent place holder (because all syllables must start with a consonant in Korean) if it's the first letter in a syllable. I'm sure that those kinds of things will be addressed in the grammar notes sections once the Internet version releases, too.
However, as long as you don't let incorrect answers demoralize you, and you pay attention to the patterns you see when they tell you the correct answers, you can pick up the grammar patterns that they teach. You may not know HOW you know something is the correct answer as you begin to internalize things, but once you pick up an outside source of grammar patterns, you'll learn WHY the correct answer is correct. Remember, Duolingo isn't designed to get you to a fully fluent (Danger! 'What does fluent mean?' trap embedded in this sentence!) level. After you work through the tree, use other sources to keep working on your understanding. There are so many readily available sources out there (websites, books, Internet videos, etc.) it's easy to find things to help you learn. Hell, I learned my first Korean slang word almost 20 years ago from an episode of South Park!
In my opinion the Duo course in isolation would be no good for a total beginner to get rapidly better, really. There's too much inconsistency in the types of grammar covered so even if you're paying very close attention, plenty of it will still be inexplicable to you. The vocab will be fine up to a point, but there's so much of it that I can't believe you would retain much without having some other media to help you out (nor a good way of practicing getting them into sentences).
I can recommend the How To Study Korean site for grammar, and then just whatever you find fun and memorable besides that. I sometimes listen to the TTMIK podcast which is pretty good, although they make way too much small talk between the hosts in some lessons...
Oh, you are one of those enthusiasts that finishes the course barely a week (o less) after it is released. Be aware that you increased the quality of the course for every later user, which will be more suitable for those players that prefer a slower gameplay, such as me.
Anyway keep it up, we need more avid learners like this. (This is also kind of stimulating for me; I believe in competition)
Thanks. If I was a total beginner to the language, there is no way I would have raced through the course like I did. With Swedish, it took me a couple of months to finish the tree, and I was something like level 22 by the time I did, what with all of the repeat lessons to mastery of material. Hopefully the comments/reports I made while going through the course will help the Korean Team smooth out some of the rough edges and decrease frustration for beginners to the language.
Like I said earlier, it's a good course overall. Between this course and the other available online resources, people should be able to get to whatever their desired level of competency is in the language. Good luck!
I'm finding that the later levels in the course get a lot better after a really rough patch in the middle. There are still some which seem like, unfortunately, maybe a less bilingual contributor put them together (a couple of money-related lessons in the final block are like this) but they're definitely getting rarer now that I'm into the home straight.
For a first timer going through the course, I absolutely agree. Focus on learning and internalizing the vocabulary. If you already speak a decent amount of Korean, then go through at whatever speed is comfortable for you. I've been speaking Korean for about 15 years, and I still picked up a few new vocabulary words in the course.
Congrats! Have a lingot :3
Btw, I'm really really curious about one thing especially. I really want to learn Korean, but I'm a little hesitant to try it out on Duolingo because I'm worried that I'll put a lot of hard work and time into finishing the Korean Tree and the result won't be what I excepted. Basically, I'm not sure what sort of fluency the Korean Tree offers (because I've previously heard people on Duolingo, saying that learning from Duolingo doesn't offer a whole lot of fluency), so I would love to hear your opinion seeing as you've finished the tree!
So, what do you think? What sort of fluency in Korean is reachable just by using Duolingo alone?
Pretty confident. Then again, it's amazing how fast you can go through the the tree if you already know the language ;)
Full disclosure - I learned how to speak Korean about 15 years ago at DLI in Monterey, CA and Sogang University in Seoul. But learning Korean is a lifelong task. I still picked up some new vocabulary from the Duolingo course.
Yes, it's very important. But in an ambiguous situation (like, say, a question on Duolingo) where the context isn't specified and you have no clues to guide you in how you speak (Am I talking to a small child, a friend, a colleague, a parent, a boss, etc.) then any of the endings should be accepted. I think that they're working through that and will continue to tweak the course as more people slog their way through the tree.
If the question was presented as "Translate into Korean: 'Grandfather, would you like some rice?'" Then you HAVE to use the correct honorifics (진지, not 밥; 드시다, not 먹다; etc.) to get a correct answer. But if the question is vague, such as "Translate into Korean: 'Would you like some rice?', then any of the verb endings should be acceptable.
I was already pretty "fluent" in Korean (notice the quotation marks). I had 16 months of language training at DLI in Monterey, CA, followed by 6 months at Sogang University in Seoul, and another 6 months at ROK Army Staff College in Daejeon. Duolingo is a good basic course, and once you finish the Korean for English speakers, I highly, highly recommend you do the English for Korean speakers tree. You will learn vocabulary and grammar patterns by doing the reverse tree that they don't teach you in the tree for English speakers.
As for other resources, watch dramas on Crunchyroll, KDrama, or DramaFever - most of them will have English subtitles to help you out, but they'll get you used to hearing normal speed Korean (i.e. develop your ear skills). Listen to KPop music (you can find anything to your taste on youtube and iTunes).
나는 물론 한국어를 정말 할 수 있어요. After all of that prior schooling, I'd be pretty embarrassed if I couldn't. :)