Are there any serious learners anymore?
Is anyone else getting MASSIVELY frustrated by the influx of "armies" or "starlights" or whatever else they call themselves lately? I don't hate K-Pop, I rather like it. I'm just so annoyed by every single post I read devolving into some meme game for people who don't seem to be serious at all. I cannot count the times I've tried to learn along with learners (something I've been told is SUPER helpful by people learning other languages) only to have any topic interrupted by "너! 야! ㅋㅋㅋ" straight out of a K-Drama. This feels annoyingly similar to when I was trying to learn Japanese and anyone I could find to talk to spoke to me like they were from some gangster anime. They don't seem to realize that using that language comes off as SUPER rude to people they don't know, and the sad part is, they don't care when you offer help. Surely I'm not the only one tired of this?
Yes, there are many serious learners. I know it may be hard to find them, but they are still out there. Also, the fandoms that come to learn Korean help to bring more attention to the language, so at least that's one positive thing that comes out of it.
I get that it can be difficult to connect with people coming at the language from a vastly different background and with different motivations for learning. Frankly, as someone who knows very little about K-Pop and Korean pop culture in general, I’m totally lost when the in-jokes and memes come out in force. But I’ve always found getting angry at these kinds of things to be a wee bit elitist, and ultimately not very productive.
Different people will approach any given language for a vast range of different reasons, and I don’t believe there are many bad reasons for someone to learn a language. I also think the best reasons are the ones that personally motivate you the most, and the ones that are most likely to keep you interested when things start to get difficult or time becomes scarce. So I’d personally be reluctant to draw lines in the sand about who is and isn’t a “serious” or “real” learner; for me, people wanting to learn another language is almost always something to be celebrated and encouraged, whatever their motivations, however they choose to study, and wherever they set their eventual fluency targets. Especially when the people in question are young and monolingual, as many pop culture-motivated learners - from English-speaking K-Pop megafans to the many Asia-based Harry Potter diehards I’ve met - seem to be.
I also think it’s a mistake to equate pop culture-oriented motivations for learning a language and a tendency to joke around, geek out, and have fun with it with a lack of seriousness about learning and improving. I began learning Japanese about fifteen or sixteen years ago, and for maybe the first four or five of those years, virtually all I did was play Japanese video games. Wanting to play import games in their native language was pretty much the whole reason I started learning as a teen, and for the first five years, I approached the language and culture with the same pinpoint focus that a lot of K-Pop fans display towards Korea now.
From the outside, my study probably wouldn’t have looked very serious to most people. But underneath the silly in-jokes and obsessive devotion to Japanese games, I was enormously motivated, putting hundreds upon hundreds of hours into playing in Japanese, and filling whole notebooks with the vocabulary and grammar I came across. After five years of gaming and little “serious” study, I sat and passed the highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test with no real preparation beyond continuing to game in Japanese. And while I certainly wasn’t fluent at the time, particularly when it came to speaking, it laid the foundation for me to push on into higher levels of proficiency, and fostered a love for the Japanese language (and languages in general!) that continued to blossom long after my interest in video games withered away. My experiences are by no means unique, either - I’ve met so many speakers of other languages much more talented than me who were initially motivated by pop culture, whose proficiency grew organically out of that motivation, and who credit their obsessive fandom at certain stages of their lives for powering their progress.
Of course I’m not going to argue that every teen fangirling over K-Pop here is necessarily going to stick with Korean for long enough to one day speak it fluently. I also think, as erudis mentioned, that Duo offering more places for casual conversation from the app could be a good idea, and one that would encourage people to keep discussions more language-focused in areas where that is the intention. But in my experience, it’s hugely important and extremely powerful when learning another language to be able to have fun with it, experiment with it, and tie your learning to things you find interesting and exciting, particularly if it’s your first foreign language and you haven’t really caught the language bug yet. And if sharing goofy K-Pop themed in-jokes and memes with other like minded people, and thereby tying the language to the parts of the culture they enjoy the most is going to keep some of these people studying Korean and slowly developing a wider interest in a country and language that I really love, then personally I’m not about to begrudge them a couple of posts that leave me scratching my head.
I respect that. My post wasn't trying to aim at people who started off their language learning via K-Pop or K-Dramas, as those are perfectly legitimate ways to find an interest in learning. There are SO many ways to become interested in a language. And hey, if they can use that motivation and energy to pump it past the plateaus, then more power to them. My problem arises in those (admittedly small % I am sure, but annoying super loud) people who aren't at all serious about learning. Here is what I mean by that. I am not counting people as not serious simply because they do not study the same way as me. I know there are a lot of ways to study and ways that work differently for each person. What I am referring to is that group of people who simply want to say they are learning without any of the effort of actually learning. This group of people seems to be the loudest, most outgoing type and they reach out to anyone who will listen and spout out phrases they don't understand, 90% of the time they come off as super rude and they simply don't care. "I'm not good at the language, so they will know i'm not trying to be rude" is not a good enough excuse to say things you don't understand even a little bit. Sure it covers the occasional misunderstanding because it IS true. You don't realize that you might be offensive. My rant aside, I wouldn't even care about this passing fad or whatever it may be for them, except for the fact that many Korean native speakers that I am trying to practice with now automatically assume I am one of those same people who do not care about their language at all, and only want to "sound cool" or "be unique" or whatever it is they think. They don't give me the chance to prove that I am trying my best, because they have already talked to too many of these people who honestly don't care.
I totally see that. I really do. But, I think this happens in like... a loooooooooooot of really "popular" (quote reasoning comes later) languages too. Like French... ask a lot of 14 - 16 year old girls in high school (probably some boys too) who are learning French want to go to Paris (probably on their honeymoons)... but will also foolishly embarrass themselves if they ever go there. And, even worse, some of them (especially with Spanish,) are just learning for school and will never actually pick it up, ever.
Honestly, for me at least, Idk about you, learning because of an actual interest in at least something about a culture other than a dumb stereotype about a particular place. (I mean, obviously some of the kpop fans you're talking about have a real problem with stereotyping Koreans/Culture/everything)
I don't know if you get my point... Is it too confusing? I can try a different way with it if you need.
I might also be a little biased towards kpop and getting too offended... I'm also struggling a bit with the new system, lol. It shouldn't be that hard, it's just a weird font and stuff XD
(Oh by the way, when I saw this post in the thread and saw it was under Korean, I knew it was going to be an anti-kpop post... Please don't start off with a rhetorical question like that. It's very hurtful and isn't helpful if you're trying to come off as the kind/reasonable/wonderful person I'm sure you are, and just makes me want to yell at you in the comments, unlike the kind/reasonable/wonderful person I am, and then we get nowhere. Thanks ;) )
No, I totally understand, and that is 100% my point here. I agree that it is totally a small % of people that are the problem. I've personally had issues with Japanese and Korean for the same reasons. It wouldn't even be an issue for them to be silly and stereotype all they want, but they are so LOUD about it. They "talk" to everyone they meet which gives a lot of the rest of us a bad rap. So no need to get offended, I completely wasn't talking about K-Pop fans as a whole, as I stated in the original (and in some replies) I am also a fan of a lot of it. I just wish that there even could be something in place to stop these people from shouting online. :/
Oh, I agree, it is bad. I do listen now lol, I was just... Idk, I'm kind of on the opposite side of what you're talking about with the fans.
Also, I didn't mean to bring up people worrying about cultural appropriation as something bad-- Obviously I believe we should all be careful, and it's a really touchy and complicated subject and kind of confuses me, honestly. It seems almost nationalistic (?) but again, we should all be careful and, yeah. I don't know... again, super confusing...
ANYWAYS... sorry, no politics XD
As a fan of Kpop, I did not find this post anti-kpop. There is nothing wrong with liking Kpop or having Kpop as a motivator to learn Korean. The op, I believe, was just referring to those who post unhelpful posts usually titled "Who loves Kpop?!", which usually don't offer anything except clutter. Then again, I have seen reasonable posts concerning Kpop. Of course, I wouldn't conclude from the influx of non-serious learners that there are absolutely no serious learners, but I suppose it can give Korean a bad look if others label Kpop as its defining factor (there may even be no influx, but just a louder presence).
Someone higher in this thread stated that this behavior may pertain to the unpopularity or disinterest of Kpop in areas where Kpop didn't originate (like the West), which is why people go crazy in the comments. I guess you can't blame them since Duolingo did remove streams.
You shouldn't be offended because I think you are definitely a serious learner who contributes great things to this community!
There’s people like that in every international fanbase. Asian media is unfortunately very prone to these kinds of people. (Not just Korean media, also I’ve seen these things in Japanese and even some Thai media).
Also the names people are using are for specific groups. ARMY is the BTS fanbase and by far the largest one internationally. I don’t know many people who are part of this particular fanbase because I don’t follow BTS as much as a few other groups.
i mean personally i came to wanting to learn korean because i got into kpop but im not going to be one of the cringey fans i swear i seriously want to learn
And I will never begrudge you for where your interests lie nor for what gets you motivated! More power to you if that will help you learn in whatever way is best for you. I don't hate fans for being pumped up, i just hate the way they are so loud and Korean natives are now hesitant to give real learners a chance to practice, just assuming we don't actually want to learn
I'm getting really frustrated with the whole forum. it's nothing but spam and clutter, with only a couple good posts.
I am a serious learner. I hope to visit Korea one day and i aim to teach my nearly 2year old son Korean. And yes i am also learning so i can watch Kdrama etc without subtitles. That being said not every person who is learning for Kpop/Kdrama is the same (Rude etc) either some will be serious some wont, but i do agree i'm not fond of seeing the comment threads full of just 'army' etc id rather see helpful comments.
i'm also not properly teaching him till i am fluent if you read my original comment i stated that i Aim (that being the key word) to teach him :) i want my son to be fluent in as many languages as he can be so no matter where he is in life he will be able to converse with other people without a language barrier
Unfortunately unless he keeps regular usage of these languages, likely he will forget, or he may even become disinterested.
See a man trying to teach his son Klingon.
i know, he really seems to enjoy the cartoon Vroomiz that is korean on netflix so he sits and watches that currently
I was teaching my boyfriend australian sign language.
I think if I were to have kids myself I would want to impart something to them. My mother has ESL and didn't teach me her native tongue. Now I'm completely disconnected from my culture.
I think it's a good idea to teach your children another language, however I do hope she becomes fluent before starting. Children pick up on every bad habit, and if she starts teaching before she is fluent, she might do more harm than good.
Ikr, it was one of the reasons I decided not to learn Japanese currently because since there are so many overly obsessed fans of anime barely anyone takes you seriously. This also goes for learning Korean. A lot of those types of fans (and I don't mean all fans of K-Pop and/or anime, just the ones that are like way too obsessed.) learn the language just for the sake of using Korean or Japanese slang like you said which can result in other people that don't learn these languages to assume that if I want to learn one of those languages that I'm a Weeb etc.
This is such a frustrating thing too. Japanese and Korean are both beautiful languages in my opinion. I hate being treated poorly because my language interests happen to look similar on the outside to that kid down the road who keeps saying "Naniiii????" because he thinks he makes him look cool. :/
Hi, I'm new. I have been looking for some kind of way to learn Korean for a while now. I'm probably one of the other groups people hate. I came because I'm active in esports (gaming) and I'd like to seriously make it into a career. With the influx of Korean players, I'd love to be able to offer my services for them and their teams. What a great way to do what you love and learn in the process... But again... already seen so much hate for the Kpop fans, that it would truly shock me if there's not a post for "those darn gamers" as well. Anyway, hope everyone achieves what ever it is that they set out for in learning, despite what others may throw at them.
(This thread wasn't half as toxic as some of the others I've seen. Thank you for that <3)
Of course! I am not trying to be hateful at all, I do like K-Pop and I'm also an avid gamer. And I'm also not trying to bash people who got interested via those things. There are so so so many reasons to get interested in language learning. My post was more aimed towards those people who actively do not try to learn, and only want the ability to say they are learning while they throw out things they don't understand and often times come off super rude. Those are the people that seem the loudest to me, which in turn has made many native Koreans that I've spoken to, hesitant to even speak to me because that is how they assume that I will be as well.
I feel you on this. I'm a kpop fan, but even I am tired this. Of course there's also the issue of any international fan base not really learning the language. But this is especially the problem for kpop/kdrama in my experience. I'm the only one i know that actually is serious about learning Korean among my friends. My friend "K" was a kpop fan and got out of it and is constantly side eyeing me because she thinks i'm only learning to be a koreaboo like how she was. My other friend "G" was learning Korean and hasn't picked up material in months.
So many fans try to learn the language expecting it to be easy and then quit then it gets hard. It really gets me when they keep trying to use romanization to communicate and they don't understand that language doesn't work that way. It's really frustrating trying to practice with others, and for me i can connect with them on also being a fan, and they just want to talk about their idols and the latest comeback. Overall i love and hate having fellow kfans on here.
See that is the EXACT problem I am having. I would TOTALLY be fine with having a conversation about groups I love or music or whatever. Even if it swaps back to English to clarify sometimes. I also definitely agree with you about romanization. I will never ever use the English alphabet for a language that has it's own. However I am also aware that other people don't have the same focus as me, so maybe they want to focus on speaking or listening and they simply don't care about the alphabet. I don't connect with them, but I don't begrudge it either.
I absolutely love kpop, but my god some of the fandoms can be overbearing and straight up annoying. Personally I'm glad I got into it before I was exposed to the crazy fandom side of it, as I probably wouldn't have come near it with a ten-foot pole, and I would have been missing out on some quality music. I do understand the frustration you're facing though, and you might be better off using Duolingo as a personal learning tool and using another website for immersion and group learning. I'm still very much in the beginning of my Korean journey myself though, so I'm afraid I don't have recommendations.
And there will always be that crazy side of nearly every fanbase you find. I completely understand. I myself have been self-studying for a little over a year now and only came to Duolingo because I heard that Korean was now out in Beta. I thought it would be nice to try and practice with other learners, as most of my learning has been via native speakers. I don't think I'll drop Duolingo completely, as this site uses deferential language WAY more often than my other sources (at least in the beginning of the tree) and I know that I could definitely use some practice there, I just won't be going through the comments section as much anymore.
Hey there! I can definitely understand your frustrations. While I am a fan of K-Pop, I'm a serious learner who wants to learn this language along with others. However, I know it's gonna take time to learn correct pronunciations and how to form sentences, especially when I can't verbally practice with anyone :/
That is a very common struggle I think. If you don't have a friend nearby who has the SAME level of interest, it makes it very difficult to practice out loud. And K-Pop DOES help when you can sing along and get into your zone. I'm not calling out K-Pop fans. Just false learners.
Oh no, I'm not offended at all :) just wanted to put my own little story on how I want to learn. I found the course on Coursera helps A LOT since it's taught by a Korean professor, and she does it with additional resources and asks you to repeat after her.
I used to study daily then I burnt out a bit.
I am a serious learner but after I finished the tree
I realised I got less from Duolingo than from any other source because I was using it mainly on mobile.
i learn korean seriously, i am going to apply for the topik exam next semester to become a tour guide in korean later :D
Good luck on your exam! Study hard :)
I am sorry, I am an ARMY (don't worry I'm not going to have a page long rant XD)
I understand where you are coming from. I have posted a post about BTS (don't hate me <3) but only about how k pop/drama has helped me pick up new phrases.
I would never comment on something unrelated to k-pop saying how much I love BTS. [that sort of thing should be on a k-pop sites!]
you could just you know, downvote Every single thing you see in the discussions not related to the process of learning the language. as they say in the farmland of wisconsin "crap flows downhill"
EDIT: also the clutter kind of propagates towards the beginning of the skill trees. later on things get a little less spam-ey and a lot more vacant. dont forget korean is still in beta. we are the pioneers of this thing.
I downvote them all the time. They are super unhelpful and just spam comment "same" or "meeee" on every thread.
Every single thread with someone going "lol" in response to a sample sentence.
There's a problem with downvoting. If someone replies to a comment, that comment will not be hidden even when it has enough downvotes. I'm not sure if downvoting the replies would help hide the original comment.
its not about hiding the comments, but at least we can establish what goes in the "good" category, and what goes in the "bad" category. perhaps we can motivate people to ask more stupid questions rather than making more stupid comments if that makes sense.
I share your frustration and that also makes me less eager to interact with this community, but I also understand their side. They like something that is probably not popular or cool where they come from, so they look for like-minded people in places like these, where we supposedly share a common interest. And considering how most of them are kids and teenagers, they construct their identities through their idols, which is why this is so important to them.
Tbh I think most of the fault lies with Duolingo. If this place resembled a more traditional internet forum, with Off-Topic sections and such, none of this would be a problem, but that's not their priority. You can't even access the forum through the app, only isolated sentence threads, and 2/3rds of Duolingo's userbase is mobile. Maybe this is just too uncool for 2018 and we should be tweetblogging some instabook memes on our facegrams instead of trying to have old-fashioned discussions here.
I study Korean everyday. If I can't study that day, I make it up as soon as I can. Korean is a challenge, but its worth it. Serious learners are still out there.
There are, and a lot of them do come from kpop, like me, it doesn't mean that I'm not a serious learner.
And like I've said in other comments and hinted at in my original post, this isn't aimed at you. There is nothing wrong with getting into Korean via K-Pop, or staying motivated that way either. If that is the only reason you want to learn, that is ok too. My post is aimed at the people who want to be able to say they are learning a language, but aren't even trying. All these people do at best, is make English speakers treat all of us learners as if we aren't serious. At worst, it makes Korean speakers not want to speak with us because they think we will just be offensive and not care.
yes there are still serious learners, some of us still practice every day to become fluent, but c'est la vie, des fois c'est très difficile de continuer quand tienes tantas otras cosas sucediendo en tu vida.
Kudos for the language swaps there! And I am not calling people not serious for not studying the same exact time as I am or whatever. Whatever effort you want to put in is fine, I just don't like people who want to say "Hey look! I'm learning a language. Aren't I special and smart?" But they don't put in effort and clearly don't care who they offend.
I am trying to learn it seriously I mean yes I am an ARMY but I honestly wanted to learn Korean I promise I am taking this learning process as serious as I can get. I to get annoyed by the people that don't take it seriously. I try to study everyday and use it in my daily life if I get the chance and I know the right words to use.
I am a huge K-pop fan and those annoying non serious "duolingo-er's" are definitely annoying, there is a chance some of them are korea boo's. (One who strongly wishes to be Korean) try to ignore them! I am a serious learner in Korean, I have a almost 200 day streak for Duolingo and I'm currently using multiple resources like videos, websites, KPOP and sometimes K-Dramas to help me learn further more. I'm only on level 7 in Korean but that's because it is difficult for me to learn, I'm slowly learning but still learning! I am a serious learner! We're still here!
Um, well-learning things you are interested in help you retain info. I really enjoy K-Pop and K-Dramas and that was how I began learning. I am a serious learner. Even if I want to talk about something you don't want to dosen't mean I'm not also working hard :)
I personally am an ARMY but that isn't why I chose to learn the language. I am learning this language for a future job so yes, I consider myself a serious learner.
I totally get it, however lots of people who are learning because of K Pop are serious. For me, I started learning because of my love for K Pop, but I am interested in the culture as well. I am an ARMY, however I do agree that it is annoying when I say something and people just comment "ARMY" or something along the lines. I hope people realise that some are trying to actually learn and are serious about it.
Yes. I am. Even though I'm ARMY, I am still very much interested in learning Korean as I fell in love with the culture through listening to K-pop. I'm also studying French, Japanese, Dutch and Spanish on Duolingo. I don't talk about my fandom unless I'm specifically asked about it as I am a subscriber that PAYS for the full offline version of Duolingo. I am looking for serious study buddies. Feel free to add me as a friend on here, anybody that is serious about practicing Korean.
I'm what you would probably call a serious learner.
But I am honestly not annoyed by the people you described. I mean if they are seriously interested, then they will have the will and drive to learn. If they want to learn the language, they're gonna learn how it's spoken in real life either way. And I don't care if the thing that sparked their interest is K-pop or K-dramas or whatever.
For me it was the Starcraft: Brood War community. Random, I know. But it opened me up to a place and culture that I find very interesting and enjoyable on its own. We all have our own paths.
Some people say "I hate Kpop/Kdrama" etc. I feel it's more of the people blowing up like crazy is what you don't like. This is all personal opinion, but I don't like Kpop. However, I don't have a problem with people who do. I just don't like the way people go about it in a weird immature way. I feel it's like a trend thing or something. The way some of the fans act remind me of my sister that just turned 10. She and her friends collect these things called a Squishy and they are all about it, but they're kids so they will overreact, but I don't understand teenagers doing it. Then again, I'm in my early 20s so maybe I wouldn't understand anyways.
Edit: I'm not talking about all fans. If someone were to talk to me about Kpop I wouldn't mind. I may not be interested but I'll talk about it. It's whatever. I'm only talking about the over the top fans.
Do you really consider Duolingo to be a serious place to learn a language (just kidding, I know you don't)? It's only for fun, I wouldn't say "I don't have dad but two moms" (Esperanto) very often. If you want to find real students, just reddit /r/korean btw kpop sucks just like any pop. I would rather listen to some throat singing or go back to 70's.
PS. Most of the japanese students I met are so mean. You ask a normal question and they think you're so dumb (or baka they would say). I had a discussion on the ease of the Japanese phonology, and one guy said I think it's easy, because I don't know how pitch accent works. He must haven't ever heard of tonal languages. Some guys are great tho. Especially women, but I kinda generalize.
To be honest, this app is the best for me so far. Never seen such the app before and never exercised the languages in such a wonderful platform. So far, it is the only app that has been helping me at least maintain my language skills, to speak nothing of improvements I've been making.
Well, I was a 평화봉사단원 in the 1960s. I am serious about 바둑 and 음악 and 불교. For example, here is the beginning of the Heart Sutra in the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese translation from Sanskrit, with some words still in Sanskrit. We chanted the whole thing every day when I was staying in Korean monasteries.
관자재보살 행심반야바라밀다시 조견 오온개공 도일체고액
All the little kiddies in the street were astonished when I went by in monk's robes, and all shouted
Mokurai is my Japanese Buddhist name, Silent Thunder. It is 묵뇌 in Korean.
i agree,its okay if you are a fan of something but i dont like when they come on here and make it hard for us to find answers for our questions.disscusiions were for people to understand stuff when theyre confused but now its mostly to fangirl/boy.
I'm an ARMY (That's what BTS fans are called!) who is serious about learning Korean. We exist!
in all the time ive been here, and ive been here a while, of the dozens, and i do mean dozens and dozens, of people ive seen express their infatuation for k-pop i have seen exactly none at all show any kind of progress or meaningful intent toward learning korean whatsoever.