Tips from someone who just gilded the whole tree
Hello everyone! I just finished gilding the tree and reaching level 25, and I'd like to share some tips and techniques that have helped me study Korean.
First, whenever you can, use the keyboard instead of dropping words in order.
In spoken Korean, words and letters will often blend together and sound differently from how they are actually written. Take "감사합니다" for example. It is not correct or natural to pronounce it as "kam sa hab nee da". In my experience, Korean women will often pronounce it closer to "감삼니다" and men will often shorten it to even "감삼이다", but neither of those are correct spellings.
Using the keyboard instead of drag/drop or clicking in order will help reinforce the correct spelling of words. You will not achieve the level of reading and writing proficiency you want to if you don't practice writing.
Second, which goes along with the first, study your 합침/받침. Become familiar with how bottom consonants on one syllable combine and flow into a second syllable, and how the pronunciation may sound different from the spelling.
This is the best guide I can find right now for 받침:
Third, and the biggest help for me, is to study your Hanja.
You do not need to be able to read or write Hanja to be proficient or even fluent in Korean. Some of the Koreans with whom I work can't recognize more than two dozen Hanja, and can write even fewer.
However, what is the difference between the 강 in 강남 and the 강 in 강철? Well, one is 강 (江) meaning "river" and one is 강 (鋼) meaning "strong".
Again, you will never ever be expected to read or write Hanja, but for me, becoming familiar with Hanja and the etymology of words helps me retain vocabulary much more easily and effectively.
As a bonus, whenever you are speaking Korean and you don't know the word you are looking for, an overwhelming majority of the time if you know some Hanja, you can slap some syllables together and talk your way around your missing vocabulary.
Dang it, what's the word for geo-thermal energy?
Uhh, 지(地, ground) 하 (下 under) 열(熱 heat)? 지하열?
Correct, that is a word.
I hope these ideas are of use to you and help you in your Korean studies. Korean is a big language with possibly the most challenging grammar that has ever existed. I hate to say this, because I always hate it when other people say it to me, but if I can do it, you can do it. We're all gonna make it.
듀오링고 친구 여러분, 화이팅!!