For those of you who don’t know, I’m learning Korean both in university (we’re offered free language courses alongside our degree) and through self study.
I made what felt like major progress today. From a couple of the language learning blogs I follow, they often write about how they’ve watched a film or an episode of a programme without any subtitles in their native language. That idea has always scared me senseless. I’ve tried a few times before today and have always failed catastrophically – either I get frustrated/bored and stop watching/turn on subtitles, or else I can’t understand anything and believe it’s a waste of time.
I’ve been watching a Korean Drama called 가족끼리 왜 이래? which (clichéd storylines and different local dialects aside) I’ve always thought uses fairly simple language. So today, seeing that the latest episode had only 10% completed English subtitles on Viki, I decided to put aside a couple of hours and watch it (rewinding whenever I didn’t understand something) raw.
The difference those couple of hours made! Even when the English subtitles appeared on the screen, I found I did not focus wholly on them as I usually do. Rather, I listened more and understood what they said through listening. Granted, I quite often only got the gist of what they were saying, but I know that if I persevered, it could really improve my listening skills. Amazing! I’ll be re-watching the episode with subtitles to see if I understood it all properly and then replay the parts without that I only got the gist of.
I reckon I probably understand about 40-50% of it all and then comprehended most of the rest through context. Let’s hope that percentage grows with practice!
So yeah, I would seriously give this technique a try once you know the basics for vocabulary and grammar in a specific language. I’ve watched a few children’s programmes (each of the episodes were 20 minutes long so it’s not as time-intensive as an episode of a drama/film) without subtitles and found that was a great starting point.
Good luck! 화이팅입니다!