March 20, 2010 | Korean

I Need to Go Faster!

I am running out of time.

I am in a race against time and language ignorance. I need to learn way more Korean between now and March 31. That is 12 days.

My current status: not good. It is morning, and I am about to do lesson 9, Pimsleur Level II. That means I have 22 half-hour Korean lessons left, and since it is at this point taking me three to four run-throughs to master a single lesson, there is going to be an awful lot of Pimsleur before April Fool’s Day.

Also: I am sitting here contemplating all the Korean study materials I bought that I haven’t even gotten to yet. There is a workbook I haven’t cracked. There are flashcards I haven’t used. And I am stuck alarmingly close to the beginning of the two books I have been using.

Land of the Black T-Shirt

And then, of course, there is the question of my skills. I just realized that I can’t remember how to say, “Do you speak Korean?” even though I know how to say things like, “For a long time, I had a white car. Before that, I had a red car.” (Rough transliteration: Uray tungan, hayan chaga isasaio. Cajonay, pulgen chaga isasaio.) These sentences entered my brain courtesy of Pimsleur.

From Pimsleur I also know how to tell someone that I am going to buy some white T-shirts. Which I find funny. I never buy white T-shirts. I live in New York City, Land of the Black T-Shirt. Sometimes when Brandt and I are getting ready to go out, one of us ends up changing so we don’t show up at an event wearing nearly identical black T-shirt and jeans outfits.

Anyway, back to my learning task. I am so determined to get through these lessons that I am getting a little too worked up. As I did lesson 8 for the third time earlier this morning, I noticed that I was gripping my Zen Creative portable device with excessive force. And that the force would increase if I got something wrong.

I think I recall Pimsleur saying somewhere that you have to get only about 80 percent of a lesson right before moving on, but I can’t follow that guideline. If I don’t get more than that right in one lesson, I am hopelessly confused, and cranky, by the next.

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