March 30, 2010 | Korean
Korean Pimsleur: Finished!
A day-long downpour keeps me inside and focused on my Korean cram session.
It is 4:11 p.m. as I write these words, and I have shocked myself by finishing Korean Pimsleur a day and a half early.
Yep, lessons 24 and 25 yesterday, twice each, and then a marathon Pimsleur session today, starting at 7 a.m., and consisting of lessons 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.
It was a good day for inside work, because it has been raining nonstop. Loudly. Buckets. Cats and dogs. Ponies and pedicabs. And it’s cold, too. So it’s not like I’m going to go out and practice Korean while taking a leisurely stroll. Or do anything outside until it considers stopping raining.
Anyway: after all that Pimsleur, most of my brain function has ceased, but the weird thing is, the first four lessons I did today went well. Miraculously, all I needed was one rep per lesson (with heavy use of the pause button, I admit).
Technically, I should redo 30—it was grueling, and I ended the series on a low note by getting the last question wrong—but I choose instead to focus on what was happening earlier today, when I felt like Wonder Woman, the Lynda Carter television version, except fully clothed. Pimsleur was flinging nouns, verbs, entire sentences at me thick and fast, and I deftly deflected them with the mental equivalent of those magic bracelets.
Now, on the eve of the last day of Korean, I feel it’s a shame to be stopping tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong; I am going to stop—on March 31, as planned. However, it’s just a little sad, because I have had the feeling of a Korean breakthrough in the past few days, as though I am finally getting a better sense for the language. Vocabulary, verb forms, pronunciation, syllable stress, sentence structure, general grammar, etc. I am still an outsider to the language, but a little less of one than before.
The Korean segment of this project has, I admit, been a struggle at times, but I think this kind of language learning is in many ways more meaningful than studying another Western language. Yes, it is more arduous, and yes, what I learn is less likely to be used in my daily life than, say, one of the European languages I hear all around me. But I was exposed to something I previously knew nothing about, something I couldn’t even recognize when I saw it on street signs, and that is tremendously rewarding.
Plus, I think my brain got a really serious workout. Maybe I’ll be able to invent something now. Or at least figure out how to organize my desk.