My Struggle With Korean Listening

So far in my beginner stages of lesson learning, the biggest issue I have been running into is the ability to listen. Being able to read is not a problem for me even though I don’t know what is being said; I’m still able to read. But I struggle with listening skills. Like….struggle.

In my last study session, there was a dialogue at the end of the lesson. I read it to myself both silently and out loud. Then afterward, I listened to the audio of the dialogue. Let me tell you, you’re girl was completely LOST! I could not follow along what.so.ever. The speakers went through the dialogue so fast I thought it was on double speed, and I’m being so serious when I say that.

I replayed the dialogue about 4 times before giving up trying to follow along altogether. I couldn’t help but feel frustrated because I was truly trying, but the speed of speech for a beginner was just entirely too fast. I could not tell where one word ended and the next one began. Absolutely everything was slurred together to where it sounded like mush. When I was still trying to decipher the first word, the dialogue was already on the second line and the next person was speaking. I know this happens in every language but it’s so frustrating and if I’m being honest, very discouraging.

How will I ever improve my listening skills if I have no idea what I’m even hearing? Written words sound nothing like how they are spelled (in my opinion). At school, I try to pay attention to the way people move their mouths when they speak but it actually varies for each person. I’ve noticed quite a few people purse their mouths when they speak so that their lips look like they are puckering for the majority of the time they are talking. Then I see other people and their mouths move freely and wide. So what is the correct way? Is there even such a thing as the correct way?

*sigh* Frustrations, frustrations. I think improving my listening skill is going to be the toughest part of the journey.

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7 thoughts on “My Struggle With Korean Listening

  1. I also find reading MUCH easier than listening.

    It’s strange that a beginner material would be so fast. Usually they speak really slowly.

    Have you ever tried using Naver’s online Papago? It’s a translator but there’s an option to slow down the audio pronunciation of whatever you typed in there.

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  2. Though I haven’t done it in a while, I have been writing down the TTMIK Beginner Iyagi transcript in my notebook and reading it as the speakers talk. I take down new words and learn them and listen to the iyagi again.

    Also, it’s good to listen to a lot of Korean variety shows. Like, A LOT. Just to get used to the speed of words, you know? also street interviews like on the asian boss youtube channel.

    I know it might seem discouraging now but it will get better. Even though I haven’t studied Korean properly since I’ve started learning it, I have improved quite a bit. Also check out channels like World of Dave, Jolly, Whitneybae… channels that have both Korean and English subs. Take down the Korean subs that will be relevant to you. Also check out the shadowing method. Here’s a video (though it’s more about English for Koreans): https://youtu.be/ToMqO8u2p-M and also https://youtu.be/J_EQDtpYSNM

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    • Thank you for the recommendations! I’m just now getting your comment because WordPress flagged it for approval since you included links. But I will check out those channels. I’ve heard of Whitneybae and have seen some of her videos but I can only take her in small doses lol. I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but she’s just too over the top for me at times. But I admire her journey. I’m still trying to get into the variety shows and reality shows. I’ve been introduced to My Neighbor Charles and also Sister’s Slam Dunk.
      I’ve never heard of World of Dave so i will check out his channel as well. Thanks again!

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  3. Improving listening skills is so difficult! Do you have a Korean friend who could record the conversation at a slower speed for you? If not, the website RhinoSpike might be of some use to you (you can ask for a native speaker to read a text of your choice)

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