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English Fever!

May 7, 2013

There is no doubt that Korea has English fever. But when you say someone or something has a fever, it can mean two things, that there is an obsession with the subject and that everyone must have a part in it, and also it could also mean that there is a sickness. Is Korea both of these when it comes to English learning? Think about it for a second, becuase there’s no doubt about it that there’s a national obsession with learning English, but is Korea actually becoming ill with English, so much so that the regular symptoms of a high fever – cramps, lethargy, and often an inability to make clear decisions – are evident in Korean society.


Hagwons as far as the eye can see in Daechi!

The price of Korea’s English education obsession is not only being felt physically and mentally from the many hours of study, but also financially. Did you know that the 2012 budget for English education in public schools exceeded KRW300 billion? And that Koreans spend over $13 billion on private education, and KRW 700 billion applying for English proficiency tests such as TOEFL and TOEIC. That’s a total of KRW 13 trillion (13,000,000,000,000 = a LOT of money)!


Student burnout is a common feature in Korea. Is too much English study a cause of this?

And this doesn’t even consider how long and how much it costs an individual to master what is a very difficult language for Koreans to understand.

Firstly, take a look at this article (it’s kind of long but worth a read) – on page 30 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Now take a look at what languages are difficult for English speakers to learn. No surprise that Korean is there, and if it’s hard for English speakers to learn English, well it can’t be easy to be done the other way…

This is the tip of the iceberg, but I won’t drag out too many stories about Engish learning because I’m speaking to three classes full of experts. Your task is the reply to one of the following questions/statements. Be sure to relate to your own experiences or outside research when answering:

  1. How much time and money do you spend on learning Engish every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?
  2. Should Korea or Koreans reassess their approach to English? What should they do?
  3. Does Korea really need to have so many English speakers? Explain your answer.
  4. Do any problems exist when you place too much emphasis on one particular area of study such as a language?
  5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?
  6. If you could spend as much time as you do studying English doing something else, what would it be, and would knowing English change this experience?
  7. Greek was the language of the educated elite in Ancient Rome, Latin was the language of educated classes in Europe during medieval period, and French was the language of choice for wealthy and educated in Tsarist Russia, and it can be argued that English is the language of the educated elite in twenty first century Korea. What do you think the next lingua franca of the educated classes will be? Hint: be creative, use your imagination, have fun, there is no wrong answer!
  8. Studying English is a complete waste of time. Discuss.
53 Comments leave one →
  1. gdlabel(T) permalink
    May 9, 2013 2:45 pm

    4. Do any problems exist when you place too much emphasis on one particular area of study such as a language?

    It is not easy for Koreans to learn English because of its linguistic differences between English and Korean. Also, English is not in use commonly around Korean society unlike Europe or Latin America, and understanding opposed cultural, grammatical condition in language is a hard thing to each side. Therefore, Korean speakers cannot help spending the many hours of studying English and a great deal of money on it. However, There is no guarantee that Koreans can speak English well through this constant Korean education system which has been ineffective so, and this phenomenon can intensify English fever since a small number of people who can speak English very well are only able to receive much benefits by the Korean society in contrast with most people who have poor English ability, if every Korean people had a good command of English, having English ability could have not been effective in Korea society like this.
    For that reason, to place too much emphasis on this difficult language to learn is problematic and wasteful especially in Korea. In case of Japan, although the Japanese are really bad at speaking English, they are not obsessed by that but make everything their own thing which is widely understood with ease by every Japanese people and this is the reason why Japan could survive as a powerful nation without English Fever. Overemphasis is to be one-sided and this may hinder national development covering all sorts of directions that could be their own competitiveness in the world.

    • May 9, 2013 3:30 pm

      I think that’s a good point about Japan. For example, when I’ve visited even when people may speak English they will address you in Japanese first and then in English, this was even the case in some hotels. This is the same in many European countries too, especially France where they will reluctantly speak English to you. Sometimes I get the impression that some Koreans don’t take pride in their language, because they automatically try to speak English or worry that a person doesn’t speak English. I know foreigners in Korea who speak better Korean than you (this is not an exageration, they’re probably living in Korea as long as your parents have been alive) and they still get the same reaction.

    • Chiodos(T) permalink
      May 10, 2013 3:10 pm

      Your writing made me think a lot…

  2. Seven C2 permalink
    May 9, 2013 8:12 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    If someone is setting out to study English for the first time, I want to advise him or her not to cling to a grammar. Clinging to a grammar is one of the most chronic problems of studying English in Korea. I have studied English over 15 years. But I still can’t converse with native perfectly. What is the problem?
    When I was in middle school and high school, I thought that grammar was everything of English. Mostly English teachers spent most of their time to teach grammar. For me, English was much more complicated subject than mathematics. I had to concentrate on studying grammar instead of speaking or writing. As I concerned about grammar, I lost my interest of English. So did many others.
    When Koreans are asked to think about English, mostly grammar occurred to them and they are afraid of it. Due to the fear of grammar, they feel uncomfortable to converse with native. When they talk to native, they are getting panic to speak grammar perfect English.
    However, when I went to the U.S., I realized that I could make conversation without perfect grammar. Natives could understand what I wanted to say so that I lived without any big problems. Here is another example. These days, I am taking a marketing strategy class in English. In class, there are a lot of European students who came from Netherland, Germany, and Lithuanian, and so on. Mostly they are good at English. However, when I heard their English, there are some of grammar mistakes. But they speak out without stopping or inconvenience. They can express their thought and emotion confidently.
    I hope that people don’t cling to grammar anymore. These days, I am studying English concentrating on conversation and writing. As I am doing this, I realize that learning language in not just hard and complicated. It is much more interested than just studying grammar. I am not saying that grammar is not important. What I want to say is the goal of language learning is a communication not just grammar. I am sure that this realization will help to people who are setting out to study English for the first time

  3. transformer(c2) permalink
    May 9, 2013 9:03 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    Even when you determined studying English, you would not know what are important. There are 3 important things I think, when people are going to study English. Firstly, speaking loudly whenever you read a paragraph written in English is the most important thing I think, because Korean and English are completely different in accent and pronunciation system. If you do not consider the feature, you will undergo a serious problem later, especially when you try to speak English.

    Another important thing is that you have to know exact meaning of words. We can find out many different words which have same meanings in Korean. However, they are exactly different from their usage. For example, there are two similar words “fee” and “cost”. Though these words means “expense” commonly, but the word “fee” is used as the price that one pays as remuneration for services. And the word “cost” usually means broader meaning of “expense” than the “fee” means.

    The last thing you have to take account when you study English is that you should memorize many words and a variety of structures of English sentences. Studying English many years, I realize that if I want to be improved, I should memorize every things what I’ve learned. At first, I tried to understand the structures and principles of words, however, it took so much times and it is inefficient.

    • May 9, 2013 11:08 pm

      Memorisation is fine, but what many students forget to do is to actually practise using the words after they learn them. Intensive skills classes are very useful in this regard, including a class like CRW2 (yes I know I’m boasting).

      Remember, language is and always has been a practical tool of communication, which means you have to use it to both understand it and make the most of it.

  4. JWJWJW(T) permalink
    May 9, 2013 10:05 pm

    5.How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    Reflecting on my English learning experience, I went to a hagwon where has some foriegn native English teachers when I was young. At that time, doing something with foreigners were very strange for me because they were very different from me. Also, I usually didn’t speak anything there because I was very poor at speaking English. I also thought that teachers were going to make fun of me because I was not good at speaking English. However, it was a totally wrong idea. My foreign English teachers kept trying some questions to me, and I tried to answer them even though I didn’t know about English grammar rules. In addition, they didn’t make fun of me at all and tried their best to correct my errors. As I spoke more and more, I felt comfortable when I spoke in English and got to know some grammar rules naturally. It made me be confident of myself, and I enjoyed going to the hagwon and speaking in English with teachers. Here is the point. I would advice someone who studies English for the first time that do not focus on some grammar rules. In Korea, lots of tests make people study ‘grammar’ very hard. However, I think that speaking in English without knowing some specific grammar rules is much important than memorizing them. Because people will get to know grammar rules as they speak out in English and correct some errors continuously. When people study Enlish as I recommended, they are going to understand some structures of English sentences more easily because they don’t easily forget them that they spoke out from their own mouth.

  5. Choco.k -C2 permalink
    May 9, 2013 11:02 pm

    5.How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    If someone is setting out to study English for the first time, I reccommend to study vocabulary. Even if someone very well know grammer or speak english, if she or he doesn’t know vacabulary, he and she can not do english well. Because vocabulary is foundation of langauge. You have an experiance that listening baby’s langauge. They doesn’t know grammer or language system but they can speak and conversation with some vocabulary.
    When I was high shcool student, my english score was very terrible. I studied grammer but my score didn’t change for the better. So I decided only I did memorizing english words. I tried to menorizing enghlish words every day. Of course it was very hard to me but I never give up. After one month, I had an examination. To my surprise, my english score went up. So I think that vacabulary is very important.
    Of course memorizing english words is very hard. But You endeavor to memorize words, you can improve your english skill.

    • May 9, 2013 11:09 pm

      VERY terrible? I didn’t know you could get much worse than terrible!

      • smoker c2 permalink
        May 9, 2013 11:15 pm

        pu hahahahahahahahahaha

    • Chiodos(T) permalink
      May 10, 2013 3:09 pm

      Wow. That was totally opposite comparing to my experience. As I hated memorizing english vocab also, I’ve learned to hypothesis the words meaning by reading before and after sentences of that hard vocab. It made me score high on entrance test. However now I regret using that skill as I sometimes have a hard time figuring out the whole sentence meaning which is full of hard vocab.

  6. smoker c2 permalink
    May 9, 2013 11:27 pm

    1. How much time and money do you spend on learning Engish every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?

    in my case, it couldn’t say spent money was only for learning english. however, the one of big reason is learning english. my way that how i did studying english is the travel.

    just except time of sleep. it is worth . nobody push me learn english , learning english is what i like and what i want to do . so i can clearly say that it is worth.

  7. Micheal(T) permalink
    May 9, 2013 11:55 pm

    Do any problems exist when you place too much emphasis on one particular area of study such as a language?

    As the article shows, I also think that many Koreans care too much about English and spend too much time and money. Sure enough, learning English is now one of the most important things. However, when the degree goes too far and the balance is wrong, some problems can occur. The emphasis on one particular area of study can cause people to have narrow views. When people concentrate on just one field of study, they would lose the chance of acquiring a variety of knowledge and experience. Those who are obsessed by one area tend to judge social or political issues with one-way perspective, not considering a lot of elements of the issues. Moreover, another problem can happen when the area is a language. I think languages are a sort of a tool or method to convey people`s information, idea, and intention they have. Language is needed to exactly express their intention. Nevertheless, that they study only a language and not build their knowledge is inappropriate. It may cause people to miss more important thing. I think that a language without any information is useless; no matter how beautiful and difficult words people use, if the words do not include a proper content, it is just a skin. Even, professional interpreters who really seem to need a language should study not only the language, but diverse fields including economics and cultures to convey exact meanings.

  8. Ronie(T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 7:01 am

    6.If you could spend as much time as you do studying English doing something else, what would it be, and would knowing English change this experience?
    As everyone knows, English is the center of many studies. To be specifinc, in Korea, many of textbooks are the original books in English. It is okay in some measure to study translated edition, in Korean to understand whole meaning but it has limits. I, as a english majored student, usually think that reading and studying the original is very hard to me. Although, speed of reading is slow, reading in English can be very beneficial at last. For example, I am taking English and American History and Culture class. A text book used in this class in the original and contains complex ideas. However, translations exist to help students understand contents in the book. Translation can link a writer and a reader but cannot present the original meaning because of differences of grammar, words and other systems between English and Korean. Translated senetences can be made in different language but nuance and coherence of the text sometimes tend to be complicated and just a row of letters. For this reason, knowing English can be very helpful to study many fields especially curtural studies not even English tests like TOEIC and TOEFL. I have few ideas how about other fields but if someone want to study, it would be beneficial to combine the original in English and translated editions.

  9. Mary C1 permalink
    May 10, 2013 8:49 am

    5. How would you advise someone who is settig out to study English for the first time?
    When I first learned the English, I memorized the basic alphabets, words, verb tenses and the grammar. It was such a hard study for me to memorize all the things along with learning the various parts of the English. And it really frustrated me to study English in a typical way like memorizing numerous words and sentenses all at once. Hence, I started to speak English on my own and began to watch English movies though I could not understand the script perfectly. However, speaking English activity gave me more interesting in learning English. Also, watching English movies made me to get closer in learning English that it is not just as difficult but interesting language. So if I advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time, I would like to let the person to watch English movies and speak out loud the script. Because I think getting interesting is the most important thing when learning a new language.

  10. rainbow(T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 10:27 am

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    I started learning English when I was 10 years old in English language institute. At that time, I really eager to go academy and went there everyday with a happy feeling. That was because, I was interested in learning English for some reasons.
    First, I learned English from foreign teacher. It was the first time that I spoke with foreign person so it excited my interest about English. Also, I could learn exact pronunciations and accents from foreign teacher, which might be difficult to expect from Korean teacher. I think this is really important for someone who learn foreign language at the first time. Fist learning the pronunciations and accents last a long time and it is hard to change later. Therefore, I recommend that when you learn English for the first time, learning from native speaker would be more efficient. I think that’s why so many parents send their children in a English kindergarten.
    Second, I did not learn grammar at the first time. I just studied reading books and memorized many words and did not care about grammar. However, it was not a big problem. In my opinion, learning grammar only can bore young children and it just make children with loss of interest about. Learning words and sentences with listening or speaking skill first and then, learn grammar is not too late!
    Plus, I recommend watching English animation or drama! When I was young, I watched English animation video a lot such as Disney with English subtitles. Watching them repeatedly, I understood the story clearly and knew many new words. Not only this, It improves speaking and listening skills too.
    To sum up, I recommend these three methods when someone want to learn English first. These are my own experiences but I might think other people also agree with these and they are really helpful!!

  11. Leblanc (C2) permalink
    May 10, 2013 1:15 pm

    1. How much time and money do you spend on learning Engish every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?

    I spend about 2 hours studying English every week. All my textbooks are written English and professors give me lots of English homeworks every week. In addition, I tutor as a part-time job, so I have to prepare and study English teaching materials. Especially, I always went to the TOEIC and TOFLE academies every vacation. On average, the tuition fee was 400,000 won. Although I got a good grade on the tests, I did not feel that my english ability was improved.
    In fact, I think that I have studied English only for exam. As a result, I’m good at solving English test but I’m poor at speaking and writing. To improve my true English ability, I will have to spend more time reading English materials and writing english essays.

  12. Chiodos(T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 1:39 pm

    7.Greek was the language of the educated elite in Ancient Rome, Latin was the language of educated classes in Europe during medieval period, and French was the language of choice for wealthy and educated in Tsarist Russia, and it can be argued that English is the language of the educated elite in twenty first century Korea. What do you think the next lingua franca of the educated classes will be?

    The next lingua franca of the educated elite will not be in the liguistic form. People will communicate each other by arts. They will draw picture or show expresstion to give an information. Though could it be a time consuming job, educated classes will realize that the only way to convey thier feelings by their intention is to express their means by an art form. As the words have the limitation on expressing complicated world, they might choose to draw, or dance, or maybe act. It might look similar to the old time when there exists ancient wall painting. However it will be in a more delicated ellegance form which we call arts today.
    (no idea what I’m talking about… sorry)

    • May 10, 2013 11:13 pm

      Actually, the new lingua franca is already believed to be code. Or so the computer people I spoke to recently explained to me. Mind you all code is written in English so…

  13. Yeonny + C2 permalink
    May 10, 2013 2:17 pm

    1. How much time and money do you spend on learning English every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?

    I’m a senior so I’m preparing for getting a job. In Korea, as you know, English ability is very important thing in a job market, so almost company require internationally authorized English tests such as the Test of English for International Communication(TOEIC) or TOEIC speaking. Therefore, I also attend private academy for TOEIC speaking. I go to academy for taking lessons an hour every day, and I have to review between one and two hours a day. English education in Korea, especially in a high school, focuses on just reading and listening, so although I have learned English for fifteen years but I’m not good at speaking yet, That is why I decided to go to academy. The cost of academy is 150,000won a month and I need to another extra pay to sit for the exam. In addition, my major is English literature and culture so I have to write one essay every week, and it takes about one hour.

    As I go to academy for studying toiec speaking, actually I sometimes think that it is very boring, because we have to memorize template. We don’t learn ‘real’ speaking. I’m studying for only getting high scores. Everyone, including me, will think that it won’t help to improve our speaking skills. But we have to do because those are the minimum requirement to apply for a job.

  14. Alice(T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 3:33 pm

    2.Should Korea or Koreans reassess their approach to English? What should they do?
    I think Koreans should rethink of why they learn english at this point of time when english fever is reaching its peak. Most Korean students especially university students are trying to conquer english as getting higher grade than they had before in TOEIC or TOFLE. It is a first priority for them to achieve proper score in language examinations to enter a company they want. To satisfy these desire to get better score, private educational institues and the internet lecture teaching ‘the way to be good at english’ are springing up everywhere. Then, an important question come up with my mind. Why we study english? At this rate, learning a english is just one of the ‘specs’ that every students want desperately. We should reestablish the value of english as a language itself, not a spec. If not, people are more having compulsion about english and regard it as pride or inferiority.

  15. Christine(T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 4:27 pm

    1. How much time and money do you spend on learning Engish every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?
    When I was in middle school, I had about 3~4 hours of english classes, and this is relatively more than the other subjects. This was similar in high school. In highschool, I did’t have extracurricular classes such as art, technical and household subjects. Cause korean S.A.T delt with main subjects like korean, english, mathmatics, I had invest much time in those subjects, not extracurricular subjects. Also, I had additional study-load in hagwon. I went to only local hagwon in middle school, so it wasn’t very much. However I invest all of the day to do homework or memorizing the words in hagwon when I was highschool. At that time, I took it for granted, because I had to take a korean S.A.T. As a high school student, I was already accustomed with that kind of study-load and time to study. And I also think it is worthful. Study-load that I learned at that time is basic for studying english, so it help me whenever I study english, until now. Therefore, I think it was worthful, though I found it hard to study it.
    However, what I want to say is that korean education had to change. Actually It is already changing now. The education need to be focused on more speaking rather than other grammar or reading. I learned only grammar when I was middle school student. Someone said that korean has really good grammar ability and ask what is the reason. It is natural; Korean people learn all grammar about ten, or twenty times. But the problem is that people cannot easily applied it into real writing or speaking situation. Even though they know all grammar , some of them cannot speak in front of foreigners. Therefore I think we have to change studying way. We must have the education which is more focusing on practical speaking or writing.

  16. choco(T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 5:17 pm

    8.Studying English is a complete waste of time. Discuss.

    Many people have learned English all over the world. This proved that studying English is not useless work. If it has not worth, why people make an efforts to acquire English skills. Advantages of gaining english ability are so numerous that learner can get larger benefits than others who are not learner.
    Firstly, knowing English gives larger opportunities in global society. Communication in English has been increased continuously because interaction with foreign company have recently ascended. Therefore companies need competent employees who are good at speaking in English. Another benefit for having an ability of English can be the mean of experiencing new culture and people. Each culture is contained in language so knowing the language means that certain culture also is understanded naturally. we can meet people as using English and experience their culture. Moreover, in the globalized world, we need common language for communicating each other, since we need communicating beyond the wall of nation, religion and race. There are a billion of people who use English for communicating language. It is enormous number that a one-sixth of all over the world. Therefore using English is helpful to understand each other with more people.
    Likewise, Studying English is a worthy work and I am also strive for it. Through English I can make infinite value and I look forward to better future.

  17. Lia (C2 T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 5:22 pm

    8. Studying English is a complete waste of time. Discuss.

    To put it exactly, studying English for just getting a grade is a waste of time. These days, most of Koreans get higher marks than the past on English tests such as TOEIC or TOEFL. Even though Koreans get a perfect score on TOEIC, they could not speak English fluently. In addition, most of Koreans are still afraid of talking with foreigners even though they take English exams over and over. The problem is that Koreans just learn English to get high score on the exam, not to learn real ‘language.’ That’s why Korea or Koreans have to rethink about learning English. They have to think about appropriate purpose of learning English and understand the purpose of language. The reason why we learn other languages is for interpreting a document in written other languages and communicating with people of other countries. The purpose of language is not getting high score, but understanding and communicating with other countries. However, unfortunately, most of Koreans still just learn English. To realize the substantive function of language, Koreans have to be aware that blind obsession with getting higher grade on English exam is not an effective method of understanding and learning language.

  18. James C1 permalink
    May 10, 2013 5:43 pm

    3.Does Korea really need to have so many English speakers? Explain your answer.

    It’s an undeniable reality that to become a big shot you have to speak English well. However, not everyone can be a big shot. Many people will just be employee for many companies. Nonetheless, many Korean companies require high degree of English skills in order to be hired.( It means relatively high in Korea, I know Koreans’ average English skill is very low compared to other countires which learn English as a second language). As mentioned above, English is the kind of hard-to-learn language for Koreans. Koreans learn English hard, and mostly they barely use after they are hired. (other than the case you entered a compnay that needs many contacts with foreigners). It’s unbelieveably uneffective, but people keep doing this crazy thing all along.
    I’m not saying that learning English is useless, but the society is pushing citizens too hard to learn English. I think It’s time the government unberdened people’s pressure.

  19. Adrian+C2 permalink
    May 10, 2013 8:00 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    I don’t want to seem cocky, but I would like to share my personal experience to help someone who is about to study English. Even if I can’t speak fluent English, my experience would help them to learn English more efficiently.
    I have been studied English for 19 years, Spanish for 7 years, and Chinese for a year and half. Among them, I can speak Chinese more fluently than other two languages despite the least amount of time on it.
    I think I could learn Chinese quickly because I focused on speaking 24/7. I threw away all kinds of grammar text books. Instead, I tried to copy the native’s intonation, pronunciation, and their colloquial expressions as much as I can. For this, I met Chinese friends every day and talked with them in Chinese. At first, conversation couldn’t follow because I didn’t understand what they said, just like they didn’t understand what I said. But I kept trying to do it even if I totally depended on my I-Phone. Whenever I got back home, I reminded new expressions that they used and wrote it down, memorized them, and used them again next day. I repeated it when I was in China. After 3 months, I barely used I-phone when I talked with them.
    Then, I opened a grammar book when I felt that I needed to study for accuracy. I think all learning needs patience, passion, and clear goal. But what more we need when we study language is a more accurate method. Interact with native speakers, learn from them and try to make it yours. Then open your text book. In my opinion, this sequence is the most ideal way to learn English, or other foreign languages.

  20. Lemon tree -C2 permalink
    May 10, 2013 9:16 pm

    8. Studying English is a complete waste of time. Discuss

    I don’t think that studying English is a complete waste of time. English ability is one of the important elements in global village. We need to speak English to communicate with people who live in other countries. Nowadays, many jobs like interpretation, translation, trade and other businesses require English ability. If you don’t have these jobs, you need to speak English. For example, when you travel abroad or meet foreigner who visit in Korea. So, I think that studying English is necessary to developing ourselves capability and experiencing more variety and many things.

    But, I agree with that we have been spending time and money more than necessary in Korea. Actually, if you don’t have the particular jobs which I mentioned above, you hardly use English as living in Korea. It is enough that you can speak simplest conversation in English. Like I said above, I think we are spending lots of time and money to get English ability in comparison with using English in reality. Especially korean parents teach English to their children from when they were very young. Even nowadays some parents teach English before teaching Korean. But children who don’t have interest in English or are ineffective at learning English just get stressed from studying English. It is likely a waste of time. If some children don’t have any interest in English, the children should learn other interesting field instead of studying English. I think it is much more efficient.

    In conclusion, studying English is necessary and important but we don’t need to spend lots of time and money. Too much is as bad as too little!

  21. Emily Jeong permalink
    May 10, 2013 9:53 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    Reflecting on my English learning experience, most important of learning English requires constant practice. I put great emphasis on constant practice and it helped me to find a way to learn English successfully. After I entered high school with my english teacher’s suggestion, I began to listen to after school class and soon became a regular listener.
    I listened to the after school class whenever I had time and there was soon a great improvement in my English.
    Gradually learning English was not hard work but great fun for me, and after school class become a necessary part of my school life. I have a lot of tapes of the program and listen to them whenever I can. I always carry a portable radio and play the tape when I am exercising, cleaning the house, taking a shower, or even when I am taking a walk with my friend. Some dialogues are so familiar to me that I can repeat every line of them. The most important of all in learning English is to have patience. I would advice someone who studies English for the first time that do not much need for haste. There is scarcely anyone who hasn’t heard the proverb, “No pains, no gains.” It means that we can not achieve anything without patience and effort.

  22. Cookie (T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 10:35 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    If you are setting out to study English for the first time, I recommend that you focus on using the language in real situation. It becomes more and more important to develop the spoken language and practical English conversation ability. Learning by rote like a machine or just memorizing grammar rules cannot be the first step in improving your communication skills, since theory and practice are not the same thing. The most important thing is you must not be afraid to speak English out of the mouth. For this, you need to become fully familiar with English by watching English movies and dramas, listening to pop song, making foreign friends, or speaking in English even at home. Among them, it is best to make relationships with people who are using English as a native language, which can make you have practical chances to not only communicate in English, but also to learn about overall English cultures. In my case, when I went to California and met a handsome friend, I tried to increase in frequency of using English to interact with him. It helped me to improve communication skills naturally and also boost my confidence in English! Like this, you had better expose yourself to the opportunities to use English in real world situation. It can be more pragmatic than sitting at your desk alone and just reading books.

  23. jenny C1 permalink
    May 10, 2013 10:41 pm

    How much time and money do you spend on learning English every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?

    When I was student in middle school, I spent twenty hours learning English every week and 24 million won learning English every month. First I felt that learning English wasn’t interesting. Because when I learned English, it was just difficult to learn English. However, I wanted to be diplomat so that I didn’t give up and really studied English hard, but I felt difficult. After that, I thought that it was interesting and necessary. If you really need English, you will think like my idea. Then, you can ask me that if you specially need to learn English, you can find out and choose other ways not to need money. At that time, I didn’t even know Basic English. So, I really wanted to have help in private education institute. The teacher in the institute could teach me English on the way which set my level of English. And I could meet native speaker of English. It is worth that I studied English in the institute. In my opinion, if to come true your dream, you really need to have help in the institute and study English hard, it is worth that you spend time and money learning English.

  24. lullu+C2 permalink
    May 10, 2013 10:43 pm

    3. Does Korea really need to have so many English speakers?
    I think it is the fact that Korea really needs English speakers because we live in global era now. We should communicate with people from diverse countries, basically, for trade. However, I also don’t think it is more than needs. It depends on the kinds of work. If some people have to contact with other countries for his or her task, English skill and English speakers will be important, but not all companies and works communicate with other countries. Therefore, we don’t have to need so many English speakers.

  25. perfect guy (Cr2) permalink
    May 10, 2013 10:50 pm

    2. Should Korea or Koreans reassess their approach to English? What should they do?

    In Korea english education system in school and university, we learn reading and listening. Especially, we are forced to reading and grammar too much. Because reading and grammar part are easy to evaluate objectly. For this reason, korea students are forced to memorize grammar and vocabulary repeatly. Grammar and reading also important to study english. But many these students have difficulty after attending university. In university, many students have difficulty to speaking and listening with foregin professors. And some students have become english speaking phobia. And they avoid to learning english speaking and writing. This vicious circle are repeated in Korea. The most important thing of learning language is for using language in life. Many korean people learned english for 10- 15 years. But many people can’t use english in communication with others or travel in other countries or working in foreign company. It is unuseful education. I think korea students should be trained about speaking and writing part more than before in school.

  26. ROTC(C1) permalink
    May 10, 2013 10:51 pm

    Clare – CR2, Todd
    2. Should Korea or Koreans reassess their approach to English? What should they do?

    I think we, Korea and Koreans, should reassess our way to approach to English. Many Korea people have learned English for a long time, but we are still have difficulty in speaking and writing English. Because, I think, we have a problem to learn it. Most Korean are has been learned English by memorizing the words, grammar, and so on. However, English is langauge that uses for speaking and communication. Our this way doesn’t help us to use English. So, I recommend some ways to learn it.
    First, we should know many words that used in common. Words for testing don’t need for us anymore. We have to study more usuful words that used in English speakers.
    Second, we don’t just memorize English expression. We must practice English sentences in daily life. Just memorizing don’t help improve our English skills.
    Lastly, we always make many Korea sentences into English sentences. Both of them are used in our communication, so we have to exercise many expression and sentences.
    Meanwhile, many Korean have fault way to learn English. We should change this old way and take a new way for learning English.

    • Clare CR2 (Todd) permalink
      May 10, 2013 10:54 pm

      Why my name is ROTC???????? I don’t know how to change it…..
      AH! I changed it. I’ll uproad my comment to come!

      • Clare CR2 (Todd) permalink
        May 10, 2013 10:55 pm

        Where is my comment????

      • May 10, 2013 11:10 pm

        Some comments must await moderation by admin.

  27. Misty(C1) permalink
    May 10, 2013 11:00 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study english for the first time?

    I’d like to recommend that someone who is setting out to study english speak a loud. Before as a role for study, English is an language. So you speak and practice real english sentence, You accept an english as a language and therefore you feel more interest about english.
    I also recommend to you that you should memorize english sentence. It will help make other sentences you need and you learn grammar automatically.
    And if you know english not at all, you would learn basic grammar rapidly in 1-2 months. After that, you speak a loud and memorize those sentences.

  28. James(T) permalink
    May 10, 2013 11:24 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    First of all, I think memorizing vocabulary is the most important when someone study English. Even if you have good listening or reading skills, if you don’t know the meaning of the words, you might misunderstand so you can be in a trouble. Studying vocabulary is simple and repetitive work so you can be bored. However, if you keep working with it, you will feel a sense of accomplishment in the end. For example, my girlfriend is pretty good at speaking English also she has great listening and reading skill. However, she realized her vocabulary knowledge wasn’t that good enough. She was shamed to have a difficulty with some words during her conversation with others in English. Furthermore, when she studied for TOEFL test for her graduation, she had to spend most of her time studying vocabulary. She gave me advice to memorize vocabulary regularly. I totally agree with her. If you think it is too boring to memorize vocabulary, you can find some way to make it funny. For example, studying pop-song or drama script, etc. With these ways, you can also get more confidence with English. The second thing I would like to advise people is to be confident with English. You can find suitable way for yourself and it can be really fun. For me, I enjoy watching American dramas. Finding out new vocabulary or expression is really funny.

  29. Julie(C2) permalink
    May 10, 2013 11:48 pm

    6.If you could spend as much time as you do studying English doing something else, what would it be, and would knowing English change this experience?

    If I could spend my time that I used studying English doing something else, I would read a huge quantity of books. I know that reading many books is important and helpful for my life. However, I didn’t know that when I was young. I spent too much time studying English at school, at hakwon and at home. Of course, I can’t say that spending time studying English is meaningless and futile, but it is sure that I spent too much time and money more than necessary. If I put time into reading books, I would be a more knowledgeable person now. Also, I would have a wider perspective and I could get some vicarious experiences from books. I always regret this thing. I think knowing English is definitely useful and helpful but can’t change the experience of reading.

  30. Suffle_C2 permalink
    May 10, 2013 11:59 pm

    5. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    If I advise someone about English, I will emphasize interest in English. When I was at the 6th grade in elementary school, a surprising event happened. New student who had lived in America came to my class. I was surprised that bi-lingual person was around me. The friend sometimes introduced English slang and the longest English word to me. Maybe, this pleasant event made me become intrigued with English language. These days, Korean children are weary from English kindergarten, academy, and institute. These academic works attenuate interests in English.

  31. Amy(C1) permalink
    May 11, 2013 12:45 am

    1. How much time and money do you spend on learning English every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?

    -In this semester, I’m taking 5 English major classes that about English writing and speech, English history and culture, and English literature. For this reason, I can’t be apart from English. All of my major classes’ books are the original book in English. Also my all homework like essay, report and presentation are related to English. I think all of other students are same. I think I spend about 30 hour on learning every week include the class time. And I spend about 250$ on learning every week. Because I don’t go to another English academy, it’s just my tuition price on a week.

    I didn’t think and count about this before. But after that, I feel that English already become huge part of my life. And I think that is worth. After I took a semester off last year, I could study English with more comfortable mind, because I didn’t need to feel pressured about my university grade, credit, and exam. So I could enjoy studying English, and after that, I could be interested in English more and more. Although I’m taking this semester and also I feel pressured about the grade, credit, and exam, I can enjoy learning English now. This is amazing changing in my life.

  32. Clock-C1 permalink
    May 11, 2013 1:02 am

    Korea is crazy for English. In the case of certain parents who are rich and are very very very interested in the education of their children, they often bring their children to a doctor to cut their children’s an underneath part of their tongue in order to improve their English pronunciation. Additionally, the children are spent to English kindergarten or go abroad to learn English in childhood. Is it makes sense? All of them are Korean! Korean must speak, writing, reading, listening Korean fluently. After that, they have to learn English as a second language. Like this, if people only concentrate on learning English, they cannot build an upright character and will be confused about their identity. In my case, I am not good at all of the areas of English, whereas I am good at understanding any essay in Korean that is very complicated and difficult to understand, because I am very good at Chinese characters, which occupies about 60% of Korean. Furthermore, for these reason, I can study Korean history, law, Korean geography, etc better than others who are not good at Chinese characters. This means that the Korean who are good at Korean are better people. Therefore, I argue that placing too much emphasis on English ruins the character of the country.

  33. bianca C2 permalink
    May 11, 2013 1:27 am

    2. Should Korea or Koreans reassess their approach to English? What should they do?

    In my opinion, Koreans should rethink about the meaning of “fluency in English”. What makes people good at speaking English? Koreans tend to think if a person has great pronunciations regardless of well-set sentences. There was a short movie which blinds the face of the Ban Ki Mun, the UN secretary general and let Koreans listen the speech and assess the level of English. Koreans gave 40-50 percents out of 100 percents. I think they could not understand the speech, so the only thing that they could estimate capability was pronunciation. There are a lot of people studying TOEIC speaking. However, if they go to academy, the teachers ask them to memorize the texts that might come up. I do not think this was the main goal of ETS or the students. We should change our whole mind about learning English. Memorizing would not help.

  34. kelly +C1 permalink
    May 11, 2013 1:29 am

    1. How much time and money do you spend on learning Engish every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?
    When I was a middle school student, I registered a English academy to learning English. I had never entered any academy since then. However, I always felt a burden about ability of English because in Korea, ability of English are valued high and considered as a very essential thing. So, when I first entered the academy, I felt some rejection symptom because the academy let me study too much by force. I had to spent too much time to accomplish my assignment and pass my word test. Usually, I took a class 3 hours twice a week and took a test after every classes are ended. I could go to home when I passed the word test. So, I spent about 20 hours a week to study English including doing assignment. Also, I spent 350000won to learning English in academy. I thought that thanks to this period, I learned English in great measure, but it seems lack than amount that I invest time and money.

  35. Avec des Fries -C2 permalink
    May 11, 2013 1:37 am

    8.Studying English is a complete waste of time. Discuss.

    “We are finding people who have passion for movies!” I was so delightful when I saw this wanted ad at a film distributing agency. With eager expectation, I was searching for the requirements to apply it. However, I was depressed because they required high scores on TOEFL, over 90. Were they finding people who liked movies or English? I called the agency and asked them the reason why they required TOEFL scored, then they said. “If you have a good grade on TOEFL, we can believe you are earnest and prominent”. But I didn’t understand the relationship between English and passion for movies!!

    In this case, I should point out that we cannot prove ourselves prominent by good grades on TOEFL. In fact, many companies say that the reason why they require workers who can speak English is they need globalized man with English in globalized age”! As a result, our friends and seniors are making efforts to get a good grades on lots of English exams. So most of them are studying English very eagerly. For example, some are studying English at hagwon or making study groups for English. However, lots of these companies don’t need workers who can speak English. Their works are so diverse from making electronics products, making videos,banking operation…etc. In other words, English ability is just language skill that is helpful in some specific case. Companies just want people who make efforts a lot in their life! And to appraisers at companies, the English grade is standard to judge the ability of appliers. I think it is no effective to judge people by English.

    Therefore, I think if the reason for studying English is to get a good job unrelated to English skills, it is a complete waste of time.

  36. Kurtz (C1) permalink
    May 11, 2013 3:36 am

    3. Does Korea really need to have so many English speakers? Explain your answer.

    As we know, There is a lot of English teachers in Korea. They teaching English to the Korean people but they are almost Koreans. Unlike a few decades ago, The foreigners living in Korea has been increasing. But it does not mean they are all teaching English to Koreans. I think that it is not important native speaker who just speak English. Importantly, It is a native speaker who is teaching English to Koreans. Why did Koreans goes to study in English-speaking countries? Because, English skill will improving naturally if you are in a place with a lot of English speakers.
    Korean English teachers are already saturated. They are good teachers, but English speaker is more likely efficient teaching English than Korean English teacher.
    Therefore, We need to the native speaker who can teaching English to Koreans rather than just foreigners who speak English,

  37. Brad(C1) permalink
    May 11, 2013 4:02 am

    1. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?
    Actually my friends sometimes asked me for a method of efficient learning of English just because I am majoring English. When they asked for the method, I just answered with one word, “Read”.
    That answer also was pointed by the professor Conor. If someone who are setting out to study English graduated high school – if they know a little English grammar, reading is the best method to improve English. Especially, when they enjoy the reading with an interesting material, studying English will not only improve their English, but also induce the interest in English. I believe the saying – “If you can’t avoid it, enjoy it!”

  38. FireHotCheetos permalink
    May 14, 2013 2:44 am

    1.How much time and money do you spend on learning Engish every week? How do you feel about this? Is it worth it?

    A: I have not spent much money outside of a University to study the English language. However, I have many people circling me who I am very well familiar of the toll it takes when attending a ‘hakwon’ or private tutoring to say the least.

    I have two students I tutor and merely to put into perspective how much they spend and how ridiculous the amount these parents are pouring in for this education is astonishing. I won’t state my salary but it is multiples of the average minimum wage in South Korea.

    I am fully aware of how pressured students are regarding the ‘trend’ it seems that has swept the nation. A fair portion of students feel as if it is a necessity to be familiar with the English language.

    In that aspect, I can not comprehend. I was a creative writing major in the states and solely focused on the craftsmenship of the English language and the poetry it can manifest. I had no interest in the Korean language even though I am Korean American. That can be seen as arrogant in some aspects but the point I am trying to make is how devoted I was the language revolving in ‘my’ country at the time.

    It is a mirrored image how South Korean students focus on the English language. I just wish they partook in the learning solely due to interest and future plans with the language itself.

    Because, why not become an overwhelmingly astounding speaker or writer of the Korean language?

    This is just my opinion manifested from the background I come from.

    -Joon Hyuk Gweon

  39. Isabelle-C2 permalink
    May 14, 2013 5:03 pm

    Does Korea really need to have so many English speakers? Explain your answer.

    Yes, I think we need many English speakers. Koreans who are very fluent in English can learn other languages very easily. For them, English is a second language. Moreover, the order and grammar of English is totally different from Korean. When people study English, they keep trying to get used to different foams. For example, subject is located before verb and object is after verb in English. Comparably, verb is located at the last part of the sentence in Korean. According to the article, “what is the hardest language to learn?”, Korean is classified as the hardest language for English speakers. Learners are required to spend at least 1.69 years. If they want to be an expert in Spanish, it takes 24 weeks – only a half year! Koreans will need the same amount of effort to study English. There will be more chances to communicate and get more punctual and crucial information.

  40. Betty(CR2-Todd) permalink
    May 16, 2013 3:19 pm

    I don’t think that Korea needs so many English speakers. There are some areas that need English speaker such as embassy, translator, company which trade with foreign countries and so on. But except these industry areas, other jobs and positions don’t need to English ability. They don’t have to use English in their work but companies require English test score for promotion or hiring. I think it is unnecessary requirement. But it does not mean Korean people don’t have to study English. There are two reasons why Korean people should learn English. First, Korea is a very small country that people are the only property of country. In this case, the country should make a great effort to make people global talented people. Finland and Singapore are in similar situation with Korea. They are also small and have no resources. But they made an effort about language, English, and this helped to reinforce these countries’ competitiveness. Secondly, English is needed to enrich one’s life. As the world is more and more globalized, people have more chance to go abroad and interact with foreigners. In this situation if we can use English, we can enjoy many things. First of all, we can enjoy free trip without Korean guide and tour package. And we can communicate with natives by ourselves. We may be able to their friends and it will broaden your view of the life and world. And nowadays, worldwide website and programs are popular that people in all over the world can use such as Facebook, Instagram and Line. Even we can’t meet foreigners personally, we can talk with them thought internet. It also gives us new pleasure and makes us know about new culture and new world.

  41. Kitty C1 permalink
    May 21, 2013 2:12 am

    3.Does Korea really need to have so many English speakers? Explain your answer.

    I think we koreans don’t have many english speakers like these days. In korea, every students have to learn english and have to good at english regardless of their major or specialty. so every one devote so many hour and money to learning english. but ironically, only some people can speak english. I think this is wasting time and money on english. it would be enough if some people learn enligsh professionally. if there are professional english speaker, they could make money using english and also other people could spend time studying their major and improve their own specialty. it would be more benefit to everyone I think.

  42. misskim(T) permalink
    May 27, 2013 3:17 pm

    1. How would you advise someone who is setting out to study English for the first time?

    -I would advise him or her not to ignore the basic stages in Grammar.
    I believe a lot of Korean studnets have difficulties writing and speaking in English.
    That’s all because they are so used to only improving their reading skills.
    So, the very firt thing to study English i think is memorize and understand the eight parts of speech. And then i would ask them to study sentece elements. After that, i think practicing these things whenever they read some articles or reading materials is important.

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