Kaamaakshi Bhat (Zirakpur, Punjab), Richa Singh (New Delhi), Shalini Roy (Kolkata, West Bengal), Ojasvi Peer (Hyderabad, Telangana), Ritika Jain (New Delhi)
On 24th July, KFANZZ Entertainment in partnership with OTT Entertainment, organized a Korean Language Workshop, where Mr. Lee Hamin, a well-known Korean Language teacher from OTT Entertainment was invited. KFANZZ Entertainment is a start-up event based organization that connects K-culture enthusiasts all over India and organises events related to it. On the other hand, OTT Entertainment is an idol-management agency. They also have their own K-pop idol group, vocal, dance and Korean language trainers and are very much ready to organising online workshops in partnership with other organizations. The duration of the language workshop was of one hour.
Mr. Hamin briefly introduced himself and gave the students an introductory speech on Hangeul (한글) or the Korean alphabets and explained the order of writing. He started teaching with the consonants and double consonants with elegant tricks that vanished all the existing bewilderment. He explained this in a tabular format where each consonant was followed by it’s sound and character; for example Giyeok (기역) has a sound of ‘g’ and is written as ‘ㄱ’. Similarly the double consonants were explained right after to make the absorption easier and this method worked wonderfully. For example Giyeok was followed by ssang Giyeok (쌍 기역) which has a sound of ‘kk’ and is written as ‘ㄲ’.
Now to resolve the issue of practicing pronunciation of consonants and double consonants with similar sounds like digeut (d), ssang digeut (tt), bieup (b), ssang bieup (pp), he introduced the Tissue-Method in which we had to place a paper in front of our mouths while speaking. For the sounds of double consonants, the tissue would show a movement due to the air blown from our mouths unlike the stillness that comes while pronouncing consonants and hence our familiarity with pronouncing these consonants will increase.
Lastly, to make the learning process even smoother and exciting, he asked us to memorize the consonants with the rhythm of nursery rhyme “twinkle-twinkle” in a sequence as-
가 (ga) 나 (na) 다 (da) 리- (ra) 마 (ma) 바 (ba) 사 (sa)
아 (ng) 자 (ja) 차 (cha) 카 (kha) 타 (tha) 파 (pha) 하 (ha)
Moving on to the next were the study and identification of vowels. Mr. Hamin introduced the vowels and shared the way they can be remembered through hand gestures. The vowels in Korean are:
ㅏ(a) ㅑ(ya) ㅓ(eo) ㅕ(yeo) ㅗ(o) ㅛ(yo) ㅜ(u) ㅠ(yu) ㅡ (eu) ㅣ(i)
One of the important parts to focus on was the double consonants. Though it has almost the same pronunciation, it is different in a way as it has an accent to it which differentiates them with the regular consonants. Double consonants are ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅉ, ㅃ, ㅆ.
Then the workshop covered on how we can create words using the vowels and consonants. It is written with the combination of Consonant (C), Vowel (V) , Consonant (C). Special point to be noted here is that consonants and vowels cannot be used alone; they will always be used as C+V or C+V+C to make a word. Another important point to learn is which vowels to use on the right or which one to use below the consonants. Therefore, the vowels to be written on right side of the consonant are:
And the vowels to be written below the consonant are:
ㅗ, ㅘ, ㅙ, ㅚ, ㅛ,ㅜ,ㅝ, ㅞ,ㅟ, ㅠ,ㅡ, ㅢ
These explanations helps in understanding the writing order in a view and memorizing would never have been easier. We then proceeded with some examples on how to use vowels and consonants together. ㄱ(g) +ㅏ(a) = 가(ga) and ㄴ(n) + ㅗ(o) = 노 (no), etc. words were discussed and explained by him along with pronunciation of words like gang, gong, jib, bang.
After the basics were covered, it was time to learn the formation of words. The examples began with words like Banana and continued to BTS’ V and Suga, which most of the participants shared the way they were to be written. It was amazing to see how excited we all were to participate and get the best out of it. The next step shared was the batchim which completes the word and all the 19 consonants and mixed consonants is used to write but has only 7 sounds. The examples shared where the different consonants that were used but the sound at the end was limited to only 7 that are k, n, t, l, m, p, ng.
Once we were clear about how the words are made we came to the fun learning part to know the different words that were single and compound words. These words begin with the Mountain (산 : San), Moon (달 : Dal) to the compound words like Food (불고기: Bulgogi) and Fish (물고기: Mulgogi), where 물 used single means Water and 불 is Fire.
With a few minutes left for the closure of the class Mr. Hanim started explaining how to count in Korean. There are two types of counting in Korean i.e. Native Korean and Sino Korean. He explained the native Korean number counting from 1 to 10 and students repeated after them. After completely understanding it he moved further to Sino Korean numbers and explained them to us. He also mentioned how numbers are counted after 10 in Sino Korean numbers. After the explanation, Mr Hamin gave a considerable amount of time to check how much the participants had understood and retained through a mini quiz. He randomly asked for the pronunciation of the vocabulary taught earlier, and corrected wherever needed. He also quizzed the participants on vowels, consonants and the rhyme to learn the consonants.
The last few minutes of the workshop were dedicated to a Q and A session where Mr. Hamin welcomed any questions or doubts. He even urged the participants to put their questions in the public chat room, so that he could take maximum of them. The questions ranged from his personal experience of learning English, to his observations as a tutor regarding the difficulties faced by people learning Korean as a foreign language. A common question posed to him was about how we can fasten and improve our Korean language learning and be fluent and accurate, to which he replied that practicing, and being in touch with Korean content (like songs, dramas and movies) is the good way to go.
Participants were also curious to know about how they can develop an accent similar to native Korean speakers, to which his response was the same as to the last question. Some technical questions related to the content of the workshop were asked like how to differentiate between ‘ae’(애) and ‘ye’ (예) vowel sounds, usage of Sino and Native Korean numbers, difference in pronouncing 방 (bang, meaning room) and 빵(ppang, meaning bread), to name a few. Mr. Hamin was extremely welcoming for any questions and responded to each patiently. Overall, it was a very meaningful and engaging segment and concluded the workshop on a good note.
You can connect to him here: