I didn’t use Talk To Me in Korean much when I was studying beginner Korean, but now that I am at intermediate level (ish) it is becoming much more useful to me.
Iyagi (이야기 or story) is a series of ‘natural’ talks in Korean: the first series contains a massive 148 episodes! Each one is a downloadable MP3 and comes with a Hangeul-only transcript in PDF format (there are user-contributed translations in several other languages here).
Each episode is a 5 to 10 minute conversation between two people on something that is part of Korean life – from hagwons (cram schools or academies) to dialect, birthday gifts to love and romance (!). You never really know what you’ll get, and for me that’s part of the attraction.
The recordings are primarily for improving vocabulary and listening skills, but I am using them in a much more specific way.
These days I’m noticing that there is some beginner and low intermediate grammar that I’m starting to forget, one of which is reported speech. So I listen to the Iyagi, stop it after each person speaks and repeat or paraphrase what I’ve heard in reported form. That way, I can work on my listening, pronunciation and reported speech endings at the same time.
Here’s an example from Iyagi 1: 노야자석 – seating for the elderly on Korean public transport (I told you it was random):
|최경은:||“석진 씨는 노약자석에 자주 앉아 봤어요?”|
|Me:||경은이 석진에게 노약자석에 자주 앉아 보냐고 했어요.|
|진석진:||“네, 버스는 자주 앉아 봤는데 지하철에서는 못 앉겠더라고요.”|
|Me:||석진이 지하철에서 버스보다 빈 노약자석을 찾은 것이 더 어렵다고 알게됐어요.|
I usually play the Iyagi a few times and build it up: “Gyeongeun asked Seokjin whether ABC and he replied XYZ”; “Seokjin thought that ABC was true but Gyeongeun disagreed and said XYZ”, and so on.
Because the speech is at intermeidate level I sometimes have to slow down the audio a little, but usually I can understand most of what’s being said. I feel like the process is already helping me remember some of the more difficult endings, and because the speech is natural I know I will have to report many different sentence types: questions, suggestions, imperatives, thoughts, etc.
I am hoping I can adapt this strategy to improve other parts of my speaking. I will keep you posted!