TTMIK, Iyagi and Reported Speech


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!

V-ing while in the state of…: 은/ㄴ 채(로)

A/V + 은/ㄴ 채(로) is used when you start doing something (B) while maintaining a previously mentioned state (A). It differs from (으)면서, where the two actions happen and continue simultaneously. The clause attached to ㄴ 채(로) is always in a passive-but-completed state.

It roughly reads as “while in the state of A, I did B”, where A is not a necessary condition for B. Note that 가다 and 오다 are never used with this form.

이전 직장에서 몇몇 한국 선생님들이 취한 채로 학교에 왔어요.
In my previous job some Korean teachers to came into work drunk.

여름 동안 그는 옷을 입지 않은 채로 집 안을 걸어다녔어요.
In the summer he walked around the house without any clothes on.

너무 더워서 옷을 입은 채로 월성계곡에 뛰어들었어요.
It was so hot at Wolseung Valley that we jumped in the river with our clothes on.

왜 문을 열어 놓은 채로 변기를 사용해요?!
Why are you using the toilet with the door open?!

셔츠가 차 문에 끼어있는 채로 출근했어요.
I drove to work with my shirt stuck in the door.

불을 놓은 채로 잠이 들었어요.
I fell asleep with the lights on.

신발을 신은 채로 모스크에 들어가면 안 돼요.
You can’t enter a mosque with your shoes on.

Diary 24: 바레인에서 비가 와요! Rain in Bahrain!

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8월말에 바에인에 왔어요. 처음에는 매일 매일 날씨가 건조하고 너무 더워서 사막에 있는 것 같았어요. 보통 온도가 40도 이상 이였지만 다행히도 그때부터 온도가 내려갔어요.

올해 3월이 되고 난 후 이번 주에 처음으로 비가 왔어요!

중동 나라는 일년의 대부분 비가 오지 않으니까 사람들이 나쁜 날씨에 익숙하지 않어요. 또, 길들에 하수구가 많이 없어서 집중 호우가 자주 쏟아져요.

그래서 이슬비가 내리자마자, 인터넷으로 바레인의 정부가 날씨 경보를 바로 내리고 주민에게 아주 천천히 운전하고 아주 조심하라고 충고했어요.

물론, 영국인이기 때문에 비가 아주 익숙해서 일이 저를 웃게 만들어요!

제 생각에는, 바레인의 운전자가 미친 것 같아요. 대부분 사람이 운전하면서 휴대폰을 사용하느라고 교통 사고가 많이 나요. 사실, 바레인에 온 후에 교통 사고 4번을 직접 봤고 제 책임이 아닌 사고 2번을 당했어요.

그런데 비가 조금 왔을 때 사람들이 걱정되고 차를 거의 기어가듯이 운전했어요. 이렇께 운전하는 걸 더 안심해요!

I came to Bahrain at the end of August. At first the weather was dry and very hot every day – it was like being in a desert. Usually the temperature was more than 40 degrees but thankfully it has come down since then.

This week it rained for the first first time since March!

Since it doesn’t rain in Middle Eastern countries for most of the year, people aren’t used to bad weather. Also, many of the roads don’t have drainage so there is often local flooding.

So as soon as it drizzles, the Bahraini government immediately issue a weather warning on the internet advising citizens to drive very slowly and be very careful.

Of course, being a Brit I am totally used to rain and this makes me laugh!

In my opinion, drivers in Bahrain are crazy. Most people use their phones while driving, which causes a lot of accidents. In fact, Since coming to Bahrain I have seen four accidents firsthand and been involved in two accidents where I was not to blame.

But as soon as a little rain falls, people get really worried and it’s as if their cars are crawling along. In a way, it makes driving safer!



사막 –  desert
하수구 – drainage, sewerage
집중 호우가 쏟아지다 – to have localised flooding
경보를 내리다 – to issue a warning

충고하다 – to advise
책임이 아니다 – to not be responsible (for)
당하다 – to experience, to encounter
기어가다 – to crawl along
듯이 – as if, as though

HanjaWatch: 下


– under, low, below (he’s pointing DOWN!)

 pronounced 하

지하 – underground
지하철 – subway
지하실 – basement

인하[하다] – reduction
하락[하다] – decline, depreciate


런던의 지하철 더럽고 구식이에요.
London’s subways are dirty and outdated.

고등학교 다녔을 때 밴드에서 키보드를 치고 친구의 지하실에서 연습했어요.
When I was in high school I played keyboards in a band and we practiced in my friend’s basement.

이번 주말에는 이마트에 가격 인하 상품이 많이 있어요.
This weekend there are lots of discounted items at E-Mart.

브렉시트부터 파운드 가치가 하락하고 있어요.
Since Brexit the value of the pound has been falling.



Diary 23: 한국의 핫이슈 키워드 – TTMIK News Keywords in Korea

제가 전에 말한 대로, 한국어 뉴스를 읽을 수 있는 것은 개개인이 목포들 중 하나예요. 그래서 TTMIK은  지난 달에 한국의 핫이슈 키워드를  출시했을  때 너무 행복했어요.

이 비디오 시리즈는 한국 뉴스에서 최근에 사용한 키워드 4, 5개를 설명해요. 최근의 비디오는 진행중인 박근혜 대통령과 최순실 스들에 집중해요:

문맥에서 새 어휘를 보기 때문에 비디오를 좋아해요. 제가 더 쉽게 단어를 외울 수 있고 저한테 더 자주 한국어로 뉴스를 읽기가 동기부여를 해요.

News In Korean 연습장을 주문했어요. 책 안에 50 짧은 뉴스 이야기와 문제, 번역, 다운로드를 할 수 있는 녹음이 있어요. 이전에 매주 구독으로만 시리즈에 몇몇 이야기를 가능했어요.

연습장을 받을 때 자세히 쓸 거예요. 기대돼요!

I have previously mentioned that one of my personal goals when learning Korean was to be able to read the news. So I was very happy when Talk To Me In Korean launched ‘News Keywords in Korea (한국의 핫이슈 키워드)’ last month.

This video series explains 4 or 5 keywords that have been recently used in Korean news. The latest one focuses on the ongoing scandal involving President Park and Choi Soonsil.

I enjoy these videos because they present new vocabulary in context, which helps me remember words more easily and motivates me to read the news in Korean more often. Also, I can understand most of the explanations without the subtitles, which is very encouraging.

I have also ordered the News In Korean workbook – a collection of 50 short news stories with comprehension questions, translations, downloadable audio and vocabulary lists. Some of the stories were previously available as a weekly subscription-only series.

I will write about the book in detail once it arrives. Can’t wait!



제가 전에 말한 대로 – as I previously mentioned
개개인이 목포 – personal goal
출시하다 – to launch (a product)

문맥 – context
동기부여를 하다 – to find sth motivating
구독 – subscription
자세히 – in detail

I regret not V-ing: …을 걸 그랬다

The structure V + 을 걸 그랬다 is typically used for self-reflection and expresses regret for not taking an action (‘I regret not doing sth I should have done’). 그랬다 can be omitted with no change in meaning:

이렇게 날씨가 나쁠 줄 알았으면 우산을 가져올 걸 그랬어요.
If I’d known the weather was this bad, I would have brought my umbrella (but I didn’t).

더 일찍 한국어를 배울 걸.
I should have learned Korean earlier (but I didn’t).

네가 오는 줄 알았으면 음식을 만들 걸.
If I’d known you were coming I would have prepared something to eat (but I didn’t know, so I didn’t prepare).

Adding 지 마 (derived from 지 않다) before the main verb changes the meaning to ‘I regret doing sth I shouldn’t have done’:

질문을 하지 말 걸 그랬어요.
I shouldn’t have asked (but I did).

지난 밤에 늦게까지 깨어있지 말 걸 그랬어요.
I shouldn’t have stayed up late last night (but I did).

맥주를 마시지 말 걸 그랬어요.
I shouldn’t have drunk so much beer (but I did).

The question form replaces 그랬다 with 그랬나?:

여기에 더 일찍 올 걸 그랬나?
Should I have come here earlier? (Am I late?)

양복을 입을 걸 그랬나?
Should I have worn a suit? (Am I underdressed?)

그에게 말할 걸 그랬나?
Should I have spoken to him?

There’s no choice but to…: 을 수 밖에 없다

V + 을 수 박에 없다 combines the noun-like particle (relating to capability) with 밖에 (outside of) and 없다 (to be not) to say ‘there’s no choice but to do/be…’ – literally ‘outside of this possibility, nothing exists’.

버스 요금이 별로 없어서 집에 걸어 갈 수 밖에 없었어요.
I didn’t have enough bus fare so I had no choice but to walk home.

직장을 잃으니까 부모님의 집에 다시 살 수 밖에 없었어요.
Since I lost my job I had no choice but to live with my parents again.

한국 교장선생님 다른 선생님들에게 회식을 해야 다고 말하면 할 수 밖에 없었어요.
When a Korean headteacher says to the other teachers that there should be a staff dinner, there is no choice but to do it.

Similarly it can mean that ‘nothing should be expected outside of…’ . This occurs with both verbs and descriptive verbs/adjectives:

항상 그들이 서로 말싸움을 서 헤어질 수 밖에 없었어요.
They used to argue all the time so of course they split up (it shouldn’t be a surprise).

시골에서 서울까지 이사를 하면 길들이 더 복잡 할 수 밖에 없었어요.
If you move from the countryside to Seoul, obviously the roads will be more congested (you should expect only this).

여름 방학 동안 시골에 있는 할머니 집에 계속 있어서 재미 없을 수 밖에 없었어요.
I’m staying at grandmother’s house in the countryside for the entire summer holiday so it’s bound to be boring (there’s no choice but to be bored).

다른 나라에 이사할 때 문화 하고 사회의 풍습이 다를 수 밖에 없었어요.
When you move to a different country it should be expected that culture and social customs will be different (you should expect only this).