Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 Vol. 15:2 February 2015 Problems Faced in Korean Language Education inManipur UniversityDr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D. AbstractProblems of teaching and learning Korean language in Indian context are discussed inthis paper. Issues relating to Korean language teaching and learning at the Manipur Universityare identified and some solutions to solve these problems are suggested. Some contrastiveelements between English, Manipuri and Korean are identified. Several problems at the soundlevel, word level, sentence level and meaning level are identified.Key words: Korean language teaching, Indian contexts, problems faced in learning Korean1. IntroductionThe much awaited Korean Language course began in September 2012 in ManipurUniversity. It is now a well-known fact that the people of Manipur, especially the youth, are verydrawn to Korea and its culture. It is due to this emulation towards Korean culture that theuniversity has finally started a one year certificate course in Korean language. The programmehas about 12 students enrolled in the current academic session,n i.e., 2013-2014. Though theprogramme is in its nascent stage, it is focusing on motivating the learners to further take upKorean language studies more seriously.MethodologyThe paper is based on the students who are enrolled in the university for the academicsession of 2013-2014. The data for the study was collected from the tasks assigned to thelearners during their classes. The errors they make while attempting the tasks are focused in thispaper. The teacher has been able to identify the problematic areas with the help of error analysis.The tasks include reading comprehension, writing short paragraphs, role plays, giving speech inLanguage in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:2 February 2015Dr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D.Problems faced in Korean Language Education in Manipur University57
Korean, and so on. The learners were observed for a period of six months after they started thelearning process.Results ObtainedLearning a foreign language at a later stage in life takes immense effort from the learnersto be able to use the foreign tongue correctly. Many psycholinguists are of the view that humanbeings find it easier to learn any language in early years. It becomes difficult as the age increases.Common ProblemsThe common problems faced by an adult while learning a new language stem from thefact that these adult learners are already equipped with at least one language to communicate.Often the errors made by these learners are related to their first language.The Korean language learners in Manipur University also face most of the commonproblems cited above. The learners who have enrolled in the university have some idea aboutcertain expressions and phrases in Korean. For instance,1. 날시가춥습니다. (nalsigachups mnida)‘The weather is cold’2. 선생님, 내일봐요. (s ns nim, n ilbayo)‘Teacher, see you tomorrow’3. 선생님, 고마워요. (s ns nim, gomaw yo)‘Thank you teacher’4. 안녕, 선생님. (anny , s ns nim)‘Hello teacher’The expressions given above are known to them before the beginning of the course. Whatseems to be a blessing initially becomes an obstacle when formal learning begins. The mostimportant part of language learning gets a little hampered due to lack of knowledge of Koreanculture. This is one of the main reasons why they end up using slang words in the classroom.They learn them from Korean songs and try to use them in class. This is in contrast with theLanguage in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:2 February 2015Dr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D.Problems faced in Korean Language Education in Manipur University58
course structure. They are introduced to the alphabets and then to words which further leads tosentences. It is only then that they are taught about the proper way of greeting and addressingpeople. It becomes difficult for them to ‘unlearn’ whatever Korean that they had picked up fromwatching dramas and movies. The first problem they face is memorizing and concentrating onlyon the formal way of speech. At this point, they need to learn slowly along with the cultural partof the target language.Difficulties at the Sound LevelThe learners begin with making mistakes from the sound level or the alphabetical level,i.e., they face problems while producing the correct pronunciation at phonetic level. The soundswhich are absent in their mother tongue namely, Manipuri, pose a serious problem whilespeaking. These sounds are ㅅ[s], ㅈ[j] and ㅊ[chh] sounds. Due to this reason they also faceproblems in producing ㅆ[ss] and ㅅ [s] sounds. This further leads to difficulties in listeningskills. The reason is because the students have learned these sounds as s sound so while testingtheir listening skills they invariably perceive them as s sound, eventually making enormousmistakes.Owing to the difficulty at the sound level, the problem is carried forward to the wordlevel. The absence of laboratory training of the Korean speech sounds has its direct effect on theproduction of Korean words. For example, the errors the students make constantly are as follows:1. 색(s k) instead of 책(chh k) meaning ‘book’1. 색상(s ksa ) instead of 책상 (chh ksa ) ‘desk’2. 극상(k ksa ) instead of 극장 (k kca ) meaning ‘cinema hall’3. 술구 (sulgu) instead of 출구(chhulgu) meaning ‘exit’4. 흐와요일(h wayoil) instead of 화요일(hwayoil) meaning ‘Tuesday’Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:2 February 2015Dr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D.Problems faced in Korean Language Education in Manipur University59
The sounds [ch] is absent in Manipuri. Even when they use Hindi words like ‘chhata’meaning umbrella they always say ‘sata’. The mother tongue influence, therefore, is the hardestto overcome. The errors occur also because of the absence of the sound combination in Manipuri.There is no permissible word in Manipuri that begins with the sound 화[hwa]. The option thenleft to the students is to insert a vowel on their own between ㅎ[h] and 와[wa] to be able toproduce the Korean word. If the students practice the words in isolation, they are more careful toavoid making mistakes.Difficulties at the Word LevelA major problem arises when the students are asked to speak using these same words incomplete sentences. The erroneous production of Korean sentences by the students tends torender a strange meaning far removed from the target sentence. One of the most problematicsentences that they have come across so far is - 1. (a) 책상위에책과연필도있습니다. (chh ksa wi chh gwa y nphildoiss mnida)‘There are books and pencil also on the desk’The students usually end up saying2. (b) 색상위에색과연필도있습니다. (s ksa wi chh gwa y nphildoiss mnida)Roughly the meaning of this sentence is ‘There are colour and pencil also on the colourtone’.Apart from this type of errors, the students also find it very difficult to keep up with the‘Patchim’ rules. In trying to memorize these rules they forget to apply them while speaking inKorean. There are many such instances, but the prominent ones are given below:1. The rule of ㄹ[r] (patchim) changing from [l] sound to [r] sound when followed by avowel.Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:2 February 2015Dr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D.Problems faced in Korean Language Education in Manipur University60
Example, while using the word 일요일(iryoil) meaning ‘Sunday’, the students oftenmake mistakes by pronouncing it as ‘ilyoil’ instead of ‘iryoil’.2. Another rule of tensification in words like 학교(hakkyo) which they speak as hakgyo.The simple explanation for this rule is that while speaking a string of sounds to formwords the phonotactic rules play a major role to simplify normal speech. This implies thatthe string of sounds, namely,학교(hakgyo) will become 하꾜(hakkyo) forming the ‘ㄲ’[kk] alphabet. These rules of Korean are evident enough for the scientific nature of itslanguage design.Problems at the Sentence LevelSentence level also creates many problems for the learners. From the very beginning thelearners are taught to focus on the endings. They usually get mixed up between formal andinformal endings. For instance, while talking to the teacher1. 내일봐요. (n ilbayo)‘See you tomorrow’ (instead of)내일뵙겠습니다. (n ilbwebg s mnida)The three tenses sometimes create a problem for the learners. It becomes pertinent forthem to master the rules of forming different kinds of endings to be able to use the targetlanguage correctly. Apart from the endings, the concept of come (오다) (oda) and go (가다)(gada) based on the positioning of the speaker and hearer takes some time for them to learn. Theproblem starts from using the expression of seeking permission to enter the classroom.a. 들어갈수있습니다.(d r gal suiss mnida) (literally meaning may I go in)‘May I come in.’b. 들어오십시오. (d r osibsio)‘Please come in.’Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:2 February 2015Dr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D.Problems faced in Korean Language Education in Manipur University61
In Manipuri, the same expression is used as c. m nu c j r ke? (literally meaning may I enter)‘May I come in.’d. c bir ko.‘Please come.’In the Manipuri sentences, the two expressions use the same verb changba which means‘enter’. However, in the Korean counterpart there are two verbs used, i.e., 들어가다(d r gada)(to go in) and 들어오다(d r oda) (to come in). Thus, these varying concepts are a point ofconcern for the beginners.Other IssuesThe employability aspect by Korean companies based in India includes the speechproficiency in English, Korean and Hindi. Keeping this in mind, the development of speech andlinguistic skills of these learners is not limited to their Korean proficiency alone. They also faceproblems while speaking in English. This implies that improving spoken English becomes vitalwhile learning to speak the foreign language. The absence of environment to test and practicetheir linguistic skills in the different languages does hamper their skill development eventuallyslowing down the learning progress. This further has an adverse impact on the motivation levelof the students. The confinement in one corner of the world has the effect of just compromisingwith the little opportunities that any course offers. What they really need is to have realizable andtangible dreams to self-motivate and gradually progress in the language development. It is onlythen that their distant dream of visiting Korea will eventually become realizable.DiscussionInadequate Number of Faculty MembersAny foreign language teaching comprises of at least six important modules. They arespeech skills, writing skills, reading capability, listening skills, grammar and understandingculture. These six modules need to be taught in a parallel way for producing good speakers of theLanguage in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:2 February 2015Dr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D.Problems faced in Korean Language Education in Manipur University62
target language. To run a foreign language course smoothly, it requires at least two teachers tofocus on these different modules. The major problem that the department faces is the lack ofmore faculty members. Only one faculty member managing these six different skills seemscomplicated. It so happens that when the teacher focuses on the speech skills it has an adverseeffect on their writing skills.Need for Understanding Some Linguistic ConceptsApart from single-handedly tackling the whole course, the teacher, though not a nativespeaker of Korean, has to use some special phonetic skills to help the students improve theirKorean pronunciation. The instructor has to understand and figure out what sounds are known tothe learners and what sounds are new for them. For instance, some sounds are found to be similarin English, Manipuri and Korean, but some sounds are unique to Korean alone. These specialsounds are the focus of teaching process since the students usually make mistakes whilepronouncing them. The vowel ‘으’ [ ] is absent in Manipuri. Therefore, while making thestudents learn this sound, the teacher has to know some phonetic features of the vowel to helpthem use their speech organs correctly. The students are asked to produce the vowel sound [u]with unrounded lips. It is only then that the vowel is produced correctly. However, this is a timeconsuming effort.Difficulties Faced While Teaching GrammarEven while teaching grammar, the teacher has to be equipped with more knowledgeabout the grammar of the students’ mother tongue. Grammatically Korean and English aredifferent. Therefore, to explain the grammatical patterns of Korean, the teacher has to resort tousing similar grammatical rules found in languages like Hindi and Manipuri. This implies thatthe teacher has to make an enormous effort to learn more about grammar of other languagesalready known to the learners along with Korean grammar.For example, the use of 2nd person is limited in Korean as well as Manipuri. Hindibehaves differently here as it has an honorific form and colloquial for 2nd person i.e. ‘aap’ and‘tum’. In this case equating Korean with Manipuri helps the students to understand the culturaland pragmatic aspect of the use of 2nd person.Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 15:2 February 2015Dr. L. Iboyaima Singh, M.A., M.Phil, Ph.D.Problems faced in Korean Language Education in Manipur University63
The students have problems in figuring out grammatical particles and often writeincomplete or incorrect sentences. For example, they are given the task of writing sentences like1. 책이책상위에있습니다. (chh gichh sa wi iss mnida)‘There is a book on the desk’.The learners sometimes come up with the expression given below whic
Key words: Korean language teaching, Indian contexts, problems faced in learning Korean 1. Introduction The much awaited Korean Language course began in September 2012 in Manipur University. It is now a well-known fact that the people of Manipur, especially the youth, are very drawn to Korea and its culture. It is due to this emulation towards .
to intermediate and advanced Korean lessons. Before you go, here is a bit of history of 한글 (Hangeul, the Korean alphabet): Korean is the official language of Korea, both North and South. There are around 78 million people who speak Korean around the world.  한글 (the Korean alphabet) was invented by Sejong the Great in the 15th century.File Size: 903KB
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