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Image Source: Edited by Author, Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

You may have read my posts on how great flashcards are for language learning where I’ve talked about the ‘magic of SRS (Spaced Repetition Systems)’ and ‘how Anki is an essential resource’, etc. etc.

But…

As I progress in my language journey, I’ve realised that I’ve made quite a few mistakes in my flashcard study.

I hope that all of you learning vocabulary using flashcards will read this post and learn from my mistakes.

I promise you, it’ll save you hours of work.

Mistake 1: Inputting EVERY WORD I saw


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Various collated by author- JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash, Wikimedia Commons

In your first steps of learning Korean, I’m sure you’ve realised that there are a few pairs of vowels that sound very similar. Namely, vowels that use ㅐ and ㅔ.

Why do these vowels exist? Why isn’t there just one vowel for one sound?

Well… that’s those are the questions I’ll be answering today.

Why do these vowels exist?

To answer this question, we need to take a look at Korean in the past.

One of the early examples of ㅐ and ㅔ was in Middle Korean, a type of Korean spoken in the Joseon period (from the 1600s to the modern period).

Here, ㅐ and ㅔ were pronounced as a diphthong (a combination of two vowels in a single syllable). Since ㅐ is made up ofㅏ and ㅣ, it was pronounced ai. And ㅔ (ㅓ and ㅣ) pronounced eoi. …


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Depiction of Vikings sailing a longboat- Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The stories about Vikings that we have used to stereotype them were written by the Viking’s victims. This means that inevitably, the Viking’s image as a barbarian would have been exaggerated by the writers’ biased point of view.

In 1818, a Norwegian architect found remains of Vikings and the findings have shown that their way of life was structured and not barbaric as we had previously thought.

On the other hand, raids led by Vikings in many villages were merciless and terrifying; Vikings were certainly ‘barbarians’ in battle.

A Structured Way of Life

The Vikings’ way of life was highly structured by laws and a government. Subsequently those who abided with the law were respected and those who did not were shamed. Although Vikings did not use their primitive writing system, runes, for law writing, laws were communicated orally. Meetings were called ‘Things’, and the annual national meetings were held in Iceland, called ‘Althings’.


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An Althing of Iceland in session- Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Vikings. What do you think? Horned hats, terrifying shouts, barbarians and ruthless society?

But the Vikings actually had an ordered, structured life, with a complex political system and an organised society. How did the Viking leaders maintain such organisation? Through ‘Things’.

Yes, it’s a funny name and it sounds simple. But it’s part of an advanced system, a system that many scholars call the ‘first parliament’.

Follow me on a journey delving deeper into the first parliament meetings of the Vikings, the Things.

What were the Things

In the Things, laws were (re)stated, disputes were solved, criminals were judged, political decisions were made, and often held public religious rituals. …


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Mountains of shoes taken from those forced by the Nazis into Auschwitz- Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

I stared in horror at the mountain of shoes, smelling of sweat, dirt and pain. Each shoe a part of an identity, ripped away from thousands unwillingly. Uniformed officers streamed into the concrete building, carrying containers and containers of shoes, jewelry, and clothes. I thought of the memories behind each leather shoe, each diamond ring, each patterned dress. Memories that were stripped from its owners and deemed just another item.

I saw a tiny red shoe, big enough to fit a baby, and felt a pang of sorrow and helplessness. Another happy member of a family, joyful and worriless, oblivious of the pain to follow. Another life gone in the hands of its fellow humans. I thought of the baby, someone with a life to live and thoughts to think, wasted and forgotten. …


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Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

I came from a place,

Of terror and war

The screaming and punching guns

In a constant destroying race

I came to seek freedom

In places afar

I lost my past

My future and my present

Now I am here,

Lying still in my bed

Wondering and thinking,

To joy am I near?

But here I have hope,

Safety and support

Yet something, I lost

It used to be close, but now is remote

I am not what I used to be,

My presence goes unnoticed

A bowl of food or a bottle of water

Can never present my name to…


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The Dance of Death- Image Source: Wikicommons

When you hear the word ‘Black Death’, what do you think? I imagine most of you would think ‘death’, ‘misery’, ‘fear’, ‘persecution’, among other things.

But I’m not here to lament about how horrible the Black Death was. Anyone interested in history would know that. Instead, I’m here to show you that the Black Death was the start of a new era, a necessity that paved the modern world as we know it today.

The Black Death was a necessity.

Sounds crazy, right? Come along with me as I discuss how this is actually true, and the positives of the Black Death itself. …


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Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

In this digital age, there is distraction everywhere. From YouTube to Facebook, websites are made to keep you on the site and stop you from doing something more productive.

But how do you eliminate distraction in a world full of distraction?

I’m answering this question in this article.

The Plan

  1. Set proper goals
  2. Pinpoint the distractions
  3. Gradually remove them through the 5 Methods
  4. Use another method to retain your distraction-free life

Set Proper Goals

Set goals that you want to achieve once you remove the distractions in your life. It may be to be more productive in your work, or to finish homework earlier to do things you like. …


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Photo by jh seo from Pixabay

King Sejong the Great wasn’t called great for nothing. He was a savior to Koreans, a leader who brought reforms for the common people. But arguably the most important product of his rule was the Korean alphabet, Hangul.

Born in 1397 and died in 1450, his reign is often called the Golden Age and gets extra points for being the common figurehead of Korean history.

Imagine yourself in 1400s Korea (then called the Joseon kingdom), an illiterate farmer with a small family. You’re not one of the educated yangbans or scholars who worked for the king. The only writing system is the Chinese Hanzi system adapted for Korean. And then here comes along King Sejong, a hope for the common people. …


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Photo by Soner Eker from Unsplash

Do you remember your French classes at high school? You probably remember the mountains of conjugation tables and useless vocabulary lists you were forced to learn. Hours and hours of answering questions in a textbook, listening to the teacher droning on about l’imparfait tense.

No wonder most students hated their language class. Those memories hold you back now, stopping you from learning a language.

There are so many excuses that your brain can make. “I’m not smart enough”, “I don’t have time”, “There’s no point”. But the real reason behind what’s stopping you from learning a language is this:

You’re using the wrong method.

About

Luca Shin

Lover of learning languages, founder of Korean learning website Hangul Beuja, hungry for knowledge. Subscribe to my newsletter at https://hangulbeuja.ck.page

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