I’m traveling to South Korea this fall, so I’ve decided to be fluent in the native tongue when I arrive. You may be thinking, does he already have a basic proficiency? The answer would be, yes. I mastered how to say, “Where is the bathroom?” in Korean, quite some time ago. I also know how to say, “That’s too expensive.” So, with this solid foundation, I figure I should need no more than three and a half weeks to “come up to speed” to complete fluency.
I went online to Rosetta Stone. My wife suggested that I order the first level and pace myself. This made perfect sense; so after due consideration, I ordered everything Rosetta Stone had. The whole shebang. Every “level,” including one, that upon completion, should allow me to obtain a position as a professor of Korean linguistics at Seoul University – teaching post-graduate students.
I hit my first roadblock when I openned the Rosetta Stone box. It contained several DVDs and a “Quick Start” booklet. To truly “master” the language, I figured that I’d need to devote at least 20 or 30 minutes several times a week. Unfortunately, after an hour, I was still trying to figure out how to download the program using the “Quick Start” guide. I had a heck of a time deciphering the instructions, but what most concerned me was that the instructions were in ENGLISH. I’ll admit it; this caused me to begin to doubt my ability to master the Korean language by October.
I have tried to learn Korean before. My wife is Korean, and not just Korean, but the Real McCoy. She grew up in South Korea, and as you might suspect, a very popular pastime in Korea is speaking the Korean language. Sadly, each time I have started studying Korean, I have ultimately abandoned my pursuit. But as they say, “The 253rd time’s the charm.”
This time, I have a special weapon. His name is Caleb. Caleb is my nephew who is learning Japanese. We have decided to become “accountability buddies.” I only have one concern about Caleb as an accountability buddy – Caleb is nice. He’s a really nice well-mannered young man, and I don’t think he has it in him to, for example, call me up and threaten me with severe bodily death if I don’t get my butt “back with the program.” I may need more of an Arnold Schwarzenegger type accountability buddy, or maybe even Hannibal Lector.
Well, I better get back to my Korean studies. Remind me again, what is Korean for, “Where is the bathroom?”