So what kind of a masochist would voluntarily take a 3-hour language exam for fun? Yeah…
I have returned to the land of blogging after several weeks of mostly absence, a lot of which was due to the fact that I was studying for a large Korean exam known as TOPIK, or Test of Proficiency in Korean. As of today, it is finally over. It is quite difficult and by the third hour, it gets very exhausting. I did it mostly to have some idea of my skill level and to have something to show others, maybe even for a job later. So, it wasn’t really for fun, but it doesn’t have any immediate impact on my life.
The test is divided into two parts with a break in the middle: the first is grammar, vocabulary and writing, including writing an essay. The second part is listening and reading. I took this same test about 4 years ago and at that time, I did terrible on the grammar and actually pretty good on the listening. This time was the opposite (at least how I felt about it; we’ll see in a few weeks). The hardest questions were in the writing section. They write a paragraph and leave out a phrase, which you have to fill in from context. No multiple choice, no hints. I call them the widowmakers. Here’s an example:
It may not be evident to people in North America or Europe, but Korean is becoming a very popular language of study, especially in Asia, and so this is a pretty popular test. I live in a relatively small city in Korea and there were over 1100 people who took it today. Mostly Chinese, but also a lot from almost every other country in central and east Asia, plus a smattering from other countries as well. Anyway, now I’m going to forget about studying Korean for a while and get back to writing.
By the way, you may have noticed that I never answered the question in the title: what is “masochism” in Korean? There are two answers. One is a loanword: “mae-jeo-ki-jeom” (which sounds a bit like “magic kissing”) and the longer “pi-hak-seong byeon-tae seong-yok” which is literal translation of exactly what masochism is. So there you have it: go wow your friends.
July 21st, 2013 at 10:50 pm
I have a friend who taught herself Korean. I’m quite jealous of how easily she learns different languages. She’s currently studying Cantonese at university.
All I have is a bit of GCSE French. I can read a little, but I couldn’t hold a conversation in it to save my life.
July 21st, 2013 at 11:07 pm
I used to speak French pretty well and actually, I have a degree in it. However, Korean has driven it out of my brain, at least the immediately accessible part. I’d like to brush it up sometime.
July 21st, 2013 at 11:12 pm
I almost feel deficient not being able to speak a second language. All my friends seem to know at least one other language, whether it’s Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese or Setswana.
July 22nd, 2013 at 11:05 am
Wow, that is impressive! So, you passed? Congrats! I look forward to your blogging.! 🙂
July 22nd, 2013 at 9:09 pm
I think I passed but I won’t know for two weeks. Thanks for the follow. 🙂
July 22nd, 2013 at 10:01 pm
I’ll keep my fingers crossed. 🙂
July 22nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm
I tried and gave up, it was easy learning French and Spanish
July 22nd, 2013 at 3:05 pm
salutes to you my dear friend! a big salutes! all the best for the result!
waiting for “Alone on boat” 🙂
July 24th, 2013 at 6:36 pm
Hope you pass and move to the next level:) The letters look a lot more difficult than even Japanese..
July 24th, 2013 at 7:38 pm
They are actually much easier than Japanese, although the look is much different. The grammar is very similar to Japanese though.
July 29th, 2013 at 11:27 pm
Hi David……Korean sounds like a fascinating language……..hope you did well in TOPIK…….:)
July 30th, 2013 at 1:49 pm
I think I did well; at least the first part wasn’t too difficult. I’ll find out my results in a couple days.