learning korean with the ipad

I’m Alex. You may have seen me around the forum or over at LingQ Support. You probably know by now that I work at LingQ, but what you may not know is that I’ve been learning Korean for over 6 years now. Over the past 6 years I’ve dabbled in other languages, spending around a year learning Japanese and about a year and a half studying Chinese, but Korean is the language that I’ve stuck with consistently through the years.

It helps that I’m actively involved in the Korean community here in Vancouver, which means lots of opportunities each week to interact with local Koreans. I’ve been able to achieve a conversationally fluent level in Korean, though that doesn’t necessarily give much of an idea of what my level is. Here’s a video from 2012 filmed by my friend Hyunwoo Sun that should give you a rough idea of my level:

I’ve always been a bit of an Apple geek, having spent more on Apple gadgets over the past several years than I care to admit. But I held out strongly against the iPad. I had a Macbook Air, the most portable Apple laptop, and an iPhone 4S (now 5S) to keep me company and struggled to see the value of an iPad amongst my already fairly portable devices.

The company was kind enough to give us iPads this year, and my life has changed dramatically as a result. Sure, it’s great to be able to watch Netflix in bed and scroll through Facebook while at a coffee shop, but those were things I did anyway. What the iPad has done is rekindled my love for reading in Korean.

Motivation is a constant struggle, and while I have plenty of chances to interact with Koreans, my biggest problem is a lack of vocabulary. I think LingQ is great, and I found the site originally as a learner when I was studying Chinese, but when you work with the product you use it’s hard to switch gears sometimes. Not to mention that after spending all day on the computer, I don’t necessarily want to rush home and sit down at a desk to do more of the same.

Working my way through an imported lesson is now much less daunting as I can now just pull out my iPad, relax on the couch then tap away. Creating LingQs is easy – the text looks great on the retina screen and the text-to-speech and audio work without a hitch. Sure, it’s not as efficient as working on the computer, but I’m much more likely to do it and in the end that’s what matters. The great news is that LingQing on the iPad is about to get a whole lot better (but more on that later).

Steve has been a huge fan of learning languages on the iPad and talks about it often here at LingQ HQ, and despite holding out now for a few years I must say that I have come to love learning Korean on my iPad too.

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