Korean Hangul in 20 minutes

If you have never tried to learn another script, anything that you see in a different script looks mysterious, strange and difficult to understand. There are many different kinds of scripts in the world, but few as simple as the Korean Hangul.

Creating Hangul

If you’ve seen the writing systems that look like strange scribbles from the far eastern countries, you probably also come across the Korean writing system known as Hangul. Hangul is actually a proper alphabet that was created rather than developed over time. The story goes that a Korean king named Sejong the Great wanted to promote literacy in Korea, especially among his own soldiers, and thought that the Chinese writing system (called hanzi in Chinese, hanja in Korean) was too complicated and didn’t properly correlate to the way Korean was spoken. He set up a competition for linguists to create a writing system specially designed for Korean, which was to be as simple as possible so that anyone could learn it. There were many scripts that were developed in this competition, and the Hangul we see now was elected the winner of the competition.

Well, if the idea was to make a simple writing system, why does it look so complicated, you may ask. Well it really isn’t complicated at all. You just haven’t tried to learn it yet, and as you know, anything you haven’t tried to learn could either be extremely complicated or very easy to learn. In this case, you just don’t know how easy it is just yet.

Hangul is Easy

I believe that anyone can learn to read and write Hangul in less than an hour, no matter what excuses you may come up with, that you just don’t have a mind for languages, that you are too old, or anything else. I also firmly believe that most people can learn it in 20 minutes or less. How cool wouldn’t it be if you could learn a completely new writing system in as much time as it takes to watch an episode of The Simpsons? Continue reading Korean Hangul in 20 minutes

The biggest secret of learning a new language

The most difficult step in learning a new language is getting started. I have heard countless people say that they wish they knew how to speak another language, but that they don’t have the time, don’t have talent for languages or a million other excuses.

Have you have ever dreamt about being able to speak Spanish fluently, being able to follow Anime completely without subtitles, or understanding the songs in your favourite Bollywood movies? I am here to tell you that you CAN! You don’t have to be a genius, move to a different country or set aside hours every day to learn. My point is, if you want to learn another language, you can!

The only thing holding you back from being able to is that you haven’t started yet.

The problem is not that you can’t find the perfect material, find the perfect teacher or having the right circumstances to learn. If you want to learn, the only thing you have to do is start. Start right now.

Take a moment right now and think of what language you want to learn. This article can wait, just write it down somewhere. Write “I am learning” followed by the language you have decided on.

Now that you know what it is that you want to learn, you can start acting on it. Don’t give excuses for why you can’t, or why you should wait with it. You have been carrying it around for quite some time already, so why would you want to push it further into the future? Today is the day you start! Go on, tell a friend about it, write it on your Facebook wall, tweet it out, make it public!

Congratulations! You are now enrolled and you owe it to yourself to take the next step in learning, to find material. I promise you, it’s not that difficult. Google is a great place to start. Just start by typing “Learning [language]” and see what you get. You can even get a lot of material on YouTube nowadays, so you might want to check that out too. 🙂

Now suddenly you are not stuck in the limbo of wanting to learn. You can with confidence say that you have taken the first step. From now on, you just need to continue doing what you have started.

The next biggest secret to learning a language is to continue doing something every day. As long as you show up, you win. The day you stop, you lose. Don’t lose your language.

Tonight we’re off to India!

Finally, we are on our way!! Our bags are packed and we are just waiting for time to pass by, so that we can finally get started on this journey! In just a few hours, we will be off to the airport, and at 06:40 CEST our plane is scheduled to take off. I am getting more and more stoked by the minute by the fact that we are actually going! It hasn’t sunk in properly yet and I don’t have any kind of pre-travel jitters, but that is normal. It is going to be so exciting to see India, all the people, the colours, the food and culture. This is going to be the best trip ever!

This is going to be a trip full of firsts, and I’m looking forward to every single bit of it. I have been practicing taking videos and I feel more confident than ever that I’ll be able to do a good job documenting everything, but only time will tell how much I’m actually going to be able to record. I hope to be able to post the first travel update already on Saturday, as we are going to be traveling the whole Friday long. Also, because I love languages and am learning Hindi, I am really looking forward to practicing and improving my Hindi as well! I expect to be able to comprehend and especially speak Hindi better after this trip.

To all you people who follow this trip; Please comment on what we write and upload. Share your opinions about what we see and hear. Seeing your comments will be like getting a letter from home, letting us know that you are sharing this experience with us. We are going to have tons of fun, and knowing that you in a way share that with us, even while we are in India is really exciting! So let’s enjoy this trip together. Love you all!

Learning to make short films

To prepare for my trip to India, I have started learning about making vacation films, as I want to be able to remember as much of it as possible, as well as share it with everybody back home. In my opinion, video is one of the best ways to remember things by. It not only includes images, but also sounds and other things that can trigger your memory. And in this day and age, it’s not really that hard to shoot video, anywhere at any time. But, the challenge is to do it well, so that it will be enjoyed. And I am a complete beginner when it comes to image composition, writing outlines and filming serious projects, except for what I learned back in my Multimedia classes. I have always been interested in videomaking though, so this is a great first project to embark on.

Especially one blog got me really hooked on the thought of making my own vacation videos, and that is the RTWblog No Baggage Challenge. I myself don’t intend to travel without any luggage at all, but I don’t plan to bring too much with me either. Perhaps I will bring a ton of stuff back home, but that’s another story. Anyway, this blog really got me thinking that perhaps I can make an awesome video-log of when I’m out traveling too.

I will try to learn as much as possible about how to make good videos before I leave, and share it with you guys, but please do share any and all tips you have for me as well. I am, after all, a beginner when it comes to videomaking. Best practices as well as things not to do are always useful to know. I expect to learn a lot both before I go and while I’m actually in India. But most of all, I want to share my experiences with you.

So, where do I start?I have read a few blogposts about how to make a good vacation video, but somehow I don’t really feel too confident about my abilities yet. I made a short video after work, eating pizza downtown with my parents and girlfriend, but I feel like I need to really up my level for the project to be interesting enough to follow as well as follow through with.

The equipment that I’m planning to use is actually only my cameraphone, the Samsung Galaxy S2. I know, it’s not the best choice in the world, but I don’t have a DSLR, SLR camera or a dedicated video camera. I am thinking about buying a tripod and/or a shoulder support for the camera, but I am not sure what to get, or if I even should, on this first trip. I am thinking that I might use this trip as a learning experience for future vacation videos as well, and that I by next vacation will have bought better gear. I really want to get a good HD videocamera, a dedicated external microphone for optimal audio and some kind of support, so that I will be able to shoot better and more stable video.

Let me know what you think, or if you have suggestions to what I should buy. I am not going to give the videomaking part too big a budget for this trip, but please shoot any suggestions you have my way, even if I won’t buy some things until the next trip. I will also continue learning, so let’s hope for the best.

Actionable Series

I have read a lot of books of different kinds, and whenever I read a book of the “help yourself” kind or advice kind of books, they are often full of tips, but also full of unnessesary talk or filler material that is not really that interesting or doesn’t add anything to the subject. The object of this kind of post is to take whatever materials is actually actionable from such books – as in, the things you can do something directly from – and describe it in as straight forward fashion as possible, so that you don’t have to waste time reading all that filler material.

I have thought about making this kind of series for a long time, but I haven’t had time to just sit down and start writing. I will be collecting notes and making drafts for posts soon, and will continue making this kind of series for the books that I read in the future.

The first book I’m going to start this Actionable Series for is a book that I have started reading, called “The 4 Hour Body” by Timothy Ferris. It’s a nice read, but as with many of these kinds of books, there is just too much filler in it. So I will be scaling away as much of it as possible and try to hand pick the best parts. I’m not sure how this is going to end, but I’m looking forward to doing this!

New and Fresh

This is my new blog and where I’ll be keeping track of all my active projects, and also this gives me an opportunity to share what I’m working on. I will be keeping a lot of things private, and I might not at all times keep track of what is private and what is not, so if links sometimes don’t work or if I’m removing or adding pages at random intervals, then you’ll know that at least I’m working on something. I haven’t decided on whether I will be blogging about my private life here or if this is going to be some kind of project-only blog, but I guess time will tell. I am at least glad to have the first little foundation in this blog. I will be adding a lot more contents later.