Posts Categorized: 6. asides

Learn to read and pronounce Korean Hangul in 2 days

You don’t need a black belt in Taekwondo to master the Korean language, actually… reading Hangul (Korean writing) is surprisingly easy!

That’s the main point I am trying to make in this post. While the Korean characters seem complex at first, they are easy to read within one week. Skip the touristic English metro maps, and start learning the way the correct way!

Truth is that this information applies for a specific group, but I stumbled upon a few useful things to master the Language quickly.


Korean Language

There are about 80 million Korean speakers, with large groups in Korea, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Japan. There are more people that can speak Korean then there are people that speak French or Italian.

Korean language was previously written using Hanja, which ‘borrowed’ Chinese characters, but pronounced them in a Korean way. In the 15th century, the national writing system called Hangul (meaning Korean) was developed.

Master the alphabet in less then a day

I’m not going to write down how to learn the alphbet. There are many guides out there that done the same. I would suggest to do only one exercise: try to master this Flash game made by Aeriagloris. The game shows a letter, and suggests 3 to 5 answers to that question. It is good because the game allows showing either Korean or English writing of the symbol. Much better then flash cards! Master the 24 Hangul letters in less then a day. [edit: here is an alternative]

Writing Korean

Hangul alphabet is applied into syllabic blocks. Each blocks contains at least two of the Korean letters. Hangul may be written either vertically or horizontally. The traditional direction is the Chinese style of writing top to bottom, right to left.

Correct Pronunciation

My friend Byeoung Cho (designer) created a colorful Korean hangul practice sheets, which proved useful when I mastered my intonations. I decided to share his work for others that want to learn as well! Note: The grey characters indicate low usage. You’re invited to leave a “thank you” in the comments when you use them!

The pictures are A4 sized, click on them for full view.





I added the contents in text here as well:

가 나 다 라 마 바 사 아 자 차 카 타 파 하
갸 냐 랴 먀 샤 야 쟈 캬
거 너 더 러 머 버 서 어 저 처 커 터 퍼 허
겨 녀 뎌 려 며 벼 셔 여 져 쳐 켜 텨 펴 혀
고 노 도 로 모 보 소 오 조 초 코 토 포 호
교 뇨 료 묘 뵤 쇼 요 죠 쵸 쿄 표 효
구 누 두 루 무 부 수 우주추 쿠 투 푸 후
규 뉴 듀 류 뮤 뷰 슈 유 쥬 츄 큐 튜 퓨 휴

그 느 드 르 므 브 스 으 즈 츠 크 트 프 흐
기 니 디 리 미 비 시 이 지 치 키 티 피 히
개 내 대 래 매 배 새 애 재 채 캐 태 패 해
걔 섀 얘 쟤
게 네 데 레 메 베 세 에 제 체 케 테 페 헤
계 례 셰 예 폐 혜

과 놔 봐 솨 와 좌 콰 화
괘 놰 돼 쇄 왜 쾌 홰
괴 뇌 되 뢰 뫼 뵈 쇠 외 죄 최 퇴 푀 회
궈 눠 둬 뤄 뭐 숴 워 줘 춰 쿼 훠

궈 눠 둬 뤄 뭐 숴 숴 워 줘 춰 쿼 훠
궤 쉐 췌 퉤 훼
귀 뉘 뒤 뷔 쉬 위 쥐 취 퀴 튀 휘
늬 의 틔 희
까 깨 꼬 꼭 꽃 꾸 꿈 꿈 끝 끼
따 땅 때 또 뚜 뚝 뜨 띠
빠 빼 뻐 뽀 뿌 쁘 삐
싸 쌍 쌔 쏘 쑥 씨
짜 째 쪼 찌

Working at Meganova, because sitting at home is a bitch

“Finally a holiday!” I yelled earlier, but soon I found out that sitting at home was not as good as I imagined in the first place, don’t get me wrong, I have enough work but I realized that I felt tired all day long and couldn’t get any work out of my hands; do you know that feeling? I decided to get back in the office, simply to regain business rhythm and to meet new people while I am here.

The first thing that came to mind was a business incubator located in Amsterdam called Meganova. Meganova hosts a annual web-conference called ‘Thenextweb’ and operates a weblog with the same name. I visited the office before, and they seem very entrepreneurial people. This attitude is quite simulair to what we did at opencoffee Sweden. Good! I felt lucky on my birthday last week, and send them an email. I got an excited response back, and am currently working at the headquarters as co-editor for their weblog.

I aspire to start a company but I think that being around some people that speak the same (web) language, and hearing the successful and unsuccessful stories that they cope with is a valuable experience for that matter. I might be able to pitch an idea at the same time.
Although my time in Korea will start very soon, I realize that the coming few weeks will be full of surprises, and I am happy that I have some time to enjoy it and being back in Amsterdam also feels good. Sitting at home is a bitch, so I am back at the office!

Follow my latest news updates on thenextweb

Launch of opencoffee.se in Sweden, interview from Ezine

opencoffee.jpgThe idea behind “Open Coffee” is that entrepreneurs need a physical space to meet and share their ideas. The meetings exists in various places around the world, such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and London. Now Dutch student Joop has brought the international phenomenon to Jönköping. The goal is to create a situation where new ideas are created. It’s going to be an informal meeting where you can sit in a small group and talk about your idea and maybe show it on a lap top. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to share their ideas and get to know new people. It’s going to be completely informal and unstructured, except for the meeting date.

Where did you get the idea? I was an exchange student in Barcelona two years ago where they had coffee meetings, but then it was called “open offices”. It was later labelled “Open Coffee”, by the vice President of Skype. It’s been growing ever since and there are over 80 locations of Open Coffee today. I was working on a project for my master program at JIBS. I found it surprisingly hard to collaborate on a professional level with the various students on campus. Great ideas could emerge if all different entrepreneurial enthusiasts in Jönköping would just meet for an hour on a weekly basis Do you think it will work here? Yes, I do. The idea of creating a weekly networking event for all students, alumni, teachers and local ventures seem to attract many people. When I approached Inger Melin and Annika Anderson from the library they were enthusiastic about hosting a weekly Open Coffee here in the heart of the Jönköping campus. I hope this event will initiate a steady growing club that instantly attracts entrepreneurial enthusiasts, journalists, venture capitalists and business angels.

Somebody tried to rob me at bloemendaal

Another fine sunny day at Bloemendaal! Although somebody tried to steal my wallet, luckily I felt his hand grabbing the wallet in my back pocket. He grabbed it, and I touched his hand while he wanted to dive behind some people. He got scared and dropped the wallet immediately.

Maybe I should have been more offensive, but I am just glad that I still have my stuff. Reminds me of that movie “King of New York“, where Christopher Walken gets robbed by a gang inside the metro and decides to offer them a job. He gives his card and says, “I want you to work for me, please visit my office” The gang was stunned by his proposal and walked away.

To live in Barcelona; The English, the immigrants and hospitality

People who are born in Barcelona, probably die here as well. it is common to see entire families centered around the same neighborhood. This importance of family and the feeling of threat from the rapid increasing number of immigrants make some locals unable to understand and accept the increasingly number of foreigners that are coming to this city. Don’t look surprised if you don’t get any (decent) service in a store if you just talk English. My experiences of over pricing and bad service where although solemnly with the elder local people.

This got me to ask a younger local what he thought to be a possible cause for my experiences. He told me that the root of the anger lies with the number of bachelor-parties given by the English. :-)

Barcelona offers the Mediterranean beach, a good climate and the convenience of the city in a radius of 4 km, not so strange that there are over 1200 people from the Netherlands living in this city. As an outsider, it seems difficult to really get to know the local people. I am wondering how the other people from my country are experiencing this.

gothic area

cycling up Tibidabo Barcelona with my mountainbike

I made a small climb up to Tibidabo with my bike this morning, I wanted to see the beautiful cathedral that I can see from my window every day: Iglesia de Sagrat Cor. My short bike trip lasted longer than I expected when I left! At ten o clock I reached a dead end, and I had to go back down. I kept reminding to myself that it was useless to buy a map for such situations. So I went down to Barcelona again and kept repeating “no it is useless! I have small maps at home, google earth etc.” And tried again; The mountain is obviously present, wherever you are in Barcelona. and i could point out which hills which roads I should take. So I attempted a second try. At about 11 o’clock I realized that the road I point out wasn’t connected to the one I was driving on. and the road that I was driving on was going down again…
This was the obvious result of my blind approach, and I got frustrated by riding up and down all the time. I approached a farmer, (and i kindly pointed in the direction of my desired road) and asked him how to get up to the right track. He told me that I should get back down and he was laughing that there was a spot where the desired road came close to the road I was driving on. “Since there was a path on the hill, I could climb up!” That sounded reasonable! why not? I can climb! The roles has changed: I had to carry my bike for once. Halfway I got stuck in needle bushes and stuff, but I managed to get up the road. Tibidabo is pretty touristic, but the view on Barcelona is quite impressive.