In-Depth #5

Progress Report:

Admittedly, I wasn’t able to invest that much time into my In-Depth project over the past two weeks since my last blog post, but I’ve been working on expanding my vocabulary. When I had just started out on my In-Depth project, I had planned to begin with picking up vocabulary. But, During my first meeting with Ms. Kim, I was convinced that skipping the basics would hinder my learning in the long run. Thus, I had yet to start learning vocabulary up until these past two weeks.

In my 2nd blog post, I had compiled a list of 25 vocabulary words that I planned on learning (Link to my 2nd blog post is provided below). Since I already had them prepared from the early stages of my project, these words were the ones I chose to learn for the past two weeks. Learning words in Korean is quite difficult in my opinion, because from what I’ve experienced so far, it’s purely memorization. I struggled while trying to learn the pronunciations of some of my vocabulary words and turned to my Korean peers quite often for help. Some of the words were more simple to memorize compared to others. There were words which meant opposite items and had a similar pronunciation, but others that were drastically different in pronunciation. For example ‘nappeun’ (bad) and ‘joheun’ (good) is much easier to remember in comparison to the opposite words ‘yeppeun’ (pretty) and ‘motsaenggin’ (ugly).

An item that was stressed during my meeting with Ms. Kim this week was to pay careful attention to formal and informal terms. For example, if I was talking to a friend, it would make sense to use the casual form of hello (annyeong). But, if I was talking to someone who is of higher age, status, etc., I would need to use the formal version of hello (annyeonghaseyo).

Ms. Kim explained informal and formal Korean in this way, “So [in] the Korean language there [are] two ways of saying [the] same thing […] but it depends on who you are talking to. For Koreans it’s not rude to ask [for someone’s] age or their birthday, because they are trying to figure out whether [to] go with the formal or the informal way. [Depending] on your agreement with a person, […] if [a] person indicates that they are older than you, then you need to respect that and use [the formal version].

Since Korean is a language which values respect, using the informal version of a word in the wrong situation can be considered quite disrespectful.

In my meeting with Ms. Kim, I was introduced to some new vocabulary and basic conversation language (refer to diagram 1.1 and diagram 1.2

). Some of the terms were quite random, but most of the vocabulary was centred around objects in a classroom. At the time of the meeting, there was a lot of new information to digest. Although the list of new vocabulary Ms. Kim presented to me doesn’t seem that long, it was quite difficult for a foreign speaker like me to digest.


Vocabulary List

Audio Log:

Link to my 2nd blog post 

As a side note, I would like to remedy an incorrect statement I made in post #2. To me, who is not a native speaker, I heard ‘pa’ when the characters ㅂ and ㅏ were placed together. But, I was recently informed by my Korean speaking peers that it is indeed a ‘ba’ sound. Other foreigners attempting to learn Korean have also had a difficulty distinguishing between these sounds, so the sounds of ㅂ ‘b’ and ㅍ ‘p’ blend together. As well, the pronunciation of ㅂ can change depending on its location within a word. Take for example, 밥 the ㅂ at the beginning sounds more like a ‘b’, but the ㅂ at the end of the word has a ‘p’. Altogether, the word is pronounced as ‘bap’ meaning rice.


Diagram 1.1 (Basic conversation language from my meeting with Ms. Kim)


Diagram 1.2 (Vocabulary from my meeting with Ms. Kim)


How to Have a Beautiful Mind

A majority my exchange with Ms. Kim was of a lecture format. Ms. Kim would introduce new Korean terms/words along with their pronunciation, and I repeated the pronunciation back.


The White Hat

I forgot to immediately begin recording when Ms. Kim and I met, so there are pieces of dialogue missing from the beginning of our discussion. Because of this, I can’t draw from any direct quotes for this section. Our conversation went along the lines of Ms. Kim asking what I wanted to accomplish during our meeting. I responded according to my plan. I told Ms. Kim that I wanted to expand my vocabulary. We both knew that I had learned the alphabet and numbers from 1-50. Based on that evaluation we both deemed based on my knowledge the resources Ms. Kim had, that we could learn vocabulary. This exchange utilized white hat thinking because “everyone [was] focusing on information” and answering the questions of: ‘What do we know?’, ‘What do we need to know?’, and ‘What are we missing?’ (92).


The Red Hat

Red hat thinking is centred around the belief that “if emotions are not allowed they influence all the thinking offered” (94). I don’t have an example of red hat thinking from my most recent meeting, but there is one I can think of from my first meeting with Ms. Kim. I didn’t started to record our meetings at the time, so I can’t draw on any direct quotes. During the meeting, we were discussing my goals for this project, and how I planned on approaching these goals. When I told Ms. Kim that I wanted to start off learning vocabulary, she used her intuition based on experience as a Korean teacher to determine that my plan would fail in the long run. She expressed her feeling that my proposal would not be adequate, which is a component of red hat thinking.


The Black Hat

“Are we on track [with your schedule] or are we going slower? How do you feel about the [progress]?” – Ms. Kim

“Progress-wise I think we’re on track. It’s going pretty well, [because] right now I’m just trying to get vocabulary.” – Me

“Why don’t you create [a] list with your vocabulary you’re focusing on, and then maybe I can use that to create some sentences, because if you don’t and if you don’t really use [the vocabulary] then you’re not really going to retain that information. You have to [say and use] it and understand how to use [the vocabulary] in a sentence.”


This exchange demonstrated the use of the black hat. The black hat is used to “point out dangers, faults, and problems” (96).  Although the examples in De Bono’s book are cautionary, Ms. Kim pointed out the potential risks and a precautionary plan. I believe this still falls under black hat thinking because she is being careful and assessing potential risk.


The Yellow Hat

I think subconsciously, I express optimism within the plans and direction of my project. However, I need to work on expressing this excitement to others. At times, my personality can be on the pessimistic side, which is why I want to learn to utilize more yellow hat thinking. Unfortunately, there weren’t any examples from my meeting that utilized yellow hat thinking.


The Blue Hat

At the beginning of our discussion, Ms. Kim asked me, “So what have you been working on?” This is an example of blue hat thinking because it “[defines] the focus and purpose” of the meeting (101).

By asking what I had been working on, we were exploring what we could build off of during our meeting. Another purpose of blue hat thinking is to summarize the outcome of the discussion, and come up with the next plan of action. Nearing the end of the meeting, Ms. Kim said, “So what I would do is go back to what we talked about. First we learned how to say ‘annyeong’, ‘annyeonghaseyo’, ‘Che irumun’, […] next we talked about […] what is this, what is that, and [you] also learned how to say this something […]” She discussed what we had achieved, and “[put] together the outcome, the summary, the conclusion, and the design” (102).


I hope you have a wonderful day.

See you next time – Brian Cheng