What this site is about

Hello, welcome to Tony's Web.

This is a language and culture site, initially focused on the Korean language and translations of Korean songs and poems, but with a plan to grow into other languages and subject matters as well. I maintain it primarily as a hobby, as countless others do.

Language is one of the more interesting subjects for me (especially the structural elements and the activities of reading, writing, and translation). I upload information I deem useful and interesting about my native language Korean. To spice it up, I also introduce fine literary and musical works done in Korean, as a novelty to those who are not familiar with them, and as a way to go deeper into the language and culture. The uploads will not be limited to or concentrating on the latest popular works, but rather will include major works from the past hundred years or so.

In addition, I am writing up the grammar and usage notes for Korean, which is a sizable project that will take some time to do.

As for my background, I grew up and went to school in Korea but lived in California for a longer period, so I can say I am familiar with both cultures. I am using this web site as a vehicle to introduce the Korean language and culture to non-Koreans, and hopefully, to the extent my time and energy permit, English and the American culture as well.

Most things available here have been created by me, Tony Kim, except for the original creative works and linked videos and reused pictures.

I do my best to show you interesting, high quality stuff, but please note that I am doing it solely as a hobby on my own initiative. I have no affiliation with any authors of the works presented, nor am I accredited with any professional qualifications related to languages or literature.

As it stands, the site is primarily for textual consumption with some audio and video links mixed in. It won't solicit information or ask for support (it does run advertisements though), except that I hope you find it useful and visit the site often, and even spread the word to friends if you like what you see. So relax and check out the postings, and if you find anything interesting, please feel free to leave a comment or question. Your comments will give me encouragement.

Language materials

First, I will concentrate on Korean grammar starting with the alphabet and the basic phonetics, aimed at new learners of Korean. I plan to cover phrase and sentence structures, the details on case marker particles and intricacies of verb and adjective usage -- in short, everything that is important for learners.

The discussion will take the form of a book, with an emphasis on the practical side. My belief is that one cannot learn a foreign language without paying attention to grammar. Learning the basic grammar rules with a healthy dose of reading and real usage examples and drills would be a good way to pick up a language.

As I have never studied languages formally, most information I present here is available elsewhere. Any value of this site would be in the way I select, organize, and present the information. I will be putting up new materials to learn in such a way that I think is the most effective for practicing and acquiring Korean. I draw on my own learning experience, as well as interactions I had with other learners, to upload the essential stuff for learning Korean, while at the same time taking advantage of as much rich text and multimedia web technologies as possible to aid with the absorption process.

The aim is to enable you to learn efficiently by providing the right materials combined with effective presentation, and personally answering any questions you might have.

As I progress, I will also present English materials for learners of English. I hope I can help both Korean and English learners by contrasting the comparative features of the two languages.

I encourage you to ask any question you might have about the content provided, or on any subject concerning the Korean language for that matter.

Translations of songs and poems

I will also present translations of Korean poems and songs that I find interesting, mostly done by myself. The translations will not be of recent works only, but from the whole past century in the case of poems, and about half of that period for songs. Essentially, any artistically worthy works of the past one hundred years are candidates for coverage.

Many of the works might have already been translated before by someone, so what I post here may not be the only translation. Where it is a first or not, I try my best to make sure my translation will be at least of a decent, enjoyable quality, as there would be no point in putting up something that did not meet minimum standards.

As for the translation style, I tend to err on the side of making it read smooth rather than sticking to accuracy. I have found that giving priority to accuracy often makes for uninteresting or jarring translation. In translating creative writings, I believe preserving the beauty of the original work is more important than the accuracy, even if that means adding or removing a word or two here and there to better the quality of the end results.

I also give more importance to the meter of the translated verses than I've seen in other translations of similar materials. It is in part because I personally consider the underlying rhythm as important as any other element, and also because I list the original and the translation side by side, so that substantial differences in line lengths will cause ugly mismatches.

Again, please feel free to comment if you find something interesting, have questions, or even not to your liking.