Interview #10 – Dan Madsen

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Welcome back to! We present you an interview with Dan Madsen, a long-time regular member of the LanguageCast meetup in Seoul, which is a multilingual study group/socializing event also hosted by the staff of TalkToMeInKorean. Dan is a member of the US Army Band and he has lived in Korea for the past two years. He came to Korea with close to no knowledge of the Korean language two years ago and now speaks Korean very fluently. Listen to this interview to hear his stories about learning Korean and where he is headed next when he leaves Korea in July.

Also check out a (shorter) video interview that Hyunwoo did with Dan on his YouTube channel here.



Interview #10 – Dan Madsen
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  • These interviews are very inspiring.
    많이 연습 해야 돼요!

  • 스티븐

    I noticed you speak really fast. Even faster than some koreans. I speak slower than Koreans. I think I would be a lot nicer for people listening if I didn’t speak so slow 😛

    I was just wondering if you did anything in particular to learn how to speak at such a high speed?

    Congratulations on learning so much. : )


    I guess your english is pretty fast too. perhaps talking fast is just you? : )

    • I agree that he speaks really fast. And he sounds somewhat like a robot. A fast one at that. ㅋㅋㅋ.

    • Don’t worry too much about speed. When I think of the Asians I know, they speak at a comfortable speed and I understand them just fine. This guy’s speaking was fast, but really, he needs to focus on his pronunciation and intonation!! It was pretty weak. His sentences were also very short and choppy. I’d rather speak a comfortable speed with awesome pronunciation and longer more natural sentences than speak “fast.” Take your time, enunciate, and that’ll do more for you than speaking 1000 WPM.

  • andre

    I remember meeting Dan at the Language Cast meeting a while ago. Good to hear you speaking in Korean on the TTMIK site.

    Good luck in your future endeavors and keep learning Korean!

  • 매튜

    I agree with Tim. It’s really cool to hear the stories of other foreigners learning Korean. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jessica

    What exact books did Dan recommend studying with? I would like to check them out, but I want to make sure they’re the books he’s talking about.

  • some guy

    I heard that this guy is a douche. He’s also a liar.

    • some other guy

      Not to be rude, but can I ask why??????

  • Dylan

    Cool experience of Dan Madsen 🙂 he’s the survivor of culture shock? 😛

  • Whee! Dan 오빠 and Hyunwoo 선생님~! ㅎㅎ 저도 Dan 오빠랑 얘기했을 때 너무 감탄했어요~ 전 더 많이 공부해야되요~ 다음의 Languagecast에서 또 만나요 ^^

  • ingrid

    Hey Dan!

    It was really nice to ear about your experience!! thank you so much!

    My mother tongue is spanish if you maybe want to practice!

  • Harry Chapin Fan

    Impressive that’s he’s learned so quickly. However, this interview is not very useful.

    Did Dan study 6 hours a day for a year? Did the Army pay him to study?

    How long was his silent period? Does he have an advanced memory?

    To be honest, these interviews are DEPRESSING. Here I’m listening to a guy speaking fluently who is making it seem like learning Korean is “no big deal”.

    I’ve been studying off and on for close to three years and struggle with every sentence. I’ve just begun the free Sogang program online. Reviewing Novice 1.

    • schmeichel7

      You are right! For sure Dan is smarter than the average fellow, the FSI lists Korean as one of the most difficult languages to learn and it obviously requires a lot of time and effort!
      Some people just have a knack for learning languages, I personally struggle with foreign languages especially when my brain gets left behind translating and rearranging words to fit the syntax…… Guess we each have to try and learn to the best of our capacity!

    • FBomb

      I agree, but it seems more encouraging than discouraging. He speaks so well my gosh!! I hope I can speak like that soon. I`ve been trying for only 2 months – I thought I was getting the hang of it but the only words I understood in this interview was “Facebook” and “Skype” HAHA!!

      I think the most confusing thing about the language (specifically the formal level) is the (-yo) at the end. Not so much how to add it at the end of the sentence but like when their speaking, sometimes all you’re hearing is (-yo … -yo … -yo) … like WHAT lmao?

  • I want to do the band thing!!!!! ^_^ That sounds sooooooooo much fun ^^

    Yeah I went to Sogang for like 7 weeks and it is a REALLY great place to learn Korean ^_^

    Okay yeah, he is right about the Korean Education system. When I went to high school there, they had two English classes, one was with a Korean and the other was with a American native speaker. With the Korean teacher, the lessons were very…odd, they didn’t make sense in real life and they didn’t coincide with each other, and no one spoke any English, they just wrote down things.
    And with our native English speaker, he actually make a rule of no speaking Korean in his class and everyone had to speak English. His lessons focused on the parts of English where it confused them (like the difference between reading English and speaking English). his way was sooooo much better haha
    Koreans are good at writing and reading English and speaking.. because of the system they definitely lack in that area. ^^
    이 인터뷰를 너무 너무 좋아해요. ^^ Dan 말하면 너무 빨라요. (한국말로)

  • Cristine

    love reading the comments ^ ^

  • ca me donne de l’espoir que je pourrais aussi apprendre le Coreen et le Japonais parce que je suis fluide dans la Francais. thing is, i went to french immersion for 4 years,so i don’t know if it will work out as well if i don’t do korean immersion or japanese immersion. if that even actually existed. espoir= termine.

  • Abnormal this post is totaly utarlened to what I used to be looking google for, but it surely was once listed on the first page. I suppose your doing one thing right if Google likes you enough to position you at the first web page of a non related search.