Interview #3 – James Cobb

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This is our 3rd interview in total, and the 2nd interview in English. The interview was done with James Cobb, who is currently living and working in Korea now. Listen in to hear about his experiences in and his thoughts on learning Korean. Thank you James for your time. 감사합니다!

*Spoiler* James will be appearing in our lessons from time to time.


Interview #3 – James Cobb
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  • 제임스씨~ 목소리가 넘 멋져요~ 🙂
    드라마나 가요도 한국어듣기를 연습할 수 있고 도움이 많이될거같아요…
    ‘죽을때까지 한국에 있다’는말 참…. ….. 재밌네요…!!!ㅎㅎㅎㅎ ㅋㅋㅋ 😀 😀

    • 제임스는 한국을 많이 사랑하나봐요…!!! ㅎㅎㅎ 😀

  • ansan96

    I love this website thank you so much.
    A question for James, what were the websites that you could get the korean scripts from? I tend to read the subtitles, but if i could follow along with a korean script it would really help a lot.

    • Mitch

      If you’re looking for a particular drama or movie, the Korean site has hundreds of scripts. You can also go to Naver and search for “(korean title) 대본”. I found a few on Naver blogs by doing that. Now I’ve got probably several thousand pages of material on my computer, if I could just find the time to go through some of it…:)

  • Stephanie

    Bromance?! XD
    I’ve found some scripts on Dramabeans here:
    I wish I could get my brain to think in Korean instead of having to immediately translate everything I hear/see…it takes too long and my brain hurts after a while.

  • rosaria

    thank you so much for sharing your experience… really it’s so interesting.
    i love this website ^^
    please, continue in this way!

  • kay

    Cool, good interview. James seems like a really interesting person and it’s always nice to near other peoples experience with learning Korean.

  • Thanks for this interview. It’s really interesting.
    이 인터뷰를 주셔서 감사합니다. 정말 재미 있어요. 😀

    *Please correct me if I made any mistakes. :mrgrin:*

    • LOL. I made a mistake with the smiley code. It should be :mrgreen: ㅋㅋㅋ

  • Great to hear from someone whose language learning level is making him a living!

    I’m trying to be an interpreter, Mandarin – English though.

    Did you have to go through any kind of certification before the Air Force accepted you?

    I’m interested in how James got into interpreting as a profession… were you already in the military? Thanks!

    • James 준석

      I do mostly translation work these days. However I joined the military with the previous knowledge that I would be studying a foreign language before hand. The application process is quite rigorous as first you have to pass the Air Force standards aptitude test as well as take another test to see if you meet their standards for learning a foreign language. Afterward you also need a Top Security Clearance in order to preform the job, and if you have all that then you can go to the Defense Language Institute to study a foreign language in Monterey California. However if you did want to join the air force to get this kind of job don’t listen to anyone who says you get to pick your language! you don’t, you get a say in what you may want to study but after all is said and done you may not be as lucky as I was!

      I would say if you are really interested in becoming a professional translator your best option is studying in Country, e.i. China if you want to speak mandarin (unless you are already a native speaker of the language of course) after which there are lots of freelance translator positions around the world that are looking for people with those abilities (epsecially in your situation! mandarin is the most sought after language *besides Arabic of course)

      Anyways I hope this was of some help.

  • Ashley

    I really liked this interview. Especially about the part how James talked about switching your brain from thinking about how you would say something in English but using Korean words to just how a Korean would think to say it instead and completely omitting how you would phrase everything in English. I think that’s the hardest part for me since this is the first real foreign language that I’ve decided to actually tackle. 감사합니다!

  • mikyung

    준석아, It’s good to hear your voice in TTMIK. 😀 from. nunim. ㅋㅋ

    • James 준석

      고마워 누님 열심히 참여할거야!

  • Thanks for the help 선생님!

  • Katerina

    인터뷰 재미있게 하셔서 감사해요. 저 한국어 할때 아직 오빠하고 언니말을 잘 못 써요. 저에게 이상한 느낌이 들어요…그래서 질문이 하나 있어요. 얼마나 친해질 때 오빠나 언니라고 부르면 돼요?

    • 그건 사람마다 달라요.

      어떤 사람들은 처음부터 ‘언니’, ‘오빠’라고 말해요.

      일할 때 만난 사람이 아니면, 처음부터 그렇게 말해도 괜찮아요. 😀

  • Lydia

    I loved this interview, as well as the one with Emily. I don’t really know what I want to do, career-wise, in the future. I just know that I love learning languages, and that I love east Asian culture. So I spend most of my free time studying Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. So hearing the stories of people like me who have succeeded in becoming fluent really gives me that much more motivation to keep studying. Also, there were lots of good study tips in this interview. So thanks again. 😀

  • i agree about the problem of watching dramas in tv.. i mean, it’s very useful at the beginning because u learn basic words or expressions and u can understand some parts thanx to the act, but then u focus just on the sight, not the hearing

  • Jared

    I’m listening to this again, and laughing when he talks about how it was hard to find people to speak English with, and so he had more chances to speak Korean. When I was travelling the countryside, even when I spoke better Korean than the locals’ English, they’d still insist on trying to speak English to me. It was maddening 🙂

  • Josias

    Thank you James for sharing your experience with us!!


  • It’s really interesting that James and Emily have different methods for learning Korean. It just shows that everyone has different learning skills and study preferences. One thing might work for someone, but may not work for you.

    In my case, I used to study alone. I started studying last 2007. I studied the very basic lessons religiously, (reading, writing, and probably until the 에요s, 있어요s, basic interrogatives and commands and their 입니다 counterparts. But because I was working full time I was not able to really continue with my lessons. But I still tried too.

    The good thing is, I’m totally addicted to 김선아 and I also love watching Korean dramas. So everyday I read showbiz news, I visit and read 김선아’s fancafe and dc galleries. I also joined subbing teams as a timer. In that way, I was able to have exposure to the language everyday, even if I’m not really studying.

    It was good because I didn’t forget things that I’ve learned so far. My reading and listening skills has improved little by little. But writing and speaking – I’m just stuck to where I was before.

    I went back to the university to pursue Linguistics and I took basic Korean for my foreign language. Being in a class helped me a lot. Interaction with teachers and classmates. Plus the discipline! There, I have no choice but to do my assignments and review for exams.

    I finished basic 1 Korean last semester and I also took the beginner’s level in TOPIK and managed to get Grade 2. ^^

    Right now I’m taking beginners 2. I would love to take the intermediate TOPIK, but I’m not sure if I’ll be ready by April. 🙁

    Regarding watching dramas (or tv shows) I agree to both James and Emily. If I’m watching some random new (or old) Korean dramas, I have a tendency to just follow the story and forget that I’m there to observe and study Korean. But if it’s a 김선아 drama that I’ve watched a hundred of times already, I can concentrate in learning the language. I’m kinda addicted to 김선아 so my recent hobby is watching her dramas, while reading the scripts. Noting down new words and new expressions. The good thing is there is a good recall. If I forget a difficult word or grammar pattern, I just have to think of the scene and I can remember it. I’m really addicted to 김선아’s drama that I have a tendency to remember the scenes (even if I’m not studying Korean, I just memorize the scenes and lines). I use that technique for my basic 1 Korean and my Korean teacher calls me “stalker” ^^

    I finished all of your level 1 lessons and will start with your level 2s soon!

    Thanks everyone for this wonderful website!!! ^^ thumbs up!

  • Brandy

    Hi! Yes, I agree with James… I’ve been watching Korean dramas and you really do get absorbed into the story. However, sometimes during the story I would catch myself and start listening to the words more… At one point I would not even read the English subtitles and see if I could pick out words and stuff.

    It’s really hard. XD haha. I am learning … But I don’t know any Korean people to talk to so it is hard.

  • Gisselle

    Hey… your classes are amazing… Its a challenge to me learn Korean from english when my natal language is spanish, but you make it so easy cuz your pronunciation its amazing… anyway, my doubt is that i have no idea that also names change to a Korean form.. could you help me with my name in Korean?… Im Gisselle, how do i say it in Korean?… plz answer…


  • dam

    how do we talk about our worked experience.[past and now]

  • Jin

    this site really helps me a lot .. i’m interested in learning korean because of i’m watching korean variety show so c: i’m glad you guys created this website.

    • Seokjin Jin

      I am glad to read your comment. Thanks so much for studying Korean with us.

  • Kaden

    This is probably covered in a lesson, but I can’t seem to figure out what the word is that James learned as “not 사랑”. I’d love to look up a definition and some context, but I can’t get how to spell it correctly in order to.