I love bullet journaling. I’ve always had the habit of planning things out ahead, even before I discovered bujo – I loved filling up my diary planners with to-do lists, ideas for future projects and random thoughts that I found worthy of noting down. Ever since I started learning languages, however, I’ve been trying to do it in my target languages – it’s a great way to learn new words as well as reinforce the ones I already know. And personally, I find starting the day with writing down my daily tasks really helps set the tone for the rest of the day – it gets me to think about my day and plan it out in Korean, so even if I couldn’t find the time to study on a certain day, I would still feel like I did something in Korean – that I got my daily ‘dose’ of Korean, so to speak. I believe to develop a deep relationship with your target languages, you have to make them a part of your daily life, and for me, as a person who journals a lot, bujo is perfect for that.

This article is a compilation of all the things you need to know in order to start bullet journaling in Korean, like what is the ‘key’ page called (hint: not 열쇠), or how to write your dailies. Titling your pages/spreads in particular can be tricky if you’ve never seen bujos done in Korean.

Let’s start with the ‘Key’ first.

Key

The key is generally called ‘기호’ in korean, meaning ‘symbol(s)’! Here’s how I label mine:

SymbolLabelWhat it Means
할일tasks, things to do
완료completed
이동migrated, carried forward
취소취소cancelled
일정appointments, events
중요important
메모notes

I like keeping everything the same length (two-syllable) because it looks neater that way. Hanja-words in general are great for that.

The Essentials

These are the essential spreads that pretty much everyone has in their bullet journals. Everyone titles theirs differently, though – if you watch Korean bujo videos on youtube, you’ll see that many even prefer to just write their titles in English, or transliterate them into hangul, like 퓨처로그 (future log), 데일리 (dailies), etc.

Seeing as I’m doing this for the vocab, I try to keep everything in pure (well, as pure as I can) Korean:

  • 찾아보기 – index
  • 미래 기록 – future log
  • 월별 계획 – monthly
  • 주간 계획 – weekly/dailies (I group my dailies by the week)

I don’t actually title my monthly and dailies pages, so the titles above are only used when I want to refer to them in the index.

Months & Days of the Week

I’m sure you already know the days of the week in Korean – 월요일, 화요일, 수요일, and so on. Here’s a tip – drop the 요일 and just write the first letter of the days, like 월, 화, 수. It saves time, and also opens up more room for designing, if you’re into that. It’s also what most koreans do. Here’s an example:

Crafting your monthly calendar in Korean.

The name of the months in Korean are pretty straight-forward, too. It goes like this: 1월, 2월, 3월… all the way up to 12!

Writing Down Your Tasks & Goals

In general, verbs are conjugated into the -기 form when written in a list, like this:

  • 케이크 만들기
  • 불렛 저널 영상 찍기
  • 일기 쓰기

But with verbs of hanja origin, you can just drop the 하다 and use them like this, in most cases:

  • 옷장 정리
  • 요리 재료 준비
  • 불렛 저널 영상 촬영

This is because verbs of hanja origin are generally made up of a noun + 하다. Once you drop the 하다, you’re left with, essentially, a noun, which is why there’s no need for any kind of conjugation (generally, only verbs and adjectives are conjugated).

In this case, removing 하다 from 정리하다, 준비하다 and 촬영하다 would turn them into their noun-form (for the lack of a better word), that is ‘to organise > organisation’, ‘to prepare > preparation’ and ‘to film > filming’ respectively. The list above literally translates to:

  • organisation of closet/the organising of closet
  • preparation of cooking ingredients/ the preparing of cooking ingredients
  • the filming of the bullet journal video

Not Essential, But Nice to Have

While these pages aren’t exactly essential, they’re very common in bujo set-ups.

What It’s CalledWhat It MeansWhat It Does
독서 기록Reading LogJust a simple list for me to keep track of the books I’ve read
학습 로그Study LogI have one for translation, one for Korean and one for French – just a simple spread for me to keep track of what I did in each area in each month, so I can measure my progress more easily
아이디어 정리Brain DumpWhere I jot down my ideas for articles, products, lessons and gifts (for friends and family!)
소원 리스트 (읽고 싶은 책, 보고 싶은 영화랑 드라마, 하고 싶은 일, 가지고 싶은 것)
WishlistBasically a wishlist with 4 sections – books I wanna read, movies and shows I wanna watch, things I wanna do and things I wanna buy

I’m not currently using these spreads in my journal, but I see them around a lot – perhaps you’d like to incorporate them into yours:

  • 감사하는 일/ 감사 일기 – Things I’m Grateful For/ Gratitude Diary
  • 행복 일기 – Happiness Diary
  • 오래 오래 간직하고 싶은 순간들 – Moments I’d Like to Remember For a Long Time
  • 버킷리스트 – Bucket List
  • 새해 목표/다짐 (개인, 직업) – New Year Goals/Resolutions (Personal, Professional)
  • 2020 한눈에 보기 – 2020 in a Glance
  • 건강 관리 일기 – Health Management Diary (basically a collection of health/self-care related trackers, which are called 트래커 by the way)
  • 재정 기록 (월별 가계부) – Finance Log (Monthly Budget Sheet)

Misc: My Korean Study Log

I have a page dedicated to recording my progress in Korean. It’s meant to be a fun little thing to do in my free time, which will hopefully give me something to look back on in the future.

My Korean Study Log.

On the left, I have a section titled ‘내가 걸어온 길’, which means ‘the path I took to come here’ (‘here’ as in this present moment). It’s divided into 12 sections, which are supposed to correspond to the 12 months of the year. I’ll be writing down what I did in Korean every month, like “had 2 language exchange sessions”, “translated a song”, etc. I’m not setting monthly goals because I don’t feel like that’s what I need at the moment – what I want to do right now is just to use the language a little bit every day, and have fun with it.

On the right I have a little box labeled ‘목표’, meaning ‘goals’. These are my korean learning goals for the year 2021, and as you can see I’ve only written 2 so far. I’ll add more when I think of them. At the bottom of the page I have two more sections – ‘읽은 책’ and ‘쓴 글’, which are meant for keeping track of the books I’ve read and the things (mostly articles) I’ve written in Korean.

I left the rest of the page blank. I plan to fill it up with little quotes or moments I find worth noting down throughout the year!


That’s about it! I hope this article helped make it a little easier for you to start bullet journaling in Korean.

As always, have fun, and happy learning (and journalling)!

17 thoughts on “ Bullet Journaling in Korean ”

    1. Sure! I do plan on posting reviews of books as I go through them (a bit slowly), and I’ve just uploaded one for the White Book by Han Kang! You’ll find it listed under the Library page. 🙂

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      1. DID YOU read a physical book? do you look up words? i don’t think i saw any posts about your process for reading novels? I do physical books and ebooks.

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      2. I do read both, but mostly physical books. I don’t think I’ve done an article on my process of reading in Korean (aside from the one about this bilingual reading method that I used when I was an intermediate learner), but it depends on whether I’m doing extensive or intensive reading. If I’m doing extensive reading (which includes not just novels but articles, webtoons and random stuff that I come across every day), then I don’t really stop to look up words unless it keeps reappearing or I’m really curious, or if it’s affecting my comprehension; but if I’m doing intensive reading, then I look them all up and transfer them to memrise afterwards so I can memorise them. I don’t do intensive reading very often these days, though, and if I do decide to do it I make sure I only have one intensive reading project active at a time.

        What about you? Do you look up words? If so, how often?

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      3. if i’m reading an ebook or the internet i look up everything because it’s very easy to look up words (autohotkey, lingoes offline dictionary, etc). sometimes the word isn’t in the off-line dictionaries of the reader so i highlight the sentence if the word isn’t in the dictionary and I deem the word important. i export the highlights after I’m done in moonreader and email the txt to my email

        for physical books I underline using a red pen and look up nothing unless the word is important which is almost never. I’d I look up like 1% of unknown words for physical boooks because it’s not that pivotal to my reading experience and i’m at a high level and i’m reading books at my level. The number of unknown words range from 0-8 and it’s mostly on the lower end.

        I never understood those people that spend 2-3 hours reading 7 pages of a book looking up every single word… it’s just not efficient and it sounds painful.

        With the underlining I do a straight line for words I do not know whatsoever and squiggle line for words that i kinda know or have familiarity with but I feel like reading the definition/dic ex sentence again etc etc for whatever reason. I underline the words so i can copy the words into a notebook so i can type it up on the computer then run morphman mass tagger on anki to tag all the cards that contain those words. I do that because I dumped dictionaries into anki. Then I can see those words in a space repetitioned intervals. I don’t run morphman mass tagger frequently though because I want to wait until i collect a lotta words.

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      4. I’ve seen photos of people’s korean books where they have half the words highlighted lol

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      5. I have old korean stories posted in the reading section of my blog if you’re interested in korean literature. I’ve been reading that as well because it comes with a glossary list and grammar explanations. It makes stories that I’d never read accessible. The way I read these stories is by first looking at the vocab section and read and remember 10-15 words there and read the story using my short-term memory. rinse and repeat until the end. I do grammar in sections too as I read instead of reading the grammar section all at once.

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      6. I forgot to mention I’ve read a short story by hang kang and the vegetarian. i read the vegetarian on an ereader which was a smart choice 🙂

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      7. Oh cool! Did you enjoy it? I personally really enjoyed the Vegetarian! I was able to read it as a physical book, but for the White Book I got an ebook version from Google Books instead.

        Thanks for sharing your reading process in such detail! I actually love reading and talking about stuff like this haha. I would say I look up words more frequently when I’m reading on the internet, too, because it’s easier. When I’m doing an intensive reading exercise with a physical book, though, I try to look up every word I don’t know, which ranges from about 1 to 4 per page. I usually try to finish one chapter in one seating or until I hit the 40-word mark, whichever comes first (if it’s an intensive reading project).

        I’m actually one of those people who spend 2-3 hours looking up every word reading like 7 pages of a book haha, but I only do it in early intermediate. I think I don’t really mind it as long as I do it with the intention of learning vocab and not for the plot (so I often choose books that I’ve already read the English version of). I do it to boost my vocabulary and reading comprehension skills and I think it works for me because I genuinely enjoy learning vocab and I can memorise a fair amount of them at a time (provided that my base – as in the words I already know – is fairly small, like for example I used to memorise over 100 words a day when I was an early intermediate in Korean, and these days I consider 30 the optimal number). When I start being able to read without having to look up like 50% of the words on the page, though, that’s when I stop doing it and just start reading for pleasure and let myself learn vocab in a more organic way.

        Oh I do have a question, though! 😮 Where do you get your Korean ebooks and do you use an e-reader? I use a kindle and I haven’t been able to get a korean dictionary to work on it lol

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      8. I definitely enjoyed the vegetarian. It was unexpectedly dark and sexual in a good way. that and almond are 2 books I definitely recommend. Almond is the easier book. That’s why I was saying I was glad I could read vegetarian on an ereader since i could look up nearly everything. I get my korean books from the refold discord ( you have to join the refold discord then the korean discord then go to the books channel) and google books .

        for the kindle only the ENGLISH-KOREAN dictionary works which is the dictionary for korean people who are learning english. kindle hates korean lol. i blogged about it. tldr: you have to use an android ereader to read korean with dictionary look -ups. you have a myriad of options then. I prefer moonreader + goldendict dictionaries (requires zero internet for dictionary look-ups) but some people prefer ridibook app which comes with naver look-ups (it requires the internet)
        https://choronghi.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/best-way-to-read-korean-on-an-ereader/

        what you wrote about reading a lot remind me of retro learns korean. he has a twitter, blog and youtube channel. he read a LOT of korean and he’s only 1000 days in.. i believe he read 60 books in one year but those included classics that were translated to korean which he read for the purpose of vocab like you said since his look-ups dropped off after he got through a bunch of books.

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      9. Oh Almond! I agree it’s easier (probably because it’s YA?), especially in terms of vocab. Thank you for sharing all this info! I’m gonna look into them and see what I can do because kindle is honestly a pain in the ass when it comes to reading Korean books lol.

        I just took a look at retro’s blog, and it looks really interesting! I’m reading his My Routine page and it reminds me a lot of my first year with Korean. I miss being able to spend 8 hours a day on the language! His Korean Fluency Path page is really interesting, too! It’s really cool to see how he breaks down his whole learning process and it makes me wish I’d done that when I first started out. I think I might have attempted something like that for French at first, but I’m just so bad at record keeping I always end up abandoning projects like this lol. I can’t even do trackers for my journal xD

        Anyway, thank you for bringing up his blog! I think I’m gonna enjoy it ^^

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      10. by the way is malaysian helpful for learninng korean? i know vietnames, mandarin, japanese , cantonese etc are helpful because of the sinov-cab and how like 60-70% of korean words have hanja.

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      11. Hmm, not really, at least in my experience. There are some similar things in a cultural sense (like calling other people older brothers and sisters, defaulting to third-person instead of using the word ‘you’ when speaking to your elders) but I feel like those are traits you can find in other Asian languages as well.

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  1. I forgot to mention that I use an eink screen for the comptuer and an ereader for korean. the eink screen for the computer is expensive but I wanted it since I can read without the eystrain and i figure it’s worth paying for it as long as i use it. In terms of ereaders I have 4 because I have a kindle for english (I love my library), kindle for japanese, android likebook ereader for korean and japanese manga, and nook for doing anki reviews on ankidroid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I love how you have a different e-reader for everything haha. It’s kinda my main reason for sticking to physical books and kindle, too, since I try to avoid reading on my computer for the same reason!

      Liked by 1 person

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