Actually the Korean pronunciation of tomato (토마토) sounds similar to British/Australian pronunciation, but Hugh said many Koreans think it sounds cooler to say it the American way. As if it’s some example of English speaking skills and a way to show off! Many Koreans have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with American English which means they will judge other’s pronunciation of words if they don’t sound American. It’s unfortunate because Korean English speaking skills on a whole would benefit from exposure to more accents, not just an American accent. Foreign English teachers in schools are told to speak with an American English even when they are not North American. This obsession with the American accent, which they are already exposed to anyway, hinders Koreans when they have interactions with English speakers that have a different accent. And there are many types of English accents!
I have no problem with Americans saying “tomato” in a way is natural for them, but I scolded Hugh for saying it that way when there was no need to. He still gets judged on the way he speaks English, usually by Koreans who don’t speak English anywhere near as well as him! There is an idea many people have of how English is supposed to sound if you speak it well, but the reality is quite different. When a Korean adopts a strong American accent when they are not a native speaker (and haven’t been to the US) it can sound very jarring, especially to native English speakers that have a different accent. To me it sounds better if an accent is something that happens naturally and is not forced. So usually Hugh has a Korean accent and says some things in an Australian way and still has some slight tenancies he learnt in The Philippines.
I hope Koreans don’t continue to feel pressure to speak English in a certain way, even though it seems that I’m pressuring Hugh to speak the Australian way! hehe
Is Hugh really respecting my culture or just enjoying getting revenge? We talk about the pinch and a punch comic in this video. In this comic I do the Australian culture thing of “a pinch and a punch for the first of the month” but Hugh knew the second part of it and made sure he did it to me. Now I need to be careful if I want to pinch and punch on first days of the month.
As we talk about in the video, Koreans seem to LOVE punishment! Their games tend to always have punishments and even when playing more western games in Australia with Koreans, they had to add and change the games to make sure people had punishments. For example, when we played ‘Marco Polo’ in the pool they added the punishment of brutally dunking and splashing the person who was in if they didn’t catch anyone. I remember protesting a lot saying that not every game needs punishment!
If you’ve played games with Koreans you have probably experienced or at least seen the intense flicking to the forehead or hands that happens as punishment. Watch out! Especially watch out for people like Hugh who have no mercy.
Do you have something like “a pinch and a punch” in your country? I have a feeling this comes from British culture? Also what types of punishments do people like to give when playing games in your country? Or maybe you don’t need punishments? Perhaps there are punishments that don’t actually involve physically hurting someone!
We are on Korean radio every week! We are on a show called Global Family on tbs eFM Koreascape every Wednesday at 9:30am. Another international couple Emil and Yumin who are a Danish/Korean couple are also on the show with us, as well as the host Kurt. This show is all in English.
We’ve done a lot of radio before but always as one time guests and we do get asked the same questions a lot. Because this is a weekly series we get to delve deeper into what it’s like being an intercultural couple in Korea. It’s also great to compare to another couple as well and see the different ways people deal with challenges. It will be interesting to see what topics come up. So far it’s been in a chronological order of meeting, getting married, meeting inlaws but it will be great to talk about things we don’t usually get to talk about in interviews. Most interviews, whether it be for articles or radio always ask the same questions, and we get really sick of answering them. But with this radio show we can explore a lot more. Emil and Yumin are great as well and we really enjoy working with them.
What we filmed for this video was meant to be part of a Seoul Life video but I’m now the sick one so we haven’t been able to film the other parts. But we wanted to let people know that we are on Korean radio every week so they can tune in. I know not everyone follows the social media where we announce things like this.
Sara and I are back to try some Korean bananas! Or are we? Is this a dumb joke or a social commentary on South Korea’s reliance on imports? You decide!
Do you eat a lot of bananas? Does your country have to import them? Korea imports them from a bunch of different countries (a bunch? Was that a pun???) but The Philippines is the top country.
In Australia we grow our own bananas and can’t import. Because Australia is a continent with a fragile eco-system there are restrictions on what can be imported. Bananas can carry insects and small animals that can do a lot of damage to the Australian Environment. Luckily Australia has some regions suitable for banana growing. But a huge problem is when cyclones wipe out entire plantations. I remember this happening at least twice before and the few remaining banana stocks skyrocketed in price.
In Korea I think banana prices are usually reasonable (as an Australian) but I remember meeting a girl from South America who said sometimes when she sees bananas that are already getting brown spots on them being sold at a normal price she is shocked. Apparently in her country those bananas would only be given to animals, because there is such an abundance of bananas people can be very picky. The price of Korean bananas, or bananas imported to Korean, can range a lot so I always recommend seeking out a cheaper price if it seems expensive, especially at some super markets. Sometimes it’s cheaper and easier to just buy a pack of 2 bananas in convenience store. Often bananas are sold in huge bunches at supermarkets or markets and you can’t just break off the ones you want (like we would in Australia). But I know that in the evening at HomePlus they usually have small bunches of bananas available, if you are seeking out a way to buy less.