Learning English

Good Grasp 21

Good Grasp

Those that follow him on Instagram might have noticed his interesting ways of spelling of “sauce”. I can’t talk though, my spelling in Korean is atrocious.

Although he doesn’t have perfect grammar or pronunciation in English, he is very good at expressing himself and talking about complex ideas, which I think is more important than just having perfect grammar but not being able to convey your own ideas.

What about you guys? What is a word you always get wrong?

Pay the Fine 22

pay the fine1

I still haven’t paid the fine and he is still trying to make me. Seriously, the point of the rule is to help with English, but English is my first language and I’m learning Korean! It makes no sense for me to not be able to speak Korean in the kitchen. My husband is refusing to budge though. Apparently that rule is for everyone…haha.

For those that may not be aware, we are currently at my parents’ house and they have a bunch of Koreans living with them.

When Pigs Fly 8

When Pigs Fly

He has always been the optimist in our relationship and I tend to be more pessimistic. But I am becoming more optimistic because of him. Not to the point of thinking pigs could fly though!

So don’t use that phrase with him to show how unlikely it is that something will happen because he won’t get it.

TV Channels 18

TV Channels

Ughhh! He doesn’t see the difference between classic literature and 90′s TV shows. Actually he probably does and is just riling me up on purpose.

I was never a huge fan of those shows and Friends is a TV show that a lot of Koreans watch to improve their English. I’ve been made to watch a lot of episodes with Korean friends before and I find the humour can date pretty quickly…. and it’s been a long time since Friends finished. I just don’t have much interest in watching any more episodes and I cringe when it’s on TV.

I’m asking Mr Gwon about this right now – about why so many Koreans watch such an old TV show when there are plenty of newer and better ones. Now he is questioning why I still watch MASH when it’s on tv. Okay can’t win this argument!

Chop Chop 14

Chop Chop

“Chop Chop” meaning to “hurry hurry” is something my mum says a lot. My husband picked it up from her and uses it sometimes. The funny thing is that phrase was originally in Cantonese! I didn’t know that until I did a quick search about it. It was adopted by English seaman from Chinese workers. The earliest mention of it in print is in an English newspaper in China in 1834. And the earliest mention of it outside of China was in a London newspaper in 1909. (Wikipedia).

It obviously became a part of Australian English as well and I find it funny that my husband is learning a phrase in English that was originally rooted in Cantonese. I always find the history of words and phrases really interesting.

Dumblings 20


I was laughing mostly because “dumblings” sounds funny!

I’m back studying Korean again, well revising everything that I know (not much!), in preparation for when we move to Korea. We’ve decided once in Korea it’s vital for me to learn as much Korean as possible so Korean will be the language we’ll use the most when there. It will be hard, but worth it.

Hehe…. dumblings….


Money Jar 25

The money jar

It works like a swear jar and later when there is a lot of money they’ll buy something nice for everyone with it. You aren’t supposed to put money in it in anticipation of speaking Korean though! My husband does things his way though.

It has become like a game where people try to catch the others out. Someone will ask a question in Korean from just outside of the kitchen and the person in the kitchen will automatically answer in Korean and get caught out and have to pay.

My husband just got caught out because he was on the phone and speaking in Korean and standing in the kitchen. My mum saw him and told him, “You’ve used up your dollar!”

He went and put another dollar in and proclaimed that he can now speak Korean 5 more times and my mum said, “You don’t really get how this works do you?”

Hehehe… I’m the only one allowed to speak Korean in the kitchen.

Two Phones 24

Two Phones

I don’t know where he picks up these sayings! I also don’t know why he needs two phones and why he keeps them in the bed at night.

He is much more attached to his phones than me, and is always using them. I’m the type to put my phone down somewhere and not check it until six hours later.

How He Translates 18

How He Translates

He really hates translating and can be really lazy about it. I know it can be really hard though, and some people are just better at it than others. I have a friend, and though her English is not as good as my husband’s, she is much more natural at translating English and Korean.

This time last year his mother arranged for us to have a traditional meal that was made by monks and all the food they had grown themselves. I knew his mother was anxious to know if we enjoyed it so I wanted her to understand that we really liked it. Unfortunately my husband thought a very simple sentence would do.

My husband will only do it when forced and complains about it. He rarely explains anything about Korean to me and is very much in the habit of just speaking English to me. He learns a lot of English from me though, which is probably because of my personality. I’m a writer and I love reading so I’m always explaining words to him because I genuinely find words, and how they are used, interesting. But he doesn’t really have the motivation to talk about languages, so I miss out in that sense.

When we move to Korea next year I’ll have to work hard on my Korean and make the most of being in Korea.

He isn’t the only guy in my life who hates translating. My youngest brother who is fluent in Japanese will deliberately translate things wrong. For example, when a Japanese friend said to him, “Tell your sister she is pretty,” he turned to me and said in English, “She said you are ugly.” And yesterday I was with him at Darling Harbour and there was a little Japanese boy running around saying things and I asked my brother what he was saying. My brother said, “He said he doesn’t like you.”

See what I mean?!

Toilet 40


Luckily he did just mean from the bathroom sink. I do understand the confusion though. In Australia if it’s public toilets we can just say “toilets” and if you are “going to go fill up a bottle in the toilets” in public it’s understood that they are using the sinks, not actually filling a bottle with toilet water. So he thought he could just use the word “toilet” to mean our bathroom.

Australians tend to use the word “toilet” a lot more than Americans it seems. Often in Australia, a toilet may not actually be in the bathroom, but in a separate small toilet room often near the bathroom. I remember when I was younger and we had American visitors in our house and they asked to use the bathroom. We had to ask if they wanted to actually use the toilet or the bathroom because no point showing them the toilet-less bathroom if they actually wanted to use a toilet.

Also we can drink the water straight out of the tap in Australia. In Korea they seem to always drink bottled water. I sometimes feel a bit stressed when I’m in countries where you need to buy bottled water because I’m so used to just drinking tap water. I can sometimes panic that I don’t have enough bottles of water to last me, and I’ll die of thirst overnight haha.

What do you call the……”facilities” in your country? Bathroom? I’ve heard “Wash room” before. Australians and Brits I think, may say “loo” for toilet. So many conversations can be had about toilets! A good friend of mine gave me a book about toilets all around the world. Really interesting! Also, Australian toilets flush a different way to American toilets. Another toilet fact is in some areas of Korea, particularly rural areas, or even just some older buildings, you can’t flush the toilet paper, you have to put it into the bin next to the toilet because of the plumbing. If you are not used to that it can be hard to remember to do that….

If you have some interesting toilet facts about your own country, please share! Just don’t drink water out of the toilet….

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