learning korean

Is this milk okay? 13

is this milk okay?

This was so funny to my parents-in-law because I had been speaking to my husband and I used informal language, but because of the timing it sounded like I had replied to my father-in-law with informal language which is really rude! They knew that I hadn’t done that on purpose but because it sounded like I had, they laughed so hard. Especially because my father-in-law had softly said, “It’s okay” and then I had yelled, “It’s not okay!!!”

It’s been the running joke in the house for a few days. Every time I walk into the room my parents-in-law say, “안괜찮아!”

At least I made them laugh!

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.

That Number 27

That Number

I can’t help myself. It’s funny how much meaning is attached to words because of our cultural background but then can mean nothing to someone else. Even within English, some swear words are seen as worse depending on what country you are from.

Even though I’ve heard this certain Korean swear word, I’ve seen it said in movies and even on occasion heard my husband say it, I can never grasp the real impact of it. He can get very annoyed at me when I deliberately say it.

It goes the other way as well, like when Kpop stars use English swear words. Lately there has been a lot of Kpop stars wearing clothing with very offensive words on them (I’m looking at you Girls’ Generation and GD!) and for a native English speaker it’s like “Why???”

The scenario in the comic has happened more than once because I’m not a native Korean speaker so it’s very difficult for me to differentiate between the swear word and the number. Even if I am really just going through numbers, once I get that reaction from my husband I can’t help but annoy him.

In other news, we’ve been recognised a few times by Koreans in Sydney. Which is so weird! A little while ago a Korean guy who also has an Australian wife recognised my husband in a Korean internet cafe. He drew some fan art about it!

fan art

So basically my husband can be recognised just from the comics! Haha! My husband made that face because he is often surprised when he sees a couple similar to us – a Korean guy with Australian girl. Thank you so much for sending me this Han! Go say hello if you see my husband again.

Serious Conversation 14

serious conversation

I can’t always follow along with what is being said in Korean. Sometimes I pick up enough words to know what they are talking about and even join in the conversation if I understand (though I will only speak in English with just a few scattered Korean words) but sometimes I have no idea. I can tell by body language and tone when it’s a serious conversation though and often it’s a good time to tune out. You can’t expect someone to constantly translate everything in these types of situations and you can’t just butt in with “Hey what are you guys talking about?! Tell me!”

So I find this is a good time to eat food while no one else is! Haha! I think I ate most of the chicken last night. Don’t worry, this was not our dinner, this was after dinner. It’s normal for Koreans to go to a Korean restaurant for dinner, and then move onto another Korean restaurant which is more for drinking (and then sometimes after one after that). But when buying soju you still need to buy some food, so more dishes are ordered and shared.

Korean fried chicken is so delicious. Unfortunately it’s never as good in Sydney restaurants as it is in Korea, but it’s still nice. I love the small chicken pieces with spring onion. Too easy to eat a lot of it.

Airport Thank You 7

This was last year when we went to Malaysia for a few days.

My husband did not realise that she’d said thank you in Korean when she’d handed our passports back. She saw he was Korean and so had used Korean and he just took his passport and walked away! Well it was about 4am.

It is funny when people don’t realise their native language is being spoken. My brother was asked directions by a Japanese student in Sydney one time. My brother speaks fluent Japanese and realised this guy was Japanese so gave detailed directions in Japanese. The guy made no acknowledge of my brother speaking his native language and went on his way. I wonder if it hit him later that a random Australian guy had spoken Japanese or if he was thinking, “Wow I can understand English really well!”

Sometimes I think I can understand Korean well but then I realise it’s because I’m just understanding all the loan words from English.

Selective Hearing 15

Though I do try to listen to a lot of Korean conversation, there are times I have to tune out because it’s too taxing on my brain to try and decipher everything.

But my brain always alerts me when things interest me in the conversation.

If you aren’t into Kpop and don’t know what YG is, it’s a major record company. Big Bang belongs to it. My husband’s friend was giving him a hard drive that has a YG Family concert on it. A huge concert featuring all the artists from YG.

and HAPPY BIRTHDAY G-DRAGON!!!!

Listening to Korean 12

I’ve been learning Korean for about a year and a half but I’m not doing classes at the moment. I learn the most being forced to study in a class and through homework. Now I’m on my own until I start classes again either later this year or next year. I aim to be somewhat fluent eventually but at the moment still at a beginner level as taking it slowly.

If my husband speaks slowly to me I can often understand but when he is chatting away I really only understand a few words. Of course he is speaking at a native speaker pace and it’s much harder to understand that and dialect. I listen a lot though and can recognise some words.

If we are with a group of people and everyone is speaking Korean he will translate things but often I don’t need him to because I understand enough words, look at expression and body language and fill in the blanks myself. There is always the risk of completely misunderstanding though.

 

 

 

Dog Baby 26

This is a REALLY BAD swear word by the way, so I won’t write it on here. I understand that the word used for ‘baby’ is not the normal nice word they use for a baby, that it is an insulting way of saying baby but I still don’t really understand how this insult came about. If someone could explain exactly why these words are used in this way and why it’s so offensive I’d really appreciate it.

I’ve never used this insult before but if I’ve repeated it from a drama or read it aloud my husband will cringe and yell at me to not say it because he never wants these words to come out of my mouth. So yeah, it’s not good.

Scared of Korean Class 4

I have not been to Korean class in many many weeks. I have been busy and also traveling  but I fear I am woefully behind. I have class tomorrow and I’m worried this will happen.Yes, I’m worried that I will freak out as soon as the teacher says something to me in Korean and run away.

Email 2

I ended up leaving without logging into my own email. Thank God for smart phones with email on them. I was able to just show the ticket checker man my phone.

Beginner Korean Book Reviews 3

This is just a quick review of two Beginner Korean books I have.

Read and Speak Korean for Beginners

This books teaches very basic vocabulary and things that would be beneficial for someone moving to Korea who hasn’t had much time to learn Korean. An effort has been made with this book to make things more interesting and fun as it has pictures and flash cards. It contains a lot of things needed for someone who immediately needs to use Korean but doesn’t exactly explain much grammar.

It also doesn’t explain how to read hangul and relies too much on romanisation. This is probably because they want learners to know instantly how to say something but unfortunately Korean never translates properly. Reliance on romanisation of Korean words can be damaging to your Korean skills as well. It is also unnecessary as hangul is relatively easy to learn – you can learn how to read and write and basic pronunciation within a week. When I first started learning Korean my teacher told us to ignore any romanisation in text books because it doesn’t help. The sooner you learn to read Korean the better.

This book is not bad though. It contains a lot of activities and comes with a CD. Combined with a more in-depth book that explains more about reading and writing Korean it is beneficial.

 

Easy Korean for Foreigners

This contains English, Japanese and Chinese translations. Now if you are thinking that’s a lot to put in a book, wouldn’t it get messy? Yes… yes it does.

When you are learning another language you really want to focus only on that language. You don’t want to be flicking through pages and your brain getting distracted by other languages. This book does however, explain about hangul and how the sounds are made, but only briefly. It has a lot of pictures of things but no translation of what they are. So if you guess wrongly (for example: does the picture of the legs mean legs, shoes or knees?) you really have learned the wrong thing.

Some of the translations into English are not quite correct. Perhaps there was not a native English speaker involved in writing this book. The book also jumps into sentences without really explaining sentence structure- which is very different to English. The book has a lot of pictures, which is why I bought it, but it really does not explain them well. Nor does it really explain much grammar. There are short grammar lessons at the back but in my experience a beginner needs more examples than what is given. It comes with a CD but I haven’t listened to it as I am too put off by the messy formatting and mix of languages.

This book may be easy to use for Japanese or Chinese learners, but I can definitely say for English speakers- don’t waste your money.

So what books do I use for learning Korean? I’ll review those in another post sometime.

New research about learning another language 1

Today I read this article in New Scientist about how taking time off from learning another language can be beneficial. Though only a small study, it is thought that having a break shifts language from declarative memory to procedural memory.

I hope this is true because I haven’t studied Korean for a few weeks! My husband is currently in Korea for 2 weeks and it’s been the holidays between terms so I haven’t been to any classes.

I always get this feeling of panic that if I haven’t studied in a few weeks that I will lose everything I’ve already learned and I’ll have to start over.

So I’m hoping there is some truth to these findings so I don’t have to feel so guilty. :-)

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