이상해지요?

8 05 2012

오늘은 이상한 경험을 받았어요.
조깅 후에 집으로 걸었을 때 어떤 이상한 남자가 저로 왔어요.

그 남자는 저에게 한국어를 안다고 물어봤어요.
제가 뭐라고 말했어요.
그 남자는 저에게 작은 소리로 다시 니가 한국어를 아냐고 했어요.
저는 조금 안다고 대답했어요.
남자는 니가 몇 살이냐고 했어요.
저는 38살이라고 했어요.
그다음에 그남자는 저한테 결혼했냐고 했어요.
제가 결혼 안 했는데 제가 남자친구가 있다고 했어요. 저는 왜 물어봤냐고 했어요.
외국인들을 만나고싶다고 말했어요.

그때 제 집으로 돌아간 시작했어요.
그 남자는 피자식당에서 셔츠를 입고있었으니까 그남자는 저에게 피자에 대한 질문을 물어볼거라고 생각했어요.
이상해지요?

Google Translate는 이 문법을 번역을 잘 할 수 없는 것 같아.
 ‘냐고 하다’는 이번 주 배우는 문법이야.





Lost in conjugation

6 04 2012

Do you remember your modals?
My English students at Dongsuh Foods told me they learned in their Korean high schools that “could”, “would” and “might” have the same meaning in English.

dongsuh foods--makers of powdered creamer coffee and oreo cookies

I let it go at the time, grateful we had understanding on “should” and “will”.

Then Nu ri asks me last night, isn’t “shall” the future tense of “should”?
That’s what she learned in high school.

Hyo Jung, my Friday night Toyota student, echoed this and added,
“‘might’ is the future tense of ‘may’ right?”

Whuck?

This makes me wonder if our Korean teachers adjust any grammar for our non-native brains.

The Korean grammar for “have to” is explained as inclusive of “should” as well. My students use “have to” in English often. I thought they were emphatic, but maybe there is no “should” equivalent in Korean.

For the record, “shall” is not the future tense of “should”.
You want to fight about it? Let’s go.

Also learned in Korea this week—

Election day
Is a national holiday.

Next Wednesday, businesses are closed, and my Toyota students won’t be learning English, because Koreans have the day off to vote. Fascinating.

If November 2 was an American holiday, would more citizens vote?

 





Sogang U, true to life

14 03 2012

verb activity illustrating "to help". still, grandmother could have a few more teeth.





On to level 2

17 02 2012

I passed my finals.
I get to see Steve and Eddie next week.
And Immigration gave me a visa, so I won’t get deported.
Huzzah.

Today’s graduation marked the end of our semester at Sogang.
I’m going to miss each classmate individually and our class collectively.

Some of us may see each other next semester, but we’ll have a different dynamic from being newbies with no common language bonding over our shared fear of
“sseu-gee seon-sang-nim” (writing teacher 쓰기 선생님).

Some happy moments from this week…

unexpected thoughtfulness

i think everyone got As

nissa from indonesia, me, kang su mi, our amazing speaking teacher





zombies & macaroons

17 01 2012

I have a friend! I have a friend!
As Jake would say, “I’m happy.”

Nu ri and I met for coffee and dessert this afternoon.
I was looking forward to this, my first date in Korea.

Nu ri works at JK House (where Steve and I stayed when he visited last month) and just got accepted into pharmacy school on the strength of her application alone, no interview needed. So clearly, keen young woman. Nu ri is old school too. She doesn’t wear BB cream or high heels. Instead, she plays the ukelele, works at a guesthouse to practice English and French, volunteers tutoring poor elementary school students, wants to work for the WHO.. you get the idea. Nu ri’s no 된장여.

The last Friday we were at JK, the hosts took us out for dinner.
There, we got to hear a Seoulite’s sentiments on Kim Jong-Il’s death.

Nu ri shared that in the deepest part of her heart, she was optimistic for reunification.
(But Nu ri, won’t that be bad for South Korea?)
No, it could be good for the North Korean people, but also for South Koreans. This (transition) could provide providing engineering and construction jobs for South Koreans, and Nu ri said she would like to see the country come together.

Yes, this is when I fell in love.
This afternoon, Nu ri said she liked zombie movies. That sealed the deal.

Over coffee and macaroons, Nu ri taught me grammar plus gerunds(!) and helpfully corrected me along the way. We switched after an hour and chatted in English, so Nu ri could practice. Therein, the zombie convo. (I think Nu ri will be watching Evil Dead 2 this weekend.)

Nu ri’s an older sister too, and her younger brother starts his compulsory military service next month. Given affairs, she is a little afraid for him.

Guess how much ROK soldiers make in the army..?
100Won an hour.

At the end of the month, ROK soldiers net about 30,000W/month.
No commission once complete, no tuition discount on the back-end.
How ya like them apples?

Next week is lunar new year, and I think Nu ri and I will get together after that.
Huzzah for blossoming friendships.





Sogang University

15 01 2012

I love Sogang.
This may be the best Korean language program in the world.

The top Korean language programs are likely here in Korea.
Seoul boasts the nation’s top universities.
Of these, Seoul National (top public), Yonsei (top private) and Ewha (top women’s) each have Korean language programs. And Sogang is widely considered the best of these three.

This program is recognized for its focus on verbal communication.

The slogan is “Be as proud of Sogang as Sogang is as proud of you.”
Overly sentimental in typical Korean style, but I think sweet.
Sogang is a Catholic school founded in 1960 and another slogan of theirs is “Think Different”.
Again, not Madison Avenue ad-worthy but charming.


We have class from 9:00am – 1:00pm every Monday through Friday:
9:00 – 9:50:               Writing
10:00 – 10:50:          Speaking
11:00 – 11:50:          Speaking
12:00 – 1:00:            Listening or Reading

While two hours are focused on speaking, we’re talking during the other two hours also.
Class is 4 hours of Korean, all Korean. NO FOREIGN LANGUAGE ALLOWED.
That means directions, what not to do in class, what page we’re on, how to do this activity, everything is in Korean. Sometimes I miss directions in my own language. In Korean

The first day of class, we looked around the room at each other like,
“This is level one for reals?”

In my class, we have students from America, Japan, Indonesia, The Philippines and France. We also had a Columbian, but she moved to Level 2, and there are also students from Italy and Russia here at Sogang.

Jonathan from NC School of the Arts & Aki from Tokyo

Teacher Kang & Ayaka from Hokkaido

We have one teacher for the 1st an 4th hours and one teacher for the middle two hours.
Both are excellent but different. First period teacher speaks pretty damn fast and will give you the gas face, if you forget to turn off your hand phone or are late. Second period teacher speaks more slowly and has a ton of energy. Also, she brings snacks.
When she teaches, I feel like I’m watching someone do exactly what they were meant to do.

Classes are structured brilliantly.
You can not get bored in this class.

After each period, we have a 10-minute break.
Within each period, there are plenty of writing, speaking, listening and interactive activities.

This experience makes me want to return to DLC to teach English.
I would give better instruction now for having been a student with good teachers.

During break, I usually Skype my mom. This reinforces the Korean I’ve learned and the break is short enough we have good chats. She told me in Korean yesterday I was being a teenager.
I told her back in Korean life is short.





Korean + Math

12 12 2011

The two most popular terms in class are 어려워요 (it’s difficult) and 힘들이워요 (again, it’s difficult). I don’t know the difference between “difficult 1” and “difficult 2”.
A close third is 머리아파 (my head hurts).

We’re consuming at a fire hydrant’s pace.
Today, the lesson was money. OHMYGOD. Difficult. Why are we doing math?!

In Korea your basic units are 10, 100 and 1,000 and 10,000. There are words for each of these. Beyond that, numbers are a combination of these words, til you get to like fafillion.

I.e., 40,000 is four ten thousands.
One hundred thousand is ten ten thousands.
One million is one hundred ten thousands.

Gah. Difficult.
So many words.

Naha is a huge help. Tomorrow, we’ll put post-its all over the house with Korean words.
When Steve comes this weekend, I’ll put a post-it on his forehead for “bf”.

Whether I’m retaining any Korean..eh. Jake is learning English though. Yesterday I taught him “computer” and tonight he remembered. His pronunciation of “computer” is excellent.
Two is the age to start learning language, not 37.

here's the pill

(Happy birthday, Eddie.)