1.4 Spring 2020 (COVID Archives)

An Ear for Accents – Part 2

I don’t want to be dramatic but the observations I’ve made about the Seoul accent, namely:

오 > 우 (o > oo)
요 > 여 (yo > yeo)

have been confirmed! When I pointed these out to average Seoul people, they had not a clue what I was talking about BUT if I spoke with a Seoul accent not one person dinged me for pronunciation. And I heard people speak this way all the time.

The most notable, and ripe for satire, example is: 아니고 (anigo) > 아니고 (anigoo) which is a way to say “You’re wrong” or “That’s not it”. I hear it 99% of the time from whiny students who say it like: anigOooOOooOOoo. If I imitate my students to a friend while out, I have to say it quietly because it’s a phrase that tends to draw attention.

Back when I was in the intensive language program, our teachers said 부통 (pootong) which means “usually” instead of 보통 (potong) which is the correct spelling. As a result, I usually misspell this in my own writing as 부통.

Among young speakers or in informal contexts, the postpositions -do (-도, “also”), -ro (-로, “to”) and -go (-고, “and then”) and their derivatives tend to be pronounced with -du (-두), -ru (-루) and -gu (-구). The sentence-final verb ending -yo tends to be pronounced with a schwa, which is sometimes transcribed as -yeo (-여) on the Internet in informal contexts.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyeonggi_dialect

I just feel so satisfied to be validated.

And I’m excited to continue this “research” when I move down south where the accents are noticeably stronger.

(Here’s a taste of my next life.)

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