• 3.4 Winter 2021-2022,  Korean

    January 28, We’re back, baby!

    My throat is sore from the five hours or so I spent talking with my kiddos. A month apart! Not much has changed– 4-6 is as shy and fidgety as ever, 5-3 as excitable and loud as usual. 5-4 was shyer than before the break but 5-2 made up for any lassoing I had to do with their vibe. I can finally be the evil trickster I’ve missed so much. Phonics is my favorite part of every lesson and it’s what we spend the first quarter of class on so today I tripped up fifth grade with this question: Do “in” and “인” have the same pronunciation? Classes were split…

  • Korean


    “What’s headache in Korean?” “두통.” [pronounced like doo-tong] The sixth graders shouted. They love shouting… “두 as in 두 for two?” I asked because Korean is mostly phonetically spelled but not always. Plus my ears are still being tuned to similar sounds and thirty masked twelve year olds yelling at the same time doesn’t help. “No,” they shouted with conviction, “두 as in 頭 for head. The Chinese 두.” I don’t know Hanja but I had some idea where this was going so I asked one student to write it in Korean for me. The spelling? 두통. That’s right— I asked if the spelling was 두 and they said no,…

  • 2.1 Summer & Fall 2020,  Korean

    Chuseok Extra

    Rachel recounted to her cousin as we were en route to the mulli fields how sometimes Korean men start using casual language* with me from the start which we both find incredibly rude and disrespectful. I imagined the cousin going pale in the backseat— he had been using casual language with me from the start. However, I barely noticed since I had presumptuously done the same. He was an easy person to be around so I never thought of it as assumptive like certain Seoul men. I actually started using casual language with Rachel this week at her suggestion and it carried over when I met her cousin. I used…

  • Favorites,  Korean,  Thoughts & Drabbles


    Current Korean language headache: 외국인 is translated as “foreigner” or “international” and literally means “outside country person”. However, the real meaning is “non-Korean” which poses some problems if you’re attempting to talk about foreigners in your own country. For example, to talk about international students at my home university posed some real challenges during my writing segment today. If I write in Korean, “there are many international students” and use the word 외국인, the Korean reader will assume I mean there are many non-Korean students. Not quite the point I was trying to make, eh? The definition for “foreigner” in English is location dependent. If I’m in America talking to…

  • Korean

    Korean Consonants

    Let’s talk about Hangul, Romanization, and why it’s always a bad idea to describe Korean in terms of English sounds. This all came to me when I was watching a YouTube video of a Korean woman quizzing English speakers about loan words from English. The native speakers kept hearing a /k/ sound even as the Korean hostess was convinced that the native speakers would surely hear a /g/ sound. I am also personally invested in this topic because every time I order at an American chain in Korea, the cashier corrects my Korean pronunciation of the English loan word. (At Subway: 안녕하세요. 써브웨이 맬트 주세요. Hello, I’d like the “seo-bu-way…

  • Korean

    Getting Dressed in Korean

    Feel my pain: these are the ways you say “put on” in Korean. The verb changes to match the type of clothing/accessory/makeup. For example, you put on clothes, fasten a watch, pull on shoes, fit rings and gloves, spread, lotion, do makeup, tie a necktie but wrap a scarf, pick up a bag but strap on a purse. My tutor asked what kind of man I like, “fashionable”? I said any is okay as long as there is some effort. But “If he takes more time getting ready than me, I really don’t like it.” For language corner, we can see how different Korean is in sentence structure which really…

  • Korean

    I passed TOPIK Level 2!

    I am now officially and nationally recognized as a “high beginner”. Of course, it’s not until level 3 that I will be able to “carry out daily routine, with fair use of public facilities and able to socialize without significant difficulty.” Still some difficulties now but not forever.