Month: October 2012

@urimal365

If you’re at the advanced-intermediate-ish level in Korean have a Twitter account, make sure you’re following @urimal365, if you’re not already!  This is the official twitter account of The National Institute of the Korean Language (국립국어원), where they answer several questions on a daily basis about everything and anything related to the language – grammar, usage, spacing, spelling, honorifics, meaning, shortened forms, expressions, etc. Keep in mind, this is supposed to be for native speakers so all of the questions and explanations are in Korean.  You may need to brush up on your Korean grammar terminology (check out my list – which I need to update) but if you’ve been using Korean websites to help with learning grammar, the explanations are pretty simple to follow.  I noticed that a LOT of questions are about 띄어 쓰기 and spelling.  Some of the questions surprise me because it’s stuff that I actually already know but then it made me realize – there are a lot of things about “proper” English grammar that I don’t know and have to look up …

우행시

So this is what I’ve been reading these days I actually didn’t know anything about this book before Yekyung told me about it (special thanks to her for the gift!); she described it as a well-known book that many Koreans in their twenties have read.  It’s also been made into a movie, which I hadn’t seen or heard of.  I decided to start reading this book “blind” – as in, not knowing the story beforehand, since all the other novels I own are stories that have been made into dramas or movies that I’ve already seen.  I think that was a good initial reading strategy; the fact that I knew the plot beforehand really helped me understand the novels themselves, even if I didn’t understand every single word.  Now, however, I want to challenge myself a little and go into this novel not knowing anything, and then watch the movie afterwards.  All I know from the summary alone is that the story is about a woman who has tried to commit suicide several times and a man …

First (?!) Korean notebook

That’s right.  It’s been nearly three years since I started studying Korean, and I’ve finally started a notebook. During the early days, I learned a LOT of grammar from songs and my “notebook” was actually just a binder full of song lyrics.  I had the Korean lyrics on one page and 3-5 pages of detailed grammar and vocabulary notes stapled behind it – a compilation of stuff I looked up in books and read on the internet. Then as I started reading more, I had sheets and sheets of vocabulary words (in blue and black) and grammar points in red, which I organized in order of the the books and/or articles I read, in the same binder. Now, I plan on taking TOPIK sometime in 2013 (I think it’s only offered annually in the US?  I have to check the dates), and it’s getting harder for me to retain those not-so-common grammar points, so I decided to start a grammar notebook.  I’m still sticking to loose-leaf paper for my vocab notes because I like organizing …

잠귀가 밝다/어둡다

Yekyung has an incredible ability to know exactly which words and phrases I might not be familiar with when we’re conversing.  Like she’ll go on for a couple minutes in Korean and then suddenly stop and say, “Do you know 모모?”  That’s how I learned this phrase. 잠귀(가) 밝다:  to be a light sleeper 잠귀(가) 어둡다:  to be a deep sleeper 잠귀 is pretty easy to figure out.  It’s just a concatenation of 잠 (sleep) + 귀 (ear). 잠귀:  잠결에 소리를 듣는 귀의 감각.  Your ability to hear when you’re asleep. 밝다 and 어둡다 are kind of funny to me because 밝다 literally means “to be bright” and 어둡다 means “to be dark” – so the translation isn’t exactly literal. I used to be a 잠귀 밝은 사람.  I had trouble falling asleep anywhere but my own bed and I woke up at the slightest noise – but then graduate school happened.  Unsurprisingly, I now have no trouble sleeping like a rock at any given time or place, including during seminars.  Or so I thought.  Yekyung has got to …

“한국말로 해봐!”

For various reasons, I have always avoided telling Korean people that I know Korean.  Not that I’m shy or afraid of making mistakes… I’m somehow hyper-conscious of unintentionally objectifying the him/her.  As in, “I want to be your friend because you’re Korean.”  People are individuals, not a race.  I never want the other person to feel like I’m his/her friend simply because s/he is Korean.  I want our friendship to be built on more than that. So when I volunteered to host my friend Yekyung during this year’s interview weekend, I didn’t tell her I knew Korean until our very last email exchange before we were to meet in person.  In the post-script, I wrote one short sentence in Korean, telling her to feel free to mix Korean and English with me if she liked.  At that point, keeping it a secret would just be rude. I think I’ve mentioned Yekyung on this blog a couple times.  She is now a very good friend, a really great 언니, and a fantastic language partner of mine.  This weekend, …