It’s that time of the month where I’m expecting my cellphone bill to come and haunt me to deduct money from my bank account. Upon retrieving it from my mailbox, I found it strange that it was in an envelope since in the last six months or so, it wasn’t in one — meaning it was folded and taped up into a single document kind of thing. Warily, I opened it up, expecting stupid advertisements. Along with my phone bills in Korean and in English (the latter must be a new feature), I saw the Boys Over Flowers advertisement brochure you see to your left. More »
Korean will always be a tricky language for me. I was always able to speak Korean, but I didn’t learn how to read and write Hangeul until fifth grade. Since then, it’s been both a painful and joyful learning experience. Yes, it’s great that I can read and write it, but there will be certain aspect of the language that will drive me insane to the point of wanting to bash something.
For me, the most frustrating thing about Hangeul is these two vowel characters:ᅢ (ae) and ᅦ (e). When I learned these for the first time in fifth grade, they confused me. Phonetically, they sound the same. Graphically, they are not the same. Therefore, whenever I need to write something that uses one of those vowels, I usually end up using the wrong one. Frustrated? That I most certainly am. More »
One thing I love about being bilingual is that I can pick up these weird views on the Korean language and its romanisations systems. Apparently the recent Pusan International Film Festival not only brought films to the people, but it also brought up the discrepancies in the romanisation system. The “p” in “Pusan” apparently confused the foreigners because many of them are used to “Busan”. It strikes me funny that a single letter can cause that much confusion amongst the foreigners.
Then again, I don’t blame them for being confused. I am not confused by the romanisations, but I am stuck in the middle of the two systems: McCune-Reischauer and the Revised Romanisation. I’m the prime example of someone who grew up with the MR system in place, but then in my teens, they decided to get rid of the MR system and replace it with the RR one. More »
While it may be presumptuous to say that I am 100% bilingual, it is safe to say that I am bilingual, only not 100%. Unlike a lot of my peers who had mixed families, where one of the parents was Korean, I was lucky enough to have a mother who spoke her native language to me 95% of the time. Of course, I’m sure living in Korea gave me an advantage over my peers who lived in the states for the most part, but I’m thinking about the ones who have lived here most of the time instead.
It’s funny. At work, my Korean ahjumma co-workers keep praising me at how I’m so lucky to speak English and Korean well. Even the other day, when I went to do my hair, I was a translator for my friend, and the stylist told me that he’s jealous that I am fortunate to speak both languages. Even my mother, gets praises from her peers, saying that she’s lucky to have a daughter who speaks Korean and English instead of just the latter. I admit, being bilingual really is a useful skill, but I will admit that my Korean’s pretty weak. Sure, I can speak, read, and write Hangeul, but my speaking skills are at the level of an eight-year old, and my reading and writing skills are of those belonging to a seven-year old. More »