Learning Korean in Vietnam

So it turns out Hanoi has a
reasonably-sized Korean community. This was great news as I was keen to keep up
my Korean, so I went trawling for lessons. Given that most Koreans are here
with corporate jobs however, rather than the English-speaking community who
almost all do some kind of teaching, the only place offering such a thing was
the Han-Viet Family Centre. This is an institution set up and funded by the
Korean government in response to rising numbers of Korean-Vietnamese marriages.
We went along to see if they wouldn’t mind me signing up, despite being
distinctly non-Viet, but after seeing that I fulfilled the ‘married-to-a-Korean
side of the bargain they said it would be fine.

Fast-forward to a week later, and it seemed
like it might not be quite so fine after all. Given that I’d turned up for a
pre-intermediate class, which I’d asked the way for in Korean, one would have
thought I might be able to understand an exchange along the lines of:

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Learning Korean in Vietnam

So it turns out Hanoi has a
reasonably-sized Korean community. This was great news as I was keen to keep up
my Korean, so I went trawling for lessons. Given that most Koreans are here
with corporate jobs however, rather than the English-speaking community who
almost all do some kind of teaching, the only place offering such a thing was
the Han-Viet Family Centre. This is an institution set up and funded by the
Korean government in response to rising numbers of Korean-Vietnamese marriages.
We went along to see if they wouldn’t mind me signing up, despite being
distinctly non-Viet, but after seeing that I fulfilled the ‘married-to-a-Korean
side of the bargain they said it would be fine.

Fast-forward to a week later, and it seemed
like it might not be quite so fine after all. Given that I’d turned up for a
pre-intermediate class, which I’d asked the way for in Korean, one would have
thought I might be able to understand an exchange along the lines of:

Read more

Everyday Life in Direct Translation

A little look at linguistic and cultural differences via three everyday situations in London vs Korea.

Some quick notes:

Korean syntax (the order in which words and phrases are put together, basically) is pretty much the opposite of most European languages. This is very tricksy, as is the rule that you have to specify the topic, object and subject of your sentence by putting a particle after them. Except sometimes you don’t say the subject at all, especially if it’s a person. Like ‘I’, for example, or ‘you’. Yeah.

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Everyday Life in Direct Translation

A little look at linguistic and cultural differences via three everyday situations in London vs Korea.

Some quick notes:

Korean syntax (the order in which words and phrases are put together, basically) is pretty much the opposite of most European languages. This is very tricksy, as is the rule that you have to specify the topic, object and subject of your sentence by putting a particle after them. Except sometimes you don’t say the subject at all, especially if it’s a person. Like ‘I’, for example, or ‘you’. Yeah.

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Monoculture?

This post started life months ago as the third in a series about clashing cultural norms. After more time in Korea and (hopefully) more understanding on my part, it turned into something a bit different…you can read where it all started here.

Here are some criticisms of the UK according to other Europeans:

1. Opaque communications: Our morbid fear of conflict makes our language indirect and gives us a reputation, amongst our continental counterparts, for being dishonest and sneaky. The rest of the English-speaking world, too, complains of the bafflingly high incidence of coded language in British English. For those new to this phenomenon, this handy chart should help:

image

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Monoculture?

This post started life months ago as the third in a series about clashing cultural norms. After more time in Korea and (hopefully) more understanding on my part, it turned into something a bit different…you can read where it all started here.

Here are some criticisms of the UK according to other Europeans:

1. Opaque communications: Our morbid fear of conflict makes our language indirect and gives us a reputation, amongst our continental counterparts, for being dishonest and sneaky. The rest of the English-speaking world, too, complains of the bafflingly high incidence of coded language in British English. For those new to this phenomenon, this handy chart should help:

Read more

Apologies…

Bit of a long absence, sorry!

Since I last wrote, quite a lot has happened, including but not limited to:

  • One trip to Tibet
  • One gruelling semester of teaching,
  • One gruelling period of Korean language study,
  • One engagement
  • One crash-course in Korean family politics  .

The final three points may be related.

Two weeks of desk-warming before I scurry off to be wed should provide lots of time to fill you in, but first, HELLO! It is lovely to see your lovely faces and I promise never to leave you for so long again.

Much love,

L xxx

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Apologies…

Bit of a long absence, sorry!

Since I last wrote, quite a lot has happened, including but not limited to:

  • One trip to Tibet
  • One gruelling semester of teaching,
  • One gruelling period of Korean language study,
  • One engagement
  • One crash-course in Korean family politics  .

The final three points may be related.

Two weeks of desk-warming before I scurry off to be wed should provide lots of time to fill you in, but first, HELLO! It is lovely to see your lovely faces and I promise never to leave you for so long again.

Much love,

L xxx

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Some lovely things

Being enough of an idealist to want to instil a sense of empowerment in my students, along with ownership of their own learning, I’ve been carrying out periodic learning reviews during this semester. These have basically asked students to reflect on their learning and my teaching and the results – whilst undoubtedly valuable – have also been apt to bring me down a peg or six at times. There was the kid who just scrawled TOO DIFFICULT all over his paper, or (worse) the one that wrote ‘I’m so sad I can’t speak to my friends in your class, because your class is too hard to me ㅠㅠ’. ‘ㅠㅠ’ are characters in the Korean alphabet used to represent crying eyes, and in this particular instance they initiated the appropriate response in me.

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Some lovely things

Being enough of an idealist to want to instil a sense of empowerment in my students, along with ownership of their own learning, I’ve been carrying out periodic learning reviews during this semester. These have basically asked students to reflect on their learning and my teaching and the results – whilst undoubtedly valuable – have also been apt to bring me down a peg or six at times. There was the kid who just scrawled TOO DIFFICULT all over his paper, or (worse) the one that wrote ‘I’m so sad I can’t speak to my friends in your class, because your class is too hard to me ㅠㅠ’. ‘ㅠㅠ’ are characters in the Korean alphabet used to represent crying eyes, and in this particular instance they initiated the appropriate response in me.

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