한국 말을찰몰라요

(Translation: I don’t speak Korean very well.)

“I want to go to England and speak English.” – dialogue heard in my class’ Listening book.

That’s a good goal, I thought. We ARE supposed to set “realistic goals” when learning a foreign language. Hell, my Korean teacher flat out told me that I needed to make one. Asked me what it was even! Then stressed the “realistic goal” part again after I replied that I “wanted to know everything.”

What can I say? I went to Neil Armstrong Elementary and the school’s motto was “Reach For the Stars.” Stars aren’t exactly low-hanging fruit.

My Korean teacher’s goal in learning English was “to be able to understand 80% of a conversation in English” when she visited the US. Mission accomplished as she speaks English very well.

So then I thought, maybe I could hijack this Listening book’s character’s goal and use it as my own. “I want to visit Korea and speak Korean.” Would that be a realistic goal? But wait, I already live in Korea. Crap, I’ve done this all wrong. The whole “cart before the horse” thing I used to read about. Back to the drawing board…

Would being able to properly use 안녕 히 가세요 vs 안녕 히 계세요 count? The first, 안녕 히 가세요, is used to say goodbye by the party who’s staying (i.e. not going anywhere). The other, 안녕 히 계세요, is (obviously) used by whomever is leaving. Basically, it amounts to a difference of “-kah” vs. “-kay” on a pronounciation level. And is infuriating to remember. (Kah vs. kay, kah vs. kay, Oh my God the transaction’s done and the cashier’s saying good-bye; which one?)

Would focusing on learning on how to say good-bye correctly be considered a full-fledged goal? Or is it more of a sub-goal?

I mean, my doctor had a mighty good time (and laugh) when I attempted to say good-bye properly to him. (In all fairness, I would’ve been fine had he not stopped and stressed his good-bye. Which made me immediately think that I had screwed mine up. Until he threw out that he was staying, which is why he said what he did. Argh, the one time a Korean talks slowly, and it (almost) messes me up! 

On the flipside, high from the (ultimately) successful doctor dismount, I totally bungled the following pharmacy dialogue. Rather than the kind hearted laughter I received from my doctor after hearing an unsure foreigner attempt to speak his language, I just got a “ha ha, isn’t that cute” stare from the pharmacy staff. Probably because I used the staying (안녕 히 가세요) version of good-bye.

Which is the equivalent of seeing a short kid reaching for that top branch apple that’s clearly still too far out of reach. But I have time, and plenty of people to practice with.

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One Response to “한국 말을찰몰라요”

  1. 한국말 잘 하시네요~
    Thamk you for you introduce Korean

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