ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 42

“So I’ve been told that you know a lot of Korean.”

I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, lady, but whoever it is has clearly been playing a cruel joke on you. And possibly me by extension.

“조금 (a little),” I replied, clearly hoping that by speaking in short, incomplete sentences I could convince her otherwise. Unfortunately, she followed this up by asking me what I have been working on. And here’s where the wheels behind the “I’m actually the dumbest person here; honest!” illusion began to fall off. As stated last week, a new theme in my studies has been formulating basic sentences in my head, and then not translating them onto paper. This way I have to say them in Korean first. This works in two aspects: it gets me speaking more, and also prevents me from trying to create overly complicated sentences. Which, for the longest time running, has been my biggest weakness.


Sadly I don’t think this illusion took, however. My opening sentence was “이번주에 제 여동새가 말했어요.” (This week I talked to to my sister.” Granted, it was wrong, but only barely so. See, I said “talked to” which comes from 말하다 (to talk). But in Korean you’d use 전화를 컬다 – literally “phone call.” And while I guess you could say, “This week I called my sister in the phone,” in English that sounds a little too formal. Well, sure your majesty, and I’m absolutely positive you spread your butter on your toast divinely too! No one talks that way.

So I chaulk this up as a lost in translation error, where the meaning is still correct, but the local flair was missing. Like when Northerners visit FL and call soda “pop.”

But the damage had already been done. Once you’ve let the “my study plan is to try to think in Korean” cat out of the bag, there’s no convincing your teacher that you’re still secretly a dummie.

One thing I must applaud my teacher for is her ability to hone in on a skill (“I think we should work on ____________ today”), and then sticking with it. I had a momentary slip up using the present progressive (V-고 있다), which she caught onto and immediately started giving me more sentences to translate.

“Spring is warm.”

“봄에 따뜻해요.”

“봄 따뜻해요. Use the subject market as you’re talking about Spring specifically. ‘Spring is getting warmer.”

“봄이 따뜻하고 있어요.”

“봄이 따뜻고 있어요. ‘하’ becomes ‘해’ here because you always conjugate 하다 differently from everything else.”

While it seems basic on the surface, these exercises work on numerous levels. First, on my basic speech level, as well as my confidence in my speech level. But also by indirectly highlighting the fact that in Korean, “getting” is here included as part of the present progressive. This will stop me from trying to shoehorn “to get” (받다) into all of my compositions. So it’s practice and a clarification all rolled into one.

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