Archive for the ‘Korean Language’ Category

Learning Korean

19 Feb

Learning Korean proved to be difficult. This was because in addition to there being limited programs on learning Korean in the United States, I had mental blocks to overcome. There were times that I would speak Korean and what would come out was the my five year old inner child’s Korean. The one she spoke with Appa, which is a regional dialect of Korea.

There would be really tough times for me because sometimes I’d feel like I should *know* that word, or that I remembered it, but I couldn’t place why. There were times, too, when people would say,
“Your accent is really good.”
“You are slipping into Kyeongsamnamdomal, Eonni…. I couldn’t understand you.”
“You speak like child. No ‘Un.’ That is child [speak].”
and while I’d feel a sense of pride, I’d feel a sense of frustration too, because I couldn’t distinguish where the child’s language began and where the child’s language ended.

What often made it worse is that people expected me to know Korean. I had to be able to speak Korean even if they didn’t know it. The pressure to know Korean makes my brain cycle at times and sometimes, for months I’ll reject the language. Especially when people say, “You aren’t X” or “you are X”. My languages tend to flucuate heavily on identity.

It’s not the physical learning of the language that is hard. I’m still pretty good at agglutinating languages. (like Korean.) It’s the emotional baggage of learning Korean that makes it difficult. It’s the things I’m associating with the language that I’m not associating with Japanese, Mandarin or Cantonese. From the time of pain I felt from abandonment to the teacher’s delight that I’m a Korean Adoptee. There is excess crap that comes with the language of my mother versus the language of my fluency.

I do wonder what happens when those two are linked. Would that feel the same inside for me? Or would I end up in long silences of not wanting to speak at all? But I don’t think I’d ever know.

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Posted in Adoption Politics, Adoptism, Korean Language


Korean Exasperation

19 Feb

I’ve been tallying the various words of Exasperation, and so far Aigoo is more common with the ajumma… and people outside of Seoul. I’ve heard more Aiyu in Seoul… I figure I may as well have fun, and someone asked me this question… And that’s my answer. Aissi is more for males who are in a tight and frustrating situation. Aigoo is more like, “life is hard right now” or “Oh really, why life” Aigo, etc are various variations of the same, but are less prevalent.

The shoes thing, I noticed that women with children wear sneakers of the Filas brand. Also College students. Men get to wear all the sneakers while the women wear heels. Also the bright colors seem to be confined to the true ajumma… I think it’s fun to observe these things.

Scuffing seems to be a result of wearing slippers half the day… they even scuff on the stairs. I tried it out and I learned that it really builds up your legs, but wears down shoes fast. (It’s definitely easier to keep on slippers if you scuff a little.)

Standing up straight seems like that one should have pride in ones culture, so stand up tall and in that statement I can see how Korea never was truly defeated and run over.

New cultural item: You can’t eat the wing tips of chicken if you are a male, ’cause if you do you will be unfaithful! Good to know for a date…

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