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Koreans who don't speak Korean
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AmusedIndeed
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Oh, they'd understand you, they'd just shoot your ass since they'd think they're being robbed.


Wow... you're so in touch with modern urban culture. Did you get that from "Boyz in the Hood"???

Keep eating matches bro.
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Hank Scorpio



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AmusedIndeed wrote:

Wow... you're so in touch with modern urban culture. Did you get that from "Boyz in the Hood"???

Keep eating matches bro.


Your name really doesn't match up to your sense of humor, does it genius?
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cheem



Joined: 18 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skippy wrote:
My girlfriend (Aussie) speaks OK korean but many times she has had the UHNH from a korean. Or you ask and all you get is idiotic head nodding. Come on people try a little.

In my experience people either understand or they don't understand; there's rarely any effort involved. I think people underestimate the importance of accent and stress when trying to convey themselves coherently in a foreign language. I think it would be a lot more productive to work on these things rather than spin vast conspiracies on why Koreans can't understand white people.
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Raymo2



Joined: 27 May 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 2:58 pm    Post subject: Oh Chon Won Chuseyo? Reply with quote

I can appreciate the cultural/language difficulties but I also find this particular situation quite amusing especially when I look at it from the perspective of the Korean.

It sounds as if you were asking the guy to give you 5000 won.

Hmmm. I'm not sure who's the biggest idiot in this case. Sounds like two idiots trying to make sense.

An impossible task. Who's on first base?

Raymo
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gang ah jee



Joined: 14 Jan 2003
Location: city of paper

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AI
Quote:
To spell it phonetically it's "Oh CHUN-un". Not "CHON".


either can be used. To me, 'chon' looks closest, as distinct from 'chohn'. If we wanted to be really pedantic it should be 'cheon'. Not like romanisation matters though.

Saying 'hangeul-mal anio' will make someone look a bit silly though, yeah. Closest in English I can think of is 'It is not alphabet talk.'

HamuHamu: Part of the problem may have been that (as far as I can recall) minumum recharge for gyotong card at the ticket counter is 10,000 won. and it can help to remember that the 'w' in 'won' is silent after the 'n' sound.
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Holyjoe



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Location: Away for a cuppa

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gang ah jee's correct here - there's no 'right' or 'wrong' way to write Korean words in English, because the 'right' way to write Korean words is in Hangeul.
There's a recommended method through the romanisation method, but then there's so many different spellings in use in Korea (Gyeonggi/Kyunggi/Kyeunggi/Gyunkki/etc..), even in official literature or signage.

Unless he'd got it completely skewed and written "FLIBBLE" or something, then where's the problem? Wink
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Cedar



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Location: In front of my computer, again.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for future reference:

Everyone please take note---

To say "Don't you speak Korean?" or "Can't you understand Korean?" the way a KOREAN would say it:

"Hangukmal hal(hahl) chul(chool) molrayo?" (moel-la-yo)

I always have problems with my Korean showing up garbled- but let me try typing it in Korean and we'll see if it looks funny later:
"한국말 할 출 몰라요?"

Trust me! This is what Koreans would say. And if you don't trust me, ask your Korean friend.


Last edited by Cedar on Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:44 pm; edited 3 times in total
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makushi



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took a friend (chinese) from HK who doesn't speak a word of Korean to lunch. I was already to demonstrate my prowness in the local language when we hit a major pot hole.

When I tried to order (something I have managed to do quite successfully hundreds of times in the past) the waitress refused to look at me or even acknowledge my presence. She just turned and looked at my Chinese friend who was like, "I think that waitress digs me or something."

So I repeat my request a little more slowly and a lot louder, and the same thing happens. Eventually, I had to slap the table, to wake her from her trance.

Probably a couple of things going on there. Maybe she figured I was speaking some cryptic foreign language, or maybe was embarrassed to try to communicate with me in front of another Korean (not knowing that my friend was Chinese), or maybe she really did dig my friend.
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Sliver



Joined: 04 May 2003
Location: The third dimension

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Ramo ang GHG hit the nail on the head.

Really, If a Korean doesn't understand you then it is because your not speaking the language correctly. It is a difficult language and I have many frustrations myself so I can understand others viewpoints but don't blame Koreans if they don't know what your saying. Take it as evidence that your Korean needs improving.

The situations in resturants where you get ignored or when Koreans just don't expect some Korean to be spoken from your mouth of course do occur. That is not what this thread is about.

Some guy got angry because a Korean couldn't understand (and trying not to be too brutal) his terrible Korean.
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ride the fence till the cows come home on this issue.

I can understand some doofus walking up and saying something in horribly sloppy Korean to the point that even I don't know what he's trying to say, yet I also get pissed off when I get berated by students because I say "abbayo" instead of "apayo". I'm sorry I don't wanna spit all over your face, but yea. If you insist...
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HamuHamu



Joined: 01 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sliver wrote:

Some guy got angry because a Korean couldn't understand (and trying not to be too brutal) his terrible Korean.


I'm a girl.

It wasn't so much that I was angry because he couldn't understand my Korean. Perhaps the words I chose were brutal -- "hangeul mal anio"-- but that wasn't my real point. BTW I've been here for 18 months now, have been told that I read and pronounce Korean extremely well for a foreigner.

But the point I was trying to get at was the fact that Koreans freeze up when they see us, and put up a mental block immediately, assuming that no matter what is said, they are not going to understand it, plain and simple. And so they refuse to try.

I shouldn't have really even needed to say anything to him - if I handed him my card, and some money, and held up my hand with five fingers, would he not put 2 and 2 together??? That's more my point....the lack of thinking outside of the box, ESPECIALLY when it involves a foreigner.

If someone in English, with a thick accent said to me "I non Englisheee talk uh you" I can assume they mean to say "I can't talk to you as I don't speak English." Why are Koreans not able to do this.

Yes, I made the point that the only Korean speaking country is Korean, and so OF COURSE they have a harder time with accents, pronunciation, etc. That's only natural. Sure, if they don't understand it is because I am not speaking properly.

But come on - is the only way to communicate with someone for us to be speaking the exact same language with the exact same accent and the exact same pronunciation?!?!?!?
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Sliver



Joined: 04 May 2003
Location: The third dimension

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're a girl. Well sorry about calling you a boy and all.

Maybe because your a girl he thought you meant something else when you asked for 5000 won. Laughing


Anyway, I do agree that some Koreans are not very understanding to those trying to learn their language if that is your point. Examples of this have already been written by others here. However, to those learning Korean (and maybe your not, I don't know) and to those who just want some survival Korean (until they go home or whatever) the solution is not to get angry.

Really, if you speak korean well (as those on this board that do speak it well could testify) this situation hardly ever arises.

Sure, the situation sounds like he should have been able to put two and two together but he is selling tickets at a subway. I don't think they employ the greatest minds for that job.

Maybe it was his first day and he was nervous.

Maybe the person who eventually helped you was his superior so he was nervous.

Maybe you're the first foreigner who has spoken to him so he was nervous.

Maybe his wife had just had a baby so he wasn't thinking too clearly.

There are many "maybes" in this situation. Do you think that he actually knew what you wanted and was just being an asshole (one of the other maybes I guess)?

I think he really didn't know what you wanted so you got angry. I think you got angry at frustration of not being able to communicate. Unless it was really his fault (and let's admit your korean was bad) did he deserve your anger?


HamuHamu wrote

Quote:
But come on - is the only way to communicate with someone for us to be speaking the exact same language with the exact same accent and the exact same pronunciation?!?!?!?


Well it doesn't have to be exact as you say and I think Cheem summed it well with


Cheem wrote
Quote:
In my experience people either understand or they don't understand; there's rarely any effort involved. I think people underestimate the importance of accent and stress when trying to convey themselves coherently in a foreign language. I think it would be a lot more productive to work on these things rather than spin vast conspiracies on why Koreans can't understand white people.


This is so true. Thanks Cheem.
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wormholes101



Joined: 11 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 10:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Koreans who don't speak Korean Reply with quote

Wombat wrote:
...and then, there is the total linguistic shut down(TLSD). I'm sure a lot of you know what I mean - where the shopkeeper/waiter/... simply can't compute the fact that you're speaking Korean.


This is definitely a fact. Some Korean experience Total lLnguistic Shutdown. How else can you explain one Korean understanding perfectly while the other looks at you like you're speaking gibberish?

One tactic I have for restarting a system that is in Total Linguistic Shut Down is called System Reboot. This really works!

Step One: Enter An-nyong-hasaeyo (Hello). Wait for system to respond. If Sysytem responds appropriately go to Step Two. If not, considering getting new hardware (new Korean)

Step Two: Ask Hanguk mal aseyo?(Do you know Korean?/Can you speak korean?)

Step Three: Start with a basic question like Igeo mueoyaeyo? (What is this?) and combine with obvious visual cues such as pointing to an apple or a ticket or other relevant item. Wait for response. If no response occurs, go back to Step one.

Step Four: Repeat the answer to the question. This is usually enough to reboot a malfunctioning system. The sytem has been now primed to deal with Foreigners. Finally, test the system with another simple yet relevant question. Mashissoyo? Combine with various body cues like pretenting to eat the apple and licking lips. Wait for response.

Step Five: Continue your conversation. Korean will look at you like you are a WaegukWizard.
Laughing Laughing

Total Liguistic Shut Down used to annoy me but now I find it quite amusing and look forward the next time it happens

BUT A LOT and I don't wanna burst bubbles here but seriously and for a fact, a lot of waeguks have quite terrible pronunciation. Combine this with hideous grammar and awkward expressions and it's a small miracle they're are understood at all.

HamuHamu wrote:
...also hearing Germans, Indians, Koreans, Latin Americans, etc, speaking English with a different accent. So, we are a bit more able to discern the differences in sound and understand things.


Yes. Remember that most Koreans have never had to deal with a Korean speaking foreigner. Do you remember your first experience with dealing with a English speaking Indian or Italian? Damn hard the first few minutes! But your brain adjusts after a while as you become used to the strange pronunciations...
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kricket



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: The Land of Kimchi and OB Beer

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think many westerners here overestimate their Korean speaking skills. Yes, you may know some Korean vocabulary, some simple sentences, and even may be fluent in Korean, but many have accents that most Koreans can't understand.

I've seen westerners here that can speak Korean very well and don't have the accents or have minimized them to the point that they are unnoticeable. They are understood and accepted well in interacting with Koreans.
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Wombat



Joined: 28 May 2003
Location: slutville

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Kricket about our accents being bizzare - how many times have you been bleating the same word helplessly to a Korean, who FINALLY understands what you mean by making a subtle vowel adjustment? Our ears seem not to pick it up...

And look at the difficulty a Korean mouth has in saying "v". Have you ever heard your students try it? Mine always used to say "bwee" which is not at all comprehensible; had I not known what they were trying to say, I'd be looking at them blank-faced too!

Wormholes - At last - some clever programmer has come up with a boot disk for TLSD! Brilliant work - keep it up. I'm still chuckling. Very Happy

Wombat
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