Pretty cute 초코파이 advertisement.

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A Korean classmate in Hebrew class gave me a Chocopie today, and I couldn’t resist not taking a picture of the phrase on the packaging — 오늘부터 말 놓자! 요. ( Let’s speak familiarly. . . please.)


Fun translating . . .

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I had fun translating Edward Snowden’s Christmas message a few days ago into Korean. I find translating from English to Korean the most difficult of language tasks, but also rewarding because it gives me lots of opportunities to learn new words and ways of saying things.

I find that writing diary entries it’s easy to get in a rut and say the similar things over and over again. In the next month I want to do more English-Korean translation as well as paraphrasing Korean articles or books that I am reading.

Hi, and Merry Christmas.I’m honored to have a chance to speak with you and your family this year. Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of world-wide mass surveillance, watching everything we do. Great Britain’s George Orwell, warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book — microphones, video cameras, tvs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think of what this means for the privacy of the average person.

A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment for themselves, an unrecorded, un-analyzed thought.

And that’s a problem. Because privacy matters.

Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind the government, that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying. For everyone out there listening, thank you and Merry Christmas.

안녕하세요? 메리 크리스마스.올해 여러분과 여러분의 가족들께 말씀드릴 기회를 갖게 돼서 영광입니다. 최근에 우리는 세계의 정부들이 하나같이, 전 세계적으로 대량 감시 시스템을 만들어서 우리의 모든 행동을 감시하고 있다는 사실을 알게 되었습니다.영국의 조지 오웰은 이와 같은 일이 앞으로 있을 것에 대해서 우리에게 경고했었습니다. 조지 오웰의 책에 나온 다양한 종류의 감시도구들– 마이크로폰들, 비디오 카메라들, 우리를 감시하는 텔레비전들 — 은 우리가 지금 이용할 수 있는 기술들에 비하면 아무 것도 아닙니다.우리는 우리의 주머니 속에 우리가 가는 곳이라면 어디든 따라와서 우리를 추적하는 감지기들이 가지고 있죠.일반 사람의 사생활에게있어 이 것이 어떤 의미인지 생각해 보세요.

이런 환경에서 자란 아이들에게는 사생활이라는 개념 자체가 없을 것입니다. 그 아이들은 녹음되어지지 않고 분석되어지지 않은, 자신만의 시간이라는 것이 얼마나 중요한 것인지 그 의미를 절대 알 수 없을 것입니다.

이것이 바로 문제입니다. 왜냐하면, 사생활은 중요한 것이기 때문이죠.

사생활이야말로 우리들에게 내가 누구인지 그리고 나는 어떤 사람이 되고 싶은지를 확실히 알 수 있게 해주는 것입니다. 오늘 하고 있는 이 논의를 통해 우리는 우리 주변의 기술과 그 기술을 규제하는 정부가 얼마나 믿을 수 있는 것인지 생각해봐야 합니다. 우리는 함께 노력해서 집중되어 있는 권력을 분산시켜 균형을 잡아, 대량 감시 시스템을 종식 시킬 수 있습니다. 그리고 우리들은 정부에게 상기 시킬 수 있습니다. 우리의 생각을 알고 싶다면 우리에게 직접 물어보는 것이 스파이짓 하는 것보다 더 비용이 적게 든다는 것을 정부에게 알려줄 수 있습니다.여러분들 끝까지 들어주셔서 감사합니다. 그리고 메리 크리스마스!

Catch the Wave expressions

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Yesterday I went through some of the Catch the Wave videos and made a list of new expressions that I came across. It’s kind of annoying having to listen to the whole video to get the expression and meaning so I’ll continue to add to this list here — and add them to my anki deck as well. Some of the expressions on Catch the Wave were already on my Turn of the Phrase list, so I didn’t include them.

울며 겨자 먹기 — literally crying and eating mustard — doing something you hate doing

눈에 넣어도 아프지 않다 — if someone (like one’s child) is so cute you can use this expression

앞뒤가 막히다 — someone is stubborn or narrow minded

손 놓고 있다. – to procrastinate

김칫국부터 마시다 — counting your chickens before they hatch

허리가 휘다 — bowed down by financial troubles

불 난 데 부채질하다 — adding fuel to the fire when you intended to actually do good.

바닥이 나다 – run out of energy, ideas, time, money, etc. (예: 에너지가 바닥이 났어요, 생각이 바닥이 났어요)

아직 멀었어요 — still far to go (note, it’s technically in the past but it means in the present/future)

놀고 있나? to someone who is trying to convince you but is not doing a good job of it

오리발 내밀다 – (닭 잡아먹고 오리발 내밀다.) lying 오리발 내밀지마 — I know you did it. don’t lie.
오리발이에요 (it’s a lie)

김새다 – to loose interest — 김 샜어요 김샌 상황

매운 맛을 보여주다 — I’m gonna show you. (when you are angry).

쓴 맛을 보다 — I’ve tasted bitterness in my life.

사랑이 식다 — love has grown cold (음식이 식었어요 — my food grew cold, 피자가 실었어요)

머리를 식히다 – you have been thinking or studying too hard, clear your head.

뒤집어라 업어라 데덴찌! — to choose team members by putting your hands palm down or palm up

어느 것을 고를까요. 알아맞혀 보세요. 척척박사님. — Eenie, Meenie Miney Moe
하늘이 노랗다 — shocked, panicked,

눈에 콩깍지가 씌다/벗겨지다 — really in love/ get out of love and become able to see the person as they really are (without the rose-colored glasses)

동네북 – neighborhood drum — everyone teases this person, or blames the person (내가 동네북이야?)

두 손 두 발 다 들다- totally give up

가방이 끈이 짧다 – they don’t have much education or connections

번지수를 잘못 찾다 — when you think someone will be able to help you but they can’t at all — barking up the wrong tree
잘 나가 – sells well, is popular

잠수를 타다- go incommunicado

딸 바보 – someone crazy about their daughter

아들 바보 – someone crazy about their son

눈을 붙이다 – take a short nap

도마 위에 오르다 — on the chopping board – when a celebrity falls out of favor


XBT: 11f4aG385DPJsJfpdMXJYuYQH9KxEd78q

What my Korean Anki input looked like today. . .


Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 12.13.55 AMThis is what my Korean Anki input looked like today (for some of today at least.)

One of the nice things about Penguin Loves Mev is that a lot of the comic strips have English renderings on the side.  I take a snapshot of the situation, retype it in Korean (so that it’s searchable in Anki) and then the English in the back.

Today some of the words I added were 막론하다 (needless to say), 아리까리하다 ( 알듯 말듯 잘 모르겠는 거) ,  엉거주츰하다 (뭔가 하려다 만듯한 동작/어떻게 해야할 지 몰라서 어쩔 줄 모르고 있는 거) and 뒷목을 강타하다 (kind of surprised).

Listening content into Anki cards


Today I put a lot of listening content that I had transcribed before into my Anki deck — it’s not that hard to segment it, and I think it will be a much easier way to review the content and make sure any of the new words or expressions stick in my memory.

Today I segmented the Antartica letter and the interview about character education.

The last two evenings I have been listening to the book of Isaiah in the 쉬운 성경. I realized there were bunches of words I didn’t understand so last night I listened to the first chapter and segmented any sentences or phrases that I could not get. This morning I added them in Anki with the English equivalent verse. 

A few of the interesting words I learned from the first chapter of Isaiah were – 성하다 (to be sound (i.e. like in the expression safe and sound), 허물(fault), 약탈하다 (plunder, pillage), 상처투성 (whole body covered with sores). 

Very short monologue from School 2013



오늘 중으로 아주 깨끗하게 싹 청소해 놓으시게. 흠~
어, 여,여길 혼자 다 해요?
아, 정말 혼자 하겠냐?
이거 드시게.
어이, 두 제자분들. 내 말 잘 들으시게.
학생님께서는 수업 땡땡이치시고, 선생님께서는 출결 체크도 안 하고 눈감아주셨으니 두 분 다 벌 좀 받으셔야겠습니다.
선생님께서는 학생님한테 다 떠넘기지 마시고 여길 그냥 딱 반으로 나눠서 공평하게 청소 하고 가십시오.
날마다 두 제자분들 수업시간에 내 가서 확인하겠습니다. 오늘과 같은 일이 있을 때마다 둘 다 여기 와서 사이좋게 강당 청소하는 걸로 허구. 자, 그럼, 수고들 하시게.
아, 저 선생님, 그게 아니고, 제가……

Importance of helpful and concrete goals


I was stuck by this quote reading the recent interview with Benny:

A: The most important piece of advice [in language learning] is that set a specific goal. Myth 5: ‘learn a language’ isn’t a helpful goal because it’s far too general. You need to set specific goals or milestones and come up with concrete steps and activities to achieve them. So instead of saying ‘I want to learn x language in the new year, tweak your goal into something like ‘I want to be able to learn x number of phrases so that I can start a basic conversation with someone.’ And then come up with actual steps to achieve your goal. It’s also very important that you check on yourself or get someone to help you to make sure that you’ve followed it through. 


Korean facebook feeds I subscribe to


The last several months I’ve been finding all kinds of fun and interesting facebook pages in Korean to subscribe to. A lot of these I found by browsing the pages my Korean friends liked. Most of the pages are updated rather frequently so whenever I’m on facebook my feed is taken up with free, interesting and relevant jokes or messages in Korean. (And of course since it’s Facebook, all the sections are short and can be easily read.) What are some of the pages?

어머 – funny things worth streaming

뻘 – 님이 유물을 발굴하셨습니다 More humor

그러하다 Humor and other interesting short clips

그냥 웃지요 Another humor page.

좋은 글붓 I really like this one — lots of poems and other good writing.

아 좋사 This and  좋은 글붓 are my favorite pages. Lots of delicious Korean goodness. A lot of this is somewhat romantic writing/poetry/insights.

문학동네 Books and culture

I’m curious — are there any Korean twitter feeds, blogs or facebook pages that you subscribe to that you really like? I always love finding new stuff.

Setting up daily goals and keeping them


The last few months there have been several study goals that I haven’t worked on half as much as I wanted. One of them is with regards to Hanja. I planned to study ten minutes a day at least on them. Another is Anki. Anki I have really no excuse because I’ve found even if I do one or two minutes a day it really helps me to be much more fluent and have a lot more vocabulary and grammar a the tip of my tongue.

But life happens and sometimes it’s hard to remember and then a whole week goes by and I’m like, oh dear, I haven’t done any Anki yet!

I used chains before to setup goals and keep track of doing them every day but it gets unwieldy when the chains get too long and there is no way to export the data.

Then yesterday over at EveryDay Language Learner Aaron wrote about a new site I had never heard of before — Ask Me Every.  It’s very easy to use. You put in a few questions (like, how much time did you spend on Korean Anki today?) and give it a time to e-mail you daily. When it e-mails you you email back with the time spent and it inputs it into its charts and graphs so you can login to the site and see all your data nicely and visually represented.

I’m going to try it and see how well it works. Perhaps if I log every day whether I did a bit of anki or not I’ll have more incentive to keep on doing it every day.

Bang Bang Korea — cool new site


A few weeks ago I came across this quite cool website — Korean Bang. It takes popular news stories and comments from netizens and translates them into English. What’s really cool is that by hovering over the translated paragraph you can see the original Korean paragraph. As I’ve been doing a bit of translation it is fun to take a look at how the translators translated a word or phrase.

Today they had a heart-wrenching story about a boy who tried to commit suicide and was saved by a quick-talking and quick-thinking policeman.

In addition to interesting stories they have a Korean glossary of internet slang.

Unfortunately the articles aren’t recorded (so there is no audio). Also when I tried to save articles with the scrapbook plugin in firefox (like I can do for webtoons), it the bubble original text feature doesn’t work. I’m not sure if there is a way around it or i’ll just have to save the translation and the korean version separately. (As you can see, I’m really really big into saving anything I am studying or reading.)

On somewhat of a sidenote, just perusing some of the articles and comments I was rather surprised to see the level (or lack of?) civility among netizens. This is a part of the Korean internet world that I’m definitely not that familiar with yet.

Diary writing


Diary writing

I’ve written 42 entries this month so far on Lang-8. As can be seen though, I didn’t write every day.I don’t really beat myself up if I don’t write on a given day, although I always like it when I do fill up day after day with solid blue.

Also, I don’t really consider writing diary entries as study most of the time (unless I’m trying to do some difficult dictation or something like that (and even then I’m doing the dictation because it appeals to me in one way or another)). Rather, writing in Korean has become a fun way to relax, wind-down and reflect on what happened that day or whatever I am thinking about.

*I wanted to try experimenting by writing this in Korean.

Diary writing

여태까지 이달에 43개의 일기를 랭팔에서 썼다. 그런데 위그림을 보면 알 수 있듯 매일 매일 쓰지는 못했다. 난 어떤 날에 일기를 못쓴다고 해서 자신을 구박하지는 않지만 며칠 연이어서 쭉 파란 색으로 나오면 당연히 기분이 좋다.

또한, 내가 어려운 받아 쓰기 할때를 제외하고는 대부분의 경우 일기를 쓰는 걸 공부로 여기지는 않는다. (그리고 어려운 받아쓰기할 때도 맘에 드는 동영상만을 받아 쓰기 한다.) 오히려 한국어로 일기를 쓰는 건 나한테 긴장을 푸는 즐거운 방법이고 일기를 쓰는 걸 통해서 숨 좀 돌리거나 그날의 했던 걸 아니면 그때의 어떤 생각에 대해서 되돌아보는 좋은 기회다.

**이거 원래 영어로 썼는데 우리말로 어떻게 자연스럽게 비슷한 의미를 전달할 수 있을지 궁금해서 번역해봤다 ㅋ

A code or a rebirth


I was talking to a friend the other day about her Japanese study (she has reached a very high level of Japanese and has worked in Japan). I asked her specifically about the claim that Japanese never accept foreigners as real people or as insiders. Her reply was very interesting. She told me, “If you act exactly the way you’re supposed to act in the situation you are in down to a ‘T’ they will treat you as an insider.”

Although I don’t know Japanese or Japanese culture, I wonder if the same thing is true (in part at least) for Korean.

It seems there are two ways one can approach Korean study. One can approach it either in a cognitive approach — where the language is a code to try and convey your original identity, values, and opinions. In that way you’ll always be an American speaking Korean, or a German or Australian speaking Korean. And then you complain about being treated as an outsider.

The other way is to to think of it as a rebirth into a new world. You will be a new you. You have to create the world completely from scratch again probably eventually something along the lines of the growing participator approach.


My kimchi

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A few weeks ago I emailed one of the guys in charge of the Koreans in Turkey website asking where in Istanbul it was possible to get 배추 (Chinese or Nappa cabbage). He emailed back right away saying that they sold it all over the place. I hadn’t seen Chinese cabbage in the several months I was here but after scouring around and asking at different shops I finally found 10 heads in a corner and bought them all.

I had made kimchi once before with 양배추 (the western cabbage) in Israel and it tasted good and fermented alright but it didn’t have quite the same taste. So I was pretty pleased they have the right kind of cabbage here.

Over 50 cloves of garlic and more than three big mugs of pepper later I had enough of the kimchi sauce left over to make make more than two kilos of 오이 소박이 (stuffed cucumber kimchi).

The cucumber kimchi is ready to eat after a few hours and the taste of the cabbage kimchi (after sitting in my room for two days and outside for two weeks) is just awesome. Now I want to try a bunch of other different kimchi and banchan.

Cracking the Korean speaking nut: a languacultural critique


I’ve been continuing to think about why we Korean language learners (and definitely some much more than others) face trouble with speaking Korean to other Koreans.

Reader choronghi shared a link to a post at Korean Champ with a couple different tips he’s used for overcoming this language speaking barrier. David Wills over at Triumph of the Wills offers complaints along a simliar vein but no real solution.  Prof. Arguelles wrote in the HTAL forum about his Korean study:

Of course having access to many native speakers helped, but I all too often felt as if I had to force people to speak their language with me, which was unpleasant.

Of course is not a Korean-only problem. Benny over at Fluent in Three Months has written about his weapons in this  battle of wits in the languages he studies (which doesn’t include Korean as of yet).

Looking over different posts by language learners on this subject, one of the most startling complaints was from Steven over at Nojoek Hill: My view from the top. Seventeen years after starting to learn Korean he writes.

It’s Downright Impossible More

When language is like breathing

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The Everyday Language Learner posted today an interesting quote by Greg Thomson:

“If we ignore a whole bunch of problems, the hardest thing about language learning is getting started. The second hardest thing about learning another language is not quitting.”

Perhaps this is true in the beginning stages. But if living the language has become as integrated in your life as breathing . . . it’s not really that hard not to quit.

Someone remarked to me about this just yesterday — wow, you study Korean so hard. My response was, actually not really. Although the last couple months or so I have been trying to study Korean a bit here and there. . . mostly I just use Korean so much in my daily life it would be rather hard to go for any length of time without using it.

Shanna at HangukDrama wrote about this as well today.

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