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.

떠남 (이용규) – Leaving (Lee Yeong Gyu)-


486182_10100838653737985_807283822_nOne of my goals for this year is to do a lot more Korean reading. I’ve started several books in the last few weeks. One of the books Is this new book by Yeong Gyu Lee. It’s called “Leaving” (떠남) and is about his spiritual experience living in and leaving Mongolia. He writes about trusting God through different sometimes somewhat incomprehensible situations that come up in his and others’ life.

It’s pretty easy reading with relatively short sentences and the vocabulary is not that hard either. I had started his other book 내려놓음 when I first left Korea but never finished it. After I have finished this book I want to read that as well as his sequel — 더 내려놓음. 

Speaking Korean I don’t know


I had a rather fun experience speaking Korean two days ago. I was mainly listening for a couple hours to a friend. I was tired and headachy so I’m not sure how good a listener I was but afterwards when I started to talk suddenly all the words and what I wanted to say flowed out very naturally and fluently. And the strange thing was I found myself using loads words and phrases that I really didn’t know on a cognitive level where I could give a dictionary definition or even know the English translation. But I knew them on an emotional level and knew they conveyed my meaning.

I kind of felt like I was watching my mouth speak without  knowing exactly what I said or why suddenly my mouth was using all these  words or sentence patterns. Then again at night in my dream I kept hearing myself continue to talk and talk in Korean.

I have had this experience before, but it felt rather more extreme than usual this time. I wonder though if this is eer how we often speak our first language — using words and phrases that we havent consciously learned or remembered and for which we often (when we think of it) can’t cognitively define. Nevertheless we eerily know what thoughts and emotion they convey.

Strange effects of Korean usage


It’s funny because I think learning Korean has somewhat ruined my perception of the sounds in other languages — I now sometimes have a hard time distinguishing ‘r’ and ‘l’ or ‘t’, ‘d’, and ‘n’ in other (phonetically easier) languages. I never had a hard time distinguishing between ‘r’ and ‘l’ before.

Similarly, if I’m reading or thinking in Korean I sometimes make ‘he’/’she’ mistakes if I try suddenly to speak in English.

우리 문학

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The Art of Korean Letter Writing


Since finding the Artic explorer’s letter to his wife I’ve been musing on how on how to improve my Korean letter writing ability. The nice thing about letters is that they use rather simple words (compared to say a newspaper article) but usually the words are used well. Unlike a newspaper article, the words have to convey some emotion and some warmth.

Imagine my delight when I found 15 longish letters complete with audio. (The audio can be downloaded using right-click and ‘save as source’.

In Korean it’s called 노래실의 편지 and it seems that they are publishing a new letter every week or so. Some letters are written from brothers and sisters to each other; others are from parents to their children and or between close friends.

I’m inputting all the text and audio into Learning with TextsThat way I can read and listen to the texts at my leisure, and easily look up words or phrases I don’t know. I’ll try to eventually put sentences with sentence structures I find tricky or words and phrases I don’t know in Anki as well.

Cooing, quacking and fluttering

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A friend over at lang-8 posted this list. It’s written for Koreans learning English but it has some interesting Korean adjectives.

coo – 비둘기 울음소리 quack – 오리 우는 소리 buzz – 벌이 내는 소리 barr – 양이 우는 소리
croak – 개구리 울음 소리 moo – 소 울음 소리 bow-wow – 개 울음 소리 boom – 벌레소리
gobble – 칠면조 우는소리 caw – 까마귀 울음소리 hiss – 뱀이 내는 소리 peep – 쥐 울음소리
grunt(oink) – 돼지 소리 whinny – 말 울음소리 meow(mew) – 고양이 울음소리 rap – 톡톡
slap – 찰싹 tap – 똑똑 pop – 펑 flip – 톡 튀기다 pump – 쿵, 쾅 dump – 털썩 thump – 툭
clash – 쟁강쟁강 crash – 와그르르 splash – 철퍽철퍽 babble – 졸졸, 재잘재잘 rattle – 덜컹덜컹
ingle – 딸랑딸랑 tinkle – 찌르릉 trickle – 찔끔찔끔 flutter – 퍼덕퍼덕 caltter – 덜컥덜컥
patter – (비가) 후드둑 ring – 땡땡땡(종소리) bang – More

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