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

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.

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.

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.


Cracking the Korean speaking nut: Blackfoot and Korean

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One of the most encouraging articles I read when I started to study Korean was an article by Greg Thomson with the cheery title — What? Me Worry about Language Learning?

He writes about some of the troubles learning a different language and particularly the challenge of learning a host language from a bilingual community of speakers. (Perhaps some Korean speakers, like those being well educated and living overseas, fall into this bilingual category of being quite fluent in English as well as Korean.)

In Thomson’s case, he was studying Blackfoot and virtually everyone in the Blackfoot speaking community were fluent in both English. After months of memorising dialogues and stockpiling information, he still couldn’t carry on a conversation with anybody. Then Thomson writes:

 Frank [his colleague] had a simple challenge for me. He told me to make a commitment that I would never again speak to a Blackfoot person in English. I told him that I felt that would be impossible. He told me that it would be difficult at first, but fairly soon it would start getting easier.

When I returned to Alberta, I took the plunge. Frank was right. The first few weeks were extraordinarily difficult, but then it started getting easier, and the Blackfoot started to flow more and more. For the next several years I spoke only Blackfoot to Blackfoot people. I was always able to get my point across to them, and they to me, so I felt justified in calling myself a speaker of the language. . . . . .

As I persisted in refusing to speak English, most people would eventually begin speaking to me in Blackfoot. The first person was my main language helper. I spoke Blackfoot to him for two or three hours per day for about a week before he began speaking Blackfoot to me. In later years it was always fascinating to watch a new relationship and see how long it took for people to begin speaking to me in Blackfoot. For some it would be an hour. For others several hours. Occasionally someone would start speaking Blackfoot to me right off. . . . .

. . . [This] gave me a large amount of practice speaking. And it gave me exposure to Blackfoot that I could understand, as people spoke back to me.

Thinking about it that way, in the Korean learning journey we are so much better off. There are loads of monolingual Korean speakers. And I hope none of us had a language helper that took a week to start speaking with us in Korean (if that’s the case, find a new helper!)

Similar posts:

Cracking the Korean Speaking Nut: What to do when someone continues to speak to you in English?
Cracking the Korean Speaking Nut: A languacultural critique
Thoughts on Speaking Korean

Cracking the Korean speaking nut — what to do when someone continues speaking to you in English?


Thinking about Korean speakers who don’t want to speak in Korean to language learners, I was reminded of a post Samier wrote at Gamcho a while back. Samier wrote in part:

Every time I meet a new Korean person, we end up chatting and continue to stay in touch. But even so, no matter what language I end up speaking, they never fail to reply in English unless they are unsure of the English word/phrase. It’s not because my Korean speaking skills are horrible… in fact every Korean person I’ve met has been taken aback from the way I talk. They even respond back withe ease… but in English. Being so, I’m usually forced to speak English with them. And the most annoying part is that they’ll speak Korean with each other… in front of me… :P

In the comments section, Shanna from HangukDrama commented:

 I’m not too sure how it’s like in America, but the Koreans that have been in Singapore for a long time (more than 6 months) usually don’t speak in Korean to me. I have Korean friends who are attending the same university as me. We dont speak in Korean at all even though they know that im pretty ok in it. It’s just somehow awkward. But they do speak in Korean among themselves. O.o

Is this partly a demographic problem? Or a ‘who is more insistant problem’? I’m not sure. Or is it a bilingualism problem? I’m not sure but I think even in these kinds of situations it’s possible to switch the language into Korean. It just takes a bit more work. I wrote Samier in the comments:

Interesting. This is actually extremely common frustration for Korean learners. I would recommend just keeping to speak only Korean even if they speak to you in English. I had one friend who six months after this lop-sided conversation switched to Korean.
(The only time when it might be impossible for you to speak Korean is if they are a lot older than you and are pretty adamant in speaking English — in that case to be ‘polite’ you might have to not speak Korean. I’ve only once been in that kind of situation though and even in that situation I tried to speak Korean as much as I could).
If they never here any English come out of your mouth it will More

Thoughts on speaking Korean


The last few weeks I’ve been thinking about what it takes to speak Korean. Whether it’s in person, or on language forums or on blogs it seems it’s a very common complaint among Korean language learners. It is definitely one of the challenges of learning Korean, particularly in the early stages.

Although it’s always a struggle to speak the language you are learning, this challenge seems somewhat acute in Korean versus other languages like Turkish or Chinese where native speakers are rather eager to speak with you in their language. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is the general ambition among Koreans to learn English, but it’s also in large part because Korea is a very closed culture compared to other cultures. Knowledge and correct use of Korean is one of the primary keys to this castle and woe to him (or her) who tries to wrench those keys out of one of the gatekeepers!

It definitely gets easier the more fluent and comfortable you are in the language. Even so though, sometimes I still feel guilty for insisting on speaking Korean.

I was quite struck by something Greg Thomson wrote on this problem in connection with his growing participator approach. He writes:

But they feel insulted if I don’t use English!

Now one thing I don’t want to do in this guide is to foster guilt feelings unless they are constructive ones. For many years I’ve heard people talk defensively about the amount of English they use with host people, saying that the host people want it that way. “I mainly relate to educated people, and they feel put down if I don’t speak to them in English,” or “English is the language of business all over the world, and business people want you to use English with them.” I’ve challenged these claims in my own practices, whenever I encountered them in a situation where I was a growing participator. I’ve held many a conversation in which the other person persisted for a long time using English with me, and I More

Interview with a mother about character education


I found this interview rather interesting. I love her voice and the style she answers the questions put towards her. She uses several very nice speech patterns and couple very useful words that I didn’t know, including 진가.

It’s subtitled, but the subtitles aren’t exactly accurate. The exact transcript is below (questions are not voiced; unfortunately if you just listen to the audio you’ll only hear her answers):

Q: 좋은나무성품학교를 선택하실때 성품교육이 영향을 주셨나요?
A: 성품을 가르치는 곳이라고 알고 아이들을 보내기로 결심했는데요. 보내는 엄마 입장에서는 그렇게 얘기하지만 주변에서는 성품교육은 가정에서 가장 비롯된다는 많이 얘기하잖아요. 근데 전부터도 성품이 중요하다는 걸 알고 있기는 하지만 그냥 무심히 간과하고 지나 버릴때가 많이 있더라고요. 그래서 교욱기관에서 아이들이 배우면 부모인 저도 배우고 자극이 됮 않을까 아무래도 배우면서 하면 부모도 자극되고 아이들도 성품을 배우면 좋지 않을까 하는 생각에서 보내게 됐습니다.
Q. 좋은나무성품학교를 다니면서 아이가 달라진 부분들이 있나요?
A. 어린아이들이 성품의 인내, 경청, 긍적적인태도 며 이런 단어의 의미를 안다는 게 너무 기특하더라고요. 그 단어의 의미를 알면서 그 상황에 맞게 단어가 툭툭 튀어 나온다는 자체가 이거 아이들이 평생 그걸 가지고 가든 안가든 아이들한테 단어의 의미를 안다는 자체가 너무 너무 기특해요. 그리고 예전에는 한번 친구모임에서 여행을 갈 때 아이들이 차에서 통제가 되지 않을 정도로 너무 시끄러운 거에요. 그래서 제가 More

Korean Text Messaging


Korea Wiki put out a cool new video — on Korean texting.