Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Communicating in Korea

You have probably been wondering how our communication prospects are comming along! Well, our vocabulary is growing little by little! Oliver is proving to be very good at remembering various things, so I leave him to do most of the talking.

Here are some of the basic phrases we use:
  • Hello (An-nyung-ha-se-yo)

  • Thank you (gahm-sa-ham-ni-da)

  • Goodbye (An-nyung-hi ge-se-yo/ga-se-yo)

  • Where is the bathroom (Hwa-jang-shil)

  • How much? (Ul-ma-em-knee-ka)

  • Yes (ne/ye)

  • No (A-ni-yo)

  • Please (cho-se-yo)

  • delicious (massh-e-ta)

Those are just some of the basics and so far they have served us well! However, a couple of weeks ago Oliver and I decided enough was enough! We were tired of walking down the street and not understanding any of the signs, or going into restaurants and not being able to read what to order. So what did we do? We learnt hangul!

Hangul is the Korean writing system and it works off of sounds. The vowels include the following sounds:

  • a/ya
  • e/ye
  • eo/yeo

  • oo/yoo

  • o/yo

  • u/yu

The consonants include:

  • b/p

  • m/n

  • g/k

  • d/t

  • h

  • j/ch

  • ng

You might think that now that we can read what we see, we understand what we see! Well, no. not most of the time anyway! This is oviously because Koreans have different names for things, for instance "bbang" is "bread" and "mul" is "water". So we may be able to read it but if we don't understand the word it won't make much sense.

However, there is a fair amount of Konglish, english words written in Hangul on sign posts. For example, the sign below says Suh-tah-buk-seh Kho-pee (Starbucks Coffee). Pretty cool right!!

And this one says Oh-lea-O (Oreo) cereal...Mmmmm

We still have a long way to go before we will be able to communicate effectively but we are getting there!

Post by Claudia


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