First Class, Second Teacher. 첫수업, 두번째 선생님.

Monday, July 25, 2011 Nicajoice 0 Comments

One of my goals is to master the Korean language in two years. I know it's way too ambitious of me, considering that I really can't devote much time to my studies. Plus the fact that I don't regularly mingle with Koreans which makes mastering the spoken form almost close to impossible. But then, I figure, there's nothing to lose. It will always be an advantage, never a disadvantage... so here I am, moving on with my Korean lessons.

In one of my English classes with Yohan (my 15 year-old Korean student), I have mentioned that I am learning the Korean language. When his mom found thi
s out, she immediately offered to teach me. That was a couple of months ago. We weren’t able to start right away because we had to wait for the books to be delivered from Korea. But when she finally got the books, she got sick. So it was only until last Thursday that we started studying together. (photo taken here)

My teacher, by the way, is a 45 year-old Korean woman. Her name is Mi Gyoung. She is Christian. And for the short time that I've known her, she has been nothing but kind, generous and patient. She is a cool mom, I guess. Her two sons are very close to her. She knows what they like, e
ven the songs that they listen to and the Korean singers they are fond of.

Moving on...

Here are some of the things I learned on our first class:

- the proper way of writing
Hangeul (strokes order)

photo taken here

Apparently, Hangeul has to be written in a certain way. I still don’t know why. My first teacher actually noticed how I write and he laughed at how I carelessly do it. I thought it wasn’t important and I jokingly told him that for sure my second teacher would teach me how. And I was right. She really did. I can write just fine, even without following the proper order of the strokes, but then it wouldn't hurt to do it the right way.

- expressions can be said in different ways.

For example, “It’s delicious!”

Male: 맛있습니다. (ma – shi – seum – ni – da).
This sounds more masculine and it would be quite weird for a man to say 맛있어요.
Female: 맛있어요. (ma – shi – sseo – yo ).
This sounds cute (according to my teacher). :) And it's as if Korean women are expec
ted to speak in a cute way. :)
Kid: 맛있다. (ma – shi – ta ).
Children remember short words and are not yet used to saying the polite form of certain expressions.
(photo taken here)

My second teacher also emphasized the use of honorifics. That it's really important to use the polite forms of expressions when talking to older people. But she has mentioned that Korean children start to distinguish the polite from the impolite when they grow a bit older, say 8 to 9 years old. Because at a younger age, they would tend to speak the shortest words possible.

(DISCLAIMER: I believe what I wrote abo
ve may be too subjective and is not really applicable for everyone. I'm not saying that this is generally true for all Koreans. I am merely sharing my observations and my teacher's subjective opinion based on her experiences.)

Though not intentional, my Korean classes have also been opportunities to try different delicacies. Of course, with this class and with this teacher, I get to eat a lot of Korean food.

For our first class, I had strawberry-flavored milk, choco pie (not in the picture), a cup of coffee (haha), and Korean pizza (I think, that's how they call it, or more appropriately, Korean pancake). Teacher Mi Gyoung's generosity was just overflowing. Her kindness too. And she doesn't mind teaching me without expecting anything in return. But of course, I'll do my best to teach her children well and study my lessons very well. :)

It never fails to amaze me how God works in helping us achieve our goals. It is a miracle, I must say. He unveils great opportunities, sends the right pe
ople and allows life-changing events to take place. In the past few days, I have felt all these things happening before my very eyes. And it is so overwhelming to be blessed this way.

This class is a blessing. And so are the countless other things that I'll surely write about in the coming days.