Thursday, 20 December 2007

Mind Your Korean 1: I'm sorry (미안합니다) - You're welcome (아니에요)

Orchid and Liz learns Korean (while Rooster enjoys a siesta?)! In this Mind Your Korean (MYK) series, we'll share with you our adventures and misadventures with the language.

We've signed up for a Korean language Beginners course because I'm sick and tired of banging my head against the wall in frustration when I'm unable to "decipher" a Korean article. To our utter delight, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously in our very first class.

After poking fun, criticising and laughing at some Korean stars' English, such as Rain unintentionally using the "F-word" in one of his songs and saying "lide with me" in Freeway; or Se7en singing Baby, you is all I need, I figured it's about time the Korean stars (if they do read our blog) get a laugh or two at our expense ;-P.

So here's a peek at some of the more interesting occurrences during our struggle with the language.

Our Teacher, a native Korean who speaks English and a smattering of Bahasa Malaysia(!) and Mandarin(!!), announced that she will gradually use only Korean in class. Sweet. Then, she asked us why we were learning the language.

Liz: I want to read Korean (entertainment) news and translate it into English for my blog. (And then I did a little K-popped! plug in class. Except for Orchid, all I got were blank stares. A sure sign that nobody has heard of it.)
Teacher: Oh, that will take very long.

And I thought to myself: Gee, thanks for the honesty, Teacher :-P *mentally bangs head against the wall*

Then I learnt how to write my name in Hangeul. It's 리즈 by the way. Teacher tells me that she will be calling me 리즈씨 (Li-jeu sshi) from now on and asked the class what we should call her?

Liz: Soen-saeng-nim! (선생님, which means Teacher)
Teacher: *Surprised look on her face* 어떻게? How do you know?
Liz: I've been watching Korean dramas. *sheepish grin*

The class, which has the grand total of FIVE students, then learnt basic greeting and classroom expressions, such as sorry (미안합니다), thank you (감사합니다), please write ( 쓰세요) and please read (읽으세요).

And every time Teacher wanted us to look at the whiteboard, she would tap the board and go: 여러분, 여기 보세요 (Yeo-reo-boon, yeo-gi bo-se-yo), which translates to "Everyone, please look here".

We were then required to use the expressions we learnt in class, with some hilarious results sometimes. Like that time when Teacher made a mistake and went:

Teacher: 미안합니다! = Mi-an-ham-ni-da (Sorry!)
Liz: 아니에요 = A-ni-e-yo (You're welcome).

The correct response should have been 괜찮아요 = goen-cha-na-yo, which means "It's OK".

I still laugh when I think of it.

Class adjourned until the next one ;-).

Mind Your Korean series:
MYK 2: The one where 선생님 beats Liz to the punch line
MYK 3: The tale of the uncooperative tissue paper
MYK 4: From learning the alphabets to self-introduction
MYK 5: Simple conversations in Korean
MYK 6: 하나, 둘, 셋, 넷...come on and count in Korean!

MYK Quiz 1: The Match Up
MYK Quiz 1: Answers and winner announcement
MYK 7: Location, location, location
MYK Tidbits
MYK 8: 일, 이, 삼, 사...come on and count in Sino-Korean!

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audrey said...

hello...where do u galz take korean course? i took it at icls..bbut i must say it's not as easy as i do u gals think??good luck in mastering the language k!~!~!

Anonymous said...

aniyeyo doesn't mean you're welcome, it just means no or no thank you. Cool your learning Korean. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Also, in the thank you/you're welcome context, you're welcome is chunmaneyo. But no one really says that. It's like how regular people don't say excuse me and just push their way through.

Clammy said...

someone beat me to the you're welcome correction but also Ohtokyeh (uh... best I can do to an english spelling) is not specifically "how do you know" but literally just "how?". Of course the "do you know" is implied by this specific context.

Clammy said...

P.S. good luck in your Korean!

pauline said...

LIZ........are you saying "LEARNT" on purpose or are you joking around?????Good Luck with your learning Korean...i would have to have someone sitting in front of me so i can pronounce the words correctly i would hate to offend anyone..i tried several tape programs but they didn't work for me....i even tried "ROSETTA STONE"..

gailT said...

oy, i like this new addition to k-popped. great stuff, k-popped trio (including the siesta-taking rooster).

i've been wanting to take a beginner's course here, but i haven't found an affordable one in seattle. so, i'm teaching myself slowly. in the meantime, i'm going to do japanese beginner's in january. being in class might help the lessons stick.

good luck on your language lessons. i'm already looking forward to MYK 2! hwaiting!

Liz said...

Pauline, I wasn't joking around. "Learnt" is the past and past participle of "learn", can also use "learned". The Merriam-Webster says it is chiefly British so Americans might not use it that much...or at all?

Rosetta Stone doesn't work? I hear it is a very good program. Thank goodness I didn't buy it. :-P

Liz said...

Hello both Anonymouses, or are you one and the same?

I'm no expert in Korean, thus the language class, and I only know what I'm being taught.

Teacher says 아니에요 is used in reply to "Thank you". It is a-ni-E-yo, not a-ni-o (I've seen it written 아니오 or 아니요). Anio means "no". You meant that, right?

Also, another student actually replied chunmaneyo, but Teacher says that's old-fashioned. They don't use that now, but 아니에요.

Clammy, yes it was within the context of the conversation with the Teacher.

Gail, glad you like the new addition :-)

Thanks to everyone for the good wishes.

Liz said...

Audrey, we are taking it at ICLS too :-)

Clammy said...

I'm not the anonymous poster, but the -yo is essentially just an honorofic form (ie. polite form) to ani. The "e" (before the yo) is... well the best I can think of right now would be more like saying "that's not so". Unlike Japanese, I find utter direct translations from korean to english a little difficult. Mainly because phrases can mean subtly different things depending on context. But that may just be because I wasn't systematically taught korean in school but rather just grew up with it. However, it could just be difficult as evidenced by the translation of korean movie titles into english titles that have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the korean title!! x_X

Liz said...

Hey Clammy, yeah when you live in Malaysia (where there are all SORTS of languages) you KNOW that you can't accurately translate everything into English! :-)

Ah, the beauty of languages...I like.

How about this then:
감사합니다 = Thank you
아니에요 = Don't mention it

valski said...

that's so cool! have fun with your lessons!
i laughed a bit when you mention the "sorry" "you're welcome" part. that was cute! i'd probably do the same thing.

eileen said...

hi kpopped! i'm a newbie in ur site~ and i really really enjoy it!!! especially this new section on learning korean~ it's great~! please continue to fill us with those interesting and useful korean phrases!~!!!! thanks!!! keep it up, kpopped!!!

kpop_rub said...

I don't speak Korean (at all) But I see what you me as "don't mention it" meaning "you're welcome".. They are in essence the same thing.. I do however, speak Spanish and Portuguese and in both languages "de nada" or -"from nothing" literally, "it's nothing" figuratively, are the equivalent of "You're welcome"

Please keep us updated. I have tried many times to learn Korean and usually I am not bad at picking up the basics of languages but the whole new alphabet is hindering-- I can read it phonetically just fine but it just slows down my process.

ps. I'm american and knew learnt was a word.. just like dreamt, I prefer to use those words ^^ even though my american browser spellchecker is correcting the spelling HAHA

Anonymous said...

Yay! This was unexpected. :P
Keep posting this!! :D
I'm going to ICLS too. But I started Japanese instead of Korean.
Just this line keeps me patiently studying Japanese: "DongBang speaks Japanese too ok! So Japanese or Korean also nevermind!"

Liz said...

Welcome eileen, glad you like this 'lil spot on the Internet :-).

We'll definitely fill all of you in on our Korean lessons.

Thanks for all the comments and sharing, people. You're a good bunch.

Orchid said...

Yeah i am enjoying our Korean classes.

In the first class, we learned that it is rude to call Koreans with just their surname. Over here in Malaysia, we do it all the time!

Example: Jung Ji-hoon

Jung sshi (Mr Jung) - is RUDE and no one does that in Korea (really?)

You may say:

Jung Ji-hoon sshi


Ji-hoon sshi

I was surprised to learn this and found it very interesting.

From the comments, i gathered that quite a number of our readers speak Korean. Are you a native Korean or have you taken Korean language classes or do you self study?

Anonymous said...

Orchid, I self study Korean. ^^"
I watch a lot of variety shows and learned their accents and slangs and I also watched some dramas. Therefore, whenever I'm in Japanese class, I stammered while answering the simple questions because I always think of Korean words first. x3

Anonymous said...

Wow, good on you ! Hope you enjoy your lessons

I am starting mine in aug next yr. It seems so far off : (

fraulein said...

Wow, good on you ! Hope you enjoy your lessons

I am starting mine in aug next yr. It seems so far off : (

hjn said...

yay k-popped learning korean..
i hope to enrol myself to a class probably next year, so tired of learning on my own.
anyway, 아니다 of 아니오 means no. The ~예요 ending means "is X". like how you introduce yourself Name이에요/예요.
So 아니예요 weirdly translated as "is no"
but i mean like in japanese, when you say sumimasen - the reply is "iie"...
the implication of it is "no worries/you're welcome/its ok"...

100% agree that you can't truly translate everything exactly in english

hjn said...

yup, the usage of name with title will vary according to what kind of title that is..
this is the impression i got from reading some books -> here
its like if a person is Celine Dion, we call her Ms. Dion or Ms. Celine Dion.. its actually wrong to call Ms. Celine (though we malaysians do it often.. haha)

Clammy said...

ORCHID, I'm Korean but grew up in the U.S. I do speak Korean and I spend a good amount of my time out with friends in the vast Koreatown in Los Angeles (we have the largest Korean population outside of Korea in the world here).

Yes, no one calls anyone just by their surname. It is kind of rude. That may also have something to do with the very FEW surnames that actually exist in Korea but that's just speculation.

Orchid said...

Hi Clammy, yeah that was my speculation too. If you call "Park" or "Lee" or "Jung" maybe 9 out of 10 people will respond. ;-)

Clammy said...

We have a joke in Korean. If you throw a rock off a building, 2/3 of the time you'll hit a Kim, Park, or Lee. Kim's make up about 20% of the Korean population and Lee's make up over 10%! Parks are way up there too! So I guess it's more like half the time! We also joke that if you don't know someones last name, just guess Kim, Park, or Lee.

Orchid said...

:-) oh yes...forgot about Kim!

blinkable said...

* girly screams* you gals started korean class?! If only I know this earlier then maybe if you gals dont mind I can join in as well! I wanted to take korean class but no one wana go wif me and I find goin alone less motivating and boring!

*haha* I knew the stuff you mentioned in the blog..guess all these while of self-teaching actually mean something~eh?? *silly grin*

Clammy said...

Are there very many other Koreans that visit your site?

Liz said...

Hi Clammy, Merry Christmas! In answer to your question, I'm not sure as we will only know if they participate in the comments and tell us they are what you did. :-)

Blinkable, we actually discussed about enrolling for class in our Facebook group. One of our members suggested the school we are attending now. :-)

Anonymous said...

can i knoe where did u take korean language class???and how much is the price..and can i add u in facebook???

Liz said...

Hello anonymous, sure you can join our Facebook group. We discussed about the Korean class in our discussion thread there and you'll find out the price there as well.

Just hit this link.

Anonymous said...


chianz said...

hey dear k-popped... ^^
I'm a newbie here n so me n my
frenz wanna learn korean language so... ur blog are really intersting n funny... ii loved it!
May ii know where u gals takin korean class,ur teacher seems to be a nice person... n most importanat is,would u mind to tell me where's de location n price of takin de korean clas... ^^ cheon-mai kamsahamida!

Liz said...

Hello Chianz, we are taking the class at ICLS - International Center for Language Studies.

Please go to our Facebook discussion thread on this subject. We talked about the price there.

Just hit this link.

blinkable said...

uhm ok I will go get me a facebook acct then..*drags herself to move* LOL

Faith said...

Thanks so much for posting all this. I'm planning to go for Korean lessons at the end of the year.
This 6 lessons have taught me some new words.

Looking forward to the next one!

Faith said...

aish. i tried to post on your discussion board but i can't seem to be able to. I'm a member of facebook though.

Liz said...

Hello Faith,

Welcome to the MYK series :-). Am really happy to hear that you are learning something from it.

You mean you tried to post something on our Facebook group but can't? Have you become a member of the K-popped! group yet?

Try joining as a member of the group first and then post a comment.

If that doesn't work, you can always post your comments here :-).

herbattka87 said...

ok, I'm first time on your page and I must admit that I only read few words here, but I love it alredy(:

I'm study architecture so I don't have too much time, but I wish to learn korean so badly(: i even bought a book how to learn it hehe:D So... now I'm going to practice hangual (I used to know it a little 2months ago...but i didn't practice it etc:P)so...big hug(((;

Liz said...

herbattka87, glad you like the Mind Your Korean series :-), and all the best in learning the Korean language.

Feel free to share or ask questions here, this way, we can all learn together :-)

marian said...

hello there!i would like to applaud you guys for doing such great work on your site. now, there's a site where i can learn korean in an easy and fun way. keep up the good work and i'll be visiting this site now more often. have a good day! :)

wawa said...

to learn other people language is always an interesting thing to do. i usually have the passion to learn a new language like tagalog and of course korean.

but i usually don't have the passion to keep on learning. haish! i will get excited at first than when i don't have any friend to practice it with me that i'll start to forget bout what i've learnt...ngehehehe!

COKLAT said...

where did u take this lesson.?
i'm excited coz i really want to learn it.
[same purpose as you actually] ^^
i can understand a few words in korean.
but i want to master it.
want it badly.

dyra said...

where did u learn korean?

n said...

hii i saw your wrong word about korean
u were said like this
You're welcome (아니에요)
아니에요 means = no,i mean negative answer

so thats wrong ,plz check it up

luv_addict29 said...

I noticed in this post that your Korean name was used,or how it would be pronounced in Korean.

Well my best friend and I were wondering how our names would be pronounced in Korean. We both have our names as to how they'd be pronounced in Japan,but we wanted to know it Korean. Is there anyway that we could find out? Any website I go to,it doesn't work.

I'm hoping to take Korean lessons sometime in the future. As of now I'm using a Korean-English phrase dictionary,the MYK entries here, and possibly another site to help. Did you know that it costs $500 to learn Korean with Rosetta Stone?

ksyapop said...

anyeong :)
thnk 4 giving this lesson !
i enjoy it . so , i can learn korea from this blog ! thnk again . opps , btw , whre do u learn korean language ?


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