First Day of Korean Class

Yesterday, I experienced that feeling of ineptitude that generally comes with the first day of class in a new language. A new alphabet and vocabulary to wrap myself up in and beat my head against the wall over. I had been glancing over the Korean alphabet haphazardly for a couple of months and have been amazed at the simplicity of it. I realize that looking at it from the first few times that it will not be as simple as it looks, but I have on rose-colored glasses from the decade or so that I have been memorizing Chinese characters.

Actually, I think that this simplicity (follow along for my sake) will be somewhat of a detriment to me. I learned Chinese from the characters – meaning that what I remember and am able to communicate is based on the individualist nature of the characters. For example, I know how to say words based on the ideographic nature of the words no matter how similar they may sound to other words. Trust me, Chinese has about a billion homophones. With Korean’s 19 consonants and 21 vowels, I will have to learn a new paradigm for language learning. This should get interesting.

As for the class, it was pretty nice. The teacher, Kim Hyesun, displayed confident competence. She introduced most of the alphabet for us to remember and gave us a deadline of 2 weeks to learn it. I am pretty confident that if I buckle down it will not be a difficult goal. I learned 3 phrases as well. Basic, but essential:

  • 1. 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo) – Hello.
  • 2. 반갑습니다 (bangabseubnida) – Nice to meet you!
  • 3. 저는Devon입니다 (jeoneun Devon ibnida) – I am Devon.

Also, I should mention that I had an interesting time before the class. I went early morning to Provo to visit the BYU Museum of Art with my friend Jessica Allred. The day did not start off well. After leaving my lair in Midvale, UT, I stopped by the store to purchase that silky smoothness of decadence, A&W Rootbeer. Leaving the store, something flew in my face and I swatted it, promptly earning a bee sting. May you rot in bee hell, you lil’ bastard. I learned from the experience that I am not allergic to bees. In fact, the only thing I know that I am allergic to is the damn sun, if you can believe that.

Upon recovering, I finished my journey to Provo. We got to see two magnificent exibitions – 1. Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture and 2. Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Both were excellent and it was a well conceived and maybe even intended juxtaposition of Islamic and Christian art. Both were beautiful in their own ways and it was made even more interesting with Jessica’s intended year long trip to Saudi Arabia to teach English. Go girl! and take a great many pictures.

3 thoughts on “First Day of Korean Class

  1. As always your writing is beautiful and engaging. I really hope you publish one day (if you haven’t already). Mom would be so “over the moon” proud!

  2. Ms. Marti, thank you for the encouragement! I don’t know if I am accomplished enough to publish anything, but I hope to take the time and expand this blog. Thanks for reading.

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