Archive | February 2011

기분이 아주 우울해요

I skipped my Push It! class. I didn’t want to. It makes me sad.

My friends/classmates arrived in Korea already. Some photos are up on their Facebook. They were just hanging around with us a few days ago – and now they are officially in Korea. Seeing their photos is Korea somehow makes me sad.

I still can’t deliver my 5 lines in our Korean play. And I still haven’t practiced my Narration part. It makes me sad.

And worst, I’m nowhere close to memorizing my speech! It makes me really sad!

What is wrong with me? To date,  three people have asked me that question – one of my Korean play 도우미s, my friend and my mom. I want to ask myself the same question. What exactly is wrong with me???

I don’t know what’s wrong with me! But somehow the sentences on my speech suddenly won’t stick in my head. After hours of memorizing a few chunks of sentences, after just a few minutes it will suddenly disapparate into thin air. And I’d end up spending hours again to memorize the same thing. I didn’t have problems with the first part of my speech. In fact I can recite them now even on my sleep. My 도우미 even praised me and told me that I can even deliver it better than her. But that’s about it. After the first 2 paragraphs, I’m suddenly stuck. Alright, I made some improvements over the past few days… but I only have 3 days left to memorize everything.

And somehow I just feel so down right now. I’m worried that I won’t be able to memorize everything by the time of the competition. I’m worried that I would forget some lines while on the stage and make a fool out of myself. I don’t mind not winning, but I just don’t want to mess up. Specially that there were only 2 of us from the upper beginner class that will join the competition – the other one has spent a year in Korea already. And I’m the only one from our beginner class’ batch that’s joining.

I want to do well. I want to make Suna Unnie proud (since partly my speech is somehow inspired by My Name Is Kim Sam Soon). I want to make my beginner Korean professor proud. I want to make my current Korean professor proud. I want to make my 도우미 proud. I want to show the rest of the Korean exchange students that I can also do it. I want to show everyone that even if I haven’t been and I haven’t studied in Korea I can deliver a Korean speech decently. I want to show my mom, my friend and one of my 도우미s that there’s nothing wrong with me.

But somehow, tonight, all those hopes and dreams are also disapparating together with the lost sentences of my speech. I don’t have much time left. I doubt if I still can make it.

Me and my 도우미 made a bet. If I can recite the speech without looking at the script by Wednesday night, she’ll treat me to a $10 worth of dinner. If I won’t be able to do it, I’ll be the one to treat her. I hope it would work. I hope that thinking about the $10 would help me memorize everything. I hope it’s as simple as that…

But it’s not. I see no problem with sentences with words that I already know, or at least I’m familiar with. And grammar patterns that I already know. I have no problem with sentences related to My Name Is Kim Sam Soon (and Kim Sun Ah or Hyun Bin). Just like what Jeannie said on her recent blog entry, we remember better when there’s an emotion triggered. What’s killing me are those loooooooong sentences peppered with brand new words, wrapped on new grammar patterns.

So far I have only memorized about 40 sentences, 10 of which I still have to master. I have to memorize about 30 sentences more. And I only have 3 days left. And I want to give up…

Alright, alright. I STILL have 3 days left. Despite the fact that I have 2 exams and 2 papers to finish within the 3 days as well, 3 days is still 3 days. I shall give it a try.

I have to work alone on D-3 (today) and memorize everything. I have to recite the entire speech by D-2 without looking at the script. I have to recite the entire speech confidently and without any pauses or mistakes by D-1. I can still do it, can’t I?

말하기 D-7, D-6, D-5, D-4


I spent most of the day practicing for my our Korean play instead. Going home, I listen to the recording of my 도우미 and I get to memorize some (read: SOME!) lines on the way home. I memorized a few (read: FEW!) more lines at home. I finally decided to include a video of My Name Is Kim Sam Soon after realizing that not everyone remembers My Name Is Kim Sam Soon in as much detail as how I remember it. I fell asleep while editing the video



I just spent the day memorizing a FEW more lines. And I started making the powerpoint for my speech. I fell asleep while doing my powerpoint.



A FEW more lines. What’s frustrating is it seems like I didn’t improve much from D-7. I finished my powerpoint.



Met with my 도우미. I’m sure she was not impressed. She still says she liked how I deliver the first few parts, but the rest are boring. It was the same comment she gave to me one week ago. We made a bet though. If I will still not be able to memorize everything by Wednesday, I have to treat her to a Korean Restaurant (about $10/meal). If I will be able to memorize it, she’ll treat me instead.

배가 아파 죽겠다

My schoolmates who are taking part in this year’s exchange student program to Korea are starting to leave. Most of those closest to me will be heading towards the airport tonight and if I’m not mistaken, the rest will leave in the next couple of days.

Thus next week, our Korean class and some of my Linguistics classes will not be complete anymore.

I shouldn’t be envious. Especially when I have no reason to be. I didn’t even apply for the scholarship anyway (cause I’m not qualified – yet… hopefully I’ll be qualified next semester 🙂 ). But I can’t help it because it seems like there will be someone leaving everywhere I look. And worse some of them doesn’t seem like they deserve this opportunity. Alright, alright… I know that’s kinda too much for me to say such things. I don’t know all of them well enough. But well, this is my blog and I’m gonna rant as much as I want. Hahaha! Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for most of them. I know that for some of them this is something they really want. And I know they will enjoy their trip and make the most of it. But to some I’m not too sure… some of them doesn’t seem like really serious in learning the language in the first place. They didn’t put much effort in their Korean classes. Some don’t even know the Korean of swimming pool. Some even make fun of the language (mimicking it and laughing at it!). They have no idea about the culture of the country where they will be staying for one year. Some are not even sure if they’ve made the right decision to accept the scholarship at all.

Well, I just hope that they will ALL make the most of this opportunity. I especially hope that those who doesn’t love the language and culture of Korea as much as I do will get to learn and appreciate it more during their year-long stay. Though I’ll be very envious for sure, I hope that they will all be better than me in Korean when they return. If they return next year and my Korean is still better than them, I’ll hit them one by one! I just don’t think I can accept the fact that they will just waste the opportunity to learn so much (just like some of the exchange students before who looks like they didn’t learn anything when they were there – no offense meant!) when someone like me (and my other good friend) is just dying to go to Korea to learn more, to see more, to experience the culture, to meet good friends – and of course to stalk Kim Sun-Ah. 🙂

Two of my best Korean friends will start leaving soon too. And worse, I don’t have any new Korean friends. So once they leave, I don’t have any reasons to hang-out in the International Center dormitory anymore. 😦

My “twin-sister” will also be visiting Korea this coming June (that’s just going to be a short trip, but still…!) and my good friend just applied for an MA scholarship – I’m sure she’ll get it and she’ll leave this year too.

It seems like everyone’s leaving for Korea, when I’m stuck here, trying to memorize my kilometric-long speech and jeoseon-dynasty-old short play script. 😦

정말 배가 아파 죽겠다!

Palace Language

I was never a fan of saeguk dramas. 1.) They are usually very long and 2.) they sound strange. I’ve only seen the first two episodes of Jewel In The Palace because it was a part of my My Name Is Kim Sam Soon DVD and Queen Seon Deok Chuseok Special. I was planning to watch Queen Seon Deok simply because I adore Ms. Go (Hyun-Jung). But ended up not watching it too.

Our short Korean play is actually an old Philippine legend that we translated to Korean. We have characters such as kings, princes, healer, etc. After we wrote the first draft, our 선생님 suggested that we use other forms such as -(으)렴, – (으)ㄴ/는 단다, -거라, -(느)냐? Our 도우미들 revised the script and used additional forms such as -옵니다, – 옵소서.

It was very difficult and strange for us. I have to say 걱정하지 마시옵소서 but I’m so used to 걱정하지 마세요 or at least 걱정하지 마십시오. And 것입니다s are not 것이옵니다.

I was having a difficulty with my intonation. I don’t know how a healer should talk. Definitely not in a Kim Sam Soon intonation, right? So I decided to take a quick peak at my mom’s Queen Seon Deok DVD.

Little did I know that I would enjoy Queen Seon Deok that much. Simply because I get to recognize right away their -옵소서 and -옵니다 on every other sentence.

And finally I get to appreciate our play. Actually I didn’t want to do the play. I just want to join the speech contest. However we are required to do the play so I was left with no other choice. But now I’m grateful that I am also doing the play. If not, I don’t think I’ll get a chance to learn these “palace languages”.

I guess the first drama that I’ll watch after the finals would be a saeguk one.

My only problem now is that I’m getting confused whenever I shift from my speech to the play. I have lots of 것입니다 on my speech, but 것이옵니다 on the play. And I kinda interchange them once in a while. 😦

방, 빵, 팡

Tensed consonants are my weakness. I actually didn’t notice (or opted not to notice it) the difference when I was self-studying. I first paid attention to it last semester when a Korean friend corrected another friend’s pronunciation by using these three words:  방, 빵, 팡. Since then, I have to use these three words to help me make the correct pronunciation. Say, I want to say 빵, I have to start saying 방, 빵, 팡 first before I can say 빵 (and I am not even sure if I pronounced it right). Also, say 빵 is in the middle of a sentence, most likely I’ll mispronounce it.

Today we practiced for our short play. A group mate keeps mispronouncing 빵 as 팡. I practice with her too because I am also struggling with that.

Until a dear Korean friend gave us a tip. And I recognized right away why I always mispronounce 빵. Even if we were “tensing” it (contracting our throat muscles), we were also releasing air as we open our mouth to pronounce it. Since we focus on putting the stress, when we release the sound, air comes with the sound too, thus a puffing sound making our 빵 closer to 팡 instead. My Korean friend told us to tightly close our lips together and snap them out as we release the sound. And viola! I was able to produced a tenses sound without any bit of air with it.

It also makes me produce the rest of the tensed consonants. After I was able to successfully pronounce 빵, I was able to finally realize how to block the air for tensed consonants. And I also noticed that I don’t have to exert that much effort in tensing the sound. Simply avoiding the release of air and tensing it just a bit more than the plain consonant sounds would do.

Finally! I now see some hope. Recently I’m really getting worried that my ‘bad habits’ in pronunciation will not be cured anymore. But today, just a simple and clear instruction has corrected one of my most terrible mistakes. So maybe, the rest of my ‘bad habits’ can still be corrected.

빵, 빵, 빵, 빵… this is kinda addicting (and my mom probably thinks I’m going nuts!)

소띠! Thank you for teaching me! 고마워용~ ❤

말하기 D-11, D-10, D-9, D-8



Last Monday I had a meeting with my 도우미. She corrected my pronunciation a lot. I also memorized more (but not as much as I would really want to). I spent the night on a McDonald’s outlet near the university. I didn’t sleep all night. I finished my Korean classes homework.


Since I didn’t sleep the previous night, I wasn’t very much productive last Tuesday. I attended my classes on that day. Was planning to go home early, get some sleep and memorize some more. But I ended up not going home as early as I want to (because I joined – and won a quiz show sponsored by one of the organizations in our university). I also started scouting for dresses that I can wear for the contest – no success!


I met my 도우미 again. Our 선생님 shoot some video that will be used as a VTR for the contest proper. Then we had lunch together and we just read the script once again. She corrected my pronunciation, this time focusing on my ㅎ (or the lack of it!!!!). And she noticed immediately that I haven’t been practicing much after our last meeting. 😦

Later that same date, I met my Korean play 도우미 and I almost died because of the difficulty of the sentences in our play. I also can’t memorize 5 short lines from the play!


I didn’t practice for the speech. I spent most of my time preparing the stuff needed for our Korean play (!!!) such as powerpoint, music, etc. I really don’t want to dedicate this much time on our play, but I can’t help it. 😦

I met my Korean play 도우미 and it was the same as the other day – no improvement on my part! 😦


I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can’t memorize anything at all!!! When I thought I have memorized something, after 3 minutes I’ll forget it completely. And I only have a few days left. Last night I was planning to stay up all night and finish all the requirements for the play, my speech powerpoint presentation and practice my play lines. I was only able to accomplish the requirements for the play – then I slept!

Today I’ll dedicate the bulk of my day for the play since it’s going to be our first rehearsal together. Truthfully I still haven’t completely memorized my lines in the play. God help me! My Speech 도우미 would actually go out of town so I was thinking of memorizing the entire speech within this weekend and be ready for her when she returns next week. But her out of town trip was cancelled and she wants to practice with me today too. I’ll be dead when she finds out that I haven’t had much improvement from our last meeting together.


Now let me see how else can I save my life before March 4.


  • Prepare and memorize Korean play lines before the actual rehearsal (2hrs left)
  • Rehearse Korean play the entire day.
  • Script reading with Korean speech 도우미
  • Write a report for a linguistics subject
  • Final practice for my Korean play
  • Finish my Powerpoint for the Speech contest
  • Read/memorize my speech some more


  • Memorize speech the entire day – alone


  • Was thinking of inviting my Korean 도우미 over to practice with her???


  • Continue practicing speech in the morning
  • Submit powerpoint to 선생님
  • go out with friends (!)
  • prepare for an exam the next day
  • prepare for the upcoming sociolinguistics exam


  • write and FINISH a loooong paper!
  • before the end of the day, I should have memorized (and is comfortable) EVERYTHING already!


  • practice, practice, practice


  • prepare for a major exam
  • practice, practice, practice


  • Die

Hmm, it looks like I still have a decent number of days left. I should stop panicking and start working. Hopefully I’ll be really productive for the next few days. Off to rehearsals now!


Yesterday was a weird day in our Korean class… I don’t know why but it’s just… uhhmm… weird. It seems like everyone doesn’t have energy. Our 선생님 looks a bit tired (probably because of the upcoming Korean speech contest/Korean short play contest) that she’s organizing. And us, the students, were all kinda feeling stressed trying to memorize our speeches/play lines and trying to fit in practice schedules on our already full (and brimming) schedule – not to mention finals is just around the corner.

Plus the fact that the lesson discussed yesterday was pretty difficult. Okay, not really ‘that’ difficult, but very confusing. Our lesson yesterday was still quoted speech. A/V -다고 했어요 – 자고 했어요 V -(으)라고 했어요. I don’t know. It doesn’t really look like very difficult, but it seems like all our brains were all so drained out yesterday.

The only thing that keeps me going is the ~말라고… simply because of this scene from City Hall:

지금 갖고 있는 추억만으로도 아파 죽겠는데

왜 자꾸 보태는데…

왜 왜 아무것도 하지말라고 나한테


I’m so late for my Korean class now… I hope there will be a better atmosphere today…

Push It! Homework 1

Got my graded homework in Push It! today. Got a pretty good grade. 🙂

Final grade: 98/100 (A)

This is a very good first piece of homework! I am confident that you are knowledgeable in the area of what we consider ‘basic/elementary Korean’ necessary for progressing through the Push It! course. Your spelling was almost flawless except for the one mistake in Part C, but that may have also been a typing error! I’m sure that you’ll check more carefully next time 🙂

I wasn’t even expecting it to be that high. Oh well, this is a homework and not an exam. I used the dictionary a lot so this is really not something to be very proud of. Plus this is fairly easy since it’s just a review of Elementary Korean. Nonetheless, it did made my day. My homeworks in our university class this semester is always full of red marks from my 선생님 (My homeworks in class were usually crammed to the last minute before submission and I usually write them while in a bus… I did dedicate a decent amount of time to fulfill the Push It! homework because I want to proceed to their Wang class next time – and for that to happen, I must get a good final grade).

This is not the first time I was ‘commended’ for my spelling. Something I’ve earned after years of continuous reading, perhaps. But what I really would love to happen is for people to start commending me that my pronunciation is almost flawless. I wonder when will that ever happen?

One Filipino professor who is teaching basic Korean in our university once said, “Since you have already decided to learn the language, why not learn the pronunciation properly as well?”. And I do agree with him. I think pronunciation is really important. Especially for Korean language. A slight mispronunciation can, most of the time, lead to miscommunication – or worst a fit of laughter. During my speech rehearsal I’ve mispronounced a few words and my coach would tell me the meaning of what I have said instead (like when I pronounced 별명 nickname she said it sounded like some kind of an eel).

The best thing about this Push It! class is the feedback! Something that self-learners doesn’t usually get. I already listed all the new words that appeared on the homework. And here are some of the mistakes and comments.

  • 우리 집 사람 – I didn’t know that it means “my wife”. We were supposed to make possession contractions for an A – B dialogue. The first sentence was A: 우리 집사람은 요리 제일 잘 하지 and then B: 당연하지. ___ 비빔밥은 제일 맛있더라! I was torn between 그 and 그녀. Maybe it’s 그녀 because it was referring to someone who cooked well. But thinking the ‘English way’ (using the He pronoun when gender is unknown), I answer 그의. I’m glad I made a mistake though. Because if not I wouldn’t have know that 집 사람 refers to the wife.
  • 삼촌 – I misspelled it to 삼존. Definitely not a typo since ㅊ and ㅈ are very far from each other on the keyboard – but yes, I wasn’t very careful. I basically just have to copy it from a previous sentence, but I still made a mistake. The good thing, I guess from now on I won’t be confused with the proper spelling of 삼촌.
  • 우리 vs 제/내 – I already know the Korean’s preference over 우리 with a lot of things (우리 집, 우리 나라 etc). Our homework has actually a lot of pronouns in them. I usually try to avoid pronouns in Korean. I know it’s barely used (am I right?) especially on formal situation (when you refer to other people by their name or title instead of ‘you’). So it was a good practice for pronouns. But I was confused as to when do we really use 우리 and when shall we use 내 or 제. The funny thing is, a few hours after submitting my homework, I’ve gone across and article in our university Korean book about the same topic. The homework question:  A: 가지마. __ 집으로 와. B: 니 집에 지금 가면 어떻게? 내일 보자. I wanted to really use 우리, but I thought, since person B used 니 maybe it’s time to use 내. I was also thinking, maybe person A lives alone. I answered 내. It was not wrong (and actually there were no comments left on that item), but on the article that I’ve read, Koreans will always use 우리 집 even if they are living alone. On another item, I wrote the sentence: 제 동생은 너무 귀여워요. Again, it was not marked incorrect, but a comment was written. Using 우리 동생 is better. And I think it was specifically because the sentence is in a positive form. Maybe if I say that my little brother/sister is lazy I could probably use 제 – 제 동생은 너무 게으러워요.

Now it makes me think of this scene from City Hall:

When Jo Guk said, “우리 미래 내꺼야!” (미래 is 김선아’s name) we translated it as “My Mi-Rae is mine.”, but we later changed it to “Our Mi-Rae is mine.” before releasing the episode. Would it be better translated in English as “My Mi-Rae is mine” or simply “Mi-Rae is mine” rather than “Our Mi-Rae is mine”. I opted for “Our Mi-Rae is mine” at that time because I find it more.. ummm.. beautiful. I think it doesn’t matter to those who have knowledge about Korean language, but now I’m thinking if this could be confusing to English speakers.

  • 시다 – I wrote 선생님이 김치는 맵다고 말했어요. Again, it was not incorrect, but it is better said as 선생님이 김치는 맵다고 말하셨어요. I’ve known about this formal stuff but only started learning it thoroughly a few weeks ago. No, I’m not making an excuse. I just think I need more time (and practice!) to get used to it. I should be more careful next time.
  • 것을, 걸, 거 – I wrote 영화를 보는 거 재일 좋아해요. Again, not marked as incorrect, but 것을 was written as a suggestion for a better way of writing it (?). When I first learned it on our classroom, our 선생님 said that Koreans like shortening words, thus 거 is more commonly used by Koreans. Since then, I had this preference over 거 and just casually use it anywhere. It slipped my mind that I’m writing. So I think 것을 is better used if you are writing formally and 거 is more on when speaking.

I’m glad I was able to practice writing sentences through our homework. Too bad I’m gonna miss the next lesson. But I’ll make sure to study Paper 2 well – it would be after the speech contest anyway, so I guess I’ll have more time to spare.

If anyone comes across this blog entry, please feel free to leave comments, especially about the things I’ve written about Korean language. I’m not sure about most of them. 감사합니다. 🙂

말하기 D-13, D-12

… nothing

D-13 was spent doing part-time work.

D-12 was spent for our Korean play presentation.

But today I want to dedicate the entire day (D-11) for my speech practice. Will be meeting my 도우미 in a couple of hours from now to practice pronunciation and will spend the rest of the day memorizing my script, doing my Korean assignments (both for class and for Push It!) and preparing powerpoint for the speech contest.

I hope I’ll get to accomplish a lot today.