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. 🙂


One thought on “Push It! Homework 1

  1. you’re learning quite a lot! i learned most of the things you mentioned on my 4th year of learning Korean! Yeah, pretty long because I was really, and still am lazy. I really wanted to take classes T^T Hopefully I pass 왕 class, I saw their lessons and I’m quite overwhelmed!!! So hard!!! ㅠㅠ

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