오른쪽? 왼쪽?

I’ve always been confused which is which. When I was self studying, I often skipped on lessons about directions because I just can’t remember it. When I started formal lessons in our university, I had no choice but to study and to try my best to remember it.

1st attempt

My first 선생님 has to learn basic Filipino when she was here in the Philippines. The Filipino for left and right is kaliwa and kanan respectively. She said her clues are the number of syllables, and they are the opposites. ka-li-wa (3 syllables) for 왼-쯕 (2 syllables) and ka-nan (2 syllables) for 오-른-쪽 (3 syllables). I thought it was a good idea, but I ended up being more confused. I can’t remember whether the pairing was based on the same number of syllables… or the opposite?

2nd attempt

I read it somewhere in the internet that someone used the number of letters. Left has 4 letters, right has 5 – thus longer. 오른쪽 is longer than 왼쪽. I thought I wouldn’t be confused anymore. No need to remember whether it’s the opposite or similar association. Longer number of letters, the longer Korean counterpart. Yes, I wasn’t confused anymore. But it takes time for me to choose. Even if right has more letters, left and right are both monosyllabic. So, especially when speaking, I still have to pause and… yeah, count letters. Not working!

3rd attempt

Me and some schoolmates were in a car. We just sent off our Korean friends. From the airport, the one who’s driving asked whether the gas station is on 왼쪽 or 오른쪽 (we all know Korean, thus we code-switch Korean, English and Filipino). The one who’s supposed to answer his query paused a bit because she is trying to remember either the location of the gas station or what is the correct Korean term to use. The one who’s driving must have thought it was the later, so he said. “오른쪽 – right – because there’s an R” (referring to the [r] sound of ㄹ).

As if a bulb suddenly lights up in my brain! WHY hasn’t I thought of that before?! It worked like magic for me. Since then I wasn’t confused anymore and I don’t need to pause anymore when speaking.

Did you guys also have a hard time remember which is which?

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “오른쪽? 왼쪽?

  1. I hadn’t thought of that either. How I drilled it into my brain was to repeat it over and over along with hand signals. So I connected it to my hand movements.

    Then again, I’m chinese and speak the dialect hokkien, I often get left and right mixed up as well. Right now, I’d probably think of the korean words first rather than hokkien. LOL

    • I also often mix up left and right when I’m using my native language (probably because of the similarities of the two) especially when I was younger. But when I use English, I didn’t have any problem with it.

  2. Glad to know that I’m not the only one with this problem!
    I found a weird mnemonic with French to tell 오른쪽 and 왼쪽 apart (the weirder, the more efficient!), but now, the problem has shifted: I confuse 우회전 with 오른쪽…

  3. Usually, when I mix two things up in a foreign language, I try to find a way to remember them incorporating that particular language. Your way is probably easier… but the way remember them is like this: 왼 sounds similar to 외 as in 외국. Since 외국인 can often refer to “Westerners” and “West” on the left side of a standard compass, I remember 왼 = left. It’s pretty roundabout but it works for me.^^ (But then, of course, you’re in the danger of mixing up 서쪽 and 왼쪽).

    I have a huge problem with compass directions in Japanese. The standard north, east, south, west is easy enough but when it comes to memorizing north-east, south-west, etc. I get so mixed up. T___T

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s