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Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2011, 07:35:11 am »
i'm only into my 4th day of desk warming and i'm already going crazy!!!! So today I will teach myself how 2 read Hangeul!!! Might as well use our time wisely and try make the most out of our time here.   :)


  • powelldr
  • Veteran

    • 114

    • September 02, 2011, 11:01:50 am
    • Gangdong, Seoul, ROK
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2011, 08:19:17 pm »
Quote from:  link=topic=15024.msg148084#msg148084 date=1314832922
I couldn't care less...this is going to sound horrible, but I have absolutely no desire to learn Korean. I'm here for another 6, possibly 18 months and then I'll never use it, outside of the peninsula, it's a thoroughly useless language.

I think it's incredibly rude when my so-called "coteachers" (there's no co-teaching going on here...they don't even show up to my classes) talk ABOUT ME in Korean right next to me, or when just the English teachers go out for lunch and 99% of the conversation is in Korean, but hey...as long as the cheques clear, they can do whatever the hell they want and I'll do my own thing.

If you have no desire to learn anything, even just for ordering food, giving someone a compliment, or understanding when one is being delivered to you, I'd recommend you only stay the 6 months. If you're determined to stay for 18, learn at least to read it, it will help you get around more and impress your colleagues. Koreans put a lot of English words in the Korean alphabet without the actual English word. For example, the building I live in is called 레느상스 (Renaissance) and if I could not read Korean I could not have food delivered to my home.


Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2011, 08:54:14 am »
Learn Korean.

easy question, simple answer.

For someone that plans on only being here a year or two I wouldn't waste your time.  After you leave Korea when will you EVER use your casual knowledge in a dying language that is used in 1.5 countries? On an opposite note if you plan on sticking around some, it wouldn't hurt to study a bit.


Is Japanese a dying language? is Indian a dying language? You should try checking out the central asian countries. Most of the high schools there have Korean as a second language elective. Check it out.


  • ashnicole
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • September 03, 2011, 02:27:02 pm
    • Yangju City, Gyeonggi Province
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2011, 09:33:21 am »
Where do you start btw? I know how to read signs and banners but the words mean nothing to me. Are there lessons available at school?

I use talktomeinkorean.co m and i have a couple of books!!  also kpop and dramas are an awesome way to practice!
This past weekend, I also tried out a church around here and reading the hangul as it was being pronounced definitely helped my reading/speaking skills!!  If you aren't into church, you could also just listen to your coworkers....i will sit there and focus on what they are saying trying to pick out words and understand sentence structure!!  there are so many places to practice, I'm sure you can pick up the basics pretty quickly!  :)


Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2011, 11:32:22 am »

Is Japanese a dying language? is Indian a dying language? You should try checking out the central asian countries. Most of the high schools there have Korean as a second language elective. Check it out.

Indian isn't a language, and to my knowledge, it never has been.

Secondly, whether Korean is a dying language or not (it isn't, in my opinion), the fact remains that for people who are planning to head home after 1 or 2 years, it's not that useful of a language to know. (Unless you move to a mostly-Korean American or Canadian city and need a job, in which case English will still be the primary language you use.) Also, most people will not be anywhere approaching fluent after 2 years here.


  • katsy3g4
  • Veteran

    • 214

    • August 20, 2011, 05:14:36 pm
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2011, 03:34:22 pm »
I think world language and language diversity are wonderful things. Though I must say, I'm having a hard time interesting myself in Korean. My boyfriend, who is Korean, and I have been dating for over three years so being in the same country as him has been great, but like I said, my passion for the Korean language is a little lack-luster. I was studying Japanese in high school and college and lived in Japan for a year, where my Japanese greatly improved, and now that I'm in Korea I find I don't have the same dedication I have for Japan and Japanese... My boyfriend's family wants me to learn the language so we can communicate better, but I'm honestly just having a hard time interesting myself in it. I love Japanese intonation, culture, art, history, and all that jazz and I'm doing my best to find that same love for Korean but it's hard.

Learning language can be really great as long as you have a passion for it. As far as Korean for me, I can read and write, say a couple phrases, put together basic sentences, and follow a pretty beginner conversation. I hope I find some inspiration towards the language soon!!


  • woman-king
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1159

    • October 18, 2010, 03:56:29 pm
    • Gyeonggi
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2011, 09:32:43 pm »
I just chalk it up to part of the experience of living in a foreign culture, you know?  Not being able to understand some of what goes on around you is a part of being immersed in that new culture.  I am apparently pretty adept at tuning stuff out if I need to, so I don't really feel annoyed when I'm surrounded by people chattering away in a language I can't understand.

I am also not formally studying Korean.  I've done a language exchange, have my coworkers teach me sometimes and there are numerous free websites I use, but the bottom line is that Korean isn't particularly useful outside of Korea, I'm leaving after this year, I live too far from any university/learning center that teaches Korean as a second language, and . . . I suck hardcoare at learning languages.  It could be I haven't found a good method for learning them or something, but I'm very very right-brained and anything that requires a lot of memorization is an uphill battle for me.  I would be more frustrated by the language barrier if I were trying reallllly hard to be fluent in Korean and failing.   


  • Fanwarrior
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1084

    • June 06, 2011, 09:19:35 pm
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2011, 07:57:31 am »
Quote
but the bottom line is that Korean isn't particularly useful outside of Korea,
Most languages aren't. A lot of languages are spoken only in their home countries, even Mandarin or Cantanese are basically only spoken in China/Hong Kong. It's a big country, but anywhere that you could envision using Mandarin or Chinese outside of China you could envision using any other language if the businessperson you were dealing with happened to be from that country.

If your entire motivation to learn a language is to find some usefulness in business, well then it's actually a very subjective thing.
Some people claim Mandarin/Cantanoese is the most useful for that reason because it has the most speakers. Sure most of them live in rural china and they'd never meet them or have a chance to do business with them, but the numbers don't lie!
It would be more practical to instead look at the number of countries which speak a language http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_widely_spoken_languages_%28by_number_of_countries%29
like this which would give you a greater chance of hitting a country that speaks the language you've learned, but really it'd be better to figure out exactly what business you want to do and with who and then learn that language. You could learn Chinese for number of speakers, or french for say number of countries, but if you end up doing business in Russia, oops.

Most people probably won't end up the international businessmen they envision themselves being so in the end they're better off picking a language they enjoy or that has some personal significance to them. If they have a spouse that speaks a foreign language, or they've got a high interest in the media of a particular country (like anime, or korean dramas) then it is probably far better motivation for learning and using a language.




  • hildydoo
  • Veteran

    • 135

    • April 04, 2011, 01:41:10 pm
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2011, 11:41:13 am »
If you have the time and energy for it, learn Korean. I mainly use my Korean classes as a way to get out of my house (I live in a rather boring area of Seoul), and it is useful to have somewhat of an idea of what is said around me. (esp. now that I hear my co-t talking about me in front of my face)

I'm not particularly interested in the Korean language, but while I'm here, I might as well learn it. If anything, I'm learning it to put on my resume. It looks pretty good if you have an Asian language!

Oh and the thing about Korean being a dying language, I can understand. I'm originally from Finland, and Finnish was mentioned here before. Finnish really is a useless language (only about 6 million people speak it, Finland having about 5.4 million people), but Korea is a very internationally important country (economically as well as politically, to a degree as I understand it), whereas Finland isn't. It just looks good to be able to say "I'm bilingual" even if Finnish isn't that useful. Though it IS useful in the sense that nobody has any idea what you're saying! haha! ;D


  • Mani
  • Waygookin

    • 24

    • August 17, 2011, 01:47:44 pm
    • PyeongTaek
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2011, 12:44:30 pm »
Wow. Many of the replies are so puzzling to me! It kills me too because as teachers you guys have that chance to interact so much with the locals. I am so jealous of that. Not taking advantage of such a great experience is kind of sad.
Sure you might never use Korean again once you leave but at least it will have broadened your horizon and made your experience here so much richer. If anything keep in mind that many studies have shown that challenging your brain and especially learning a new language is actually a great way to stay mentally sharp. That alone would make it worth it wouldn't it?

(ok now I'll get off my high horse and admit my Korean suck horribly and is nowhere where I hoped it would be 6 months ago.. oh well.. )


Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2011, 03:18:44 pm »
I agree with all 3 posts above. Particularly the point about L2 usefulness and uselessness being entirely subjective is one worth re-stating.

To be fair, I can at least partly understand people only here for a very short time being reluctant to spend much time or money on learning much Korean, especially when time and money are things they don't have a lot of.

However, I do think the "useless after you leave Korea" excuse starts to get a bit lame when it's used to excess and is a lot weaker an argument than many people realise. After all, you could use the same argument to justify not bothering with the acquisition of a whole range of skills and knowledge. A friend of mine from England learned to ski in Korea last year and has enjoyed himself on several skiing trips both here and in Japan since then. But he'll be going back to England next year and, by his own admission, probably won't do much, if any, skiing ever again. So shouldn't he have bothered learning?

Lots of knowledge and skills you acquire can still be useful to you in the future, even though you don't use them directly. Sometimes just having gone through the process of learning whatever it was will help. I'm fairly fluent in Korean and the one thing that helped me most to reach that level was actually a language that is otherwise mostly "useless" to me now - Japanese. Knowledge of the processes that worked for me (and didn't) when studying other languages have also helped. Likewise, I'm sure the processes anyone goes through in learning some Korean (and it doesn't have to be a massive amount) will help them with something  else - possibly study of another language, or possibly something else at some time in the future.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2011, 05:48:11 pm by ironopolis »


Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2011, 07:19:30 pm »
I'm actually interested in Korean and try to learn, but I find the pronunciation very hard. Also, many words are hard to remember because they're really not intuitive to a native English speaker like words in Spanish and German are, the two languages I've studied previously.

Speaking of which, anyone know any good places in Incheon (southern Incheon) that offer Korean classes?


  • woman-king
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1159

    • October 18, 2010, 03:56:29 pm
    • Gyeonggi
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2011, 09:36:24 pm »
Quote
but the bottom line is that Korean isn't particularly useful outside of Korea,
Most languages aren't.

Not to ignore your entire post (which I read), but I just want to make the point that for some people, whether or not they engage in any educational pursuit requires a practical, "how can this help my future career potential?" basis.  I certainly did not employ this standard in my undergraduate university career, choosing to study literature and writing and other things I enjoyed, but would still say were impractical in the current job market.  I can appreciate learning something for the love of learning and for what the process of learning can give you (especially the process of learning a language), but I can't see fluency in Korean being very beneficial to me long-term given where I want to live and what I want to do.  I suppose there's always a chance I could end up in a situation where knowing it would be useful, but I have a hard time imagining a situation where it would be required, except in a translation job, outside of Korea.  And at this point, I'm trying to be pretty damn pragmatic with my time and money.  Of course I've learned some basic conversation skills, and try to practice/pick up as much as possible and I enjoy websites like "Talk to Me in Korean" a lot.  But the study time, commute time and financial investment it would take for me to become even close to fluent in Korean is simply, by my best guess, just not worth it to me.

In my opinion, there are some languages that have a much higher chance of being more practically useful/advantageous to know than others. This doesn't make those languages' cultures superior, and obviously you can't predict which language may potentially benefit you in the future, but there are reasons why certain languages are studied more broadly than others and a lot of that has to do with how widely-used it is. 

I totally get that we have a tremendous opportunity here to learn and study a language within its actual country of origin, which is a pretty cool thing no matter how obscure the language itself is.  I have linguist friends here studying Korean hardcore who plan to go back to the West in 1-2 years and will probably have very little interaction with Korean speakers for most of their lives.  They just want to take advantage of the fantastic immersion opportunity and be able to better relate to their colleagues and students.  I applaud that, but I'm comfortable with how I've chosen to approach things too.


  • Fanwarrior
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1084

    • June 06, 2011, 09:19:35 pm
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Dealing with the Language Barrier
« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2011, 09:39:47 pm »
Quote
In my opinion, there are some languages that have a much higher chance of being more practically useful/advantageous to know than others. This doesn't make those languages' cultures superior, and obviously you can't predict which language may potentially benefit you in the future, but there are reasons why certain languages are studied more broadly than others and a lot of that has to do with how widely-used it is. 
Honestly whatever country you think you might do business with, there are likely more people studying english there. As English speakers we're in a unique position to not have to really learn another language for business since everyone is learning ours. So outside of translation work, you really won't gain much of an advantage knowing any random language, I mean if you want to look at it like that. You'd be far better off putting your time into other skills if that is your main focus.