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  • mjc08
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    • October 06, 2014, 01:58:59 pm
    • Seoul
Things Koreans do that irks us
« on: November 15, 2014, 08:34:46 pm »
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« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 06:52:36 pm by mjc08 »


  • nicknany
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    • November 07, 2014, 01:01:10 am
    • seoul
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2014, 11:36:21 pm »
When Koreans ask you why are you studying Korean I believe they are actually surprised... actually not alot of people in the world are studying korean. I dont think they are insulted at all that you want to learn korean they are just curious how you got interested in Korean I think ~~


  • plan b
  • Super Waygook

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    • March 22, 2013, 11:53:06 am
    • Korea
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2014, 01:38:52 am »
By far "How old are you?"....within 2 minutes of meeting someone, especially since i am on the wrong side of thirty. I will never get used to this.

Runner up is "Are you Christian?"


Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2014, 01:44:11 am »
When Koreans ask you why are you studying Korean I believe they are actually surprised... actually not alot of people in the world are studying korean. I dont think they are insulted at all that you want to learn korean they are just curious how you got interested in Korean I think ~~

Thanks for your answer. The curious thing about it though is that only Koreans who speak English will ask me this question. Koreans who don't speak English never ask me. And I could understand being surprised if we were in America or England, but we are in Korea. Many foreign people are in fact coming here not to work but to study the language. I still think the question is strange.

Most of the foreigners that an average Korean might run into who have come to Korea to work (as opposed to the many thousands that are essentially purchased as wives from SE Asia, the tourists, migrant workers, etc.) are either military, English teachers, professional folks, or in some other line of work that requires a certain level of education.  Many of those people do not study Korean.  They conduct their business in English.  Many others get by with very basic phrases.  Very few genuinely study Korean. 

For that reason, Koreans may be interested in someone who is making that a priority.  They may be curious about your job or motives for being in Korea as studying the language in earnest may indicate to them your intention to stick around long term.  Because the foreign population is so transient, they may be curious about the few who have decided to make a life in Korea for the long haul. 

It could be, although maybe not consciously, that they understand at some level just how unnecessary the Korean language is to 90% of the foreigners living here.  Many people live and work in Korea for several years without going beyond the absolute basics of the Korean language. The hours and personal resources required to effectively study Korean can, for most people, be better utilised for other purposes.  I started studying seriously (and doing quite well) until it occurred to me that I would leave Korea and likely never use it again.  Instead, I decided to use those 6-8 hours/week for practicing, working out, exploring Korea, meeting friends, reading, studying other subjects, watching movies, attending concerts, and making spontaneous plans.  When I leave Korea, the effort that I had put into those things will be far more valuable to me than learning Korean. 

I think there are many (maybe the majority) people in that position.  Therefore, a foreigner who is studying Korean may not be as common as you may think.  Koreans love Korea and they get really excited if they think someone else loves it too.


...or they just don't know how else to start a conversation.


  • L I
  • Waygook Lord

    • 7684

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2014, 01:46:46 am »
Koreans who can't speak in English (said in Korean): "Why are you so bad at Korean? You've been immersed in the language. How are you not fluent by now? Korean is the most logical and scientific language ever. It was so easy for me to learn. English on the other hand is unnecessarily difficult." (Yeah right. What a crock of crap. Learning any languages as an adult is hard as hell.)

Koreans who can speak English (said in English): "Why are you wasting your time studying Korean? It's not a global language." (Maybe they wanted to practice speaking English and were annoyed I was speaking Korean to them?)


Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2014, 03:03:20 am »
Most of the foreigners that an average Korean might run into who have come to Korea to work (as opposed to the many thousands that are essentially purchased as wives from SE Asia, the tourists, migrant workers, etc.) are either military, English teachers, professional folks, or in some other line of work that requires a certain level of education.  Many of those people do not study Korean.  They conduct their business in English.

Migrant workers don't come to Korea to work?? (They have the most difficult jobs in this country.) Well, I guess if you exclude every foreign person who needs to speak Korean, no-one speaks Korean.

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that migrant workers don't work.  I meant to say that they are not among the foreigners average Koreans are likely to run into day to day. 

And yes, my point was exactly that.  If you exclude all of the foreigners who don't need to speak Korean, you are left with a small minority whose motivations may be interesting to Koreans.  That is exactly what I was thinking.  I suggested that as a possible reason for them asking you so frequently.  I get the feeling this was somehow insulting to you... I'm not sure how that's possible, but I assure you I meant no offense.






Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2014, 04:05:40 am »
i used to visit a lot of public schools (professionally) when I was in Korea and there would usually be an obligatory trip to the principal's office with his 6 nineteen thirties style chairs, potted plants, huge TV screen and some kind of undrinkable beverage. The procedure was usually the same, the adjosshi principal, who could never speak English, asked me through the English teacher how long I'd been in Korea and then as surely as night follows day, the next question would always be 'does he speak Korean?' This would then be followed by some anecdote about how wonderful their NET teacher was at the language after only being there a few months etc...Followed by awkward silence. Those guys really know how to do business small talk.


  • MJHanson
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    • May 02, 2011, 09:42:58 am
    • Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2014, 08:58:11 am »
Also, I always feel like the person asking me this question is somehow upset that I'm studying their language. However, I only hear Koreans who speak English ask this question.

I've never heard of any Korean being upset that I study their language.  Why would they be upset?  On the contrary, it seems to be the easiest way to impress people here.  And I don't know about you, but I often get asked:

"왜 한국에 오셨어요?  와!!  한국어 잘 해요!  왜 한국어 배우세요?"

To which I respond that I started studying Korean because I wanted to meet girls (honest answer) and I continue to study it because it makes life easier here. 

The most annoying questions for me are any general "getting to know you" questions from random strangers.  I don't want to make new random friends on the street or exchange phone numbers at the bus stop.  I don't want to be someone's friend simply so that they can practice English.  That's not what friendship is. 

I teach uni English majors and they often ask me, "Why is it so hard to make foreign friends?  Where can I meet foreigners?"  I ask them why they want to meet foreigners.  The answer is always, "Because I want to practice English!"  :undecided:  First I commend them on their dedication to learning English, but then I clearly explain that wanting to practice English is not a good basis for friendship.  I tell them that in order to attract foreign friends, they themselves must be fun, interesting, outgoing, and casual.  Drop the Korean formalities and just act natural.  Share opinions and make raunchy jokes, but for the love of god do not ask, "Where are you from?  Do you like Korean food?  Is it too spicy for you?"  >:(  That's an instant way not to make new friends. 



« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 09:00:25 am by MJHanson »


Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2014, 10:47:36 am »
Not much of a question that bugs me, but whenever I'm in public, with another foreign friend the following situation annoys me:

We're usually chatting together, in English, and a random ajoushi will try and join in on the conversation. No problem, but what bugs me is that 9/10 times I'm ignored and they only want to speak with my friend. One time, there were 3 of us and said ajoushi solely attempted to converse with one friend. It should be noted that I have Hispanic blood, and a tan complexion (my other friend is black), whereas my friend is Caucasian. 

Honestly, I don't want to make small talk with random strangers, unless they have something very interesting to say. I just find it pretty insulting.


  • ciannagh
  • Super Waygook

    • 275

    • March 03, 2014, 06:34:16 pm
    • Korea
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2014, 10:53:50 am »
The thing that annoys me the most is when Koreans assume I automatically won't like their food. I was working a teachers's training camp this past summer, and there was lunch in a different restaurant each of the three days of the camp. The person who was running it would always twist her face, genuinely concerned, and say, "Oh no, I don't think you'll like this. It's octopus and spicy....I don't think you will like this soup, there's intestines and blood in it."

She wouldn't believe that I loved octopus, blood, and spicy food until she saw me happily eat them. By the second day I was so annoyed by people asking if the food was too spicy, I took a whole chili pepper and popped it into my mouth in front of them. They didn't ask me anything on the third day. It makes me wonder what kind of ridiculous foreigners they must have met before me, though.

Also, "Do you believe in Jesus?" That annoys me quite a bit as well. I don't want to lie to my coworkers, and I know that branding myself as an atheist wouldn't really be a good idea.


Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2014, 11:15:46 am »
I don't like questions that are framed to elicit responses that a) admit some kind of superiority of Korean culture or b) compel you to insist that you aren't entirely stupid and/or helpless.

There's the age-old "Isn't that too spicy for you?" (Subtext: Because Koreans are stout, hardy people, not weaklings like you sugar-eating losers.)

"Isn't Korean too difficult for you?" (Subtext: English is a baby's language, that's why it's so popular. Not like Korean, so full of subtlety and graceful, nuanced complexity.)

"Don't you miss your family?" (Subtext: Because fo-ree-ners don't love and respect their families like we do.)

"Why did you choose to work in another country?" (Subtext: Because yours is going down in flames in the face of the Asian juggernaut rising!)

"Oh, you must be fluent at Korean, right?" (Subtext: Because my mommy and daddy sent me to Canada to study English full-time and it was one hilariously fun vacation; obviously you are doing the same thing here and not, like, working full time, cleaning your own house and doing your own chores, and having a social life with friends who only want to speak English.)

That last one really bugs me. Yeah, I make an effort to learn Korean, and I do alright. But no, I don't spend 10 hours a day "studying" as I leech pocket money from my parents. In the handful of hours I have free each day, no, I don't obsess over Korean. I've had people say "Wow, I wish I had a few years to live in another country and learn the language!", as if we're all here for fun. Give me a break.


Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2014, 01:12:47 pm »
Quote
makes me wonder what kind of ridiculous foreigners they must have met before me, though.

Are you saying that foreigners who don't happen to like Korean food are ridiculous?

Quote
The thing that annoys me the most is when Koreans assume I automatically won't like their food. I wa

Actually that was one of the more convenient assumptions for me. I remember spending a few days in hospital after an operation and not even being asked about what kind of food I wanted, just being fed the Western menu everyday. It was pretty good stuff though and a lot better than anything you'd likely to get with the NHS.

Quote
"Isn't Korean too difficult for you

Yes it's funny the way Koreans on the one hand like to boast about how easy and scientific their alphabet is, while on the other wanting to believe that their language is far too complex and extensive for foreigners to learn.




Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2014, 02:36:38 pm »
"Russian?"

And then they get offended when you ignore them or tell them to go away, or try to make further conversation. Sorry mate, but if your opening gambit is essentially, "Are you a prostitute?" then I'm not going to stand around chatting to you and the only person who has room to be offended here is me.


  • SpaceRook
  • Expert Waygook

    • 814

    • November 18, 2010, 11:54:36 am
    • South Korea
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2014, 05:03:18 pm »
Whenever I go one day without shaving:  “Are you tired? You look tired.“


Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2014, 09:42:38 pm »
"Do you rike the kimchi?”

“Can you teach me the Engrishee?”

“Do you rike the Korean woman or American woman?”

“I hear the foreigner have the very big pen-is. True?”

“Can I touchee your hair?"


  • MJHanson
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    • May 02, 2011, 09:42:58 am
    • Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2014, 09:54:59 pm »
I don't like questions that are framed to elicit responses that a) admit some kind of superiority of Korean culture or b) compel you to insist that you aren't entirely stupid and/or helpless.

I completely agree with your first paragraph.  I hate patronizing and loaded questions.  But your subtext assumptions are presumptuous and kind of stupid. 

"Isn't Korean too difficult for you?" (Subtext: English is a baby's language, that's why it's so popular. Not like Korean, so full of subtlety and graceful, nuanced complexity.)

Most Koreans think English is very hard.  Just ask them.  I have never met a Korean who thinks it is a "baby's language."  Many complain about English's subtleties, especially differences between varieties of English.  English is popular because the US and the UK's economic/cultural might have made it the international language, not because it is easy. 

And Korean is a difficult language for English speakers.  The US Defense Language Institute puts it in Level 4 (highest) in terms of difficultly (along with Arabic and Mandarin).  I enjoy studying it, but it is damn hard. 

"Don't you miss your family?" (Subtext: Because fo-ree-ners don't love and respect their families like we do.)

Most people miss their families if they are away for over a year; that's why they ask.  They worry that you get sad and homesick.  There is absolutely no assumption that we love our families less than they do.  This notion is simply ridiculous. 

"Why did you choose to work in another country?" (Subtext: Because yours is going down in flames in the face of the Asian juggernaut rising!)

Despite their national pride, most Koreans think our home countries sound awesome to live in.  They see our countries as being more fun, less stressful, and lacking the strict Asian social hierarchy that they hate so much (yes, they hate it just like we do).  Talk to any Korean who has studied abroad and they are usually dying to go back to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, the UK, or wherever it is they lived. 

Therefore they tend to ask this question because they are genuinely curious why we choose to live in the 빨리 빨리 pressure cooker that is South Korea as opposed to our home countries.  I've had many students say, "I want to live in your country so badly!  Why on earth do you choose to live in mine???"  I always explain that Korea is generally easier on foreigners than it is on Koreans, and if it gets too frustrating, we can just leave  ;D




  • qi
  • Veteran

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    • July 21, 2011, 12:16:33 pm
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2014, 07:28:22 am »
I was talking with a Korean friend the other day and we were discussing things Koreans say that annoy foreigners and vice versa. I was eating some tteokbokki so of course the obligatory, "Isn't it too spicy for you?" was asked, generating our discussion. However, this got me thinking and the question that Koreans ask that annoys me the most is, "Why are you studying Korea?" I find this very strange since I live in Korea and speaking Korean would obviously be helpful. Also, I always feel like the person asking me this question is somehow upset that I'm studying their language. However, I only hear Koreans who speak English ask this question. The explanation I always hear is that people are just surprised; but many people studying Korean and I don't believe it's that big of a surprise. The ability to speak English in this country is obviously a big status symbol and I've come to the conclusion that if I could speak Korean well, it might in some way negate that status symbol, perhaps because they wouldn't be able to show off their English in public. What do other people think? What questions annoy you the most? Also, this isn't meant to bash Koreans or anyone else; it's more about better understanding the different cultures.
Well it should be because they're reasoning is usually coming from very cynical and xenophobic place.

The questions you listed all annoyed me greatly (after a couple of years). It took me a while to wise up.

It's not just the questions. It's their loaded ignorance/cynicism/xenophobia that comes with these loaded questions. 

It really doesn't matter what questions a Korean asks me. I have all the data on them I need. It's simple really. A Korean has nothing to say that I can respect. It's a pity for those few Koreans that actually have something interesting to say. I met one of them once. He left Korea!!! He's in Wisconsin now I believe.

Who really cares what the forsaken Koreans ask? Not me, not anymore. Not in their sh1t factory toilet country at least, and generally not anywhere else either~
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 07:30:41 am by qi »


  • Nivea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • September 02, 2011, 11:23:30 pm
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2014, 07:41:52 am »
Quote
I teach uni English majors and they often ask me, "Why is it so hard to make foreign friends?  Where can I meet foreigners?"  I ask them why they want to meet foreigners.  The answer is always, "Because I want to practice English!"  :undecided:  First I commend them on their dedication to learning English, but then I clearly explain that wanting to practice English is not a good basis for friendship.  I tell them that in order to attract foreign friends, they themselves must be fun, interesting, outgoing, and casual.  Drop the Korean formalities and just act natural.  Share opinions and make raunchy jokes, but for the love of god do not ask, "Where are you from?  Do you like Korean food?  Is it too spicy for you?"  >:(  That's an instant way not to make new friends. 
Those people don't sound like they actually want to make friends, they want a English practice partner. I would think it would be best to point them towards a language exchange.


  • Hot6^
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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    • March 14, 2014, 02:46:01 pm
    • Bucheon
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2014, 07:54:10 am »
It's not that I find this question particularly annoying, but just hate being asked.

"Do you like Korea?"

I feel like, most of the time, Koreans are trying to trap you with this question. They ask it with the implication that you should only say GOOD things about Korea.

If you say something like, "Yeah, I enjoy it, but sometimes it's hard to live in Korea as a foreigner."

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN!"

Just want to roll my eyes (here we go again....)
What you put into Korea, is what you will get out of Korea; it will not spoon feed you.


  • cjszk
  • Expert Waygook

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    • August 23, 2013, 10:29:05 am
    • Seoul
Re: What question asked by Koreans annoys you the most?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2014, 07:55:08 am »
Quote
I teach uni English majors and they often ask me, "Why is it so hard to make foreign friends?  Where can I meet foreigners?"  I ask them why they want to meet foreigners.  The answer is always, "Because I want to practice English!"  :undecided:  First I commend them on their dedication to learning English, but then I clearly explain that wanting to practice English is not a good basis for friendship.  I tell them that in order to attract foreign friends, they themselves must be fun, interesting, outgoing, and casual.  Drop the Korean formalities and just act natural.  Share opinions and make raunchy jokes, but for the love of god do not ask, "Where are you from?  Do you like Korean food?  Is it too spicy for you?"  >:(  That's an instant way not to make new friends. 
Those people don't sound like they actually want to make friends, they want a English practice partner. I would think it would be best to point them towards a language exchange.

A lot of Koreans view having a foreign friend as a status symbol. They love to brag about their "foreign" friend. My cousin does the same thing with me...