Tuesday, 10 April 2012

한글 Hangeul

Slowly but surely I'm starting to learn the Hangeul alphabet. I started a bit naively, thinking at least if I could read it then it might make life a little easier - completely forgetting that once I could read it, all I would be doing is reading foreign words that make little or no sense to me at all. Duh. 

 When I first started learning the first few symbols and sounds of this new alphabet, it didn't seem too hard. I got to the examples, saw the symbols and in brackets the fact that this was the pronunciation for the word furniture. However when my brain slowly recalled the sounds each symbol represented, and my mouth twisted into weird and wonderful shapes to pronounce it, I was heartbreakingly devastated to notice that the sound didn't sound anything like the word furniture. That's when it clicked. Sad times.

It has however helped me to be able to pronounce the students names a little better, and to notice the fact that my name card that I have been proudly wearing around my neck since I started working at the school calls me Manderin. Brilliant.

Anyway- it didn't help whatsoever when I went to buy my new phone yesterday. There were lots of complications that one of the teachers had to talk me through, so I ended up with a weird looking thing made by LG with some Windows program on it, but it was all in Hangeul. As I tried to work my way around it, I realised that even if the phone was in English I don't think it would be the most accessible. 

Which leads me to today making the MASSIVE decision to head into Nampo, completely alone, with only my phrase book and rubbish phone in hand. I stepped into the shop and walked up to the very feminine looking male shop assistant, with his cubic zirconia earring and his beige snood, all geared up and ready to use a bit of pidgin Korean - when he whipped my phone out of my hand and asked 'English?'.

Well that was the start of a whole hour and a half ordeal. The outcome being that the phone doesn't let you change the language of it, so i swapped it for a phone that I am sure was around before they even invented the wheel. So I left feeling a bit deflated that the language skills of this metrosexual were probably vastly superior to mine. Nevermind.

But this has given me the resolve to perhaps focus more on the conversational bits of Korean I can pick up, rather than hiding behind reading it. There are only so many Yung Suks and Min Youngs you can pronounce differently.

Incase anyone is interested, here are the links that i have been using:

Talk to me in Korean
Learn Hangeul