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Korean

Everyday Life in Direct Translation

A little look at linguistic and cultural differences via three everyday situations in London vs Korea.

Some quick notes:

Korean syntax (the order in which words and phrases are put together, basically) is pretty much the opposite of most European languages. This is very tricksy, as is the rule that you have to specify the topic, object and subject of your sentence by putting a particle after them. Except sometimes you don’t say the subject at all, especially if it’s a person. Like ‘I’, for example, or ‘you’. Yeah.


Useful Or Not? Foreign English Teachers In Korea

 

 

During the last few years, the number of jobs available for foreign English teachers in Korean public schools has significantly decreased. According to an article on The Korean Observer, the number of foreign teachers has dropped from over 9,000 to 6,785 in three years. Meanwhile jobs at hagwons are becoming more competitive between foreigners. The question is whether these cuts are beneficial, or detrimental, for Korean students.


Monoculture?

This post started life months ago as the third in a series about clashing cultural norms. After more time in Korea and (hopefully) more understanding on my part, it turned into something a bit different…you can read where it all started here.

Here are some criticisms of the UK according to other Europeans:

1. Opaque communications: Our morbid fear of conflict makes our language indirect and gives us a reputation, amongst our continental counterparts, for being dishonest and sneaky. The rest of the English-speaking world, too, complains of the bafflingly high incidence of coded language in British English. For those new to this phenomenon, this handy chart should help:

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Negativity, Sensitivity, And Defending Your Country

I read an article recently discussing Korean sensitivity and explaining why Koreans are ‘hyper sensitive to criticisms from non-Koreans’. Before I even started reading, I felt that the answer was pretty obvious: surely Koreans don’t like it because the people complaining aren’t Korean themselves. In my eyes, it’s understandable why, as a native, you’d get annoyed by foreigners coming into your country, only to moan about the way the country is run.


Merry Christmas Everyone

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Just wanted to take a minute to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone who has taken the time to read my blog over the past few months! I hope you have a wonderful day.

Love,

Kathryn and Malteser


Moving To Korea: Top Tips I Wish I’d Known…

Coming to Korea was a huge, daunting move, and needless to say I did a lot of research beforehand; finding out about the culture and customs (bowing your head and removing your shoes inside), weather (yes, there definitely are 4 distinct seasons), and shopping (being told that buying clothes/shoes/underwear was pretty much impossible). 

The information I found was helpful, but ultimately it’s living here which gives you the best knowledge. So here, in hindsight, is what advice I’d give myself, and anyone else about to move to Korea.


A Beautifully Festive Display- The Garden Of Morning Calm Lighting Festival

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It’s that time of year again- it’s snowy, it’s December and it’s time to feel Christmassy! I’m sure most expats would agree that Christmas isn’t a huge deal in Korea; sure, cafes are decorated prettily, there are Christmas-themed foods and drinks, and there are a few Christmas trees to make you feel festive. But compared to back home where Christmas spirit pretty much dominates the country as soon as Halloween is over and done with, Korea is somewhat lacking proper festivity.


The Dancer

Sooljip Lantern

One For The Girls- The Miracle ‘Magic Straight’ Hair Treatment

I have always loved hairdressers in Korea- I can get a cut and style for about 15,000 won (approximately £8) which is just amazing, and about a quarter of the price I’d pay back in England. What’s even better is that the hairdresser always does a good job, even when I can only mime what I want done- a massive relief, especially the first time I went, having no idea what to expect and scared that miss-communication would lead to an awful cut.

Then I discovered ‘Magic Straight’, which brought my love of Korean hairdressing to new heights. I’ve always suffered from unruly curly hair which is prone to frizzing. So during our first humid Korean summer, I had a permanently electrocuted look about me, static frizz which I just couldn’t tame. Needless to say I hated it.


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