Archive for November 2009


I currently teach English in a public school in Seoul. Today, the fifth graders are learning the basics of telephone English and wouldn't you know it? There's a super cute, ultra cheesy song to go along with it. The basics of the worksheet and song is a Korean female says something in Korean and a Western male voice says the English language equivalent.The kids listen and read along with the Korean and sing out loud the English.

The joke for the kids is that while they're learning the English portion, I'm fervently trying to memorize and practice the Korean side of it. The song will get stuck in your head but I still recommend to listen to it. Here you are, but you've been warned.


야, 전화받어!
Hey! Get the phone!

니 전화야.
It's for you.

여보세요? 메리예요.
Hello? Mary here

거기 누구세요?
Who's calling please?

크게 말해 안 들려.
Speak up, I can’t hear you.

내 말 들리니?
Are you there?

오랜만에 통화하네.
Long time, no hear.

전화해도 안 받대.
I've called but no answer.

해리 있나요?
Is Harry in?

그런 사람 없는데요?
There's no Harry here.

잘못 거셨군요.
You've got the wrong number.

555-1234번 아닌가요?
Isn't this 555-1234?

앤 좀 바꿔줘요.
Can I speak to Ann?

지금 여기 없는데요.
She's not in right now.

오늘 출근 안 해요.
She's away for the day.

킴이 전화했다 전해줘요.
Tell her Kim called.
Anyways, like I said, it's really corny but still a cute little song that's actually kind of helpful for me at least.

재미있는 내 얼굴
(a funny face)
Main Story:

난 공놀이를 좋아해
행복한 얼굴
I like playing with a ball
A happy face

으악! 큰 곰이다!
놀란 얼굴
woah! A big bear!
A surprised face

엉엉! 큰 곰이 내 공을 가져갔어!
슬픈 얼굴
waah waah! Big bear took my ball
Sad face

난 너무너무 화났어!
화난 얼굴
I'm really really mad!
Mad (mean) face

이 못된 큰 곰, 메롱!
약 올리는 얼굴
This unacceptable/distasteful (dum ol) bear ♫Neh neh neh neh boo boo♫

앗! 큰 곰이 아기곰을 데리고 온다!
걱정하는 얼굴
uh oh! Big bear is bringing baby bear over here!
Worried face

왜 그러지?
검먹은 얼굴
What's going to happen?

아하! 다 같이 공놀이!
행복한 얼굴
a ha! we all play ball together
happy face

책장을 넘겨 세상에서 제일 재미있는 얼굴을 만나 보세요!
For the most funny face in the whole world, look at the pages of the book.
(there's a mirror here)

여기에 내 사진을 붙여요!
내 얼굴!
stick my photo here!
my face!

세상에서 제일 재미있는 표정을 지어 보세요.
Look at the most funny face in the whole world!

Amount understood without dictionary:
Some things I learned from this book:
화나다 - to get mad

책장 - the pages of a book

붙다 - to stick, adhere, to be attached

Still some unanswered questions:
- 약 올리는 얼굴 - ??? - clearly this is a 메롱 type of face with tongue out and eyes squinted but I can't seem to get a literal translation of this
- 검먹은 얼굴 - ??? - is this just another worried face? curious face?
- 세상에서 제일 재미있는 표정을 지어 보세요. - what is the function of 지어 in this sentence?

Additional Notes: 
decided to go baby-basic today. with all that's been happening in my life recently, I needed a good pick me up. Congrats Matthew. You can read a book for three-year-olds with only occasionally looking at your dictionary but ultimately still not understanding 100% of it. a job well done.

kudos to Saemus Walsh for a few questions answered

“세상에서 가장 큰 아이”
The Biggest boy (in the world)"

Main Story
얘가 빌리야.
This child is Billy.
빌리는 이제 다 컸지.
Billy's now a big boy (all grown up)
밥도 혼자서 먹을 수 있고,
He can eat all by himself and
옷도 혼자서 입을 수 있지.
put on his clothes all by himself.

부엌 찬장에서 컵도 쉽게 꺼낼 수 있단다.
He can easily put a cup in the kitchen cupboard
빌리는 장화도 잘 신고, 전화도 잘 받아.
Billy can put his boots on well and pick up the phone well, too.
엄마가 설거지를 하면 옆에서 거들 수도 있단다.
He can also give Mom a hand with the dishes.

엄마가 “우리 발리가 벌써 이만큼 컸네.” 하니까
Mom said "You're already this big"
아빠는 “벌써 다 컸네.” 했어.
Dad said "Already all grown up"
엄마가 “바지 하나 새로 사야겠네.” 하니까
Mom said "I'll buy you a new pair of pants"
아빠는 “신발도 새로 사야겠네.” 했지.
Dad said "and I'll buy you some shoes, too"

그러자 빌리가 말했어.
Then Billy said
“난 훨씬 더 클 건데?”
"Aren't I way bigger than that?"
엄마가 “그럼 금방 학교에 가겠네.” 하니까,
Mom said "well, just a moment ago you went to school"
아빠가 “금방 자전거도 타겠네?” 했어.
Dad said "and didn't you just a moment ago rode your bike?"

그러자 빌리는 “난 훨씬 더 클 건데?” 했지.
Then, Billy said "Aren't I way bigger than that?"
엄마 아빠가 “얼만큼?” 하고 물으니까
Mom and Dad asked "how big are you?"
빌리가 대답했지.
Billy answered.
“엄마 아빠보다도 훨씬 더!
"Way bigger than Mom and Dad!
난 세상에서 가장 큰 사람이 될 거야.”
I'll be the biggest person in the world."

엄마가 “우리 빌리가 이 세상에서 가장 커진다면 우리 집 지붕이 모자가 되겠네.” 하니까,
Mom said "If our Billy grows up the be the biggest in the world, then our house roof will be his hat."
아빠가 “그럼 창문은 소매가 되고 우리 집 벽은 윗옷이 되겠지. 
Dad said "Well then, the windows will be your sleeves and our house walls will be naked (topless?)
주머니 속에는 강아지하고 고양이가 살겠네.” 했어.
And the dog and cat will live in your pockets"

“그래 그래, 맞아 맞아!”
"Alright alright. That's right that's right!"
엄마가 “할머니한테 갈 때에 비행기는 안 타도 되겠다.
Mom said "When we go to see Grandma, you know we won't be able to take an airplane.
두 발짝이면 갈 테니까.” 하니까
If you just take two steps, you'll be there."
아빠가 “목마르면 호숫물을 마시고,
Dad said "If you're thirsty, you can drink from a fire hose and
배고프면 사과 한 상자는 한입에 먹겠네.” 했지.
if you're hungry, you can eat one box of apples i one bite."

그러자 빌리가 또 킥킥거리며 말했어.
Then Billy kept giggling (snickering) when he said
“그래 그래, 맞아 맞아!”
"yeah yeah. That's right! That's right!"
엄마가 말했지.
Mom said
“후_____ 하고 불면 구름이 다 날아가겠다.”
"If you blow clouds will go away"
아빠도 말했지.
Dad also said
“무지개 목걸이도 할 수 있겠다.”
"You can wear a rainbow as a necklace

빌리는 큰소리로 깔깔거리며 웃었어.
Billy laughed in in a big, rough voice.
엄마가 말했어.
Mom said,
“그만큼 커지면,
If you're that big,
해님으로 공 놀이를 할 수 있겠네.”
you could play ball with the sun."

아빠도 말했지.
Dad also said
“초승달 수염도 달 수 있겠다.”
Crescent moon (달 수 있겠다??)
빌리는 큰소리로 깔깔거리며 자꾸자꾸 웃었어.
Billy laughed in a big voice repeatedly.
엄마가 “그런데 지금, 너는 딱 네 나이만큼 크단다.” 하니까,
Mom said "but now you're only four years old"
아빠가 “그렇지!” 하고 맞장구쳤어.
Dad said "Right! ???"
엄마가 말했어.
Mom said
“그리고 지금은 너만한 아이들이 잘 시간이야.”
"And now it's time for your children"
아빠가 맞장구쳤지. “그렇지!”
Dad said "right"
빌리는 혼자 힘으로 침대에 올라가 편안히 누웠어.
Billy climbed into bed all by himself.
그만큼은 컸으니까.
Because he's that big.

빌리는 엄마 아빠한테 뽀뽀하고 인사했어.
Billy kissed and said goodnight to Mom and dad
“안녕히 주무세요!”
"Good night. Sleep tight!"
창문 너머로 달이 보였어.
He looked out of the window to see the moon.
손으로 잡아 봤더니 글쎄,
He looked through his hand and
겨우 알사탕만한 거야.
it almost looked like candy

빌리는 중얼거렸지.
Billy mumbled
“내가 세상에서 가장 커.”
"I am the biggest in the world"
꿈 속에서 빌리는…..
In Billy's dreams...
정말로 그래!
it really is true!

Amount understood without dictionary:
Some things I learned from this book:
이애 = 얘 this child
얘, 가까이 오지 마 Hey, hey, stay away from here.

설거지 = dishes

금방  = just a moment ago

세상에서 = in the world

자꾸 = repeatedly

Still some unanswered questions:
- 아빠가 “(...)우리 집 벽은 윗옷이 되겠지.  Dad said "(...)and our house walls will be naked (topless?)" UPDATE: "The windows will be his sleeves and the walls will be his coat (upper garment"
-    빌리는 큰소리로 깔깔거리며 자꾸자꾸 웃었어. - Billy laughed in a big voice (자꾸자꾸?? repeatedly?)
-    아빠가 “그렇지!” 하고 맞장구쳤어. Dad said "Right! ???" UPDATE: see below
-    “그리고 지금은 너만한 아이들이 잘 시간이야.” "And now it's time for your children" WTH?? UPDATE: "and now it's time for children as big as you to go to sleep."

Additional Notes:
- Awesome book for kiddos and perfect for my level of Korean. 30% of the book's vocabulary was unknown to me which was great. Nice to know the verbs this time around. However, the story got a little kooky towards the end – I was running into some dead ends trying to translate some seemingly simply sentences. Anyways, I'm glad that I got the gist of a book that I had no prior knowledge of before reading.

Some additional notes left by Saemus:

Where dad says “그렇지!” 하고 맞장구쳤어" this means something along the lines of "That's right! What you said!" or something to that effect. Basically, he's saying that he agrees with her, because she's saying that he's only grown as much as someone his age should have. 네 나이만큼 is a strange one, because you usually would hear it being spoken as 니 나이만큼 and it means your age, or the amount that fits your age, rather than for four years old. 네 in this case is a contraction of 너의.

UPDATE: Kudos to 'anonymous' for a few questions answered

Okay. So, I work at an Elementary school, right? I study Korean, right? I want to practice Korean more, right? I get the grammar and speaking at Ewha and some more speaking from my coworkers, students, and significant other but I don't have a chance to read and translate significant amounts of Korean (Facebook messages aside). I used to message like crazy on hanlingo last year but I think I need a little more structure (not to mention some easier texts). Enter: Gangwol Elementary School Library. Yes sir, jam-packed with books written in Korean, right? So I got to thinking...

So the story goes that I walked into the library really casually yesterday pretending to be checking out the selection. Clearly, I looked like a lost puppy. The librarian rose from her seat and approached me and asked "뭘 드릴까요?" ("can I help you?"). I nervously asked if there were any books I could check out. Simple books. Basic books.....kindergarten books. She smiled and ushered me to the adjacent room. "Oh. This must be where they keep the good books" I thought to myself. I entered a room colored in the most soft pink and yellow I've ever seen. A small room with bean bags, fuzzy carpet and plenty of Mercer Meyer. This was not where they kept the best books. This is where they kept the baby books. Seeing as how I left my pride at the door, I checked out three books (due in two weeks): 피터의 의자 (Peter's Chair), 세상에서 가장 큰 아이 (The Biggest Boy) and 늑대가 들려주는 아기돼지 삼형제 이야기 (True story of the three little pigs). The sweet librarian smiled and sent me on my way. "Awesome job Matthew. No students saw y...." my thoughts abruptly stopped as twenty of my students appeared standing outside the library. Their surprised faces quickly turned to curiosity at the brightly colored books I clutched to my chest. Then, the grins started. They knew what I was doing and they weren't going to let it down. I can still hear their giggling...

Sweet kids.

Anyways, the first two books are new to me and the last one is a Smith family favorite. I wanted to write in the books my own translation but obviously I can't do that, so instead I will transcribe the Korean and type my own English interpretation right here on this very blog. It won't be a direct translation sometimes - but then again - sometimes it might. Either way, it's just a chance for me to study Korean at a basic level (although, even more simple books would could be nice). I hope this is a launching point for me. I would love to read some Korean original texts in the future.

So with my trusty IRiver dictionary and total lack of pride, I usher a new feature on the blog - The Korean Book Club. I give you my rendition of Peter's Chair (피터의 의자). Enjoy.

피터의 의자
"Peter's Chair" 

Main Story:
피터는 팔을 한껏 뻗었어
Peter stretched his arm as far as he could.
됐다! 높은 빌딩이 완성되었어.
Done! The high building is completed.

와당탕! 어, 빌딩이 무너져 버렸네.
Oh no! the building collapsed.
엄마가 꾸짖었지.
Mom scolded me.
"쉬잇! 좀 조용히 놀아라.
"Shhh! Play quieter!
우리 집에는 갓난아기가 있어요."
There's an infant baby in the house!"

피터는 여동생 수지의 방을 들여다보았어.
Peter peeked inside Suzy's room
엄마가 요람을 가만가만 흔들고 있어.
Mom softly rocked the cradle.
피터는 생각했지.
Peter thought.
"저건 내 요람인데, 분홍색으로 칠해 버렸잖아!"
That's my cradle but it's painted pink!"

아빠가 피터를 불렀어.
Dad called to Peter.
"피터야, 네 동생 식탁 의자를 칠하는데 이리 와서 좀 도와 주갰니?"
"Peter, come here and help me paint your little sister's table (high chair)"
피터는 중얼거렸지. "저건 내 식탁 의자인데"
Peter grumbled. "But that's my table (high chair)..."

피터는 아기 침대를 보고 속삭였어.
Peter looked and whispered to the baby's bed.
"내 친대야. 그런데 이것도 분홍색으로 칠해 버렸어."
"My bed. But, this is also painted pink."
침대 곁에는 피터가 쓰던 의자가 놓여 있었어.
Peter's old chair was placed next to the bed.
피터는 소리쳤지.
Peter screamed.
"이건 아직 칠하지 않았잖아!"
"This isn't painted yet!"

피터는 의자를 들고 제 방으로 달려갔어.
Peter ran to my room holding the chair.
"윌리야, 우리 도망가자."
"Willie, let's go away."
피터는 쇼핑 백에 과자와 강아지 비스킷을 챙켜 넣었어.
Peter some snacks and doggie biscuits in order in a shopping bag.
"파란 의자랑 장난감 악어랑 내가 아기였을 때에 찍은 사진도 가져가자."
"Let's bring my blue chair, toy crocodile and pictures of when I was a baby."
윌리는 뼈다귀를 챙겼지.
Willie gathered his chew bone.

피터와 윌리는 밖으로 나와서 집 앞에 섰어.
Peter and Willie went out and stood in front of the house.
"여기가 좋겠어."
"Here will be good."
피터는 가져온 것들을 깔끔하게 벌여 놓고서 잠깐 의자에 앉아 쉬려고 했어.
Peter took out the carried things to organize them and took a quick rest on the chair.
그런데 앉을 수가 없었어. 피터가 너무 컸거든!
But Peter couldn't sit down. He was too big!

엄마가 창가로 와서 피터를 불렀어.
Mom called to Peter through the window
"피터야, 집으로 돌아오지 않을래?
Peter, don't you want to come inside the house?"
점심에 아주 맛있는 걸 해 먹을 건데."
You gotta eat some very delicious lunch."
피터와 윌리는 엄마의 말을 못 들은 척했어.
Peter and Willie pretended to not hear Mom's words.
피터에게는 따로 생각이 있었거든.
For Peter, he was thinking about everything

엄마는 피터가 집 안에 들어와 있다는 것을 곧 눈치 챘어.
Mom soon noticed Peter inside the house behind the curtain.
엄마는 마음이 놓여서 말했지.
Mom's mood became lighter.
"요 장난꾸러기가 커튼 뒤에 숨어 있구나."
"Hey you little rascal, you're hiding behind the curtain"

엄마는 커튼을 홱 젖혀지.
Mom suddenly pulled back the curtain.
하지만 피터는 거기에 없었어!
But Peter was not there!

피터가 소리쳤어. "나 여기 있어요."
Peter screamed "I'm here"

피터는 어른 의자에 앉았어.
Peter sat in a grown up chair.
아빠의 옆자리에 말이야.
Dad sat in the chair right next to me.
피터가 말했어. "아빠, 아기 의자를 분홍색으로 칠해서 수지한테 줄래요."
Peter said "Dad, can I paint the baby chair pink for Suzy?"

아빠와 피터는 의자에 분홍색 칠을 하기 시작했지
Dad and Peter started to paint the chair pink.

Amount understood without dictionary:

Some things I learned from this book:
불가능 = not possible
가능 = possible.
ex) I can't come to the meeting on Friday. I'll be in America. It's impossible.
금요일에 미팅에 갈수 어뵤어요. 그 때는 미국에 있을 거에요. 불가능 해요.

Ex) These are my shoes. Those are your shoes.
내 신발이야. 네 신발이야.

분홍색 = pink

verb + 척 has the meaning of pretend
바쁜 척 하지마 - Don't pretend to be busy.

Still some unanswered questions:

- Why was the baby's high chair translated as dining table? (식탁 의자)
- Why did the narrator say "my room"? Is Wilie the narrator? (피터는 의자를 들고 제 방으로 달려갔어.)
- I think I did a bad translation here: (피터에게는 따로 생각이 있었거든. For Peter, he was thinking about everything)

Additional Notes:
The pictures helped with the translations. Also, having never read the story, I'm curious to see how accurate my translation is to the original English version. Perhaps something got lost in translation? All in all, a great starter but a little advanced for me at this point. I wanted to choose a book that was similar in writing style but a tad shorter. My first tutor 유정 once found me some awesome baby books which we dissected. Unfortunately, we only got around to doing one book at the time. Also, although western books translated to Korean are just fine, I would like to read some native Korean texts, too. Actually, I would prefer to read those as they are natively written texts instead of translated classics. But all in all, a great practice of typing and I hope to do more. Still can't figure out why Peter changed his mind, though...

처음 쓰기

So if you already read this post, then you know that this is my new home for Korean Language practice. Since we're starting from stratch, time to set things straight. What will this new blog be? Well, it won't be a mixed-bag blog like On My Way To Korea. No offense obviously to him and his achievements. However, I've decided to split and create a new history blog from my personal blog. Also, as of now, I still write a culture blog for KC101.

I aim to make this blog similar to the Korean Language Notes blog. Seeing as how that guy is mad talented yet he isn't afraid to type in his native language is encouraging. Similarly, I like how Korean As It Is is a simple yet dedicated blog by a fellow KC101 student. Similarly, my friend's blog is inspiring in and of itself. If you find something helpful in this blog, then that's great. However, this won't be a teaching blog like My Happy Dreams and while I'd love to be as detailed as Luke's Guide, it seems even the mighty eventually fall. Having said that, I've taken ideas and some direction from all the above listed blogs.

Original content will be authored just by myself as previous community Korean language learning blogs have failed. Original content might be translations of books, interesting new grammar points, samples sentences, new stuff learned from class, slang and links to writing samples at Language 8. I will likely make plenty of mistakes as that is part of the learning process. If you would like to leave corrections in the comments, I'll smile. If not, no biggie. I would you to be kind in your corrections as I'm far from fluent. Having said that, this is a language practice and study blog so it's a place for learning, not egos.

I look forward to charting my progress. Glad you're here for as long as you are.