KGYSAK - 편한 자기소개

Comfortable Self-Introductions.

I am a confident speaker of Korean in many subjects but like other students of a foreign language, there are some topics that I can't really say much about. For example, if the topic is "school" or "home" I have a lot to talk about. I can express myself quite well in these basic, elementary-level subjects. However, if the topic is "Japanese nationalism versus Korean nationalism" or "monkey brain surgery" then I'm kind of at a loss for words. I can't express myself how I want to in Korean in these subjects.

No worries right? Then how come when I meet a new person, I freeze up? Why does my self-introduction sound like I'm at newcomer at a somber AA meeting? Why are my self-intros so robotic? Isn't this one of the first things people learn how to do?

If other students of Korean are like myself, they taught themselves the basics (한글, 인사, 숫사, 등) but relied on other sources for other grammar points (조사, 동사, 발음, 등). I'm sure this is an acceptable progression as we hardly ever have to go back and relearn numbers despite the fact that we didn't learn from a teacher. Sure, they maybe some things we missed the first time around such as the special spelling for "유월" (June) and "스무" (twenty) instead of "육월" and "스물" respectively. For the most part, basics are basics.

Well one subject that I neglected was my self-introduction. It just simply escaped me. I either did it in English (Hey nice to meet you. I'm so-and-so's friend Matthew. We spoke on the phone? It's nice to finally meet you. I've heard a lot about you. So, you're looking for a language exchange partner?) or someone else did it for me in Korean behind my back (This guy I'm going to introduce to you is weird. He's a white guy but he really likes Korea for some reason. He's got this thing for Korean history that creeps me out. Oh and he can use chopsticks and eats spicy food better than we do. Shhh here he comes.)

So, I am on a quest to learn how to naturally introduce myself. Like most conversational matters, one cannot just memorize one end-all be-all sentence and hope for the best. Each situation is different and requires a different approach. If I meet another language student and he's about the same age, I'll obviously talk to him differently than to my wife's father's coworker who's a good twenty years older than me. I'll try to include as many tips as possible but keep in mind that this is unique to me and my own opinion of what makes a natural sounding self-intro. If you would like to change the meat of the sentence to make it yours, please feel free. Take note that the English translation will be literal.

저는 매튜 입니다 I am Matthew
저는 매튜 라고 합니다 I am called Matthew
저는 선생님이구요, 학생이기도 해요. I am a teacher and also I'm a part-time student.
저는 미국 사람이구요, 텍사스에서 왔어요. I am an American and I come from Texas.
저는 미국 나이로 26살이구요, 한국 나이로는 28살이예요. My American age is 26 and my Korean age is 28.
저는 한국 역사를 정말 좋아하구요, 한국어 공부하는 것도 좋아해요. I really enjoy Korean history and I also like studying Korean.
미국에서 온 매튜라고 해요 I come from America and my name is Matthew
한국에 온 지 7개월 됐어요 I've been in Korea for seven months
약 2년 반 지났어요 It's been about two and a half years / About 2.5 years have passed (since I came).