choirs of angels singing

so my fever broke about two hours ago, and the heavens opened and choirs of angels began to sing…

It’s taken two hours to re-read my blog and answer comments and think about the week.  And now, even though it’s 1 am, time to study some Korean.  Gack, how did I become such a bad student?

Anyway, I wanted to share with the English teachers here some things I am discovering.  Koreans say English-ee because when they Koreanized the word English they spelled it phonetically so that it, literally, looks like it should be said, English-ee.  This is because sh doesn’t exist as an ending consonant sound.  The sh sound only exists as a beginning consonant sound, and only with a vowel added, the i vowel (pronounced “ee”)

Yet another example of Koreans sounding backwards, when really they’re not.  They just did the best they could with what they had.  Also, compound consonant endings in Korean favor one consonant over the other, so they do not sound like compounds at all, but single consonants.  Therefore, sounds like sh, or ch, don’t really exist at the ends of any Korean words.

Also, the consonant endings of Korean words favor just seven sounds.  So many of the consonants that end English words are NEVER used in Korean words.  Those consonant sounds are more likely to be heard at the beginning of words, and always followed by a vowel.

Learning Korean is a great way to be a more empathetic English teacher.

2 thoughts on “choirs of angels singing

  1. I’m so glad to hear that you fever broke and that your health is on the up and up! While I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple of days – ever since I noticed you linked to my own site – I wasn’t sure what type of comment to leave. Despite meeting a couple of Korean adoptees in the United States my knowledge of the subject is scant at best.

    Studying Korean has also helped me to become a more understanding English teacher, as now it’s much easier to see where and why my students are making the mistakes they are.

    One thing that often bothers me is how often I hear English teachers mock how some loan words sound in Korean. English also has its problems with loan words, even when borrowing from other languages that employ the Latin alphabet. Wien / Vienna;, Venezia / Venice, München / Munich, Köln / Cologne, etc. And then there are the jokes about people who mispronounce ‘champagne’ and ‘faux pas’. It’s a very strange situation.

    Anyway, I’d just like to reiterate how happy I am to hear that you’re starting to feel better!

  2. Thanks for the well wishes, and don’t worry – most adoptees’ knowledge of adoption is scant at best.

    The combination of being under employed and in distress last year resulted in me having the time and desire to research it a bit. But more for personal gain than scholarly defense, so I leave that to those like Tobias Hubinette who make that their life’s work. Expect to see much more work in the future, though, as we adoptees are often asked to participate in studies and thesis projects.

    I agree with you that it feels bad when people mock Koreans. Many days I am overly critical of Korean actions, and this is largely due to culture shock and my own discomfort. I’m still in that comparing mode vs. accepting mode. I do occasionally point out to Koreans things they can correct, and I know it doesn’t sit well with them. But I also want to help them not be mocked.

    Like yesterday I explained that “happy” is over-used and that inanimate objects can not have emotions. So please, if you don’t want to be laughed at by the west,(I could feel the pain in the room) limit your use of it and limit it to living things… Maybe a little harsh, but I bet those that heard me won’t call a city or a chair “happy” anymore.

    I think it would be much more fun to be here if I were just a visitor, and not really trying to help.

    I downloaded a list of 100 ways to say, “good job,” in hopes of counteracting this. I hope miss negative here can remember to utilize a few now and then!

    btw, I tried like hell to get to get a bunch of people to go to the Nagan Folk Festival with me, thanks to the suggestion on your blog, but all fell through. NEXT YEAR – hell or high water. I’ve only grazed the surface of your blog, but it’s an absolute GOLD MINE. You’ve been exploring all the cultural things I would have looked for and wish would stay preserved. I really hope Korea can stop coveting what they don’t have and start protecting what they do have.

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