Archive for the ‘Korean’ Category

Unicorn Lair

Posted on December 6th, 2012by jake
In Korean | Leave a Comment »

North Korea is a country shrouded in mystery, but when the story broke a few days ago reporting that North Korean archaeologists were claiming to have found a unicorn lair, people became more confused about the isolated country than normal. It has come to light that the news story may have been a fantastical fantasy of the Western press as no such claims were ever made by North Korea. In fact the fictitious story stems partly from mistranslation.

A glance at the original Korean version of the story made clear that North Korean archaeologists were claiming no such thing. For starters, there was no talk of unicorns, but of “kirins” or “Qilins”

Not only was the mystical beast that inhabited the ancient lair translated incorrectly but also…

There was no suggestion unicorns really lived in the lair. It was just a mythical name, said Grayson. Just as only small children expect to find giants at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland or fairies at the Fairy Steps in Beetham, Cumbria, North Koreans are highly unlikely to believe that kirins have ever actually lived in Kiringul.

It looks like some people need to brush up on their Korean, and their common sense.

via: The Guardian

Tips To Help You Learn

Posted on November 7th, 2012by jake
In Education, French, Hints and Tips, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish | Leave a Comment »

When learning a new language there are a variety of supplementary ways to help you on your way. The teaching network section of The Guardian posted an article (which can be found here) that reveals different approaches that school teachers take to teach languages. One teacher suggests music as a way of making languages more fun.

Music videos are a great way to introduce students to the culture of French-speaking countries and develop speaking/writing projects.

This got me thinking about the recent global success of Psy’s song Gangnam Style. The vast majority of the lyrics to Psy’s song are in Korean yet people all around the world are humming along to the song, even learning the words, despite perhaps never having considered learning Korean. Below are some musical suggestions for you to listen to. Try to learn the words to one of the artists songs and any words you do not know make a note of and look them up.

Korean:  2NE1, Psy, Wonder Girls and Big Bang.

Spanish: Mala Rodriguez, La Casa Azul, Chimo Bayo and Miguel Bosé.

French: Yelle, Raï’n’B Fever, Edith Piaf, and Sylvie Vartan.

Japanese: Perfume, L’Arc~en~Ciel, Ayumi Hamasaki and Hikaru Utada.

Polish: Kasia Stankiewicz, MIG, Daab and Halina Frąckowiak.

How far would you go to be perfect in your target language?

Posted on August 22nd, 2011by Michelle
In Korean, Pronunciation | Leave a Comment »

Most people feel that putting some effort into learning a new language is enough. The time spent attending class, doing homework, listening to podcasts and practicing speaking is sufficient for busy people with a lot of commitments.

Not so for one British teenager. Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones has undergone surgery on her tongue to achieve better Korean pronunciation. Apparently she had a condition called “ankyloglossia”, which made her “tongue-tied” and unable to produce certain sounds.

The condition, in which the frenulum(the bit that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth) is too short and/or too thick, sometimes resolves itself in early childhood, but this was not the case for Rhiannon. She has such a passion for Korean culture and language that her aim is to live there after graduation. She told the Daily Mail:

‘I’d been learning Korean for about two years, and my speaking level is now high, but I was really struggling with particular sounds.

‘It became apparent after a little while that I was having trouble with the Korean letter ‘L’, which is very frequent and comes from a slightly higher place in the mouth than the English ‘L’, and that my tongue was too short.

‘My pronunciation was very ‘foreign’, but now I can speak with a native Korean accent. The surgical procedure was my only option. It’s not like you can stretch your tongue otherwise. I just decided enough was enough.

‘For me it was an important thing, because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and if I can’t do it perfectly, it really irritates me.

‘Some might say it’s extreme, but you could apply the same argument to plastic surgery.

‘That makes people feel more confident looks-wise, and this made me feel more confident language-wise. For me, it was like having a tooth pulled.’ (Source: Daily Mail)

Would you go this far to achieve perfection in your target language?

Top 10 internet languages

Posted on March 28th, 2010by Michelle
In Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Research, Russian, Spanish, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Graph of Top 10 languagesThe internet is a great resource for language learning, but only if you can find the information you need.

Good news for English speakers and language learners as English is the language most used by internet users. According to research by Internet World Stats, English is the language used by almost 30% of users. This is quite closely followed by Chinese and then Spanish. Japanese, French, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Russian and Korean round out the top 10.

Keeping this in mind, try out this game to see if you can guess the world’s top 20 most spoken languages. I think the number one will surprise you!

Hangul and native languages

Posted on October 9th, 2009by Michelle
In Alphabet, Culture, Indigenous languages, Korean, Language acquisition | 2 Comments »

Following my earlier post about Hangul Day, or Korean Alphabet Day, I was reading further about the alphabet.

The Koreans have immense pride in their alphabet, and are keen to share it. One woman also thinks Hangul’s use can be extended outside of Korea. The Hunminjeongeum Research Institute was founded by Lee Ki-nam in 2007, and aims to apply Hangul to native languages which are becoming extinct due to a lack of their own writing system. Currently, the Institute has a memorandum of understanding with the city of Bau-Bau of southwestern Indonesia to use Hangul, and it is being used by the Cia-Cia tribe to transcribe their language.

There are some issues surrounding the project however:

In Indonesia, where the government is encouraging its 240 million people to learn a “language of unity,” Bahasa Indonesia, for effective communication among a vast array of ethnic groups, Ms. Lee’s project raises delicate issues.

“If this is a kind of hobby, that’s fine,” Nicholas T. Dammen, the Indonesian ambassador to South Korea, said recently, referring to the decision by the Cia-Cia ethnic minority to adopt Hangul. “But they don’t need to import the Hangul characters. They can always write their local languages in the Roman characters.”

Shin Eun-hyang, an official at the Korean language division of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Seoul, said: “This is diplomatically sensitive. The government is limited in how much direct support it can provide to such projects.”
The government says it does not provide money to Ms. Lee’s group, but she said it offered indirect support by giving linguists grants to pursue their work, which can include teaching Hangul abroad. (Source: New York Times)

Read more about the Cia-Cia project, and the full article from the New York Times. What do you think? Is it appropriate to apply the Korean alphabet to completely different languages?