Sunday, December 03, 2000

Award of Special Magnificence

Today, at the Changwon Korean Class (창원 한글학당) I won an award for perfect attendance. Some teachers presented me with this special textbook. I was so proud.

But while my attendance may be impeccable, my Korean is not up to par yet. The more time I spend and the more I learn, I realize that Korean will be much harder to learn than Japanese ever was. Some reasons:

1. Korean is far harder to pronounce than I originally anticipated and filled with difficult tongue twisters.

2. While not always true, I'm finding that oftentimes the people I speak with on an everyday basis purposely make it more difficult to learn. One Korean friend of mine has observed the same, even going so far as to say that, "I'm embarrassed to say, but some Koreans like watching foreigners struggle with the language sometimes. They pretend not to understand, even if they speak it correctly."

3. My students and teachers often laugh at my mistakes, making me less willing to try and practice at school. I try to be confident and brush it off, but with 30 kids laughing at a slight mistake, its difficult sometimes. So I'm not practicing speaking nearly as much with my students as I should be.

Besides the great award, what made me especially happy was this picture of myself that I actually like (Thanks, Ja-Yeon):