Monthly Archives: May 2014

Transferring the logic of Korean to other languages

My previous language partner was very keen on learning Danish, and he actually became really good in quite a short time! Good grammatical understanding, good vocabulary, and a brain soaking up Danish like a sponge in water. Working with hanja, I suddenly remembered when he transferred the logic of hanja to his Danish studies. We were going over a short story for his Danish class and some of the vocabulary he had wondered about.

First we discussed the word “over” which can both be a preposition (above) and used in combination with other words in the meaning of “a lot” or “too much”.

Larer we came across “rask” which means “recovered”.

Lastly we looked at the word “overrasket” and he naturally assumed that this would mean “fully recovered”, which made sense given the two words he had just learned and since the story was about a guy ending up in hospital after an accident. Oh, if only Danish were always that logical! It means “surprised” and it is not even considered a combination of the two words, but a single entity that is completely separate from the two individual words of “over” and “rask”.

Since then I have thought of “fully recovered” whenever seeing the word “overrasket”.

However, it’s also a good reminder for me that although a Koran syllable might sound like it stems from a hanja character that I know, it might not be related to it at all…

수능, 수눙, 수능…

For those of you who haven’t heard any first-hand stories about how gruelling 수능 prep is, this video provides a bit of insight into what it is like.
It’s an opportunity to sneak a peek into the daily life of a senior highschooler and the effort and sacrifice that goes into doing one’s absolute best (and better than everybody else) on the exam that makes the entire country stand still and hold their breaths throughout the third Thursday in November every year.

The documentary is about 20 min long and it’s beautifully done.

One thing thing that really struck me is how nobody waited up at night for Bitna to make sure she got home safely after her late-night study sessions (I assume all mothers have the light-sleeper-ear tuned for when their children come home, though). I’m from a completely different part of the world, so maybe it’s perfectly normal for Korean highschool students, but to me that was the epitome of loneliness of preparing for an entrance exam.

Learning log

About a week ago I changed my phone settings to Korean. So far it has worked and I’m not experiencing problems with it. At a point I tried to save a picture my sister sent to me and had to look up what command it was asking for (something about configuration), and I also tried to sign up for a new wifi network, which caused a bit of problems. But other than that I haven’t had any Korean/tech difficulties. Yay!

As for language exchange, the semester is coming closer and closer to an end D-:
One of my language partners is leaving after next week, while the other will stay for another month.

Everybody else is practically jumping with joy whenever summer holidays or Christmas holidays are approaching whereas I’m thinking that it means that my language partner is going home!

The schedule for my exam has been published (4th of June – oral exam in a course integrating intellectual property law, competition law, and implications for innovation models – all in one 20 min exam including deliberation about the grade). I’m entering serious revision mode to be sure to know all the weird little details of the rules concerning patent pools and cross-licensing agreements and other geeky things to make sure I can answer both the legal and economic questions accurately and hopefully also add some remotely intelligent comments on some case law. The problem with such a big exam is that you really need to know it all really really well to avoid a “nail it or fail it” situation when you have less than 20 min to prove your worth.

Word of the day: 마비 – paralysis

We came to talk about this word while looking at the hanja for “wind” 風 (meaning 바람, pronunciation 풍) since this particular 풍 also carries the meaning of “paralysis”. The two don’t really seem related, so I found it a bit strange. That led to a discussion of paralysis as a symptom vs. a diagnosis in itself. 풍병 is therefore a disease in itself whereas 마비 is a symptom.

However, 마비 (Mabi) is also the name of a Swedish car rental company. I’m not sure that name would make for a great success in Korea 😀