Monthly Archives: March 2015

Learning Log D-201

Today I met one of my LPs for a very productive meeting. As usual I had plenty of opportunities to live out my propensity to speak in 경상도 dialect by leaving out liaisons in strategic places, but overall it went well. Being a former student at 이화여자대학교, she has brought the very first edition of the 이화 books for our reading sessions. Even though we are reading aloud from a lower intermediate book to work on flow there is a lot of vocabulary which is completely new to me and therefore not all sections flow easily. E.g. today we read about the old time indications based on the zodiac (자시, 축시, 인시, 묘시, 진시, 사시, 오시, 미시, 신시, 유시, 술시, 해시) and I have to admit that I struggled, but I try to keep in mind it’s good practice.

Reading and speaking:

We alternated methods for two different readings. For the first one she would read a sentence and then I would shadow. For the other I had to read the entire part first, then she read all of it it, and then I read it once more with corrections. 

Pronunciation practice and writing home work for next time:

While I have been told that my pronunciation is very clear, my flow (still…) needs a lot of improvement. My language partner says this is a problem that is much easier to fix than the reverse where people may have a certain flow, but the individual words are really difficult to understand. To practice both pronunciation and flow, we filmed each other’s mouths while reading specific sections in our respective languages. She needed vowel practice in Danish and filmed me pronouncing specific words as well as reading one of the short stories from her book about Danish pronunciation. Afterwards I filmed her reading a section about food which didn’t come naturally to me in natural speed. For next time I have to practice the zodiac reading again and prepare an essay about the different superstitions about personalities and zodiacs to get writing practice. 

Today’s words and expressions:

술안주/ 안주 (按酒): These are the side dishes you eat while having a drink. 술 can be left out of the word since it’s implied in 안주 that it’s the kind of food you have with a drink. That makes it different from 반찬.

호박에 줄 긋는다고 수박 되냐 Drawing lines on a pumpkin will not make it into a watermelon. 

This is something that can be said about appearance, and while it is not a particularly nice thing to say about anyone, the expression is good to know. I guess it’s not much different from when I overheard some teenage boys on a train once and one of them made the analogy between lottery tickets (the ones where you have to scrape off a silvery type of foil) and girls who wear lots of make-up: you won’t know if you have been truly lucky until you remove the top layer… Oh the things you can overhear on trains while pretending to mind your own business… The Koreans have just made it into a concrete saying.

Time, time, time!!!

These days I’m struggling to get to do everything I have to and then fit in everything I want to.

Example: Wednesday I woke up at 4:50, listened to a few 이야기 on my commute, worked from 7:45-16:00, revised a bit before my Japanese class 17:15-19:00. Then I went home to have dinner at 20:30 after which I studied for my law class next morning until 23. By then I had to give up. Thankfully not all of my days are like that and yesterday I got to tip the scale a bit in favour of doing-fun-stuff.

Thursday was a bit more calm with “only” a four hour lecture and then language exchange. Yesterday’s meeting wasn’t the most focused one we’ve ever had, but we had a blast and ended the day by going to see the movie 아저씨 together at the Korean movie club at Copenhagen University, which is such a GREAT initiative. I really liked the movie, although I won’t recommend watching it “for language learning” considering the frequency of the word 씨발 – unless of course you normally hang out with gangster types and think that watching Korean movies is the best way to crack the code to what your 형님 is saying… Squeamish people should stay faaar faaar away from this movie unless they want to lose sleep. The guys in the movie are not exactly gentle, sensitive souls who solve problems by trying to reach consensus over a cuppa. Luckily the movie wasn’t completely devoid of humor or I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much.

Korean clothes order

I’ve done the unthinkable: I’ve ordered two “one size” blouses from two different Korean brands. Before you think that I must have lost it completely, the measurements were listed and they should fit so I hope they do in real life too. I know already that one of them will be a little snug, but it’s supposed to have a very marked waistline, so I’ll just make sure not to wear it on a day where I know I have a big steak dinner in sight… Very practical, right? Finally there is a very concrete benefit associated with being the smallest one in my family!
Besides the blouses, I ordered a jacket, which I think looks quite elegant so I cannot wait for the package to arrive 🙂

Weekly status (D-210)

I know it’s only Saturday and therefore a little early for a weekly status, but I have to work all day tomorrow. This week was quite busy with both studies and celebrating my birthday. I have managed to do a bit, but not nearly as much as I feel I should. Oh well, let’s get to it:

Reading and grammar:
I have been looking at my new TOPIK books from TwoChois. When I have become a bit more familiar with them, I will provide more info.

Primarily music this week.

This week, one of my LPs got sick on the same morning we were supposed to meet, and the other I didn’t manage to meet because of our schedules not matching up. I ended up studing law instead since I have a LOT to read. At least the cases are entertaining if not a tad puzzling (e.g. “it was not grossly negligent of the policy holder to not inform his health insurance that he was bald”). Next week I will have to compensate, though.

Inspired by Sofie from sofietokorea, I have bought a subscription for the TTMIK News series. The first e-mail with articles and audio files should arrive in my inbox next week so I’m really looking forward to that. I will let you know how it works out 🙂

I think it will be easier for me to actually get around to reading widely when various articles are sent to me than when I have to find them myself, since it’s sometimes difficult for me to take time to just do it. I will still continue finding articles, though, to stick to the “article by theme” regime as well.

Are any of you going to the Korean movie afternoon at KU next week?

Korean CV pictures

The other day I talked about Korean CV pictures with someone and how there is a distinct “CV-picture-look” in Korea. I hadn’t seen enough CV pictures to really think that much about the specifics beforehand, but there really is! Whether or not a picture even belongs in a CV is an entirely different discussion, but since the requirement is there for now, I’m also aware that I need a good CV picture for my Korean CV (my current picture is fine, but it’s also about 5 years old so I probably should have a new one taken). Now to the actual point of confusion: Photoshop is used quite liberally in Korea.

I’m not sure I understand why, though. I understand that people want to look their best, but isn’t the best case scenario is that you get called in for an interview and end up getting the job. Wouldn’t it be awkward if the interviewer or your new boss doesn’t recognise you because you don’t actually look like your picture?

One thing is smoothing out a complexion, which has flared up on picture-day, but the handiwork doesn’t end there for some. Apparently I look different enough in pictures if I just take off my glasses and let down my hair to be able to confuse even my mother in some cases. I cannot imagine what would happen if I decided to unleash someone tech-savvy on my photos. They might end up great, but maybe also not looking like me, which sort of defies the purpose of a CV picture.

What about you? Have you had pictures adjusted? What did you fix and why?

Same-age friends?

I have a good friend whom I met through work. She started in the same department just a few months after me, and we moved departments together last year. We’ve also been meeting outside work as well for both classical concerts and quirky French movies so our conversations have been going somewhat further than the oddities found in insurance policies at work. Except, as it turns out, the topic of our ages. It just never came up before. I did know she is older than me, but honestly I just didn’t give the exact age gap much thought.

My age was revealed in conversation about my birthday tomorrow (my 26th). Hers when the talk turned to the age of her boyfriend.
Her: He’s 35. like me…
Me: Thir… you’re 35? really?
Her: Yeah
Me: I had no idea.
Her: I guessed as much…

It was such a comical situation. Well, it doesn’t change anything, now I just know which age to write on her birthday card 😉

Afterwards I couldn’t help but think that this would NEVER have happened in Korea.

Dialect – 우리 친구아이가 (Busan)

Some dialects ought to be classified as a completely different language whereas others just “sound funny”. 제주도 dialect has a reputation for belonging to the former category while most other dialects can supposedly be cracked with a bit of patience and a sense of humour.

부산 dialect has a reputation for being really strong and even using alternative grammar patterns for some expressions. My LP has family in Busan so we talked a bit about dialects over lunch the other day. The movie 친구 is often quoted for the line “우리 친구아이가” (in standard Korean: 우리 친구잖아). Actually this particular sentence pattern and sample sentence is also covered in a TTMIK dialect lesson, but it was immortalised in the movie 친구.

The 아이가 ending looks fairly random at first, but it comes from 아니다. For Danish speakers it will not sound that weird since it corresponds to our own slightly odd way of using the word “ikke” (literally “not”) at the end of a sentence to ask a question informally (ik’?). In comparison, in English you would have to say “isn’t it?”, which can in some situations make it sound a bit more like an afterthought where you ask for confirmation compared to if just saying “right?”.

I’m often surprised by the similarities between Danish and Korean. They look so different, and yet there are some surprising similarities.

Learning log (D-217)


This week I didn’t manage to read as much as last week. I have been reading a bit more of the musical interview, but still haven’t finished it yet (shame on me…). 

One new grammar point for me, though, was the nominal form -음. It functions like -기 in that it transforms a verb into a noun, but it is mostly seen in writing or in formal speech. In informal speech, the -은/는 것 form will be used more frequently. If attached to a verb stem that ends in a vowel, it is shortened to -ㅁ.


I downloaded a few episodes of 두시탈출 컬투쇼, a radio programme on SBS, and listened to it while walking/taking the train to uni. I still have a long way to go before I understand every word, but I do get the gist of their conversations 🙂


I spoke a bit of Korean with one of my LPs and read aloud in Korean to the Korean I’m helping with Danish. I need to work more on liaisons and on double consonants – a recurring theme it seems.


E-mail correspondence with my LP. 


This was also the week where I met someone who has been reading this blog. That has only happened once before, as far as I know, but this meeting was actually planned. Last time it happened was at the TOPIK exam, which was totally unexpected. 

By the way, happy White Day everyone! I hope you have a great one whether or not you actually celebrate it 🙂

Learning Log (D-221)

Last week I have studied quite a bit – even on days where I came home from work at 22:15 to end things on a calm note. Here is an overview, including links to articles I have read – in case you are interested too.

Reading theme of the week: movies, dramas, theatre

Reading articles is a way to expand my vocabulary related to specific themes. I have decided to focus on one theme at the time to help me recognise and remember the theme specific vocabulary from article to article. Basically this week’s theme can help me in conversations about (obviously) movies, dramas, and theatre, but also hobbies (I basically grew up in a theatre), and general interests. 

Movie: Interview with 하지원 about Chronicles of a Blood Merchant

Drama: Interview with 지창욱 about Empress Ki

Musical: Interview with 바다 about the musical Gone with the Wind. I still have not finished this one, but from a vocabulary perspective it seems quite good since it covers some fairly traditional questions, but her answers also include some of the technicalities about being required to be true to the original, and being bound by licensing agreements for the work.

Please note the formality levels in the interviews. The formality level that is seen in writing will not match the one that was actually spoken, but be shortened to save space in newspapers and on websites. Also beware that some journalists are better than others at distinguishing between written language and spoken language when typing out interviews (e.g. writing 의 when grammatically correct even if the interviewee pronounces it 에).

Before moving on to the next theme, I will find some articles about ballet and opera to cover those topics as well.


I’ve listened to TTMIK grammar lessons and music.


I spoke a bit of Korean at the language café on Tuesday and I have read out loud as well. I’ve been told that when reading out loud from a text, which I find difficult I tend to pronounce things in dialect… Mostly Northern 경상, but there is a bit of variation depending on the words. I have NO idea where that comes from, but I think it’s funny. 

Japansese update:

All of a sudden the pace of our class really picked up. We got a kanji book as a supplement to our regular book. Thankfully I already know the kanji for next week since I know them from Korean, but I still have to remember how pronounce them in Japanese. Each week we start with a dictation (starting next week also a kanji test) and then we move on to revising last week’s grammar + introducing new grammar. I can read and write hiragana quite well, but my katakana writing skills are downright pathetic. I can read them, though. Worst American name ever to write: ジョンソン. Getting the angles right without a cheat sheet… 왜~~~??!