Monthly Archives: January 2016

Voice messages

Yesterday I received a voice message over Kakao – partly in Korean, partly in English. Since that was the first time I ever received a recording I was pretty surprised. I’ve been encouraged to send recordings before, but I never had the courage do do so so receiving this message encouraged me to send a recording back.

It sounds so strange to hear your own voice at first. My (English) accent – I don’t think I’m anywhere near competent enough to judge my accent when speaking Korean – my voice itself; is that really what other people hear? In my first audio message I didn’t speak a lot of Korean, but in my second one this morning I talked about some vocabulary that I had come across so I did voice a few more things in Korean. I’ll try to up the percentage of Korean in future messages to actually speak-speak Korean even when recording.

This week I haven’t been able to post as much due to some pretty hefty deadlines that are looming, but once everything is under control – at some point during next week I hope – I will return! In the meantime I will have to stick to subjecting someone to recordings of my broken Korean.


I recently switched to 반말 with someone, which has brought about an “issue” which I never had before: when we write together I can easily stay consistent and write casually, but when speaking I’ve caught myself inadvertently sneaking in 요’s here and there before correcting myself.

It could just be a matter of habit when it comes to actually speaking – especially since this time I’m the younger one  – since we’re pretty comfortable with each other.

The process of skipping honorifics has been a little different this time compared to the times I’ve “gone casual” with other people. Firstly, I don’t speak casually with that many people, secondly, I was always the older one on previous occasions, and thirdly, the other times we simply agreed to just skip formalities at some point. But this time it’s been more of a gradual thing. First one would test the waters by leaving out an ending or two, then the other would follow suit, but make sure to still throw in a polite wording here and there. When it was clear that none of us would call the other out on it, we went all in.

This way has been somewhat more nerve racking than the “how about we just speak comfortably?” approach since it added an element of “will I get away with it?”.

How about you guys? Have you transitioned to 반말 with someone? Did you agree verbally or tacitly and did it take a bit of getting used to suddenly being allowed to just speak to them casually?

I want to go to Korea! But first…

Well, don’t we all?! In my case there are a few hurdles to overcome before I can go: an oral exam later this month, a report which keeps haunting me, and last but not least a thesis (spanning up to 182,000 characters including spaces between words) in which I have to make some somewhat intelligent remarks on the supervision of financial institutions.

In order to be able to take a Korean summer class in Seoul in just a few months I have to hand in my thesis some four-five weeks before the official deadline to be sure to have my thesis defense before flying to Seoul. That means that it has to go to print at the end of April, which makes for a super tight schedule!

Today I finally started writing on my draft in preparation for my first proper meeting with my two thesis advisers. 할 수 있어요!

Not that kind of player…

Today I had an Italki lesson which made both of us laugh so many times. One of those moments was when reviewing a bit of vocabulary and she asked me how to say “athlete” in Korean. I confidently replied: 선수.

Only, when 선수 is on its own it has the same meaning as 바람둥이… a player. A womanizer.

You have to combine it with some word related to sports for it to get the meaning of athlete.

운동선수 athlete (sport is unspecified)
축구선수 football player


신부 이야기 (만화)

Through Italki I’ve messaged with someone who recommended the 만화 called 신부 이야기. It was originally published in Japanese, but the translation to Korean is quite nice.

It’s set in the 19th century around the Caspian Sea, and the story follows 20 year old bride 아미르 and her 12 year old child groom 카르르크. Due to the age difference they are considered a bit of an odd pairing… 아미르 is a quite active young lady who has an outgoing personality and knows her way around a bow and arrows so it should be interesting to see how the relationship with her new family unfolds.

The drawings are absolutely beautiful so if in need of some new 만화 inspiration, you might want to check it out.

Happy 2016!

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday and have had a great start to the new year.

At the beginning of the autumn semester, I set up a few goals: to be able to speak for minimum 15 min in Korean, to keep up with kanji for Japanese and finish Harry Potter.

As for the first two I have actually reached my goals. However, I haven’t yet finished Harry Potter.

In 2016 I look forward to going to Korea for the first time ever!!! More to follow on that, though, when things are a little more concrete 🙂