speaking korean

There is a gossip story circulating of how Mila Kunis came to Justin Timberlake’s (tool) defense at a press junket in Russia — in Russian. Whatever she says is extremely impressive, cracking up the entire room, while JT looks lost and foolish — which is about how I look whenever someone speaks Korean to me.

Funny, just a few weeks ago, an acquaintance was haranguing me on getting off my butt to learn Korean with a lot of urgency. She insisted that I was lucky to have a heritage and some early exposure to the language, so I really should take advantage of it. I just listened, having long ago grappled with my status as a non-Korean-speaking Korean. I was apparently fluent till age four, but learning a language is hard and a lot of work, and whatever shortcuts I’d be offered from my past wouldn’t be as helpful as say, someone who has an aptitude for languages and motivation. I just shrugged and said, Dude, the truth is, if I really wanted to learn it, I would’ve learned by now. And it’s not like I’m against it, it’s just that there are so many other things I want to do first, like dishes, like laundry.

But then seeing the footage I linked above is so cool, it was the first time I wished I was fluent in Korean. And then in my head, I’m thinking about the Rosetta Stone at home Husband invested in years ago, online programs, etc. — until I realized the only time I’d want to speak Korean is to showboat. Like if I were a movie star who came to the defense of a bonehead colleague at Korean press conference, that would be cool — but do I really want to put in the everyday, tedious effort and drudgery and drilling that is required to become fluent in another language? Um no. My momentary envy is a kin to, I don’t know, someone who sees George Clooney on the red carpet and wants to be his girlfriend. Like okay, maybe being by his side in public events might be fun, but what if he’s really insecure about his hair and you, as his girlfriend, had to constantly reassure him about his hair? I’m being random, but you know what I mean, don’t you? You cannot just want the outcome or a small moment, without putting in the work, and if you don’t dig the work, then you’re not going to get there. Learning a language? Really hard.

11 Replies to “speaking korean”

  1. I saw the footage, and I agree, JT looked like a total bonehead tool. I don’t know how he has gotten this reputation of being this uber cool dude. He’s the opposite of original or authentic. Total mickeymouse poseur.

    But re speaking korean: haha, I think I’m going to side with your friend on this one, and say you should think about learning korean. If you were fluent up to 4yo, it’s possible in the deep recesses of your brain, the language fluency is there, and you just gotta tap it open. And with Auggie picking up language stuff, now could be the perfect time to do side-by-side learning.

    My korean is definitely not the level it should be, and I know that if I just exerted some effort, I could really improve. Need to move it up in my priorities, I guess. I also would love to be more fluent in spanish, ya know. Languages are cool.

  2. It’s the having a baby and what do I want my baby to do/have/be syndrome. I totally think about learning Korean.

  3. I just don’t know when iy would ever be easy. I think if you learn it as a youngun, there is a chance it is easier but unless you continually practice, you will lose it. My Spanish is worse, my cousin chris used to be fluent in Korean but it is kind of gone. I just think you actually enjoy the work required to learn alanguage, it is no necessarily worth it, to me at least. For that reason, it is not a bucket list item

  4. it’s pretty easy to read korean, isn’t it? i remember trying to teach myself the alphabet and after a few days, i would begin to understand signs and stuff.

  5. Of course, sachsy, would figure it out, and then just get it.

    Anyways, I take back my take back. I think it’s work, but you can incorporate a little bit of learning every day. But knowing what you do, would you gently push the auggie to learn korean as a priority?

  6. yes, korean is supposed to be phonetically perfect, so it’s easier to learn than some other languages, say german or russian or chinese. i know the alphabet, or i can pronounce stuff but have no idea what i’m saying. doing a little bit with anything will make a difference for anything you’re pursuing but i kind of think immersion is the best way to learn a language. someone said some random equation like a month in a country is equal to five years in the classroom. again, i don’t know why, but it does not capture my interest. i just don’t have a reason to pursue it, so i don’t see myself asking auggie to learn it, though d would like him to learn it. d would also like him to go to yale, which i so don’t give a cr*p about

  7. I heard that Korean is categorized with Russian by the CIA as one of the hardest to master because of it’s multitude of verb endings marking the social relationships between speakers and contexts among other things. I also read recently that bilinguals have flexibility in their approach to a problem and other cognitive advantages but this edge applies only to those who use both languages constantly, not to occasional users or once upon a time users. So, don’t sweat Tina. You are doing just fine.

  8. Oh emo, you are so sweet. I would hire you as a mom but the job is already taken. I have to email you a question about plants b/c mine have gone crazy

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