Friday, October 27, 2006

Lost in Translation

A week after arriving here I decided to make a concerted effort to learn Korean. I suppose this was an inevitable development, but I'd just not given it any thought until I'd spent a few days going from situation to situation oblivious to what was actually happening. To be honest, there's something rather serene about living like this on the principle that ignorance is bliss, but there comes a point at which one has to break down the barriers in the name of being able to function, and with it no doubt shatter some of the illusions of my new home.

I planned to follow the same brute-force learning approach I'd done with Japanese ten years earlier, so it was off to the shops to buy some cue-cards, but this proved more of a challenge than expected when it turned out no one uses them any more because of computers. We did eventually locate some in a store opposite a nearby primary school though, and I made their day by cleaning them out of the ten packs they had. It took me a few hours to memorise the 40 basic Hangul characters, and I've spent the last few days trying to read various signs and TV captions, though very slowly and evidently with questionable pronunciation.

Unfortunately between going out on necessary trips and trading I haven't had any more time to formally study again so at this rate it's going to be painfully slow progress. But now in the unlikely event that I need to find a 'noraebang' (노래방, singing room) in a hurry, I won't have a problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment