I think my boyfriend's Japanese, or: why I still need to find a Korean hagwon.

Well. I claimed that after Grandma INP had come and gone, I would start seriously looking into a Korean hagwon. So. I'm thinking about that. Ahem. But today I was handed a document (hilariously enough, in Korean) advertising a Korean class at Incheon Dae. It's kind of expensive compared to similar courses I've seen in the past, but it could be easy enough to follow up with, and cheaper still than a hagwon, so I asked my co's what they thought about how the quality would be.

Basically, they told me that they thought there was no way I wouldn't be past even the intermediate level. Because "intermediate", in terms of Korean classes, often means "know how to read/write and ask/answer basic biographical questions". So that's disappointing.

But the co's pointed out that now I have a "private Korean tutor". Aka, my boyfriend. Which started me in on a long rant about how utterly useless he is in that arena.

Mostly joking, obviously, as he has helped my Korean to improve loads (just by being too lazy to speak English a lot of the time, actually), but -- let's face it -- he is from Busan. And he uses stupid 애교 spelling in his texts a lot of the time, when my spelling is pretty fucked to begin with. But those are minor problems compared to what happens when I ask him specific questions about Korean. It's so bad that I often accuse him of actually being Japanese. And I'm only half-joking when I do it.

To give a couple of prime examples, there was the time I showed him a joke sent to me by a friend in Korean about his province. He didn't get it. Flat out had no idea what was even going on. Until I explained the joke in English. "Ahhh!" He repeated the line in Korean. "Okay now I get it!"

What? How did you not get a joke in Korean that even I understood? Clearly Japanese. And a liar.

Next was the time he told me I couldn't use 먹다 with liquids. Bullshit. I hear it all the time. It may not be entirely proper, but you're not going to correct me on this one. I know I hear this all the time.

No, no. It doesn't make sense. We would never use that. It's not natural.

Well, maybe that's how you do things in Busan, but up here in the north, it is used that way all the time. My students even have issues with saying that they will "eat cola" in English, because it's so prevalent. You're not pulling a fast one on me this time. No.

You're wrong. Why are you questioning me on Korean?

Cut to him using 먹다 on nearly a daily basis to mean "drink" and me pointing it out every time he does it for the rest of his goddamn life. The first two dozen times, he just claimed he had made a mistake. But, finally, this week he admitted that he was wrong, and Koreans do use 먹다 for liquids all the time.

The long and the short of it is, I still need to find a hagwon. Because I do not trust this man at all. Private tutor my ass.


아만다 said...

When Good Man and I met, he told me hanging out with a Korean guy like him would be good for my Korean.

Yeah, not so much.

Gomushin Girl said...

Having a Korean boyfriend is a great way to gain fluency in your daily speech . . . I speak with my boyfriend almost exclusively in Korean, and it's helped me become a better, less hesitant speaker. But it has done exactly nothing for grammar or vocabulary aquisition. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. The only thing I've really picked up are some colloquial expressions.

I'm no Picasso said...

He won't even teach me bad words because he doesn't say bad words in Korean. It seems he's completely useless for anything but 애교, which is not something I'd like very much to pick up anyway.

Mr. Spock said...

My gf gets a huge laugh out of the fact htat I ask her grammar-related questions she can't even come close to explaining. I have also corrected her spelling in Korean on two non-consecutive occasions -- and I am pretty sure my KOrean language level is somewhere around the "intermediate" you described.

Marilyn said...

INP - Ugh, my boyfriend's the same about swear words. I have to pick them up elsewhere. But then I test them on him. "옘병!" I turned to him and said this week. "Fuck you!" he said (yeah, he swears in English for retaliatory reasons). And that's how I confirmed that 옘병 is not a nice thing to say.

3gyupsal said...

Yeah wanting to take Korean lessons and getting told that you should just talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend in Korean is a line that I've gotten many times before as well.

If you want to learn Korean, spend the money and take lessons. 5 years ago I thought that taking Kumdo classes would help me with my Korean. I just learned the words for right and left. I also learned Kumdo. Same thing with TaeKyon. I've been taking Taekyon all in Korean since November, I just learned an ancient way to say "ankle," in Korean.

Good luck in finding a hagwon or university class. I've lived in Jinju for 5 years. The only classes like that that I can find are for the Vietnamese wives of Korean farmers. I'd love to take that class but they schedule the classes for the most annoying times of day.

PD said...

that's odd...i learned more english from dating and living with my american gf for two years than i have in all of my years in the states combined. and that's 4 years of college and 6 years at an american firm. come to think of it, i think my english reading/speaking skills deteriorated during six years working because everyday i spoke the same lingo just in slightly different contexts.

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