Occasionally I will get a strange phone call. If I don’t recognize the number, I always answer in Korean, and usually it’s someone who dialed the wrong number. Sometimes, just hearing my 안녕하세요 is enough to make them simply hang up. Other times I’ll hear something along the lines of “김민수 헨드폰 안이에요?” Isn’t this 김민수’s phone?)
Anyway, I recently received a strange text message, so I responded…here’s the transcript. I left the Koreans messages exactly as they were, so you can get a feel for the oddities of txting in Korean..and any mistakes I made ^^
Her: Hello, I saw you on Cyworld, let’s be friends
나: 근데 누구시죠?
Me: But who is this?
Her: I was using the computer and I saw you on Cyworld…은국?! (maybe a name?)
나: 기억못났거든요…언제 만났어요 우리? 그리고 이름은요?
Me: I don’t remember. When did we meet? And what’s your name?
Her: I added you as a friend, (but you didn’t add me) My name is 김ㅇㅇ
나: 저는 미국 온 오스틴인데 저한테 연락허고 싶었어요?
Me: I’m Austin from America. Did you want to contact me?
Her: It’s nothing like that, if you don’t want to contact me, then don’t. I am A blood type so I contacted you.
나:^^ 좋아요 근데 번호가 어떻게 알아요…궁금해요
Me: OK, but how do you know my number, I’m curious.
Her: Didn’t you tell me to write it down and contact you at the Cyworld club? Where do you live in America?
I didn’t even get a chance to respond because just a few seconds later SHE CALLED ME! I was just about to teach a class, so I couldn’t talk long, but manged to learn that she is 24. She also reiterated that she is A blod type, and that’s why she was contacting me. (More on that later)
There are a lot of interesting things going on in those text messages. First is that Koreans generally leave out spaces in messages. IfIleaveoutthespacesitsavesroom! You’d think that it would make it hard to read, and it does. But with practice it’s not so bad. Originally, Korean wasn’t written with standard English punctuation anyway, so they aren’t 100% necessary. Second, even with a dictionary, some of those messages are completely unreadable. Koreans really like to compress sentences, leaving out whole pieces that makes it impossible for me to understand! Third, notice that she uses other marks like ㅎ and ; to make a space. This is probably because it is faster to type those than to make the space on her phone. There are a few different ways the Korean alphabet is arranged on cell phones, which makes for slightly different methods for typing text messages. Anyway, it’s all in an effort to speed up the input. Koreans (especially students) are SUPER fast at typing their messages.
Also notice the strange ending to some of her sentences: 안녕하세용 I’m told it is just another way to make it sound cuter.
Back to the blood type issue. There is a cultural belief that your blood type has strong influence on your personality and character. The blood type of your boy/girlfriend also supposedly influences your relationship. I’m not very well versed, but I can tell you that people who are A type are believed to be very outgoing, friendly and socialable. I guess that fits this girl!
**Special thanks to 선현우 for deciphering parts of those messages! And to Matthew for providing the only category that could really describe this post