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Archive for the 'Listener Videos' Category

Puppies!

Remember how the boys were being punished last week? Well, they were in trouble because some of them apparently went in to the room where their dog was giving birth! That night, just after dinner, the dog went into labor, and the boys were told not to go in. I thought they were staying out, but I guess the excitement got to them. I happened to have my camera, so I could record a quick movie about the incident. There is actually a lot of footage from that night, some of it is apparently inappropriate, and other things are just downright hilarious. Today, watch one of the real versions, and later, I’ll share the sillier ones as well.

I didn’t subtitle it because the conversation is simple enough that I think you’ll be able to follow. But I’ll give you a rough sketch of what happened: “Dooley” is the dog’s name. I was trying to get them to explain who she is and everything, but you’ll see as he’s talking that he clearly expects you all to know who Dooley is. In this video, the boy uses the word 새끼 to refer to the puppies. Be careful with that word, because it is also a very strong insult…unless you are referring to baby animals! I bet you can imagine how strong the insult is though!

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Important words:

강아지 - dog (yes, 개 is “dog” but people refer to their pets as 강아지)
새끼 - baby animal
낳다 - to give birth
설명하다 - to explain (in this case, I say “설명 해 줘” (설명 해 주세요)
아직 - not yet
(이름을) 정하다 - to decide on (a name)

For a listening exercise, see if you can figure out how many puppies were born. Remember the counter for animals is “마리.” As an example “모기 10(열) 마리” is 10 mosquitoes.

Or, if you are really adventurous, go ahead and try to make a transcript! (English or Korean!) Go over the forums so that we can take advantage of the spoiler tags, and so that everyone can participate!

Audio Blog Practice

If you’re like me, you Fridays are your 재일 좋아하는 날 not because it’s the weekend, (although that is a good reason too ^^) but because our very own 선현우 선생님 comes out with his new audio blog.  It’s a great way to catch a glimpse of Korean culture and certainly a great way to practice some listening skills.

If you’re like me, there is always some new vocabulary in his lessons.  Having an advanced vocabulary is one of the hardest things to develop when learning a foreign language.  Take the blog about blood donation for example.  I probably talk about blood donation once or twice a year in English, but of course, I know the word.  In my Korean life, there is a vanishingly small chance that I would ever need to say that word…but I still want to know it.

The best way to learn new words is to use them.  When I was teaching elementary school in America, we were told that people need to use a word 6 times before it becomes part of their personal mental dictionary.  So practice is a must!

I decided that I would undertake a little project of my own to help.  I went back through all the audio blogs and made a list of the words or phrases I still didn’t know.  Then I fired up my webcam and recorded a short video using each of those words.  I made up some of my own sentences, I practiced a bunch, and did several takes, which of course further helped to cement the words in my brain.  Here’s what I came up with:

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I’d love for you to post your own video responses!  Or make your own from any of the previous lessons.  Even making a video for 5 or 6 words will really help!

Santa Comes

These children have precious few possessions. Most of what they have is shared. They wear whatever fits, and often it fits several kids. Seems like an unfortunate way to live. But the alternative isn’t really any better is it? Simply having lots of stuff doesn’t bring happiness or stability to your life either. But it is a real honor to bless the kids with something even if it’s just a new pair of awesome Spiderman shoes.

 Giving the presents was a real treat.  It was a lot of fun, as you saw in the video from last week’s post.  The children were overjoyed, and surprisingly grateful.  They usually don’t have the best of manners, so it was refreshing to see them say thank you! 

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Can you get a discount if you say “It’s for an orphan!”?

Christmas is not quite the same in Korea. Christmas Day is a recognized holiday, but many schools aren’t closed during the week that follows. Gifts are exchanged, but not to the degree that some of you might be familiar with in Western, Judeo-Christian environments.

Christmas at the orphanage is somewhat special though. Several different organizations and companies donate gifts to the kids. My church arranges funds to buy some new clothes for the pre-schoolers. Today was the shopping day.

Each volunteer was given an envelope with 100,000원 (roughly $100) to spend on the kids. $100 goes a long way, and if you go shopping at the right places, like 동대문 (where 현우 and I went a couple weeks ago), you can REALLY stretch it.

In 동대문 there are about a dozen buildings stuffed to the gills with clothes. It is truly remarkable. Armed with my cash, I set off to buy some clothes for 2 of the children from the orphanage. We were supposed to buy clothes, shoes, and jackets. Some other things had been prepared separately. So what can you get for $100? I managed to get a nice winter coat, a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans, some underwear, pajamas, gloves, and 3 shirts for each kid.

And yeah, I did manage to get a lot of discounts when I told the vendors I was buying clothes to give to an orphan. Sometimes it worked like a charm. One lady even gave me 10 fleece hats for free! But, some people weren’t so interested in cutting their prices! Other times, things were cheap enough, that I didn’t bother asking for any sort of discount.

Those sort of situations are sink or swim when it comes to using Korean. The vendors don’t speak much English. Sometimes they know how to quote a price, but that’s about it. And that’s when you realize just exactly how much you can communicate! I had to do all of the shopping and negotiating in Korean. While I get it wrong a lot, I am always amazed when something works out just the way I hope it will!

I wish I had a video of the shopping. That would have been fun. You’ll have to settle for Part 1 of the gift giving. I did my best to subtitle it in English and Korean. What I said is in orange, and the kids speech is in white. Enjoy, and part 2 should be out next week.

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More Backgroud….and a video!

안녕하세요 여러분, 오스틴입니다.

At the 보육원(children’s home) where I work there are about 80 boys and girls from birth all the way up 18 or 19. Older students who are taking college classes, working, or doing some other “productive” thing are allowed to stay once they finish high school. I spend most of my time with the elementary aged boys.

Currently there are 24 of those boys living together. Of those, only 2 are truly “orphaned.” Most of the kids there do have parents. Some of them see their parents on a regular basis. They even go to spend weekends or holidays with their parents! But for whatever reason, they can’t live at home. For some parents, a divorce has left them unable to support their children financially. Others are just simply too poor (perhaps due to a gambling or alcohol addiction). And some have been abused - which in turn, may separate mom and dad, sending one to jail while the other is unable to support the children. Should the situation improve at home, or if another relative appears who is willing and able to support a child, they will leave. But the odds are not in their favor. Once a kid is in “the system” for 6 months, the chances of him leaving shrink to almost zero.

This leads us to adoption. There are orphanages in Korea where you can adopt children. Some of you probably even know someone who was adopted from Korea, or perhaps your family has done that. Maybe even you were adopted from Korea. But in the case of the children I know, none of them can be adopted. Like I said, most of them do still see Mom and/or Dad on a regular basis. According to my understanding of the law, a child can be adopted only if any person who could claim some family relation renounces those ties! One of the boys was simply dropped off at the doorstep of the orphanage when he was newborn. They didn’t know his name, his birthday, anything about him, so they made it up. His “birthday” is Jan. 1 He is ineligible to be adopted because there isn’t anyone to sign off on their family rights. Even if someone could be found, I think they might be reticent to approve an adoption. For Koreans such a thing represents a lot of shame to the family. And while from a western perspective, it might be just as shameful to abandon your children, admitting that fact causes a real loss of “face.”

It is a place where children are really raising themselves. The adult supervision seems to be sporadic and inconsistent. It is difficult to help so many young children manage their lives and be “stand-in parents.” So I see my role there simply as being a positive influence. Occasionally we teach them some English, but it is rare to have quality time for teaching. However there are many chances to provide “life lessons” and guidance in the simple things like picking up after playing, washing hands after using the bathroom, not fighting. And these are the areas that I really want to improve in my Korean. It is forcing me to practice speaking!

Until next time,

오스틴

If you remember the idiom pilot lesson from this week we learned about a 청개구리. Since the boys at the orphanage can be pretty disobedient, I thought I’d ask them about this word. If you go to the actual YouTube page, you can see a rough English transcript in the video description.

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Some of the boys didn’t know what 청개구리 meant. I wonder if it’s because they don’t have mothers to scold them!

What time is it now? (Skype conversation using Beginner Lesson 12)

안녕하세요! 한국어를 배울 때, 가장 좋은 방법 중의 하나는 큰 소리로 말해 보는 것이 아닐까요? 매튜(Matthew)와 제가 나눈 Skype 대화를 들어 보세요! 여러분도 배운 것을 이렇게 연습해 보세요! 관심 있는 사람 있어요? ^^

Hi, one of the best ways to learn Korean is to speak it out loud, isn’t it? Please listen to this Skype conversation that Mathew and I had. And try practicing what you learned like this too! Is there anyone interested? :D

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Talk video - Austin, Tony and 현우

No one is fluent in a new language from the start, and you have to go through an endless number of mistakes until you finally become very fluent. And making videos of yourself speaking Korean will make this tedious and sometimes discouraging process 1000 times more fun and exciting!

(=새로운 언어를 배우는 데에 있어서 처음부터 유창한 사람은 없죠. 그리고 수없이 많은 실수를 반복한 후에 마침내 아주 유창해지는 것이고요. 그리고 자기 자신이 한국어를 하는 것을 비디오로 만들면, 지루하고 때로는 자신감을 잃게 하는이 과정이 천 배는 더 재미있고 신나는 것이 됩니다!)

Here’s a video of Austin, Tony and myself(현우) talking in 한국어. Austin is from the USA and Tony is from China. As you can see, they are both very fluent in Korean now. But it doesn’t meant that they were good from the beginning.

(=오스틴과 토니, 그리고 제가 한국어로 이야기하는 비디오예요. 오스틴은 미국에서 왔고, 토니는 중국에서 왔어요. 보시다시피 두 사람 다 한국어가 아주 유창해요. 하지만 그렇다고 해서 처음부터 잘했던 것은 아니에요.)

If you are an absolute beginner, don’t worry and just read the subtitles along and try to match the sounds to the letters. You’ll learn a lot of expressions for simple answers. If you’ve studied some Korean, try and see how much you can understand, and what parts you don’t get even if you read the subtitles. If you’re already quite good, you can compare your pronunciation with theirs and also learn some really interesting expressions too. Austin and Tony are quite fluent, but they made quite a lot of mistakes too! But we had a TON of fun that day, and I’m sure Tony and Austin’s Korean level went up another few points while doing this! :D I hope this will be a fresh encouragement for everyone!!

(= 만약 완전 초보라면, 걱정하지 말고 자막을 따라 읽으면서 소리와 문자를 맞춰 보세요. 간단한 답을 하기 위한 표현들을 많이 배울 수 있을 거예요. 만약 한국어를 조금 공부해 보신 분이라면, 자신이 얼마나 알아들을수 있는지, 그리고 어느 부분에 있어서 자막을 보고도 이해가안 되는지를 파악해 보세요. 이미 잘하시는 분들이라면, 자신의 발음과 이들의 발음을 비교해 보고, 재미있는 표현들을 많이 배우세요. 오스틴과 토니는 상당히 유창하지만, 실수를 정말 많이 했어요. 하지만 우리는그날 정말로 재밌었고, 저는 이걸 찍음으로써 Tony와 Austin의 한국어 수준이 몇점 정도는 올라가지 않았을까 생각해요. 이것이 모두에게 신선한 격려가 되기를 바랍니다!)

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