Mind Your Korean 1: I’m sorry (미안합니다) – You’re welcome (아니에요)

Orchid and Liz learns Korean (while Rooster enjoys a siesta?)! In this Mind Your Korean (MYK) series, we’ll share with you our adventures and misadventures with the language.


We’ve signed up for a Korean language Beginners course because I’m sick and tired of banging my head against the wall in frustration when I’m unable to “decipher” a Korean article. To our utter delight, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously in our very first class.

After poking fun, criticising and laughing at some Korean stars’ English, such as Rain unintentionally using the “F-word” in one of his songs and saying “lide with me” in Freeway; or Se7en singing Baby, you is all I need, I figured it’s about time the Korean stars (if they do read our blog) get a laugh or two at our expense ;-P.

So here’s a peek at some of the more interesting occurrences during our struggle with the language.

Our Teacher, a native Korean who speaks English and a smattering of Bahasa Malaysia(!) and Mandarin(!!), announced that she will gradually use only Korean in class. Sweet. Then, she asked us why we were learning the language.

Liz: I want to read Korean (entertainment) news and translate it into English for my blog. (And then I did a little K-popped! plug in class. Except for Orchid, all I got were blank stares. A sure sign that nobody has heard of it.)
Teacher: Oh, that will take very long.

And I thought to myself: Gee, thanks for the honesty, Teacher 😛 *mentally bangs head against the wall*

Then I learnt how to write my name in Hangeul. It’s 리즈 by the way. Teacher tells me that she will be calling me 리즈씨 (Li-jeu sshi) from now on and asked the class what we should call her?

Liz: Soen-saeng-nim! (선생님, which means Teacher)
Teacher: *Surprised look on her face* 어떻게? How do you know?
Liz: I’ve been watching Korean dramas. *sheepish grin*

The class, which has the grand total of FIVE students, then learnt basic greeting and classroom expressions, such as sorry (미안합니다), thank you (감사합니다), please write ( 쓰세요) and please read (읽으세요).

And every time Teacher wanted us to look at the whiteboard, she would tap the board and go: 여러분, 여기 보세요 (Yeo-reo-boon, yeo-gi bo-se-yo), which translates to “Everyone, please look here”.

We were then required to use the expressions we learnt in class, with some hilarious results sometimes. Like that time when Teacher made a mistake and went:

Teacher: 미안합니다! = Mi-an-ham-ni-da (Sorry!)
Liz: 아니에요 = A-ni-e-yo (You’re welcome).

The correct response should have been 괜찮아요 = goen-cha-na-yo, which means “It’s OK”.

I still laugh when I think of it.

Class adjourned until the next one ;-).

Mind Your Korean series:
MYK 2: The one where 선생님 beats Liz to the punch line
MYK 3: The tale of the uncooperative tissue paper
MYK 4: From learning the alphabets to self-introduction
MYK 5: Simple conversations in Korean
MYK 6: 하나, 둘, 셋, 넷…come on and count in Korean!

MYK Quiz 1: The Match Up
MYK Quiz 1: Answers and winner announcement
MYK 7: Location, location, location
MYK Tidbits
MYK 8: 일, 이, 삼, 사…come on and count in Sino-Korean!

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