Still on Common Expression

As a Korean Language enthusiast, I sometimes find my self uttering some of Korean expressions or words.  Like the word 아이구 – aigoo or 아이씨 just comes out when I am a little irritated, dismayed or disappointed.  Watching Korean dramas and movies makes you notice these common expressions that people would use in regular conversation.

From one drama to another this expression without even looking at dictionary or consulting my super helpful Korean friends, the word 깜짝이야 (kkamjjagiya) is an expression of surprise.

I hear it a lot of times although it’s a bit too long for an expression of surprise compared to my native language.  Here is a video of how it is said, the video is taken from posts of learnkoreanwithlily from Youtube.

In Filipino language when we are surprised, we typically utter random words like kalabaw (cow), huh, susmaryosep, etc but Koreans actually have the word for it 🙂

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Common Drama Words: Geureom (그럼)

I have been watching Korean drama lately.  I just finished watching 별에서 온 그대 (byeoleseo on kudae).  Although the English translated title of this drama is very popular, i still love breaking down the words of the title.  별 (byeol) means star with the place marker 에서  and 온 (on) is from the verb 오다 (oda) which means to come but since it’s in modifier form 온 actually denotes past event, this two words means came from star. 그대 means you which is typically used on songs and poems.  I am not sure if this is still being used in normal Korean conversation though.  So 별에서 온 그대 would mean You (who) came from stars 🙂

Anyway, after watching this 21-episode drama in marathon, i came to realise that there is this word I often hear at the end of the conversation.  This word I am referring to is  그럼 (geureom).  I actually had double thoughts if I heard the word right.  From what I know 그럼 means ‘so’ or ‘by the way’ as such I don’t expect it to be said right at the end of a statement.  It was weird that in most cases where I hear this word from the drama, the scene is the person who just said 그럼 would leave the person he/she is talking to.

To end my curiosity, I asked two of my Korean friends if I am hearing this word right.  This is what I learned from my them,  other than the meaning I know this word is apparently used frequently at the end of Korean conversation.  It means to end discussion and would suggest that the speaker is about to leave or bid goodbye.

Such a little thing but to someone who is eager to learn Korean, this is worthy to know especially that I someday still dream of being conversant in this language.

이거 지금 친구에서 알았어요…그럼 ^^

A Day in Jinhae

It been almost a month since I came back from a short visit to South Korea.  I am writing about our day trip to the country side which led us to this wonderful place called Jinhae.

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March 31, 2014 was a perfect day to be in Jinhae in South Korea.  As the Koreans would say 대박! We were so lucky to be in this place the right time. I made our booking as early as October 2013 with little hope that we will get to see cherry blossoms.  Heavens conspired with our earnest desire to see this wonderful event.  Our flight back is April 1, a day before we go back to homeland we spent the whole day in Jinhae walking.  Yes…after getting off the bus terminal we never took a bus or taxi and roamed around walking.

Everywhere we set our eyes, there was cherry blossoms. Jinhae is hometown to the biggest cherry blossoms in South Korea. It was a good decision to be there a day before the festival. Almost all the trees are in full bloom.

Streets of Jinhae

Since this is a day before the actual festival, there were no direct Korail routes yet.  During the actual festival a special train schedule is made available by Korail that takes passenger from Seoul direct to Jinhae.  However, on ordinary days, the express bus is the fastest and most convenient way to go to Jinhae.  From Seoul, the Nambu Bus Terminal has regular bus trips to Jinhae.

Nambu Bus Terminal

The terminal is right outside Nambu Bus Terminal subway station of the green line. It was convenient to take this line as our hostel is in Hongdae.  This bus terminal is pretty organized.  We were able to buy our ticket in advance and the bus left on time as scheduled.

The cherry blossoms appears to be the main attraction but in the festival is to commemorate Korean Admiral Yi who led a successful battle with Japanese.  This festival is called 군항제 (Gunhangje).

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The streets were getting ready for the first day of festival when we arrived.  There were food stalls line just before the main rotunda. We had a taste of Korean street food  from this lane.

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There were lots of  choices for the food and seems like roasted pork is one of the speciality being offered.  In the Philippines we call this lechon.  Having these stalls around gave me a taste of what the festival could be minus the crowd.  That day, there were many people but it was manageable.

Tents set-up for the festival featuring Korean food

Finally, a day in Jinhae will not be complete without seeing this wonderful place–the Yeojwacheon.  It’s like the Cheonggye stream in Seoul, it was a long path walk but this one is lined up with cherry blossoms.

The most famous spot in Jinhae

The place was breath taking. This made me realize that what I saw last 2013 was too little compared to this.  It felt like an endless walk.  I told my self, this is what 벚꽃 (beotkkot) is. The sakura of Korea.

Families and Couples enjoy this path walk with the trees in full bloom.

The weather was perfect for walking. It was not too cold nor hot.  This is what one perfect spring day should be.  This was one of the most memorable day I had in South Korea.

Cherry Blossoms

The trip to Jinhae was the culminating part in of our visit to South Korea this year.  The cherry blossoms brought happiness and energy to us.  This is something that I would definitely want to do again.

Spring! Spring! Spring!

I am officially a fan of 봄 (bom)! Not just the lead vocal of the very famous Korean girl group 2NE1 박봄 (Park Bom)  but the season itself.  A lot of K-Pop fans would probably know that 봄 means spring in Korea.  This year I am fortunate enough to travel again to South Korea.  It is my 6th time to visit South Korea and March 2014 marks my 3rd time to experience spring.

What makes me more excited now is that I will be traveling down to 진해 (Jinhae), a small town in the province of 경상남도 (Gyeongsangnamdo).  Just a bit of information on naming places in Korea,  도 (do) is province in Korean. In the name 경상남도, 남 (nam) means south and so Gyeongsangnamdo is Province of South Gyeongsang.  If there is south, the likelihood of having a north version is almost always there and north is 북 (buk).  With that, North Province of Gyeongsang would be– 경상북도 (Gyeongsangbukdo) where the booming city of 대구 (Daegu) is located.

The town of Jinhae is where the biggest cherry blossom festival is held every year.  For this year, the festival is happening from April 1-10, 2014.  Based from the research I made, this is one of the most sought after festival in Korea.  Now I realize what my long lost language exchange partner had been talking about.  He was so proud of their province Gyeongsangnamdo, he mentioned that the biggest cherry blossom happens in their place. The traffic can be very heavy during this period but the good thing is the KTX makes a special direct route to Jinhae during festival period.  We will be a day earlier from the festival  and hopefully we see the cherry trees in almost its full bloom.

The weather forecast kept on changing for the past weeks but as of today, the forecast during our stay shows a no rain during our period of stay.  According to the people I talked to last year when we visited Jeju, cherry blossoms disappears as soon as it rains.  This is why experiencing cherry blossom would be a bit tricky if you are a foreigner like me who will need to book in advance to travel to Korea.  The cherry blossom festival is usually announced within the month of March which is relatively near the actual date of the festival. The spring festivals is announced by the Korean Tourism through their website.  During spring there are several other places in Korea that is worth a visit.

Spring here I come!

Please say it in…

I tried to make friends to several Koreans.  Few years ago, you have to look for a Language Exchange site to get connected to people from other countries.  These sites were specifically made to learn a second language from a native speaker member.  It was not exactly easy and free.  To be able to be ‘searchable’ and ‘to search’ for someone, premium membership is required.  However, these days, with the number of social network sites and App for messaging, the world of language exchange is very accessible.  I met a lot of people who shares the same interest as I do from Facebook and even at LinkedIn.

Chatting via messaging application like Kakaotalk allows me to practice Korean. Up until now it’s a challenge to respond as quickly and natural as I can.  Sometimes I have to request my language exchange partner to say it in English. This is why i learned how to request my Korean friend to say something in English:

영어로 말 해주세요 (Yeongeoro mal haejuseyo).  To break the sentence down:

  • 영어로 (Yeongeoro) – Yeongeo is English and the -ro suffix means ‘in’ thus, making  the word mean ‘in English’
  • 말 (mal) – say
  • 해주세요 (haejuseyo) – please do it

I know it sounds a bit weird to have the ending as please do it but that is just the direct translation.  It is like ‘say in English, please do it’ literally  but of course it actually means ‘Please say it in English’.

So if you want to request someone to say (what he just said in another language) in Korean just replace Yeongeo with Hangugeo.  한국어로 말 해주세요  (Hangugeoro mal haejuseyo) – Please say it in Korean.

Quoting Someone

I have always been wondering how to say ‘Someone said..’ in Korean.  In a usual conversation it is common to quote a person for saying something.  I have not read about this lesson yet so I asked my language exchange partner (LEP) how to say it in Korean.

There are two ways to say this according to my LEP:

  • 말했는데 – malhaenunde (formal)
  • 그러던데 – geureodeonde (informal)

The pattern is subject + 말했는데 or 그러던데+ the thing or event that has been said.  This post is triggered by someone saying that Jinhae (a place in Korea) is a very beautiful place to visit during spring because of cherry blossoms.  Then i asked my self how do I say that in Korean?

My friend said the place is really beautiful –> 내 친구 말했는데 거기 정말 아름다운 곳이래.  The sentence can be broken down as follows:

  • 내 친구 (nae chingu) – my friend
  • 말했는데 (malhaeneunde) – said
  • 거기 (kogi) – there, referring to a place
  • 정말 (chongmal) – truly or really
  • 아름다운 (areum daeun) – beautiful
  • 곳이래 (koshirae) – place

I am so happy I learned this sentence pattern.

Welcome 2014

The year 2013 has been a challenging year to my homeland.  As if the recently exposed case of graft and corruption widely known as Napoles case in the Philippines is not enough, series of fortuitous events put our country in a difficult situation.  The earthquake in Bohol destroyed some of the oldest churches we have and took the lives of a lot of Boholanos and perhaps the worst typhoon in the history of the Philippines almost wiped out Tacloban in the map with 2013 super typhoon Yolanda aka as Haiyan internationally.

What these unfortunate events brought us are people sending their love all over the world.  It was heart warming enough to keep the Filipino spirit alive.  And so despite the hardships,  I would like to welcome 2014 with even greater hope towards the healing of our nation.

May the blessings of the Lord shower upon us this 2014.  As the Korean way to say it:

New Year 2014

새해 (sae hae) – New Year

복 (bok) – blessings

많이(manhi) – many

받으세요 (padeuseyo) – receive