So, today is a big holiday in Korea and in many other Asian countries: it’s Seollal or Lunar Year – internationally better know as Chinese New Year. The use of the lunar calendar – which is based on the cycle of the moon phases instead of the solar based Gregorian calendar – is widely used throughout Asia (south, west and east!) and plays a large role for festivals and holidays. Korea doesn’t sport many public holidays, but Seollal is definitely in the top 2 with three whole days off work to visit family and celebrate. A well-known feature of the lunar calendar are the 12 recurring animals of the Chinese zodiac. This years’ new zodiac is the rooster (닭띠) and I found Continue reading
p style=”text-align:justify;”>As an anthropologist a main rule is not to stand out in the crowd of natives. In order to get around your native neighborhood without attracting too much attention, it is necessary to quickly pick up certain rules and etiquettes of your foreign country of choice. Saying “yes” doesn’t seem to be too difficult at first glance; however, sometimes the right or wrong “yes”, can change people’s attitude towards you. Korea offers some special difficulties in this case.
Before Valentine’s Day is over, I’d suggest to check out these 8 Romantic Korean Phrases for Valentine’s Day. The descriptions and images are cute and I guess you’ll grasp the meaning of the words quickly. If you are a little into Korean language I bet this will trigger your curiosity even more and make you look smart by dropping these slang words into your conversations: mil-dang, sseom ta-da, mo-tae solo, sing-koong-ha-da, poom-jeol-nyeo / poom-jeol-nam, bol-mae, hoon-nyeo / hoon-nam and dol-sing-nyeo / dol-sing-nam.
I came passed an older post of mine which I shared on SNS this spring, but not on my blog – so I’m catching up on that. It’s an ad for a South Korean-North Korean translating app which was created by a Korean non-profit organization to cut down the language barriers between North and South Koreans. It seems that until creating this app, there was no handy translator for North Korean defectors to help them understand everyday South Korean vocabulary. This was very striking to me as I didn’t picture the seriousness of language difficulties being much worse than “having an accent”. Also I felt that my North Korean friends didn’t have that much of a struggle with South Korean words as they had (secretly) watched K-dramas and movies or listened to K-pop before fleeing their country. Yet, I was aware of that North Korean defectors struggle adapting to South Korean life and that there are many programs supporting them on their way.
People often ask me about the relationship between North and South Korea which is
I find it fascinating how international fans of K-pop bands still pronounce the names of their favorite members wrongly – although they claim to love them beyond what so ever. Seriously? Have you never bothered looking up how your bias’ name is pronounced? Of course I had difficulties at first too, but I watched one or two videos and listened to how the members called each other and then I had it in a couple of minutes. There is no real excuse for not figuring out their proper names’ pronunciation as YouTube is full of video material of K-pop idols.