Saturday, February 27, 2010

If the standards got any lower, I'd get an award for fogging up chopsticks

I was told by three different people yesterday that I speak very good Korean. Aside from the cell phone peddler, with whom I'd been talking for an hour about a variety of topics, it seems that Koreans have very low standards for what qualifies as a foreigner who speaks Korean well.

The reality is that aside from Chinese and Japanese for whom it's easier and more practical to actually study Korean, virtually no English speakers can string together even a sentence. Even so, I suspect that the compliments come less from reflection on that reality and more from the sheer "talking monkey" effect.


Adeel: I'm very sorry!
Restaurant owner: It's okay. Your Korean is very good.


Cell phone store owner: You got here three days ago? You speak Korean very well. Did you study Korean in university?
Adeel: No, no, I've lived here before.
Cell phone store owner: Ah, then, let me write down some more numbers on this piece of paper while we watch the Olympics on my cell phone.


Adeel: Hey, it's Adeel. Are we meeting tomorrow at Jongno-3-ga station?
Acquaintance: Wow! You speak great Korean! Yes, we are.


Shan said...


Chris said...

oh boy, you speak good