Monday, June 09, 2008

토요일 수업

Our teacher, Ms Kim, has a habit of elaborating on the vocabulary and grammar being taught. Besides elaborating about language points and grammars, she like to tell story and sometimes gossip a bit during lesson.

Situation 1: When she elaborated on the word "혼란" (混亂, chaos).

Elaboration: These days, Seoul is in a state of chaos. Do you know the cause of this chaos? Koreans attribute it to the President, "이명박" (李明博, Lee Myung Bak) and do you know what is his latest "별명" (別名, nickname)? It's 2MB. Why 2MB? 2 and 이 (Lee) have the same pronunciation and MB is the initial for Myung Bak. So is 2MB or 2 megabytes flattering or derogatory? It's derogatory because it means low capacity, i.e. Lee Myung Bak is equivalent to low capacity.

Situation 2: When she elaborated on the word "휴일" (休日, rest day).

Elaboration: Do you know what day is 6th of June in Korea? It's "현충일" (顯忠日, The Memorial Day) and it's a "공휴일" (公休日, public holiday) in Korea. Saturday and Sunday are considered "휴일". Since the Memorial Day falls on a Friday this year, Koreans will have three consecutive days of rest this week and this is called "연휴" (連休, consecutive holidays). Other times when Koreans enjoy "연휴" are Seollal and Chuseok.

Situation 3: When she elaborated on the word "폭우" (暴雨, rainstorm).

Elaboration: The word "폭" means extreme. Besides "폭우", "폭" can also be used with "설" (雪, snow), "염" (炎, heat) and "한" (寒, cold) to give "폭설", "폭염" and "폭한". "폭설" means snowstorm or blizzard, "폭염" means "더위" or extreme heat and "폭한" means "추위" or extreme cold.

Situation 4: When she elaborated on the word "소나기" (shower).

Elaboration: Do you know what do people mean when they say "소나기밥"? It means sudden overeating (by someone of usually modest appetite). "소나기" is rain that falls suddenly and Koreans tend to associate suddenness with "소나기". Hence, it is not too difficult to see why sudden overeating is called "소나기밥". Besides suddenness, Koreans also associate "소나기" with romance. Have you watch "The Classic"? There is this scene where the guy uses his jacket to cover the girl while both of them run to take cover from the shower. Isn't that romantic? There is also this very famous romance novel in Korea by the title of "소나기". Many movies actually copied the romantic scenarios written in the novel.

Situation 5: When she elaborated on the word "장갑" (掌匣, gloves).

Elaboration: The action verb for "장갑" is "끼다". Why "끼다"? It is because "끼다" tells of something being sandwiched in between and gloves are supposed to be sandwiched between the hand and the item being held. And do you know what mittens are called? They are called "벙어리 장갑" (literal translation: dumb gloves). Don't the mittens look like gloves without "mouth"?

Situation 6: Suddenly thunder went off while we were having lesson...

Elaboration: Do you know what is thunder called? It's "천둥". And what is lightning? It's 번개. Both use the action verb "치다".

There are so much things to learn, that is beyond textbook, during our Saturday Korean class. Initially, I hestitate about revealing what our teacher says in class because it seems like I am writing some sort of "spoilers". However, when I think a bit further, this Intermediate 2 class may probably be her first and the last I2 class in Singapore as her tenure at NEX would be ending early next year. What this means is that I may probably write more of the interesting things she says in class. ^^


  1. I really enjoyed your reflections on the going-ons in class. By the way, do you know if Ms Kim would be teaching until Intermediate IV?

  2. Intermediate III perhaps but not IV. Unless she decides to stay behind.

  3. Situation 1 is hilarious. Great work.

  4. psst..random questions! ^^hope you don't mind

    Perhaps can you share some tips on how to memories vocab words? Like thunder, forget the day after =_='

  5. Thanks for sharing! I found your examples very interesting.

  6. erm....perhaps Ms Kim will be rejected by the custom for entering Korea if 2MB managed to keep his position :P Good Luck Ms Kim! Hahaha

    Aiya....I was seriously considering to sign up for Level I Basic at NEX, it is a lost for not having her...she sounds interesting. By the you know who will be teaching Level I ?

  7. Yesmaru, I actually sympathise Lee Myung Bak. He doesn't deserve such treatment.

    Comet, write and read twenty times the word you want to memorise. If you still can't remember, you probably have 건망증. Better check with your family doctor. 농담 농담 ㅋㅋㅋ

    Anonymous, thanks. ^^

    Kgfix, I don't think you need to worry about who is your teacher. Korean lessons at NEX are generally quite interesting.

  8. I know exactly what you mean about having so much to learn from your Saturday classes. I love the way Ms Kim makes lessons so much more interesting by side-tracking to these frivolous topics. I am really thankful to have been blessed with a wonderful teacher like Ms Kim and wish we could do something to stop her from leaving this December......

  9. Why stop her from leaving? Go Kyunghee and look for her instead. Anyway, I think her replacement will equally be good if not better. ^^