Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strangers and Elders

So, in one month, my sister Sang Hyun will be visiting NY/and the US for the first time....for a whole month. As promised, I will be posting a regular Korean primer for her imminent arrival.

There are no difficult tonal or glottal sounds to worry about in the Korean language. If you see a as the second letter (as in Hyun), it is pronounced like the y in you not like the vowels i or e. So Hyun is pronounced like "yun" with the "h" sound prefacing it. 

As you may already know from various ethnic (and offensive!) jokes, there is no r or l in Korean, but rather a letter somewhere in between. The tongue is not quite as curled back as for an r, but not on the tongue either, like for an l. It can sometimes sound like "d."

Okay anyway, so here are some words. 

Small chat.
An-yang-ha-seh-yo hello (ha-say-yo is the formal ending used
for strangers and elders)

Peg-oh-pah-yo? Are you hungry? Pretty much the first 
question Koreans ask when you enter their 
home/meet you. Always appropriate to ask.

Peg-oh-pah-yo. I am hungry. (Changing the intonation 
makes a question a statement—like English).

Mah-shi-ssuh-yo?/. Is it delicious?/It is delicious.

____jju-seh-yo. Give me___ (polite way for request.)
Mek-chu jju-seh-yo.  Give me a beer (polite).

____iss-suh-yo?/. Do you have___?/I (we) have___.
Kimchee iss-suh-yo?/. Do you have kimchee?/We have kimchee.

Cho-ah-yo. I like it.

cho-gum a little
Cho-gum peg-oh-pah-yo. I am a little hungry.

mah-nee a lot/many/very
Mah-nee peg-oh-pah-yo. I am very hungry.

Koreans always ask how old you are. It will probably be the second thing they ask you after "are you hungry." Oh yeah, since the language is very hierarchy-based, this kinda makes sense. In which case, most of you, my friends, will only really need to count to 30ish.

Also, Koreans use Korean and Chinese numbers. Korean for hours and ages, Chinese for minutes, months, money. I don't know why.

Noh-nun, myuh-sal-ee-nun?  How old are you? (Literally: You, how many years have?) 
Na-nun ___sal im-ni-da. I am ____years old (polite).

1 hana
2 tul (like "tool" but shorter vowel)
set (soft "t," like "seh")
4 net (soft "t," like "neh")
6 yoh-sol
7 il-gohp
8 yoh-dohl
9 a-hope
10 yol
11 yol-hana
20 suh-mul (like mool, but shorter)
30 soh-run
33 soh-run set
39 soh-run a-hope
40  ma-hun
50 swin
60 yeh-sun
70 ee-run
80 yo-dun
90 a-hun
100 bek

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da!  Thank you!

And if anyone knows how to create columns in this thing, let me know!

No comments: