The Perils of Learning a Second Language

Okay, that’s a bit sensationalist.

It’s not perilous, exactly–unless you consider feeling like an idiot roughly two-five times per lesson a peril, that is–but there is a steep learning curve associated with it, and certain pitfalls that come with that. At the moment, I study at home, go to a lesson with the lovely Kara, and on the same day spend an hour or two speaking and English/Korean hybrid with another girl who is learning English as I’m learning Korean.

This week, I went to my English conversation appointment feeling buoyed and eager.

Why, you ask? Well, Ko-Eun (the girl I am speaking English with) had suggested we each write a series of sentences in the language we were trying to learn. She would write hers in English, and I would write mine in Korean. I had put in about three hour’s work on my sentences, and I was feeling pretty good about them.

I mean, I even checked ’em in Word! (Did you blokes know you can get Hangul grammar and spelling checked in Word? You do now!) No squiggly lines, and it all looked correct.

Then Ko-Eun looked at them.

I was expecting some notes and changes–minor spelling issues or slight grammar fixes, yanno, nothing dramatic. So when she assured me that my sentences were very cute, that was my first warning sign that my sentences were not as solid as I’d assumed.

You can see the picture below if you want to snicker at the distinctly imperfect sentences I had actually turned in.

And I thought having my English language writing edited was bad…

The bright side of all this–aka, my cheerful feeling of competency that I’d made good sentences being dashed by an equally cheerful Ko-Eun wielding a pencil–is that I learned a huge amount during the slashing of my hard-won sentences.

Also, I have a really cute drawing of a crab, which is a pun about 게 (it both denotes place, and is the noun ‘crab’: if used in the wrong place, there are seven crabs in my house and not seven places for books). So there’s that.

Obviously, my next sentences will achieve the perfection at which I have, this time, failed.

아! 실패다! 아쉽다!

다음 번에….

English Version below, for those who care/can compare/want to laugh, mock, or generally giggle at my Korean translation.

I live in a house with a green door. Some of the walls are yellow, and some are blue. The curtains are colourful, too. At first, I didn’t like it.

In my house there are seven bookcases. I like to read a lot. But I like writing better than reading, so there is a special place where I can write, too.

When I write, I drink tea from a blue teacup with a yellow sunflower on the side. I like bright teacups. My house is as colourful as my teacups.

I live in a house with a green door. Some of the walls are yellow, and some are blue. At first, I didn’t like it.

Now, I like it a lot.