“American manages to live a year in Korea without ever saying the days of the week”

February 21, 2013 § 10 Comments

My first biggest fear probably has to do with being packed away in a tiny 3×4 crate full of spiders and dropped from 5,000 feet into the ocean where I sink until I run into this dude dressed up like a clown.

But a close second is having to pronounce this little sadistic character right here:

Picture 1

ooh. So terrible. I’ve heard all the tips. “It’s between an ‘l’ and an ‘r,'” supposedly. “Just sort of pass over it the way you do with the “t” in “hippopotamus.” But all I know is that there is some kind of black magic that happens in the mouth of a native speaker that I don’t think I will ever be able to understand, much less replicate in this lifetime. So, as any responsible, self-interested person would do, I have decided to avoid the pesky linguistic dementor as much as possible. Plurals? Who needs them. 를 particle? psh.

Imagine my dismay when I ran into this rainbow colored chart of doom.


So, I’ve decided to get really biblical next year. “Suppose you and I get some coffee on the third day.” “On the sixth day I hath work from 2-10.” You know. Genesis style. That’ll work, right guys?



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§ 10 Responses to “American manages to live a year in Korea without ever saying the days of the week”

  • Chicken Fried Comics says:

    Whenever I try to pronounce ‘를’ my wife howls with laughter.

  • ExpatZac says:

    In my province’s dialect it is pretty much always “L” so it’s rather simple. The 류, 료, 랴, 려, and 례 sounds are a bit more tricky. I generally avoid those!

  • Stephanie says:

    I don’t mind this one so much… Although, I guess the annoying thing is that sometimes you hear is sound way more like an ‘l’, sometimes more like an ‘r’, and sometimes kind of like a ‘d’. When the heck do you know what it should sound more like? Is it a matter of choice? SOMEONE TELL MEEEE!! Kekeke.

    And I totally approve of your choice to go all Old Testament on us. That’ll do fine ^^

    • Definitely. Although someone was insisting today that there is a definite pattern that has to do with placement and combinations that we just have to get used to… I guess it will just take a lot of time. :)

      • Stephanie says:

        Sigh, of course there is. Korea is so particular… XP There are so many moments where it’s like ‘Yes there is a specific way to do it, but it’s almost impossible to explain and you just kind of need to know’. Kekeke.

  • As someone put up there, there’s a bit of soft d going on, because sometimes you’ll be tapping your tongue about halfway back your palate. It does, indeed, drift more towards l or r depending on the word, and honestly you’ll just start to get used to it with practice (often when it’s badchim it sounds more like an l, but when it starts a syllable block it can sound a little more r). When I first started studying and working with my Korean teacher, I did a lot of actually really conscious practice just placing my tongue in the correct place until I got used to it.

    를 is still a monster.

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