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Classroom Korean

한국어 in the Class

I learned some great Korean words these past few days. First, playing with the kids, I learned 바보 babo, which means "idiot", but girls use it playfully with boys they like. The kids may also call you "crazy", and react strongly when you call them crazy. On Monday, one girl wrote on a post-it "반사" bansa. 반사 means "reflection" and my director said it means "you call me a name and it reflects back on you". The girls also put their index fingers and thumbs out in a square/diamond out in front as they say it. Girls are so cute.
On a more serious note, I finally determined that using a few Korean commands would be useful. A couple months ago, I learned to yell "야!" Ya! It gets the kids to quiet as they realize that you really are upset. But then they realize that you're a foreigner yelling in Korean and they burst out laughing. Oh, I really need to learn how to respond with "It's not funny!" in Korean...
I have one boy who just goes "yes" to everything I say. Some kids don't know what you mean by "quiet", "stop", "don't run", "come here", "stand up", and so forth, and they'll just say "okay" but continue their annoying behaviour you're trying to stop. For this reason I learned 조용히 해라 joyong-hi haera, which means "Be quiet!" You can also just say 조용히 joyong-hi, which is simply "Quiet". But, again, the kids will laugh a little that you can actually say something in Korean.
The important one for the troublesome/energetic kids is 그만 둬 "guhmawn dwaw" "Stop it!" or 그만 해라 "guhmawn haw-raw". (PS, I find it best to trill the Korean "r" as they think "r" and "l" are the same sound.) It actually works!
Speaking of Korean pronunciation, some kids who either have not been learning English for very long or simply haven't been practicing with many foreigners really confuse the l/r sounds. Like my little ones will pronounce "run" as "lun". So I try to emphasise the "r" beginning by dragging it out and hope they hear that I don't use the tongue to make the "l" sound. So I go "rrrrrrun" and they go "rrrrrr-lun" :( They can repeat "run, lunch, run, lunch" well (though they'll at first pronounce that "lun-chee") after a little bit, as they can with "rice/lice".
Koreans also miss the two "th" sounds. The unvoiced "th" they instead go with a strict "ss", so they say "ssuh-ree" instead of "three". I tried to diminstrate the proper pronunciation of the "th" sounds to one third grade class, but they didn't want to try and instead prefered to laugh at my attempts to get them to pronounce it all correctly. So annoying...
Then there's the short i, as used in "big" and "dinner", but Koreans pronounce them as "beeg" and "deenner". But, all that matters is that a native speaker can understand what they're trying to say. So, I don't push the short i too often.
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