Sunday, December 18, 2005

Learning Resources - online video/TV

MediaHopper (Choose a country)
Mainly news, sports, fashion, culture.

Sit Down Comedy (Interviews)
Click "Watch full episodes and sneak peaks"
Comedy Central has 2-minute video clips
TVGuide (Video reviews of TV shows)

BBC London 15 mins. of news daily (RealPlayer)
The BBC also shows Panorama and Question Time
Guide to BBC broadband services

Deutsche Welle TV (Click "Video on Demand")
(Also in German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese)

I do tend to agree with the Linguist on this: MP3's better because you don't have to stare at it; you can do other things while you learn. TV's just more colourful.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Godawful December

Such a heavy workload this month. Considering the number of teachers we have, too many classes have been opened, and opened at times that make everyone's schedule ridiculously long and drawn-out. All of us teachers are feeling the strain - we're completely burnt out and more than a little p*ssed off. Our quality of life is not high right now.

In my case, it has sapped my energy and all but killed my personal relationships. I've been trying desperately to use what free time I can find to reaffirm relations, and this pressure is getting me down even more. (Sorry, my friends.) It seems a vicious circle. Things can't change soon enough.

Monday, December 12, 2005

EFL - Practise your phrasal verbs here! - 구동사를 여기 연습하세요

From BBC Learning: "Funky Phrasals"
Dialogues with sound files
(standard British English; 표준의 영국 영어)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Learning Resources - Online Radio / 온라인 라디오

Browse the listings and choose your genre:

New Zealand_ Canada
USA (New York City - FM and AM)

Genres /장르:
News / Talk - 뉴스 / 대화
Sports - 스포츠
Hit Radio / Top 40 - 히트 음악 / 톱 40
Contemporary - 현대 음악
Rock / Alternative - 록 / 올터너티브
Jazz / Blues - 재즈 / 블루스
Soul /R & B - 소울 음악 / 리듬 앤드 블루스
Dance / Latin - 댄스 음악 / 라틴 음악
Gospel - 고스펠 음악
Reggae / Ethnic - 레게 / 민속 음악
Oldies / Country - 옛날 음악 / 컨트리
Religious - 종교 방송

(Recommended for rock enthusiasts - Woxy)

For learners of other European languages:
Listings for major W. European countries
Most links from Great Yarmouth Radio Club
and The Flag Shop

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Not a fan of capes, but...

You are Superman
You are mild-mannered, good, strong and you love to help others.

"Which Superhero are you?"

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

To my December classes...

From The Linguist, via AJ's blog:

"It really does not matter why you want to improve your English. The important thing for you to know is that you can improve. You can actually improve quite quickly. You just have to do it the right way.

Most people study languages the wrong way. They study from text books or traditional learning systems with uninteresting content, but lots of pictures, plenty of grammar explanation and quizzes. This kind of instruction looks like it should work, but for most people it does not. It is uninteresting and inefficient. Most people do not progress rapidly and are not satisfied with their language studies. They lose interest and will only study if forced to because of exams.

I can understand this. It is hard to keep working at something if you do not succeed. You need to understand how to learn a language.

When you learn a new language your brain starts to change. The brain begins to build networks of neurons that will enable you to operate in a new language like English. You will not become fluent because you understand grammar rules. You become fluent as your brain naturally develops the ability to understand English. You become fluent when you can put thoughts together correctly in English without having to try to remember grammar rules.

So how can you most quickly build these new networks for English? It depends on three things: your attitude towards studying English, the amount of time you spend on English, and how efficient your study method is. It does not depend on teachers or tests. You have to realize that your thoughts and actions are what will most influence the development of these new networks in your brain. How well and how quickly you learn is up to you"

AJ의 블로그를 통해 (언어학자)에서:

왜 당신의 영어를 증진하고 싶다는간는 중요하지 않다. 중요한 게 증진할수는 있을 거다. 사실 아주 바르게 증진할수 있는데 제대로만 한다면.

대부분의 사람은 언어를 잘못된 방법으로 공부한다. 교과서나 흥미없지만 사진많고 문법과 퀴즈가 풍분하는 교통 규육 체계에서 공부하곤 하다. 이러한 교육이 성공할 거 같지만 대부분의 사람에게 서공하지 못한다. 재미없고 효과적이 아닌다. 대부분의 사람이 바르게 전진하지 않고 자기의 언어 학문에 만족하지 않다. 그들은 흥미를 잃고 시험만 때문에 공부한다.

이건 이해한다. 성공이 없어 뭘 종사하는 거 어렵다. 언어를 어떻게 익힐 방법을 알을 필요가 있다.

새 언어를 익힐 때 당신의 뇌가 바꾸기 시작한다. 영어처럼 언어로 작용할 수 있게 하기 위해 뇌는 뉴런의 네트워크를 만들기 시작한다. 문법을 알기 때문에 창문하게 될 거지 아이다. 뇌가 자연스럽게 영어 이해할 능력을 발달시키면서 창문하게 될 거다. 문법 규칙을 기억해보는 것 없이 당신의 생각이 영어로 정확히 공식화하면서 창문하게 될 거다.

이게 3 것에 따라 다른다. 영어에 대한 태도 그리고 영어에 얼마나 시간 보내는 것과 연습방법이 얼마나 능률적인 것에 따라 다른다. 선생이나 시험에 따라 다르지 않는다. 당신의 생각과 행동이 당신의 뇌에 있는 이 네트워크의 발달에 가장 강한 영향을 미칠 거다. 얼마나 잘.바르게 익힐 걸 완전히 너한테 달려 있다, 마음대로 골라라.

TOEIC in Korea

Number of TOEIC Takers Reaches World's Highest

In 2004,

Korea 3.8% [pop. 48 million, 1.83 million TOEIC takers]

Japan 1.12% [pop. 27 million, 1.43 million TOEIC takers]

Taiwan 0.22% [pop. 22.5 million, 50,000 TOEIC takers]

China 0.002% [pop. 1,29 million, 30,000 TOEIC takers]

The wave of foreign firms accelerated the globalization of the Korean economy and dramatically increased the need for English. Korean companies are becoming increasingly international and more of them are requiring their employees to strengthen their practical English skills...

As TOEIC doesn't test practical English skills (and therefore nor do TOEIC teachers need to teach them), why take this test then?

Monday, November 28, 2005

To impose or not

I've been enamoured with Bhutan ever since I saw the superb film Travellers and Magicians at the Pusan International Film Festival two years back, and took part in the question and answer session with the director - dressed in his monk's robes.

2년전에 부산국제영화제에서 매우 뛰어난 <여행자와 마법사>란 영화를 보고 (승님의 옷을 입는) 감독과 문답 회의에 참가했을 때부터는 부탄에 반했다.

Now here's something else to think about from the mountain kingdom.
여기 산맥에 있는 왕국에서 생각할 만한 게 일어났다.

Is it democratic to impose democracy? Can you choose not to choose your government? These paradoxical conundrums are usually confined to discussions involving drunken students and tiresome academics (or is that the other way round?). But now they have emerged for real in Bhutan, where the Wangchuk dynasty has ruled as an absolute monarchy since 1903.

The Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, announced earlier this month that he wants to give his people the gift of a democratically elected parliament. The trouble is, they don't want it. Where now they have a united country with a widely loved leader, they fear they will get a divided country with parties and factions pursuing their own interests. Looking at western democracies, they have a point.

So it seems whatever happens, the country will have a legitimacy gap. Keep the monarchy and the people will not have any choice about what policies their leader pursues; impose democracy and they will have been denied their choice of political
system. Whatever you choose, you have no choice.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Countries visited / 가본 나라들

Obviously not my main reason for going, but two weeks in China dramatically changes this map, doesn't it?

물론 간 주요한 이유가 아닌데 중국에 이주일 있는 게 이 지도를 극적으로 바꾸는다, 그렇지?

(create your own countries visited map)

The age-old adage that 'a change is as good as a rest' is so beautifully true.^^

'변화는 휴식만큼 좋다'라는 속담이 정말 사실이네.^^

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Vibes / 느낌

Before you teach a class, or write a report card, or give a presentation, or step out the door, take in something positive and uplifting.

수업을 가르치거나 성적표를 쓰거나 보고하거나 방에서 나오기 전에 긍정적이고 정신을 앙양시키는 걸 받아들여라.

Try a quick dip into one of the following. (Please, don't start reading through everything, it only waters down the individual messages. Be different: try thinking about one thing at a time, in some depth.)

다음은 좀 해봐라. (모든 걸 읽지 말고 한 번에 하나씩 신중히 생각해라.)

InspirationPeak / WorldOfInspiration

Have a great day, wherever you are.

여러분 어디든지 있어도 좋은 하루 보내라.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

a far more interesting place for world news

Wednesday November 2, 2005
Shocked Englishman Steve Windless found doctors had left more than a metre of wire in his body during surgery 10 years ago after a bit suddenly poked through the side of his neck as he was driving.

Tuesday October 18, 2005
An Austrian resort claims bookings have flooded in after it banned young children - while still letting dogs in. Hotel Cortisen owner Roland Ballnere said dogs were better trained and did not vandalise his hotel.

Friday October 14, 2005
Chips that store music could one day be built into breast implants. One breast could hold the MP3 player and the other the music collection. BT futurology, who developed the idea, say it could be available within 15 years.

Visit Oddspot.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Two Giant Fat People / 두명의 거대하고 살찐 사람

If I were Jesus, nothing would rub me up the wrong way more than all those people doing idiotic and cruel things "in the name of Jesus Christ". No, I'm not religious, though I do have a set of personal principles I live by. That said, I love this uplifting little poem by the Persian poet Hafiz.

"Two Giant Fat People"

And I have become
Like two giant fat people
Living in a
Tiny boat.
Bumping into each other and
내가 아주 작은 배에서
살고 있는
두명의 거대하고 살찐 사람처럼
서로 계속 중돌하고

EFL - Ice-breakers

Breaking the ice with some classes might require a sledgehammer, but I find that the sooner learners in a class feel comfortable with each other, knowing that their opinions will be valued and mistakes tolerated, the sooner they can start enjoying the class.

I find most of my students seem to have no desire at all to hang out with their classmates outside class (too busy, terrible at socialising, "But I'm here to learn, not meet people!" and similar excuses) and given half a chance ignore them in class too. However, if learners in a classroom don't make the effort to get to know each other, there's little a teacher can do with the class.

Given the fundamental importance of the ice-breaking stage, my general rule is to spread it over two classes (I see classes for 50 minutes every day.). Everyone has their own little stash activities for this. Here's mine.

Day 1
Preparation: gather together about half a dozen things you feel say something interesting about you. (I use things like my Korean cookbook (in Korean), the capo for my guitar (What is it??), a handful of postcards from back home, a novel in French, and (low denomination!) banknotes from some of the countries I've visited.)
1. Basic Introductions: everyone's name, jobs or degree courses, main interests and whereabouts they live. All this information should be written clearly (and in bright colours!) on folded pieces of paper that will be kept on the table for the next few lessons. To be friendly and co-operative, they can work in pairs to make these for each other; and then introduce each other to the class.
2. Hand out the objects you've prepared and get them into small groups to discuss what they think each thing says about the teacher. After they've passed round all the objects, ask the class for suggestions (most objects aren't difficult to figure out, but accept all guesses as possible). When you've had all comments in, better point out which guesses were right and which wrong, otherwise you might end up with misconceptions from the start. (Like the one student of mine who for two months thought I was actually French!)
3. If you have long enough you could go into a Needs Analysis discussion from here, or ask them to write about that individually for homework.

Day 2
Preparation: make a sheet of intriguing questions! (One each or one between two. If you like, you can collect these in after the class so as not to waste paper.) The questions should all be up-beat and show real curiosity about the other person's values, interests and feelings. They can also be cheeky, flirtaceous, philosophical, whatever does it for you. (Lots of examples below.) About a dozen should give plenty of choice and ample opportunities to talk themselves and learn about each other.
1. Introduce this as an antidote to the tedious "Where are you from? What do you do?", and that they'll be rated on two things while they're getting to know each other better: listening and how much they can remember about their classmates, and the use of follow-up questions to keep the conversation going. Give out question sheets and don't interrupt unless called. This activity works best in small groups or pairs.
2. When they've had sufficient time, they can take it in turns telling the class the most interesting things they've learnt about the person/people they've talked to. If you have time, others can ask follow-up questions. Recommend that people who have something in common, or even the whole class, should go for a coffee (or tea) afterwards.

Example questions (Choose about a dozen. Tailor them to your class. Change wording or add definitions at the bottom of the question sheet if needed. Questions alone look dull - add a few pictures.)
What's your earliest memory?
Do you cry at sad films?
What's your worst habit?
In your opinion, what's the most important thing the opposite sex needs to learn?
What's your favourite thing to do to have fun and what attracts you to it?
A genie grants you one wish - what would it be?
What do you think is your most attractive feature?
Choose two words to describe yourself.
Who do you admire most in the world and why?
Which sense is most important to you?
Do you believe monogamy works?
What's your favourite thing to do on a date?
What's your biggest ambition?
What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?
I'm very slim. How can I put on weight?
What type of guy/girl do you go for?
Do you often get drunk?
What do you think of acupuncture?
What do you want for Christmas?
What's your favourite season, and why?
What comes to mind when I say "vacations"?
You fall in love with someone from another country - would you consider marriage?
Do you keep many secrets?
What comes to mind when I say "culture"?
What's your favourite TV in your country, and what's your favourite foreign one?
Are there any attractive men/women in your workplace?
How do you like to spend quiet time by yourself?
Would you date yourself?
If you could be the star of a film, what kind of film would it be?
Can you lend me a dollar?
What would you most like to find out?
Did you ever go on a school trip when you were younger?
What's your favourite place to eat?
Have you ever had a pen pal? Would you like one?
What were you like when you were younger?
Describe your ideal day.
What can you tell me about your country's culture?
What's the furthest you've ever been from home?
Do you have any role models?
What can you tell me about your best friend?
What comes to mind when I say "love"?
Tea or coffee?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

군대 / We're in the army now

I've officially been on holiday since Wednesday. So for the last few days I've had the time to flick through the pages of my Korean newspaper of choice, the Hankyoreh. I've especially been following an intelligent four-part special report on the socio-psychological effects military service (2 years; compulsory) has on Korea's young men.

‘군대를 갔다 와야 사람 된다’는 말이 있다. 과연 군대는 우리나라 젊은 남자를 어떻게 변화시킬까?

실제 조사를 해 보니 군대는 이들을 더욱 보수적으로 만들고 가부장적인 사고방식을 강화하는 데 영향을 주는 것으로 드러났다. <한겨레>는 임상심리학연구소 ‘더 트리그룹 리서치클리닉’(대표 조용범)과 함께 군대 경험이 심리·사회적 영역에서 한국 남자에게 어떤 영향을 끼치는지를 분석하고자 최근 두 달 동안 20대 남성 240명을 대상으로 다양한 심리검사를 벌였다. 이런 경험과학적 연구방법을 통한 조사는 우리나라에서 처음이다.

There's a saying that, "Going to the army makes you a man." In reality, how does military service affect the young men of Korea?

In fact, upon investigation it has been found that the effects of the army are that it makes them all the more conservative and intensifies patriarchal views. For the last two months the Hankyoreh, with the co-operation of a research centre for clincal psychology, The Tree Group Research Clinic, has embarked on a socio-psychological examination of 240 men in their 20s, for the purposes of analysis, on the influences the military service experience imparts on Korean men. This investigation is the first in Korea to address this experience using scientific methods of enquiry.
For anyone interested, the above extract is from the first article of the report "The Army makes (Conformist and Patriarchal) Men", and today's piece "the experts talk" was a solid summary:
권인숙 명지대 교수(여성학) ‘대한민국은 군대다’ 저자
“군기 때문에 인권침해 안돼…성희롱 ‘왜’ 안되는지 이해시켜야”

조용범 박사(임상심리학) 더 트리그룹 리서치클리닉 대표
“조직에 순응 ‘단지 귀찮아서’…지적욕구 저하는 국가적 손해”

정곤양 대령 국방부 인사근무과장
“제대뒤 원만해지고 EQ(감성지수) 높아져…민간협력으로 문제 풀 것”

Kwon In-suk, professor of Gender Studies at Myeongji University and author of 'Korea is an Army': "We must not allow human rights infringements for the sake of military discipline ... must make it clear why sexual harassment is wrong"

Dr. Jong Yong-beom, clinical psychologist and representative of The Tree Group Clinic: "They conform in organisations 'only because it's a hassle' ... that intellectual appetites fall is a national loss"

Colonel Jeong Gon-yang, head of personnel at the Ministry of Defence: "After being discharged they are more well-rounded and their EQ is higher ... we'll sort out the problems through civilian co-operation"
Hmm, for some reason I prefer this stuff to the slushy Korean pop and sleep-inducing business news in the Korea TimesHerald.

Friday, November 04, 2005

EFL - Exhuming Sapir and Whorf

This time an article entitled "Why we are as good or bad as our language" from the Guardian Education pages. (Link at bottom of post.)

I disagree with parts of the article, but I've picked out what could be of use to me and my learners.

All of us have ways of identifying someone as "arrogant", "serious", "nice", gifted with a "sense of humour" or "dull", "boring". ... The point is, we have ideological codes for distinguishing between "good" and "bad" language use. ... [for evaluating] ways of using language: on particular genres and styles, varieties, accents. ... [A] variety of English that would carry prestige in Nairobi can carry stigma in London or New York.
Stressing cultural differences is rarely productive, above all as it tends to create a gap between 'us' and 'them'; and where English is concerned it also raises the issue of cultural and linguistic imperialism. But also unhelpful is simply ignoring how people use their languages, the pronunciation and tone of voice, which words/phrases are appropriate in different contexts. Exploring why differences in use exist can help learners gain a deeper insight into other cultures and develop their socio-pragmatic skills.

I've always been fascinated by the way people's body language, intonation, choice of words, and even the overall personality they give off tend to change when they switch from one language to another, or from one social group to another. Our identities, it appears, are our way of fitting in.

Full article.

EFL - Anti-TOEIC rant / 反TOEIC

The TOEIC test...

Does it help learners gain confidence in using English?
Does it help them lower their anxiety and relax?
Does it motivate learners in a positive and constructive way?

Does it help them relate to the language, making the content of their learning relevent and interesting?
Does it cater to all learning styles and provide a good variety of input material?
Does it raise interest in the language, people, cultures, and in learning?

Does it improve cultural awareness or socio-pragmatic skills?
Does it help learners build an understanding of which words and phrases are appropiate in given contexts?
Does it enable learners to deduce the meaning of new words from a clear context?
Does it allow them to learn words related to their own needs and interests, so they can use it to communicate on these topics?
Does it give them practice of negotiating meaning, or of conversation strategies?

Does the over-enunciated speech (free from background noise) in the listening section help learners understand real, unscripted speech at a natural speed?
Does this emotionless speech improve their recognition of tone of voice and thereby the feelings of the speaker?
Does it help them understand and produce nuances of intonation?

Does it help learners express themselves in the language?

As far as I can tell, the TOEIC doesn't measure any of the above skills, thus there is logically no reason for teachers to cover them in a TOEIC class or for learners to try to learn them while studying for the test. However, these skills are ones the average Korean language learner is desperately missing - in my opinion, largely due to very limited knowledge of modern teaching methods and the persistance (and widespread misuse) of godawful tests such as the TOEIC.

I would suggest that for the vast majority of Koreans this test is simply a huge waste of time, money and effort, and any serious language learner would do well to avoid it like the proverbial plague.

The people I've met with the highest TOEIC scores almost invariably speak a stilted and completely unnatural variety of English which in real-life may be an obstacle to effective communication. They also tend to have either low self-confidence or an over-inflated sense of their English ability.

In the short-term, TOEIC might get you a job but, as bad language and learning habits from it become fossilised, it may damage your chances of aquiring a good level of natural and useable English.

My other article on the TOEIC is here.

EFL - Ironing out the wrinkles

There are a few problem words my students get stuck on time and time again. Here are a few of the most common ones:

blame and critise

A common Korean problem is the use of the word blame, when the speaker means criticise. We can blame the makers of Korean-English dictionaries.

CRITICISE verb - to express disapproval of someone or something.
BLAME verb - to say or think that someone or something did something wrong or is responsible for something bad happening.

나무라다 (tell someone off)
비난하다 (criticise)
[실수.잘못에 대해] 책망하다 (blame)

fun and funny

So many EFL learners get these two confused, especially the main meaning of each. Not surprising really as they're very similar-looking!

FUN noun [U] - pleasure, enjoyment, amusement
FUN adjective [before noun] - enjoyable
FUNNY adjective - amusing; causing laughter

즐거움 / 재미 (fun - noun)
즐거운 / 유쾌한 (fun - adj)
우스운 (funny)

Have fun (= Enjoy yourself)! 즐겁게 지내!
I really enjoyed your party - it was such good fun. 재미있었네!
She's great fun to be with. 그녀는 같이 있으면 진짜 재미있어.
It's no fun/not much fun (= not enjoyable) having to work on Saturdays.
a fun-loving girl 잘 노는 여자 / 장난기가 있는 여자
There are lots of fun (= enjoyable) things to do here. 여기 할 즐거운 게 많다.
Do you know any funny jokes?
It's a really funny film. 진짜 웃기는 영화다!
It's not funny - don't laugh! 우습지 않는 것인데 웃지 마!

lecture and class

I get mildly offended every time I get a well-meant compliment from students on my 'lecture'. I assure you I try my upmost not to lecture anyone. In English these have very different connotations.

CLASS noun -
1 a group of students who are taught together at school, college or university:
2 a period of time in which students are taught something:
LECTURE noun -
1 a formal talk on a serious or specialist subject given to a group of people, especially students:
2 an angry or serious talk given to someone in order to criticize their behaviour

수업 (class)
강의 / 강연; 설교 (lecture)

Which class are you in this year?
She gave the whole class extra homework for a week.
My last class ends at 4 o'clock. 4시에 내 수업이 끝나는데.
I was told off for talking in class. 수업 중에 나는 떠들었기 때문에 꾸짖받았다.
I missed my aerobics class yesterday. 어제 에어로빅 강좌에 결석했다.
We went to a lecture on Italian art.
Who's giving the lecture this afternoon?
My dad gave me a lecture on the evils of alcohol last night.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hiking in Korea

Autumn's here. The leaves are reluctantly changing to match the colourful fashions of the season. Soon the numbers of hikers on every mountain in the city will surge. Hence this quick rundown of essential hiking wear in Korea, just so you don't feel left out...

Soft, professional hill-walking boots. (2nd best: trainers.)
Brightly-coloured knee-length socks. (Optional.)
Loose tracksuit-like trousers (perhaps tucked into socks).
A tight long-sleeved T-shirt with a multi-pocketed body warmer over the top.
Gloves. (Even in summer.)
Ski-pole style adjustable professional walking pole. (Don't worry that it's more of a hassle than a help - it looks the part!)
A small, school-trip style rucksack.
Professional sports sunglasses. (Optional.)
For men, a baseball cap and (optionally) a towel hanging round your neck.
For any woman over 35, a welding mask,... I mean, huge sun visor.

EFL/Korean - Anatomy 102

Here's the second half of the anatomy class I started last Sunday. Thank you for your patience, folks! 지난 일요일 시작된 해부학 수업(!)의 후반부는 여기다. 기다려서 감사합니다,에~

to arm
to provide yourself or others with a weapon or weapons: [누굴] 무기로 무장시켰다
Nobody knows who is arming the terrorists.
I armed myself with a baseball bat and went to investigate the noise.
They are currently arming for war.
NOTE: The opposite is disarm.

to provide yourself or others with equipment or knowledge in order to complete a particular task: 대비하다 / 준비하다
She armed herself for the interview by finding out all she could about the company in advance.
I went to the meeting armed with the relevant facts and figures.

to arm-wrestle 팔씨름(을) 하다
play a game where two people place the elbows of their right arms on a table, hold hands and then try to push the other person's hand down onto the table

to push someone rudely with your elbows so that you can move or have more space: [남]을 팔꿈치로 밀어제치다 / 밀어내다
He elbowed his way to the front of the crowd.
They elbowed the onlookers aside.

to hit someone with your elbow, sometimes as a sign to make them notice or remember something: [무엇을 기억나기 위해] 팔꿈치로 남을 치다
She elbowed me in the ribs before I could say anything.

to hand [+ two objects]
to put something into someone's hand from your own hand: [무엇]을 넘겨 주다 / 건네 주다
The waiter smiled politely as he handed me my bill/handed my bill to me.
Please read this memo carefully and hand it on (to your colleagues).

to hand-pick
carefully choose for a special job or purpose: 엄선하다 / 정선하다
a hand-picked audience

to palm
to make something seem to disappear by hiding it in the palm of your hand as part of a trick, or to steal something by picking it up in a way that will not be noticed: [무엇]을 손바닥에 숨기다
I suspected that he had palmed a playing card.

palm sth off phrasal verb
to give away something, or persuade someone to accept something, because you do not want it and you know it has no value: [나쁜 물건]을 [누구]에게 떠맡기다
She tried to palm her old car off on me.

to knuckle down phrasal verb INFORMAL
to start working or studying hard: 열심히 일하기 시작하다
You're going to have to really knuckle down (to your work) if you want to pass your exams.

to finger
to touch or feel something with your fingers: [무엇]에 손가락을 대다
She fingered her necklace absent-mindedly as she talked.

to thumb a lift INFORMAL
to stand near the edge of a road and hold out your hand with the thumb raised as a signal for a vehicle to stop and take you somewhere: 히치하이크(를) 하다
We thumbed a lift to London.

thumb through sth phrasal verb
to turn the pages of a book, magazine, or a document quickly and only read small parts of it: [무엇]을 급히 훑어보다
"Have you read the report?" "Well, I thumbed through it quickly on the train."

thumb your nose at sb/sth
to show a lack of respect: [남]을 비웃다
He has thumbed his nose at authority all his life.

to stomach [usually in negatives, 주로 부정문에서]
to be able to accept an unpleasant idea or watch something unpleasant: [무엇]을 참다
He can't stomach the idea that Peter might be the next chairman.
She found the violence in the film hard to stomach.

to skin
to remove the skin of something: [짐승]의 가죽을 벗기다 / [무릎.손]을 생채기내다
The hunters skinned the deer they had killed.
I skinned my knee (= hurt my knee by rubbing skin off it) when I fell down the steps.

to flesh sth out phrasal verb
to add more details or information to something: [무엇]을 더 충실하게 만들다 / 구체화하다
These plans need to be fleshed out with some more figures before the committee votes on them.

to bum around phrasal verb INFORMAL
to spend time being lazy and doing very little: 빈둥거리며 세월을 보내다
I wish you'd stop bumming around and start looking for a job.

to bum around/about (somewhere) (TRAVEL) phrasal verb INFORMAL
to travel around in different places or in a particular area, with no plans, no job and little money: 빈둥거리며 여행하다
After college she spent a year bumming around the States.

to bum SLANG
to ask someone for something without intending to pay for it: [누구]에게서 담배를 얻어 피우다 / 차를 얻어 타다
Could I bum a cigarette off you?

butt in phrasal verb INFORMAL
to interrupt a conversation or discussion or someone who is talking: 주제넘게 나서다
He kept on butting in with silly comments.

to balls (sth) up phrasal verb (UK 英) OFFENSIVE
to spoil something by making a mistake or doing something stupid: [무엇]를 완전히 망치다
Trust me to balls up the interview!

to cock sth up phrasal verb (UK 英) SLANG
to do something wrong or badly: [무엇]를 실수하다 / 망치다
David cocked up the arrangements and we ended up missing the reception.
"How did the exam go?" "Terrible - I panicked and really cocked it up."

to leg it (UK 英) INFORMAL
to run away in order to escape from something: 급히 걷어 도망치다
They legged it round the corner when they saw the police coming.

to knee
to hit someone with your knee: [누굴] 무릎으로 치다
She kneed him in the groin.

to shin up
to climb something such as a tree, using your hands and legs to move along quickly: [나무]에 기어오르다
Several of us shinned up lampposts so that we could see over the crowd.

to foot INFORMAL
to pay an amount of money: [셈]을 치루다 / 부담하다
His parents footed the bill for his course fees.
They refused to foot the cost of the wedding.
The company will foot her expenses.

to toe/tow the line
to do what you are ordered or expected to do: [통제.명령.당규]에 복종하다
He might not like the rules but he'll toe the line just to avoid trouble.
Ministers who refused to toe the Party line were swiftly got rid of.

to sole (a shoe)
to put a new sole on a shoe [구두에] 새 밑창을 대다

to heel [Heel!] [개를 향해] 따라와!
exclamationsaid to a dog to order it to come and stand next to you or to walk close beside you as you walk

Yes, I'm aware there are more, mainly of a sexual nature. On that note, I'd recommend a trip to Amsterdam...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Cidade de Deus / 시티 오브 갓

Last night one of my students and a friend of hers took me to see a film - Cidade de Deus (City of God), 2002. I'd heard of it while I was in Aussie, including that it being critically acclaimed. (It was nominated for 4 Oscars in 2004 - Best Cinematography; Best Director, Fernando Meirelles; Best Editing; Best Screenplay Based on Previously Published Material, from Paulo Lins's book of the same name.)

It was an amazing experience! OK, I really dislike violence and there was more than enough to turn any stomach; however, being based on fact and being also superbly acted and directed, I turned my mind to the poignant and incredible story that underpins the film. The story follows a young man, Buscapé, as he grows up against a background of escalating gang violence in possibly the world's most dangerous slum, the City of God, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.

Admittedly, it was on the long side, and the slang-laden Brazilian Portuguese was really tough to follow (maybe 40% comprehension), causing the other foreigners in the cinema to leave fairly early on. I found my eyes bouncing around the Korean subtitles - beginning, end, then middle - to match the order of the Portuguese I was hearing, and this combination (alongside the emotive acting) thankfully pushed my level of understanding up to around 80 percent.

Meirelles is also the director of a newly-released film, The Constant Gardener (again based on a book - John Le Carré's), starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for it when it hits Asia.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

EFL/Korean - Anatomy 101

In an effort to expand a few people's vocabularies in a useful (and hopefully useable) direction, and at the same time to demonstrate how 'verbed' English is, let's do a quick tour of body parts you can 'verb'. 사람이 몇 명의 어휘력을 쓸모있(고 쓸 수 있)는 방위로 확장하고 영어가 얼마나 '동사'된 언어이기 위한 노력으로는 '동사'할수 있는 몸의 일부들을 한 바퀴 돌자.

to head
to go in a particular direction: (…으로) 향하다
I was heading out of the room when she called me back.
We were heading towards Kumasi when our truck broke down.
He headed straight for (= went towards) the fridge.
I think we ought to head back/home (= return to where we started) now, before it gets too dark.

to hit a ball with your head: (공을) 헤딩하다
Owen headed the ball into the back of the net.

to be at the front or top of something: 첫머리에 (…을) 싣다
The Queen's carriage headed the procession.
Jo's name headed the list of candidates.

to be in charge of a group or organization: …을 지휘하다
She heads one of Britain's leading travel firms.
Judge Hawthorne was chosen to head the team investigating the allegations of abuse.

to head off (JOURNEY) phrasal verb
to start a journey or leave a place: 출발하다
What time are you heading off?

head for sth phrasal verb …할 나쁜 운명이다
to be likely to experience a bad situation soon, because of your own actions or behaviour:
They're heading for disaster if they're not careful.
The country is heading for recession.

to head-butt 박치기(를) 하다
to hit someone violently on the head or in the face using the front of your head

to eye (eyeing or US ALSO eying, eyed, eyed)
to look at someone or something with interest: 눈으로 보다
I could see her eyeing my lunch.
She eyed me warily.

eye sb up phrasal verb INFORMAL
to look at someone with sexual interest: 추파(를) 보내다
That guy in the grey jacket has been eyeing you up all evening.

eye sth up phrasal verb
to look closely at something that you are interested in: …에 눈독(을) 들이다
I saw you eyeing up that chocolate cake.

to eyeball INFORMAL
to look closely at someone: 빤히 쳐다보다
He eyeballed me across the bar.

to cheek UK INFORMAL
to be rude to someone: …에게 건방진 태도를 취하다
He's always getting into trouble for cheeking his teachers.

to nose
to (make a vehicle) move forwards slowly and carefully: 근소한 차로 이기다
The car nosed out of the side street, its driver peering anxiously around.
He carefully nosed his lorry into the small gap.

to look around or search in order to discover something, especially something that other people do not want you to find: (…을) 꼬치꼬치 캐다
There were some journalists nosing about/around.
The police came in and started nosing into drawers and looking through papers.

to mouth (a word)
to form (words) without actually speaking: 잠자코 입술로 표시하다
It looks to me as if the singers are only mouthing the words (= forming them with their lips without making any sound, 립 씽크(를) 하다).
She mouthed a hello to me across the crowded room.
[+ speech] "Can we go?" mouthed Mary.

mouth off (about sth) phrasal verb INFORMAL DISAPPROVING
to express your opinions too loudly and publicly: (…에 대해) 시끄럽게 떠들어 대다 / 떠벌리다
I had to listen to Michael mouthing off about the government all through lunch.

mouth off (to/at sb) phrasal verb INFORMAL DISAPPROVING
to speak in a rude or offensive way to someone: 말대꾸하다
She's a typical teenager, coming home late at night and mouthing off to her parents.

something you say to someone in a difficult situation in order to encourage them to be brave and try not to be sad: 힘내! OR 기죽지 마!
Chin up! It'll soon be the weekend.

to neck COLLOQUIAL 단숨에 들이마시다 / 원샷하다
to drink a glass of alcohol in one go

to neck with sb OLD-FASHIONED INFORMAL 애무하다
to kiss and hold a person in a sexual way

shoulder the blame/burden/responsibility/cost, etc.
to accept that you are responsible for something bad or difficult: (책임·부담 따위)를 떠맡다
It is women who mainly shoulder responsibility for the care of elderly and disabled relatives.
Teachers cannot be expected to shoulder all the blame for poor exam results.

Most English definitions from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

Anatomy 102 to follow...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Relaxing in Hurry-up Land / 빨리빨리 나라엔 쉬는 것

Ah, the holidays are a-comin'. Having been at this institute for 6 months now, it's time for me to take a vacation. If I can get all the visas sorted out fairly smartish, I'll soon be setting off from the Land of the Hurry-Up People (aka Korea) to the Middle Kingdom (aka China) for a couple of weeks of travelling and relaxing.

아, 휴가이 온다. 지금 이 학원에 6개월 있었으므로 휴가할때다. 비자들을 빨리 해결할수 있다면 몇 주간의 여행이랑 편히 쉬기 위해서 곧 '빨리빨리 사람들'의 나라(즉, 한국)에서 중국에 갈게.

Until things start moving, I'll leave you with a few words of eternal advice:
비자 상황이 바꿀 때까지 여기 영원의 충고 몇 마디다:

Talk to your colleagues, neighbours and friends, rather than bashing out e-mails and SMSs.
이메일하고 문자하는 대신에 동료이랑 이웃집 사람, 친구랑 말해봐.
Turn off your computer, TV and mobile.
컴퓨터랑 텔러비젼, 휴대폰을 꺼라.
Find pleasure taking public transport.
대중교통을 즐겨워 가봐.
Read a book a week.
일주에 책 한 권 읽어봐라.
Smile more often.
미소를 더 자주 쳐라.
Cook at home.
집에 요리해봐라.
Live life in the slow lane.
저속 차선처럼 천천히 살아가봐.
Think about your values when you buy.
무얼 살때 여러분의 가치관을 생각해라.
Be good to others.
남에겐 잘 대해 줘라
Notice how great your friends are.
친구들이 어떻게 좋은지 알아차려라.
Keep things simple.
간소하게 해봐라.
Always think positively.
긍정적으로 생각해라.

춤을 춰라.
노래를 불러라.
Drink as much water as you can.
될 수 있는 한 물을 많이 마셔봐라.


Don't just read the list and think about it...

Monday, October 24, 2005

A moment's relaxation - Korean films / 한국영화

OK, for no other reason than I need to take a bit of a break (and that, even living in Busan I managed to miss the famous Film Festival this year), here are my top 6 Korean films at the moment. I'll willingly take recommendations - I'd like to make this into a top 10. 지금 내 가장 좋아하는 한국 영화들은:

1 - <살인의 추억> English title: Memories of Murder
2 - <말아톤> English title: MaRathon
3 - <바람난 가족> English title: A Good Lawyer's Wife
4 - <엽기적인 그녀> English title: My Sassy Girl
5 - <스캔들> English title: Untold Scandal
6 - <올드보이> English title: Oldboy

if I were given unlimited funds...

British film director, Ken Loach, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper on 15th September, notes that if he had unlimited funds, he'd spend the money "demolishing all the postwar town centres and out-of-town shopping malls, and resurrect the nation's town centres on a human scale, with proper shops", comprising the best of contemporary architecture, on a human scale, with proper green spaces and decent transport.

Town centres should be places with dignity, and a sense of public importance, where it's nice just to sit around, have a drink, read the paper, and buy what you want to buy.

For me, I'd plow huge amounts into education, as I believe this to be the most viable solution to so many of the world's problems. To raise the quality and range, ensure everyone falls in love with learning and make it the respectable profession it again deserves to be. Then there might be a little cash left over to revamp public transport and market it as the enjoyable, affordable and sociable way to travel it should be.

What would you do with unlimited funds?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

For those of you familiar with Korea...

On Friday, thanks to the helpful Korean student of a Canadian co-worker, we were finally able to put a long-standing urban legend to rest. For details, see Wikipedia about so-called "Fan Death". There's a similar article in Korean over at Wikipedia Korea, called <선풍기 사망 사고>.

21일에 캐나다 동료의 한국 학생의 덕택에 오랫동안 계속되는 속설을 우리가 잘 해결했다. 더 자세한 사항은 Wikipedia(위키백과)의 "Fan Death(선풍기 사망 사고)"에 대한 글을 읽을 것.

With a nod to Gumbi, who got there first again.

Western Values / 서양의 가치관

From a thought-provoking article (깊이 생각하게 하는 글) from the Guardian, Sunday 16th October, entitled "Why Muslims reject British values"<이슬람교도가 영국 가치관을 거절하는 이유>:

But the greatest threat to Western values arises from globalisation and market fundamentalism, changes that affect personal morality. For the market reduces even personal relationships to a cash nexus. And the transition from welfare to market state has made corporations rather than people the priority of government, which, in turn, replaces moral values with commercial values, caring with indifference, altruism with selfishness, generosity with greed.

하지만 서양의 가치에 가장 큰 위협이 세계화와 시장 근본주의에서 일어나는데 사적인 도덕성에 영향을 미치는 변화들. 시장은 사적인 관계들도 돈의 연계로만 줄이기 때문이다. 그리고 복지국가에서 시장국가에의 변천은 사람들보다는 큰 회사들을 정부의 최우선 사항으로 만들었고 도덕적 가치관을 상업 가치관으로, 보살핌을 무관심으로, 이타주의를 이기심으로, 광대함을 탐욕으로 대신한다.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Englishes / 영어들

Spot the difference. 이것들 사이의 차이를 알아봐라.

Textbook English [교과서 영어], also too many teachers
Slowly, and with each word carefully enunciated
"The price of five dollars was acceptable, and I decided to purchase it."

Spoken English [구어 영어], also most movies and TV shows
at a natural speed
"It was, like, five bucks, so I was like 'okay'."

It's amazing how few people realise the difference between written language and spoken language. (소수의 사람이 문어랑 구어 사이에는 차이가 있는지 정말 놀라울 정도다.) It's surprisingly similar in every language I've come across. Language learners in a classroom environment and doing little outside class are most likely to be ignorant of this fact and also have little opportunity to notice. Is it any wonder so many of the language learners have difficulty speaking naturally and often use stilted, overly-formal vocabulary?

Many's the time I've overheard language learning cassettes and been dismayed at how forced and scripted the speaking sounds. (여러 번 언어학습 카세트를 귓결에 듣고 부자연스럽고 대본을 읽는 듯한 말소리로 실망시키곤 한다.) If students take the English they hear on these cassettes as examples of authentic English, won't they be completely lost in a situation where real interaction is taking place between fluent speakers?

I came across this article arguing that textbooks could benefit greatly from using corpora in their choices of words and phrasing; and that until this happens, language learners could benefit from the opportunity to notice the difference between textbook English and real English by comparing two texts of similar content of the two styles. For a wonderful example, of the two texts below, which is the authentic one? (다음 둘 대화 중의 어느 거 진짜인가?)

Text 1:
[At a local café]
Tom: Hey, Helen! Karini!
Helen: Oh, hello Tom.
Tom: I can't understand this menu. What's an aubergine?
Helen: Er, it's a kind of vegetable. It's long and round, and purple. In America you call it an eggplant.
Tom: Eggplant? Oh no, I don't like eggplant. What's a ploughman's lunch?
Karini: It's got a slice of bread, a piece of cheese, and some lettuce…It's sort of salad.
Tom: Salad ? That's rabbit food! Isn't there any real food? What's a black pudding - an ice cream?
Helen: No, it's a kind of sausage, Tom. It's made of blood…
Tom: Oh, that's gross!
Helen: Come on, I'll show you the local café.

Text 2
1 Does anyone want a chocolate bar or anything ?
2 Oh yeah yes please
3 Yes please
4 [laughs]
5 [laughs]
6 You can have either a Mars Bar, Kit-Kat or erm cherry Bakewell
7 Oh erm it's a toss-up between [laughs] the cherry Bakewell and the Mars Bar isn't it ?
8 Well shall I bring some in then cos you might want another one cos I don't want them all, I'm gonna be
9 Miss paranoid about weight aren't you ?
10 Yes but you know
11 You're not fat Mand
12 I will be if I'm not careful
13 Oh God
14 I ate almost a whole jar of raisins this weekend [laugh] my mum gave me all these
15 Look at her, look
16 She goes oh [inaudible]
17 What was that about, you said about you and your Mum don't get on [laugh] I'd say you got on all right with that big wodge of food there
18 We can relate to chocolate…I think they're the little ones actually so you can have one of them and one of them if you like
19 Oh those cherry Bakewells look lovely
20 They do don't they ?
21 Oh they were…gorgeous…did you say you'd like a cup of tea ?
22 Yes
23 All right then
24 Sound like a right mother don't I ?
25 You do
26 But they would go smashing with a cup of tea wouldn't they ?
27 They would yeah
28 Cup of tea and a fag
29 Cup of tea and a fag Misses, we're gonna have to move the table I think

Some familiar features of real spoken English (진짜 구어 영어의 여러 특징):
ellipsis (생략),
back-channelling (되돌아옴),
hesitations (주저),
ungrammatical forms (비문법적인 말),
informal colloquialisms (회화의 구어적 표현),
incomplete utterances due to interruptions and overlaps in turn-taking (불완전한 말),
rapid topic shifts and recycling as new topics are constantly introduced and recycled (빠른 화제를 바꾸고 다시 쓰임)

These lend fluidity to the conversation which makes it natural compared to Text 1 where there are no topic shifts thus forcing the conversation to sound very unnatural and rigid.

Fluency and being able to negociate meaning are of course important in language learning, but isn't it also vital to know if a particular meaning of a word is appropriate in a given context?
(see article for a corpora activity)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Life of Pi / 파이 이야기

On Friday I finally finished my latest 'subway book', the book I've been reading whenever waiting for and riding the underground. Life of Pi. By Yann Martel. Quite, quite interesting. And despite everyone I've spoken to about it saying they didn't like the ending, it made me chuckle loudly for a good few minutes, which I always appreciate. (I was simultaneously thinking "That's so sneaky!" and "Fair play to him!") If you haven't read it, it's definitely worth a look.

금요일엔 마침네 최근의 내 '하절책'을 읽어버렸다. 얜 마텔의 <파이 이야기>다. 너무 재밌었다. 또는 이 책에 대해 얘기한 아무 사람이나 엔딩이 좋아하지 않았음에도 불구하고 나는 몇분 동안 웃고 있었다. (동시에 "은밀했네!"라고 "공정했네!"라고 생각했지.) 못 읽었다면 읽을 만하다.

*Favourite quote: the "sweaty, chatty Son" of God.*
*좋아하는 인용: 하나님의 "땀을 흘리며 잡담을 좋아하는 아들".*

*Favourite illogical quote: "Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer."*
*좋아하는 비논리적인 인용: "사랑은 믿기 힘든데 아무 애인이나한테 물어보세요. 인생은 믿기 힘든데 아무 과학자나한테 물어보세요. 하나님은 믿기 힘든데 아무 신봉자나한테 물어보세요."*

And then pick up Martel's earlier book, Self, which I reckon is far more intriguing!
그러고 나서 흥미를 더욱 끄는 얜 마텔의 이전 소설인 <자아>를 찾아라!

연애의 목적

A few weeks ago now I saw the Korean film To do or not to do [연애의 목적]. I know, the English title leaves a lot to be desired, but it's a curious film about two teachers at a Korean high school who have a bit of a fling, even though the guy has a girlfriend and the woman is engaged.

몇주전 한국영화인 연애의 목적[영어 이름: To do or not to do]을 봤다. 맞다, 영어 이름은 부족하지만 한국 고등학교에서 남자는 여자친구 있고 여자는 약혼한데도 불구하고 짧은 성관계를 하는 두 선생에 대한 진기한 영화다.

He comes across as a childish moron with sex on the brain and not a clue how to communicate with women; she seems calm, collected, rather sad but looking to be loved. Like so many romances, it's really hard to see what she sees in him.

그는 섹스만 생각하고 여자랑 말할지 전혀 알지 못하는 유치한 멍청이라는 인상을 주는데 그녀는 태연자약하고 퍽 슬프지만 사랑을 찾고 있어 보이다. 아주 많은 연애처럼 그녀는 그의 어디가 좋은 걸 보기 진짜 힘들다.

Also, even after having been in Korea a while now, I had a lot of trouble trying to understand the attitudes portrayed on the screen. Why is it such a problem for the school that two single adults are sleeping together? And why is it any business of their superiors to interfere? Is it really so hard just to be happy for them?

난 한국에 한동안 있었지마는 스크린에 등장하는 태도을 잘 못 이해했다. 둘 독신 성인이 같이 자는 건 학교에게 왜 큰 문제인가? 그들의 상사들이 상관할 바인가? 그들의 관계 때문에 행복하는 거 안 될까?

However, far more scandalous than their love affair are the scenes of the male teacher violently beating students with a two-inch-thick plank of wood and threatening to kill them and their parents too...

그렇지만 이 정사(情事)보다 훨씬 더 언어도단인 게 남성 선생은 두께 2인치의 판자로 격렬하게 학생들을 연달아 치고 그들도 자기의 부모들도 죽이겠다고 위협하는 것인데.


Having missed out on a weekend of films due to a number of factors including a heavy workload last week and simply having a lot on my plate outside work too at the moment, when I finally made it to the box office to chose a film to see, all but the dozen least appealing films of the festival were fully sold out.

So, to raise my spirits a bit, I parted with a little of my money for a Thelonius Monk DVD. I admit that Monk's not to everyone's taste, but I've been a big fan for a while. (Dad, there's the CD of Live at the It Club tucked away in my collection at home if you're interested.) It gives a new dimension to his music to hear him speak (a man of scarce few words) and dance around the stage in his inimicable fashion, at the exciting pinnacle of the jazz era.

For some reason his playing reminds me too of one of the other little-appreciated geniuses of piano music who never fails to inspire me, Béla Bartók. His 3 Piano Concertos are, to my mind, magnificent in their rhythms and complexity and energy - though a lot of people can't seem to get over the lack of hummable tunes in his work.

Maybe that's why Monk and Coltrane went so well together: the lyrical saxophonist and the thoughtful, rhythmic piano player. Must put him on again tonight and jive along...

The Importance of being... Patient.

Finally I have time to write about this learning experience.

A student managed to offend me deeply last week. I knew she was having a hard time understanding what I said in class, but still, when she said something which implied I'm narrow-minded and know little about the world, instinctually my hair started bristling and alarm bells started ringing in my head. It took about two minutes of actively suppressing my anger, probing the student with, to be honest, fairly blunt questions about why she'd said such a bizarre thing bang out of the blue... to find out she'd misunderstood something I'd written on the board regarding light-emitting objects. Somehow she'd understood this as meaning 'recommending something enlightening' (or something along those lines) and was trying to give an example, wanting to say, "If you meet someone who is narrow-minded..."

The after-effects are that I'm still a little suspicious of her (really can't help it) and I'm making more effort to understand what learners are trying to express, instead of listening mainly to what they actually do say.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Very Korean

I've just been out and bought myself a yo, a traditional Korean sleeping mat: pure soft, warm, inch-and-a-half-thick, sleep-inducing cushiness! I'm almost looking forward to turning on the ondol, heated floor, in the winter and going into semi-hibernation.

방금 전통적인 한국식 '요'를 샀는데 부뜨럽고 따뜻하고 두껍고 참 오게 하는 편안함이네!

I bought it mainly because I have a visitor coming over from Europe this month, but also out of curiosity. It gets the official road-test tonight and I'm looking forward to it immensely!!


One more Korean word while I'm here. I keep coming up against this one and I've just looked it up in an online Korean dictionary:

자상한 남자 ja-sang-han nam-ja

a man who’s generous, understanding and ever-considerate

Saturday, October 01, 2005

orso polare / 북극곰

"Foto del giorno" over at Italy's Corriere Della Serra newspaper.
이탈리아의 <꼬리에레 뗄라 쎄라> 신문엔 오늘의 포토.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Punctuate this

I've just put down the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. I'd have to say, it's easily the most enthusiastic and humorous account I've read of the curly-tailed world of punctuation; however...

방금 란 책을 읽어버렸다. 구두법에 대한 책중 쉽게 가장 열광적이고 유머러스한 걸 말할수 있는데...

Punctuation, as she quotes in her introduction, is "a courtesy designed to help readers to understand a story without stumbling".

There's a surprising amount of emotion here too: the expectation of semi-colons; the elaborative, 'surprise-me' colon; the music of the bracket, the question mark and the exclamation mark; the lift-out italics; the dramatic whisper of the dash and the friendly inclusiveness of the double dash; the seemingly ill-starred hyphen; the intriguing trail-off of elipses...

I particularly like this:
"In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy, and the semi-colon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over-excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly."
The short discussion at the end on the effects the electronic age, Netspeak and emoticons ("a paltry substitute for expressing oneself properly") are having on the language is also worth a look, or a re-read.

EFL - Shaking her pen defiantly,...

Writing. I've been doing a lot of it with my classes this month. Three writing classes in fact, and the marking's been unenviable. However, a few interesting ideas have come out of this.

쓰기. 이번월 수업들에 이걸 많이 했다. 사실, 쓰기 수업 3개 있으므로 채점이 부럽지 않았다. 그렇지만 몇몇의 좋은 생각이 일어났다.

Sporting the slogan "where getting your daily writing 'fix' is considered much more important than fixing your writing", I find the site Writing Fix a great source of inspiration for creative writing, whether it's personal or for the classroom.

The most successful activity so far has been the writing storms. Taking a simple starting phrase, students have just 3 minutes to write the next section of the story. After they've written 3 or 4 of these, you might like to ask them to choose their favourite and expand on it for home work. Some example starters follow. I find the best way to catch imaginations in this activity right from the word go is to present an unfinished sentence, rather than simply a title or full first sentence.

On the highway between the two towns,...
Among the crowd of onlookers,...
Next to the button on his shirt,...

Hurrying away and looking directly at no-one,...
Stretching his neck to see better,...
Looking towards the vast horizon,...

After the search party had checked the field,...
As soon as the bell stopped ringing,...
Until the plane touched down,...

Bringing in pictures as prompts works well, but I find Korean learners need a fair amount of practice of creative thinking before this is tried.

Used as a warmer (or even in the last few minutes of class), this fast activity reinvigorates, keeps them on their toes and keeps those creative juices flowing!

Also, I adore the section on 'persuasive voice': the art of using intelligent reasoning, facts and feelings to convince someone to do something. However, they're not of the banal "Convince your boss to give you a raise" variety. Clicking the sentence generator yields such gems as "Convince your brother to grow a beard", "Convince a space alien to join a dance troupe" and "Convince your teacher to buy you an elephant".

EFL - Piff!

The time has come once again to revel in the pre-year-2000 romanisation of the name of this city. The Pusan International Film Festival, PIFF, is coming to Busan once again from 6th-14th October. Apparently films have been selling out much faster than usual this year as many detestable souls have been buying up tickets to sell off at inflated prices on

On the theme, here are a couple of tried and tested class ideas tenuously related to Asia's best* and biggest film festival (*Time Asia, Nov. 2004):

Brainstorming/writing movie outlines.

1. Pick up a copy of the movie listings for the festival. Select a handful of film titles that could be interpreted in various ways and write these on the board. Some examples from this year are: The Child, Big River, One Summer with You, Reaching Silence, Ghosts, Love is a Crazy Thing, Waiting, Five is Too Many, The Shoe Fairy, Writing on the Earth, The Hero, Holiday.

2. In small groups, students should agree on one of the titles that inspires them. From this, they can brainstorm ideas, choosing one they feel they can adequately flesh out, and create an outline or storyboard.

3. With the rest of the class listening interestedly as the film company execs, each group in turn should make a short presentation (the more dramatically performed, the better) to try sell their idea for big bucks. The film execs can say yay or nay, or give suggestions for further development.

Mix and Match.

Following the same broad plan as above, in pairs or small groups, students should choose a number of elements from each of the categories below (again, mainly from the PIFF screenings guide) and weave them together into a possible film outline or storyboard. Of course, they're free to throw in their own ideas too.

Possible Characters -- an ageing shopkeeper, a man just out of prison, a high-flying professional woman, a small dog, a famous singer, a political activist, a hot-shot reporter, the mummy of an ancient queen of China, a woman in a wheelchair, a transvestite, a stripper, a wise old man, the President, a pair of lovers, a busker, a theif, a monster, a reluctant hero,...

Possible Happenings -- an adopted baby, a fierce war, New Year's Eve, a gunshot in the night, a bombing at a nightclub, a daring robbery, a life-changing journey, a theft, a suspicious phone call, a duel, a boxing/sumo match, a marriage of convenience, explosions, a car chase in [insert city of your choice here], a bank robbery,...

Possible Themes -- love, hope and destiny; loneliness; fear; desire; the chaos of life; displacement and foreignness; freedom; personal and social responsibility; marriage; the importance of community; changes in life; journeys; language barriers; eternal love;...

Oily Korean - 느끼-하다

느끼-하다 neu-kki ha-da
very oily, unrefreshing and disagreeable
Usage: most commonly used as 느끼해(요), neu-kki hae(-yo).
To me, French sounds slimy.
That Elvis impersonator is so slimy/sleazy.

Some similar English words:

Literal translation: greasy - covered with or full of fat or oil
Collocations: greasy food/dishes/skin/hair

oily - Literal translation: 2 covered in oil or containing a lot of oil:
an oily rag; oily fish
Eg. I've got oily skin (= it produces a lot of oil).
3 too friendly and polite in a way that is not sincere

sleazy - dirty, cheap or not socially acceptable, especially relating to moral or sexual matters
Eg. This part of town is full of sleazy bars and restaurants.

slimy - DISAPPROVING If you describe a person or their manner as slimy, you mean that they appear to be friendly but in a way that you find unpleasant
Eg. He was the very worst sort of slimy salesman.

seedy - looking dirty or in bad condition and likely to be involved in immoral activities
Collocations: a seedy hotel; the seedy characters (hanging around outside the bar)

indecent - morally offensive, especially in a sexual way
Collocations: an indecent act/photograph
Eg. She accused him of making indecent suggestions to her.

smutty - DISAPPROVING related to magazines, books, pictures, films, jokes or conversations which offend some people because they relate to sex
Eg. I was really embarrassed by his smutty jokes.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

등산 / Hill walking

Today, for the very first time, I hiked my way up to the top of one of Busan's most well-known hills, Mt. Hwang-nyeong (황령산 - 427m), and then across the ridge to Mt. Geum-nyeon (금련산 - 417m). I've been meaning to do this for ages in fact, especially as I now live at the base of Hwang-nyeong and look at the multi-coloured broadcasting tower on its summit as I walk home each evening. The climb is steep, slippery (wear sensible shoes) and heart-pounding, but the views out over the winding sea of apartments which is Busan are quite spectacular. I feel quite invigorated! Must do it again soon.

If you're interested, there are a few suggested routes here.

오늘 나는 처음으로 부산의 유명한 산들 중 하나인 황령산의 정상에 등반하곤 산등성이를 따라 금련산까지 걸었다. 사실 오랫동안 이걸 할 작정이 있었었는데, 특히 지금 황령산의 산기슭에서 살고 있고 저녁마다 집으로 걸어가는 길엔 정상에 있는 다색의 방송탑(?)을 보기 때문이다. 기어오르기가 험준하고 미끄럽고 가슴이 쿵쾅 뛰게 하지만 아파트의 친친 감기는 바다인 부산의 전망이 훌륭하다. 기운이 솟는다! 곧 다시 해야지.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


The person I'm writing this for should understand my reasons...

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop. - Anonymous [사랑이 미소부터 시작하고 키스와 커지고 눈물로 끝난다.]

'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. - Alfred Lord Tennyson [전혀 사랑한 경험이 없는 것보다는 사랑해서 실연하는 편이 낫다.]

Him that I love, I wish to be free -- even from me. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh [내가 사랑하는 그는 자유로워지기를 바란다. 나에서도.]

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. - G. K. Chesterton [뭘 사랑하는 방법은 그것을 잃어버릴 수도 있을 것을 깨닫을 것이다.]

There is no remedy for love but to love more. - Henry David Thoreau [상랑은 더 사랑하는 수밖에 치료법이 없다.]

(For those of you who have sent me concerned e-mails, thank you for your consideration, but it's about a poor little lost dog...)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Very Korean 4

A few more useful Korean phrases:

잘-나다 [-라-] jal-la-da
This is most commonly heard as 잘났다, meaning something like an ironic "Great!" or "Oh, well done!"

길치 gil-chi
A person who has absolutely no sense of direction.

몸치 (춤치) mom-chi (chum-chi)
A person who has two left feet. An abysmal dancer.

음치 eum-chi
A person who's tone deaf.

기계치 gi-gye-chi
A person who's terrible with machines.


왕자병 (환자) wang-ja byeong (hwan-ja)

Literally, (a person suffering from) "prince sydrome". A derogatory name for a man who acts as though he's under the illusion that he is a great and noble prince.
Eg: 와, 철수 왕자병 심하다. Wow, Cheol-su's seriously stuck up. OR Cheol-su's on a serious ego trip.

공주병 (환자) gong-ju byeong (hwan-ja)

Literally, (a person suffering from) "princess syndrome". A derogatory name for a woman who acts as if she's under the illusion that she is a great and noble king. A completely stuck up or self-important girl or woman.

꽃미남 ggom-mi-nam

A man who looks 'beautiful like a flower'. A guy who looks very effeminate. A pretty boy. A fop.

붕어 bung-eo

Literally, a fish. A singer who usually mimes [mouths along / lip-synchs] to songs.

Eg: 저 가수 또 립싱크를 하다니 완전 붕어야. [That singer is miming again - what a complete phoney!]

Rules for Better Writing^^

I forget where I first came across this, but I've been reminded of it recently as I'm teaching a number of writing classes at present.

Rules for Better Writing
Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
The passive voice is to be ignored.
Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary.
Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
No sentence fragments.
Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
Be more or less specific.
One should never generalize.
Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
Avoid cliches like the plague.
Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
Don't use no double negatives.
Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
Kill all exclamation points!!!
Who needs rhetorical questions?
If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: resist hyperbole.
Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
Puns are for children, not groan readers.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Poem for Chuseok

Korea's Harvest Moon Festival, Chuseok, is just about here. It's the most important holiday of the year for most Koreans, and a time to kick back and relax for all us expats here. Here's a thought to lead the way:


WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

___- W. H. Davies

여 유

그게 무슨 인생이겠는가, 근심만 가득 차
멈춰 서서 바라볼 시간이 없다면

양이나 젖소처럼 나뭇가지 아래 서서
물끄러미 바라볼 시간이 없다면

숲을 지나면서 다람쥐가 풀밭에
도토리 숨기는 걸 볼 시간이 없다면

한낮에도 밤하늘처럼 별 가득 찬
시냇물을 바라볼 시간이 없다면

미인의 눈길에 돌아서서 그 아리따운
발걸음을 지켜볼 시간이 없다면

눈에서 비롯해 입으로 곱게 번지는
그 미소를 기다릴 시간이 없다면

참 딱한 인생 아니랴, 근심만 가득 차
멈춰 서서 바라볼 시간이 없다면

___- W. H. 데이비스

Debating - Baby Steps

I'm being asked to do more debates with my classes, so I thought I might share some of my thoughts and ideas on the subject with the wider teaching community.

This encapsulates my opinion of debating fairly well:
"At a time when issues to do with war, terrorism and civil liberties are so prominent, it’s essential for people to be able to reflect carefully on their opinions and argue rationally," says Waikato University [NZ] debating society vice-president James Anderson.
I also love the analogy [from Select Readings, OUP] that a Japanese/Korean conversation (and, by association, debate) is like baseball and a US/British conversation is like tennis. In Korea, if a topic is presented for debate, it tends to turn into a slow and disjointed affair where one person gives their general opinion on the topic (often with little tangible details or evidence). Then another person gives their general opinion of the topic, with little if any reference to the person who spoke before - like one batsman after the other taking it in orderly turns. On the other hand, Anglophones tend to play off each other, hitting the ball of the debate back and forth as they agree or disagree directly with their counterparts, having to defend their opinions and backhand volleys.

0. introduction
Perhaps help learners come up with some useful phrases for expressing their opinions - In my opinion/view,... I believe/think/feel,... I've heard/read that...
Also bring up possible expressions for agreeing and disagreeing - I agree; you see, the fact is... That's right, because... I don't agree; I think... I understand what you're saying; however... I can't argue with that, but... (It's the continuation that's vital to keeping the debate going, I feel.)
The range of this vocabulary is not too important at this point as the main focus is on the process of debating - these structures are just there to enable learners to practise this skill.

It can be very helpful to give a simple topic for a practice debate - ie. a topic on which people's views are easily polarised. Depending of course on the class, this could be along the lines of "ghosts exist" or "Korean films are better than US ones" or "dogs are far better than cats" or "prostitution should be legalised here".

Hold the debate. Note down any problems in learners' debating techniques (please don't overlook the positives!) and you might also want to take notes on the language used and how it might be reformulated.

Possible steps for further debates:

1. agree on a topic
Many debates are on current hot topics, so recommend that learners should keep themselves informed on current domestic and international events if they are to take part fully. Or, at least give them time to research the topic for themselves.

2. divide learners into two (or possibly more) teams
Because debating is a team event it is important that the the members of each team work together. One team will try to prove why the topic is true/positive and the other will try to prove why it is false/negative.

3. presentation and rebuttal
Each team presents points in favour of their case, giving examples, relevant facts and evidence (organisation and use of facts is also important); and then criticises the (main/central) arguments presented by the other team. Logical arguments are important - showing WHY the other team's main argument is wrong or does not make sense. This takes quick thinking and a sharp eye to spot the opposition's main argument.

Note also the importance of eye contact, body language and tone of voice.

In my experience, in a classroom environment it is useful to find out who holds what opinions and occasionally ask them to argue the opposite of their views. I reckon it can help to open their eyes to others' views of the world.

For a fuller exploration of the topic, see the link here.

a few transcripts:
The first Bush vs. Kerry debate
(spoof Bush-Kerry debate)
Kenneth Clarke vs. Iain Duncan Smith

And a few topics: The Times Debates

Monday, September 12, 2005

Very Korean 3 - 고소하다.백수.쭉쭉빵빵.방콕

고소하다 (go-so-ha-da)
(맛이나 냄새가) 볶은 참깨나 땅콩의 것과 같다 (a taste or smell) like roasted sesame or peanuts
(USAGE: Koreans traditionally seem to think this is deliciousness incarnate)
It can also mean something like "Serves you right!"

Searching for something entirely unrelated on Korean web browser 'Naver', I happened across a page (or, more precisely, many pages) on current Korean buzz words, yu-haeng-eo. (Link at bottom of post.) There's a LOT of information there, so may I recommend that you start at the end - page 107 at the last count - as you're more likely to come across words you've already been using.
한국 웹 브라우저인 <네이버>를 사용해 관계가 없는 걸 찾으면서 한국어의 유행어.신조어에 대한 페이지 (보다, 몇 페이지)를 마주쳤다. 거기 정보는 많는데 벌써 써 오는 단어를 마주칠 가능성이 훨씬 높으니까 난 끝(지금은 107쪽)까지 시작하도록 권한다.

I also hope that, by translating some of these, I can help those Koreans out there who are learning English find a way to express their everyday thoughts in English.
이렇게 이들 중 일부를 번역함으로써 영어를 배우는 한국인들은 자기의 일상 생각을 영어로 표현하게 도와 주기도 바란다.
Some examples / 예:

백수 (baek-su)
A jobless person. As this is a fairly informal term, perhaps it would be useful to translate it as "I'm between jobs." or "I'm out of work." The female equivalent is 백조, baek-jo, which also means 'a swan'.

쭉쭉빵빵 (jjuk-jjuk bbang-bbang)
A student with a perfect/ideal body. Tall and slender with long limbs and full-bosomed.
Eg. 내 걸프렌드는 쭉쭉빵빵이야. (My girlfriend's seriously hot.)

방콕 (bang-kok)
Nothing to do with the Thai capital, this is a person who lives walled up in their room (방에 콕 쳐박혀 사는 사람); or the situation itself of being walled up at home.
Eg. 너 방학동안 방콕했지. (You stayed cooped up at home all through the holidays, then.)

히키코모리(引きこもり) (hi-ki-ko-mo-ri)
In Japanese, this is when a person confines themselves to their room, withdrawing from the real world into their own cocoon. It is a recent Japanese term, defined by the Japanese Ministry of Health as "an individual who refuses to leave their parent's house, and isolates themselves away from society and family in a single room for at period exceeding six months, though many such youths remain in isolation for a span of years, or in rare cases, decades." They avoid family, sleep in the daytime and, like owls, wake at night and watch the TV and video, or surf the Internet. For food they will often search out food made by their family or often instant meals. They have no job. [Probably best expressed in English as "acute social withdrawal".]
Eg. 지난 한해동안 히키코모리로 폐인생활을 했다. (During the last cold snap I lived a castaway's life, shut away from the world.)

Link - click <유행어,신조어>.