韓文自我介紹

四天前我描述了一件事情:我叫了一個韓國朋友幫我錄音一些常用的句子,然後我每天聽了很多遍。我以為只要這樣下去我就會把這些句話背下來,因此講韓文的時候就可以隨時用到。這個方法不僅沒有成功,而讓我失去了很多動機,因為我快就聽翻了,沒興趣聽下去,但並沒有背下來。

後來想一想,我發現了其中一個問題應該是那些句話是完全沒有語境。難怪它們又不好記又無聊(無聊不就是不好記的定義嗎?)。

我想再試試看。這一次,我編的句子都是跟我生活有關,而是我第一次認識一個人的時候會幾乎每次都用到的話。這些話我並不知道正確韓文怎麼說,所以我要再找一個韓國朋友幫我修改,再錄音下來。我的韓國朋友真辛苦。

一下是我編的句子和我猜測的韓文版(肯定是錯的):

My name is Isaac.      이름 Isaac 입니다

What’s your name?     이름 입니다?

I’m 29 years old.      이십 살 입니다

How old are you?      살입니까?

I like to learn languages.      언어를 배우고 싶습니다.                         

I’ve learned Korean for two months.     나는 개월 한국어를 공부했다

I also like to cook, and bake bread.      요리 빵을구워 도싶습니다.      

I work in a bakery in Taiwan.     대만의 빵집 에서 일한다

What do you like to do?     취미 는 뭐니?

This is what happens when you don’t go to school

I’ve been learning Mandarin Chinese for about eight years, and I’ve been told many times that I have an almost native-sounding accent. The people who said this were doubtless exaggerating to pay me a compliment, but it’s been enough to make me complacent.

The problem is, after hearing me speak Chinese for a while, it soon becomes apparent that something is wrong. I have a good accent, and I can banter almost like a Taiwanese person (huge gaps in cultural context/awareness notwithstanding, but that’s another topic for another time), but where I fail is in differentiating levels of formality. When things get serious and I have to stand up and make a speech, or open a bank account, or negotiate with my gym’s sales representative — all situations that require a more formal tone — I still just do the banter.

I’m like a Taiwanese person who never went to school. This is not to say that I’m illiterate. But almost all of my reading and writing has been done in the context of personal communication. My reading hasn’t progressed much beyond manga. I can count the number of novels I’ve read in Chinese on one hand. And aside from a few months in Chengdu when I was just starting, I never studied Chinese in a classroom. It’s no wonder I sound uneducated.

Maybe this realization will finally get me to sign up for Chinese classes. In the meantime, I’m just going to try reading and writing more in Chinese, on the assumption that this will also improve my speaking. Specifically, I’ll start making some entries here in Chinese, and then I’ll ask a native speaker to correct my writing as if correcting a paper in school, using more formal writing standards.

Wish me luck!