Korean Lessons For Beginners – What You Should Know
If you are reading this, chances are you are not a native speaker of Korean and is interested to learn the language. Nevertheless, there are quite a number of prerequisites you have to acquit yourself with before you exercise your expertise in the Korean language.
Effective communication is not just about speaking a language, it also involves how you speak it, when you speak it and to whom you are speaking to.
Why is this important?
By enrolling yourself in a Korean class in Singapore, you are very likely to find yourself immersed in the Korean culture, as though you are really in Korea. While some Korean natives have embraced a number of western cultures, most of them still hold first to certain traditions that seem inconceivable to westerners.
Koreans uphold one of the highest forms of respect
Imagine yourself walking down the sidewalk and meeting a middle-aged woman. Out of your all-normal-western-culture, you decide to ask her name and introduce yourself. Chances are that she won’t be too happy about that.
The reason is simple. Koreans usually interact with each other while considering quite a number of social factors. They highly respect age, gender and the position one holds in the society. The catch here is that culture is largely reflected in their language.
For most Koreans, casual talk is virtually inconceivable in certain circumstances
Hypothetically in some cultures, you can organize to meet up with one of the wealthy CEOs, maybe to strike a deal.
Although it may be your first time meeting up, you may call each other by name, settle down for some coffee or catch up on personal issues despite the age difference. There would be nothing strange in that meeting.
The same cannot be said of the Korean people. The norm is that Koreans deliberately keep a distance from their superiors, such as directors and bosses (원장님).
What you should do
As a non-native speaker of Korean, you should understand that in Korea, you should not address your boss or your director as your equal. You will notice that most Korean literature usually put a lot of focus on the polite ending –요 to help learners start off their speaking experience in the Korean language.
The difficult part is getting your head around mastering how Koreans use honorifics when speaking to someone of a higher social status, even in their absence. You will learn this by constant practice.
You should not worry too much about not knowing a lot. After all, you are not a native speaker, and people will obviously not expect you to know all the details on how to speak good Korean language.
Get used to talking to the elderly using titles instead of just their names. You will eventually get the hang of everything through constant learning and practice. Consider getting your Korean classes from a qualified and competent teacher so you can learn more about the language, culture and customs.