I spent some of my Easter holidays finishing the awesome Korean proverbs book “유행어보다 재치있는 우리 100대 속담”, a book featuring 100 Korean proverbs explained for children. I bought it back in September, but thought it was slightly too challenging at the time. I forgot all about it during my fall semester where the focus was on speaking, speaking, and speaking. Then, as I had tired greatly of my Integrated Korean Advanced 1 textbook, I decided I needed something lighter and searching my ever-expanding Korean library I rediscovered this gem of a book. Now, the proverbs may not be super useful per se, but the stories are so much fun to learn with. I was also surprised at how many relatively basic words I didn’t know, while I’m perfectly capable of saying “price elasticity of demand” in Korean. This has now been remedied and among the words I have added to my Korean vocabulary are 사슴 deer, 비단 silk, 죽 porridge, 사공 sailor/boatman, 음매음매 moo (the sound a cow makes), 참새 sparrow, 허수아비 scarecrow, 밑창 sole (of shoe), 코 후비다 to pick your nose, 외양간 barn/stable, 댕기 ribbon, 오줌 pee, 방앗간 mill, 굴뚝 chimney, 돼지 저금통 piggy bank. Granted, not all words you use everyday but definitely words you need to learn if you want to become fluent.
Reading through the book I frequently discovered proverbs that have English equivalents in meaning albeit not as direct translations. Among my favorites were:
미운 아이 떡 하나 더 준다 (The squeaky wheel gets the grease)
모르면 약이요, 아는 게 병 (Ignorance is a bliss)
아니 땐 굴뚝에 연기 날까 (Where there’s a smoke, there’s a fire)
가재는 게 편 (Birds of a feather flock together)
고생 끝에 낙이 온다 (Practice makes perfect)