I’m currently auditing a class at Sogang called 읽기와 쓰기 or, in plain English, Reading and Writing. More than trying to pass for an undercover student (even though I own and proudly wear a Sogang 과잠 university jacket) I’m exposing myself to this ordeal because I desperately want to improve my Korean writing. When I passed Topik level 6 in November it was in spite of, and certainly not because of my Korean writing.
I’m actually not writing much in Korean on a day-to-day basis, save for a couple of text messages, which, let’s be honest, mostly consist of pretty low-key expressions like 어엉 (mmm), ㅎㅎㅎ (hehe), ㅋㅋㅋ (haha), 뭐해 (whatcha doin’), 헐 (whoa), 개웃김 (LOL), and a few work-related emails every week. For precisely that reason, I felt I should take advantage of being able to upgrade this important language skill.
I’m currently working on a long essay which is due next week (and which I really should be writing instead of this blog post – well, I guess creative procrastination isn’t the worst kind). My teacher usually sets the limit at 2000 Korean characters, but for this one, she told me to go as far beyond this limit as I could stomach. The topic of my paper, which is based on a 40-page long essay, is the basic philosophies of Christianity and Buddhism and how the two major religions can coexist in a modern Korean society. Easy-peasy… NOT.
Anyway, in my preparation for writing this paper, I’ve now read said 40-page long essay twice, and highlighted and underlined like crazy. I also had to look up a lot of words and I have thus now proudly added gems like 배타성 = exclusiveness (I managed to throw this one in casually during a phone conversation earlier today), 다원성 = multiplicity, 공통분모 = common denominator, 멸망의 길 = the way to ruin, 어처구니없다 = preposterous, 전파하다 = disseminate, 구원 = salvation, 구약 = the old testament, 성찰 = introspection, and 세속주의 secularism, just to name a few, to my ever expanding Korean vocabulary.
While reading the essay I noticed several sentence patterns that I’m totally planning on copying in my own essay when I eventually start writing so I can sound equally smart (there, I admitted it: I haven’t started yet;;). By the way, copycat in Korean is called 따라쟁이.
To inspire my fellow Korean learners out there, I’m going to share a couple of them with you here:
… 부인할 수 없는 사실이다 = … is an undeniable fact.
… 우리의 현실일는지도 모른다 = ... may just be our reality
이미 언급한 바와 같이 = as mentioned before
N이라 해도 크게 틀리지 않을 것이다 = to say that N is … is not quite wrong
V + ㄹ/을 이유가 어디 있겠는가? = (rhetorically) what would be a reason for V+ing
한 걸음 더 나아가 = furthermore/moreover
I hope you found this useful. I’m debating with myself whether I should make guides as to how to write emails in Korean or how to write text messages or comments on social media in Korean. Feel free to let me know in the comments if this would be interesting to you.
Now I’ll get started on writing my paper. Really. I will.
Must. Fight. Urge. To. Watch. Netflix.