Aug. 27th, 2017

Korean

Aug. 27th, 2017 05:07 pm
hollymath: (Default)
Was talking to [personal profile] matgb and [personal profile] innerbrat and [personal profile] magister yesterday and Mat told me how interesting Korean seems as a language: "Nobody really knows where it came from," he said. It's not related to other languages. Apparently there's a debate about whether Korean is related to Tamil, thanks to traders along the Silk Road, but that seems pretty mysterious in itself: why would that one group of people or words make an impact where apparently nothing else did?

I knew a little about the Korean writing system, which is also unique and intends to have similar sounds also look similar, and there's some connection between the characters and how the sounds they represent are made when they're spoken. This system, hangul, was apparently designed by the great Sejong, a 15th-century king (though he may have had help!), who was concerned at how few people could read and write so made this to help more people do so. He said, "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days." So maybe there's hope even for me! Amid early opposition from a literary elite that apparently liked being an elite, hangul was apparently used mainly for things like women's diaries and books for children. Which just makes it sound all the more awesome to me, frankly.

Then Debi started talking about all the Korean dramas she could tell me about that she liked. I can't remember the names, sadly, but she was able to inform me that they all involve a lot of women cross-dressing. She isn't sure if that's a facet of Korean culture or just that which has filtered through to and appealed to her. Girls dressing up as their brothers to get educations not available to women and that sort of thing seemed to be common.

Then James was telling me about a zombie movie (which I think is called The Train to Busan?) that he says is really good. "You should learn Korean so you can watch that without having to worry about the subtitles," he said.

Imagine, me turning up to Korean class on the first day and being asked why I'm there. "I've heard the dramas and zombie movies are good."

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