Monday, October 31, 2005

Cidade de Deus / 시티 오브 갓

Last night one of my students and a friend of hers took me to see a film - Cidade de Deus (City of God), 2002. I'd heard of it while I was in Aussie, including that it being critically acclaimed. (It was nominated for 4 Oscars in 2004 - Best Cinematography; Best Director, Fernando Meirelles; Best Editing; Best Screenplay Based on Previously Published Material, from Paulo Lins's book of the same name.)

It was an amazing experience! OK, I really dislike violence and there was more than enough to turn any stomach; however, being based on fact and being also superbly acted and directed, I turned my mind to the poignant and incredible story that underpins the film. The story follows a young man, Buscapé, as he grows up against a background of escalating gang violence in possibly the world's most dangerous slum, the City of God, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.

Admittedly, it was on the long side, and the slang-laden Brazilian Portuguese was really tough to follow (maybe 40% comprehension), causing the other foreigners in the cinema to leave fairly early on. I found my eyes bouncing around the Korean subtitles - beginning, end, then middle - to match the order of the Portuguese I was hearing, and this combination (alongside the emotive acting) thankfully pushed my level of understanding up to around 80 percent.

Meirelles is also the director of a newly-released film, The Constant Gardener (again based on a book - John Le Carré's), starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for it when it hits Asia.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

EFL/Korean - Anatomy 101

In an effort to expand a few people's vocabularies in a useful (and hopefully useable) direction, and at the same time to demonstrate how 'verbed' English is, let's do a quick tour of body parts you can 'verb'. 사람이 몇 명의 어휘력을 쓸모있(고 쓸 수 있)는 방위로 확장하고 영어가 얼마나 '동사'된 언어이기 위한 노력으로는 '동사'할수 있는 몸의 일부들을 한 바퀴 돌자.

to head
to go in a particular direction: (…으로) 향하다
I was heading out of the room when she called me back.
We were heading towards Kumasi when our truck broke down.
He headed straight for (= went towards) the fridge.
I think we ought to head back/home (= return to where we started) now, before it gets too dark.

to hit a ball with your head: (공을) 헤딩하다
Owen headed the ball into the back of the net.

to be at the front or top of something: 첫머리에 (…을) 싣다
The Queen's carriage headed the procession.
Jo's name headed the list of candidates.

to be in charge of a group or organization: …을 지휘하다
She heads one of Britain's leading travel firms.
Judge Hawthorne was chosen to head the team investigating the allegations of abuse.

to head off (JOURNEY) phrasal verb
to start a journey or leave a place: 출발하다
What time are you heading off?

head for sth phrasal verb …할 나쁜 운명이다
to be likely to experience a bad situation soon, because of your own actions or behaviour:
They're heading for disaster if they're not careful.
The country is heading for recession.

to head-butt 박치기(를) 하다
to hit someone violently on the head or in the face using the front of your head

to eye (eyeing or US ALSO eying, eyed, eyed)
to look at someone or something with interest: 눈으로 보다
I could see her eyeing my lunch.
She eyed me warily.

eye sb up phrasal verb INFORMAL
to look at someone with sexual interest: 추파(를) 보내다
That guy in the grey jacket has been eyeing you up all evening.

eye sth up phrasal verb
to look closely at something that you are interested in: …에 눈독(을) 들이다
I saw you eyeing up that chocolate cake.

to eyeball INFORMAL
to look closely at someone: 빤히 쳐다보다
He eyeballed me across the bar.

to cheek UK INFORMAL
to be rude to someone: …에게 건방진 태도를 취하다
He's always getting into trouble for cheeking his teachers.

to nose
to (make a vehicle) move forwards slowly and carefully: 근소한 차로 이기다
The car nosed out of the side street, its driver peering anxiously around.
He carefully nosed his lorry into the small gap.

to look around or search in order to discover something, especially something that other people do not want you to find: (…을) 꼬치꼬치 캐다
There were some journalists nosing about/around.
The police came in and started nosing into drawers and looking through papers.

to mouth (a word)
to form (words) without actually speaking: 잠자코 입술로 표시하다
It looks to me as if the singers are only mouthing the words (= forming them with their lips without making any sound, 립 씽크(를) 하다).
She mouthed a hello to me across the crowded room.
[+ speech] "Can we go?" mouthed Mary.

mouth off (about sth) phrasal verb INFORMAL DISAPPROVING
to express your opinions too loudly and publicly: (…에 대해) 시끄럽게 떠들어 대다 / 떠벌리다
I had to listen to Michael mouthing off about the government all through lunch.

mouth off (to/at sb) phrasal verb INFORMAL DISAPPROVING
to speak in a rude or offensive way to someone: 말대꾸하다
She's a typical teenager, coming home late at night and mouthing off to her parents.

something you say to someone in a difficult situation in order to encourage them to be brave and try not to be sad: 힘내! OR 기죽지 마!
Chin up! It'll soon be the weekend.

to neck COLLOQUIAL 단숨에 들이마시다 / 원샷하다
to drink a glass of alcohol in one go

to neck with sb OLD-FASHIONED INFORMAL 애무하다
to kiss and hold a person in a sexual way

shoulder the blame/burden/responsibility/cost, etc.
to accept that you are responsible for something bad or difficult: (책임·부담 따위)를 떠맡다
It is women who mainly shoulder responsibility for the care of elderly and disabled relatives.
Teachers cannot be expected to shoulder all the blame for poor exam results.

Most English definitions from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

Anatomy 102 to follow...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Relaxing in Hurry-up Land / 빨리빨리 나라엔 쉬는 것

Ah, the holidays are a-comin'. Having been at this institute for 6 months now, it's time for me to take a vacation. If I can get all the visas sorted out fairly smartish, I'll soon be setting off from the Land of the Hurry-Up People (aka Korea) to the Middle Kingdom (aka China) for a couple of weeks of travelling and relaxing.

아, 휴가이 온다. 지금 이 학원에 6개월 있었으므로 휴가할때다. 비자들을 빨리 해결할수 있다면 몇 주간의 여행이랑 편히 쉬기 위해서 곧 '빨리빨리 사람들'의 나라(즉, 한국)에서 중국에 갈게.

Until things start moving, I'll leave you with a few words of eternal advice:
비자 상황이 바꿀 때까지 여기 영원의 충고 몇 마디다:

Talk to your colleagues, neighbours and friends, rather than bashing out e-mails and SMSs.
이메일하고 문자하는 대신에 동료이랑 이웃집 사람, 친구랑 말해봐.
Turn off your computer, TV and mobile.
컴퓨터랑 텔러비젼, 휴대폰을 꺼라.
Find pleasure taking public transport.
대중교통을 즐겨워 가봐.
Read a book a week.
일주에 책 한 권 읽어봐라.
Smile more often.
미소를 더 자주 쳐라.
Cook at home.
집에 요리해봐라.
Live life in the slow lane.
저속 차선처럼 천천히 살아가봐.
Think about your values when you buy.
무얼 살때 여러분의 가치관을 생각해라.
Be good to others.
남에겐 잘 대해 줘라
Notice how great your friends are.
친구들이 어떻게 좋은지 알아차려라.
Keep things simple.
간소하게 해봐라.
Always think positively.
긍정적으로 생각해라.

춤을 춰라.
노래를 불러라.
Drink as much water as you can.
될 수 있는 한 물을 많이 마셔봐라.


Don't just read the list and think about it...

Monday, October 24, 2005

A moment's relaxation - Korean films / 한국영화

OK, for no other reason than I need to take a bit of a break (and that, even living in Busan I managed to miss the famous Film Festival this year), here are my top 6 Korean films at the moment. I'll willingly take recommendations - I'd like to make this into a top 10. 지금 내 가장 좋아하는 한국 영화들은:

1 - <살인의 추억> English title: Memories of Murder
2 - <말아톤> English title: MaRathon
3 - <바람난 가족> English title: A Good Lawyer's Wife
4 - <엽기적인 그녀> English title: My Sassy Girl
5 - <스캔들> English title: Untold Scandal
6 - <올드보이> English title: Oldboy

if I were given unlimited funds...

British film director, Ken Loach, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper on 15th September, notes that if he had unlimited funds, he'd spend the money "demolishing all the postwar town centres and out-of-town shopping malls, and resurrect the nation's town centres on a human scale, with proper shops", comprising the best of contemporary architecture, on a human scale, with proper green spaces and decent transport.

Town centres should be places with dignity, and a sense of public importance, where it's nice just to sit around, have a drink, read the paper, and buy what you want to buy.

For me, I'd plow huge amounts into education, as I believe this to be the most viable solution to so many of the world's problems. To raise the quality and range, ensure everyone falls in love with learning and make it the respectable profession it again deserves to be. Then there might be a little cash left over to revamp public transport and market it as the enjoyable, affordable and sociable way to travel it should be.

What would you do with unlimited funds?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

For those of you familiar with Korea...

On Friday, thanks to the helpful Korean student of a Canadian co-worker, we were finally able to put a long-standing urban legend to rest. For details, see Wikipedia about so-called "Fan Death". There's a similar article in Korean over at Wikipedia Korea, called <선풍기 사망 사고>.

21일에 캐나다 동료의 한국 학생의 덕택에 오랫동안 계속되는 속설을 우리가 잘 해결했다. 더 자세한 사항은 Wikipedia(위키백과)의 "Fan Death(선풍기 사망 사고)"에 대한 글을 읽을 것.

With a nod to Gumbi, who got there first again.

Western Values / 서양의 가치관

From a thought-provoking article (깊이 생각하게 하는 글) from the Guardian, Sunday 16th October, entitled "Why Muslims reject British values"<이슬람교도가 영국 가치관을 거절하는 이유>:

But the greatest threat to Western values arises from globalisation and market fundamentalism, changes that affect personal morality. For the market reduces even personal relationships to a cash nexus. And the transition from welfare to market state has made corporations rather than people the priority of government, which, in turn, replaces moral values with commercial values, caring with indifference, altruism with selfishness, generosity with greed.

하지만 서양의 가치에 가장 큰 위협이 세계화와 시장 근본주의에서 일어나는데 사적인 도덕성에 영향을 미치는 변화들. 시장은 사적인 관계들도 돈의 연계로만 줄이기 때문이다. 그리고 복지국가에서 시장국가에의 변천은 사람들보다는 큰 회사들을 정부의 최우선 사항으로 만들었고 도덕적 가치관을 상업 가치관으로, 보살핌을 무관심으로, 이타주의를 이기심으로, 광대함을 탐욕으로 대신한다.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Englishes / 영어들

Spot the difference. 이것들 사이의 차이를 알아봐라.

Textbook English [교과서 영어], also too many teachers
Slowly, and with each word carefully enunciated
"The price of five dollars was acceptable, and I decided to purchase it."

Spoken English [구어 영어], also most movies and TV shows
at a natural speed
"It was, like, five bucks, so I was like 'okay'."

It's amazing how few people realise the difference between written language and spoken language. (소수의 사람이 문어랑 구어 사이에는 차이가 있는지 정말 놀라울 정도다.) It's surprisingly similar in every language I've come across. Language learners in a classroom environment and doing little outside class are most likely to be ignorant of this fact and also have little opportunity to notice. Is it any wonder so many of the language learners have difficulty speaking naturally and often use stilted, overly-formal vocabulary?

Many's the time I've overheard language learning cassettes and been dismayed at how forced and scripted the speaking sounds. (여러 번 언어학습 카세트를 귓결에 듣고 부자연스럽고 대본을 읽는 듯한 말소리로 실망시키곤 한다.) If students take the English they hear on these cassettes as examples of authentic English, won't they be completely lost in a situation where real interaction is taking place between fluent speakers?

I came across this article arguing that textbooks could benefit greatly from using corpora in their choices of words and phrasing; and that until this happens, language learners could benefit from the opportunity to notice the difference between textbook English and real English by comparing two texts of similar content of the two styles. For a wonderful example, of the two texts below, which is the authentic one? (다음 둘 대화 중의 어느 거 진짜인가?)

Text 1:
[At a local café]
Tom: Hey, Helen! Karini!
Helen: Oh, hello Tom.
Tom: I can't understand this menu. What's an aubergine?
Helen: Er, it's a kind of vegetable. It's long and round, and purple. In America you call it an eggplant.
Tom: Eggplant? Oh no, I don't like eggplant. What's a ploughman's lunch?
Karini: It's got a slice of bread, a piece of cheese, and some lettuce…It's sort of salad.
Tom: Salad ? That's rabbit food! Isn't there any real food? What's a black pudding - an ice cream?
Helen: No, it's a kind of sausage, Tom. It's made of blood…
Tom: Oh, that's gross!
Helen: Come on, I'll show you the local café.

Text 2
1 Does anyone want a chocolate bar or anything ?
2 Oh yeah yes please
3 Yes please
4 [laughs]
5 [laughs]
6 You can have either a Mars Bar, Kit-Kat or erm cherry Bakewell
7 Oh erm it's a toss-up between [laughs] the cherry Bakewell and the Mars Bar isn't it ?
8 Well shall I bring some in then cos you might want another one cos I don't want them all, I'm gonna be
9 Miss paranoid about weight aren't you ?
10 Yes but you know
11 You're not fat Mand
12 I will be if I'm not careful
13 Oh God
14 I ate almost a whole jar of raisins this weekend [laugh] my mum gave me all these
15 Look at her, look
16 She goes oh [inaudible]
17 What was that about, you said about you and your Mum don't get on [laugh] I'd say you got on all right with that big wodge of food there
18 We can relate to chocolate…I think they're the little ones actually so you can have one of them and one of them if you like
19 Oh those cherry Bakewells look lovely
20 They do don't they ?
21 Oh they were…gorgeous…did you say you'd like a cup of tea ?
22 Yes
23 All right then
24 Sound like a right mother don't I ?
25 You do
26 But they would go smashing with a cup of tea wouldn't they ?
27 They would yeah
28 Cup of tea and a fag
29 Cup of tea and a fag Misses, we're gonna have to move the table I think

Some familiar features of real spoken English (진짜 구어 영어의 여러 특징):
ellipsis (생략),
back-channelling (되돌아옴),
hesitations (주저),
ungrammatical forms (비문법적인 말),
informal colloquialisms (회화의 구어적 표현),
incomplete utterances due to interruptions and overlaps in turn-taking (불완전한 말),
rapid topic shifts and recycling as new topics are constantly introduced and recycled (빠른 화제를 바꾸고 다시 쓰임)

These lend fluidity to the conversation which makes it natural compared to Text 1 where there are no topic shifts thus forcing the conversation to sound very unnatural and rigid.

Fluency and being able to negociate meaning are of course important in language learning, but isn't it also vital to know if a particular meaning of a word is appropriate in a given context?
(see article for a corpora activity)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Life of Pi / 파이 이야기

On Friday I finally finished my latest 'subway book', the book I've been reading whenever waiting for and riding the underground. Life of Pi. By Yann Martel. Quite, quite interesting. And despite everyone I've spoken to about it saying they didn't like the ending, it made me chuckle loudly for a good few minutes, which I always appreciate. (I was simultaneously thinking "That's so sneaky!" and "Fair play to him!") If you haven't read it, it's definitely worth a look.

금요일엔 마침네 최근의 내 '하절책'을 읽어버렸다. 얜 마텔의 <파이 이야기>다. 너무 재밌었다. 또는 이 책에 대해 얘기한 아무 사람이나 엔딩이 좋아하지 않았음에도 불구하고 나는 몇분 동안 웃고 있었다. (동시에 "은밀했네!"라고 "공정했네!"라고 생각했지.) 못 읽었다면 읽을 만하다.

*Favourite quote: the "sweaty, chatty Son" of God.*
*좋아하는 인용: 하나님의 "땀을 흘리며 잡담을 좋아하는 아들".*

*Favourite illogical quote: "Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer."*
*좋아하는 비논리적인 인용: "사랑은 믿기 힘든데 아무 애인이나한테 물어보세요. 인생은 믿기 힘든데 아무 과학자나한테 물어보세요. 하나님은 믿기 힘든데 아무 신봉자나한테 물어보세요."*

And then pick up Martel's earlier book, Self, which I reckon is far more intriguing!
그러고 나서 흥미를 더욱 끄는 얜 마텔의 이전 소설인 <자아>를 찾아라!

연애의 목적

A few weeks ago now I saw the Korean film To do or not to do [연애의 목적]. I know, the English title leaves a lot to be desired, but it's a curious film about two teachers at a Korean high school who have a bit of a fling, even though the guy has a girlfriend and the woman is engaged.

몇주전 한국영화인 연애의 목적[영어 이름: To do or not to do]을 봤다. 맞다, 영어 이름은 부족하지만 한국 고등학교에서 남자는 여자친구 있고 여자는 약혼한데도 불구하고 짧은 성관계를 하는 두 선생에 대한 진기한 영화다.

He comes across as a childish moron with sex on the brain and not a clue how to communicate with women; she seems calm, collected, rather sad but looking to be loved. Like so many romances, it's really hard to see what she sees in him.

그는 섹스만 생각하고 여자랑 말할지 전혀 알지 못하는 유치한 멍청이라는 인상을 주는데 그녀는 태연자약하고 퍽 슬프지만 사랑을 찾고 있어 보이다. 아주 많은 연애처럼 그녀는 그의 어디가 좋은 걸 보기 진짜 힘들다.

Also, even after having been in Korea a while now, I had a lot of trouble trying to understand the attitudes portrayed on the screen. Why is it such a problem for the school that two single adults are sleeping together? And why is it any business of their superiors to interfere? Is it really so hard just to be happy for them?

난 한국에 한동안 있었지마는 스크린에 등장하는 태도을 잘 못 이해했다. 둘 독신 성인이 같이 자는 건 학교에게 왜 큰 문제인가? 그들의 상사들이 상관할 바인가? 그들의 관계 때문에 행복하는 거 안 될까?

However, far more scandalous than their love affair are the scenes of the male teacher violently beating students with a two-inch-thick plank of wood and threatening to kill them and their parents too...

그렇지만 이 정사(情事)보다 훨씬 더 언어도단인 게 남성 선생은 두께 2인치의 판자로 격렬하게 학생들을 연달아 치고 그들도 자기의 부모들도 죽이겠다고 위협하는 것인데.


Having missed out on a weekend of films due to a number of factors including a heavy workload last week and simply having a lot on my plate outside work too at the moment, when I finally made it to the box office to chose a film to see, all but the dozen least appealing films of the festival were fully sold out.

So, to raise my spirits a bit, I parted with a little of my money for a Thelonius Monk DVD. I admit that Monk's not to everyone's taste, but I've been a big fan for a while. (Dad, there's the CD of Live at the It Club tucked away in my collection at home if you're interested.) It gives a new dimension to his music to hear him speak (a man of scarce few words) and dance around the stage in his inimicable fashion, at the exciting pinnacle of the jazz era.

For some reason his playing reminds me too of one of the other little-appreciated geniuses of piano music who never fails to inspire me, Béla Bartók. His 3 Piano Concertos are, to my mind, magnificent in their rhythms and complexity and energy - though a lot of people can't seem to get over the lack of hummable tunes in his work.

Maybe that's why Monk and Coltrane went so well together: the lyrical saxophonist and the thoughtful, rhythmic piano player. Must put him on again tonight and jive along...

The Importance of being... Patient.

Finally I have time to write about this learning experience.

A student managed to offend me deeply last week. I knew she was having a hard time understanding what I said in class, but still, when she said something which implied I'm narrow-minded and know little about the world, instinctually my hair started bristling and alarm bells started ringing in my head. It took about two minutes of actively suppressing my anger, probing the student with, to be honest, fairly blunt questions about why she'd said such a bizarre thing bang out of the blue... to find out she'd misunderstood something I'd written on the board regarding light-emitting objects. Somehow she'd understood this as meaning 'recommending something enlightening' (or something along those lines) and was trying to give an example, wanting to say, "If you meet someone who is narrow-minded..."

The after-effects are that I'm still a little suspicious of her (really can't help it) and I'm making more effort to understand what learners are trying to express, instead of listening mainly to what they actually do say.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Very Korean

I've just been out and bought myself a yo, a traditional Korean sleeping mat: pure soft, warm, inch-and-a-half-thick, sleep-inducing cushiness! I'm almost looking forward to turning on the ondol, heated floor, in the winter and going into semi-hibernation.

방금 전통적인 한국식 '요'를 샀는데 부뜨럽고 따뜻하고 두껍고 참 오게 하는 편안함이네!

I bought it mainly because I have a visitor coming over from Europe this month, but also out of curiosity. It gets the official road-test tonight and I'm looking forward to it immensely!!


One more Korean word while I'm here. I keep coming up against this one and I've just looked it up in an online Korean dictionary:

자상한 남자 ja-sang-han nam-ja

a man who’s generous, understanding and ever-considerate

Saturday, October 01, 2005

orso polare / 북극곰

"Foto del giorno" over at Italy's Corriere Della Serra newspaper.
이탈리아의 <꼬리에레 뗄라 쎄라> 신문엔 오늘의 포토.