posted by eunac
Technically, Korean is my “first” language although I am American born and raised. Before I went to school I learned Korean from my parents. In fact, watching my home videos from when I was a baby, I’m amazed at how much better I was at Korean then than I am now. Luckily, in middle school I was intensely interested in Korean culture, so I can communicate in, write in, and understand Korean fairly well. That being the case, something has always bugged me about English. We all know that in Azn culture, it is extremely important to show respect towards our elders and our language reflects that. There are formal and informal ways of saying the exact same thing. In English, however, that isn’t really the case. We say, “How are you?” to both our friends and our elders in the exact same way. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m simply stating that as a person who has grown up with Korean culture, it’s odd for me. I always feel like I’m being rude when I ask an older person a question and simply use the word “you” instead of… I don’t know, something more formal. However, I’ve noticed that in America the relationships between older and younger people are more easy-going than in Asia and the language could be a big factor into why that is. Perhaps youngsters feel more at ease with elders because we essentially speak in the same way to them as we would someone our own age. All I know is that I don’t necessarily feel comfortable when my friends’ parents tell me to call them by their first name or when I’m asking a teacher a question and I keep using the same “you” that I would use with a friend – it just seems rude to me, and that definitely ties back in with the culture and language differences. I often wonder why English doesn’t have more formal language. I’ve studied Spanish and French in school, and I know that those two languages have the same kind of formal language that Korean has (and I’m also sure that many other languages have formal language as well). So why doesn’t English?
posted by eunac
When I first started college, I decided that I was going to be a Biology major. This was a shocker to my family (and myself, actually) because I always said that I would never in a million years go into the sciences or anything related to math. Thinking back, I’m sure I decided to major in Biology because I wanted to do something that would make my parents proud. I wanted my parents to be able to impress their friends by telling them that I was studying to become a doctor – it sounded so perfect. The problem, of course, was that I was utterly miserable. I thought about my future in the sciences and I was lost. I couldn’t think of a single career in the sciences that was worth going through all those years of unhappiness.
After contemplating it thoroughly, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t do this to myself and switched majors to a subject I’ve always loved: English. I was afraid that my parents would disapprove and tell me that an English major would be useless, but that’s the funny thing about parents – they always know how to catch you off guard. My parents were surprisingly supportive and told me that if I did what I loved, I’d be successful. They even told me that they were glad I wasn’t trying to become a doctor because they didn’t want me to live a stressed out life dealing with patients and all that doctor stuff.
Whenever I tell my friends or people I meet that I was a Biology major and switched to English, they all give me the same poorly concealed baffled look and ask, “Oh… So what do you plan to do with that major? Are you going to teach?” As for now, I’m not totally sure what I want to do with my major (just a few ideas) but I’m not worried. I have plenty of time to decide what exactly I’m going to do, but I know one thing for certain: I’m going to be rich and rub it in all their faces.
What? You thought I was going to end this post with something cheesy about me being happy? Puh-leeze ;)
posted by eunac
I don’t know if this is just a Korean thing specifically or an all-around Azn thing, but there’s a joke that my family members (myself included) always recite whenever we can. In order to “tell” the joke, a piece of food needs to be stuck to you (usually it’s rice). When someone points out that there’s food stuck on you, you respond with, “I’m saving it for later.” My dad, who loves getting a good laugh out of people, usually takes it a step further and tells us more details about when specifically he plans on eating the piece of rice.
This was a relatively pointless post but it’s something that happened at dinner tonight so I thought I’d share :)