Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Korean Lessons

Hopefully I'll be wearing one of these traditional Korean Hanboks when I'm in S. Korea next month. I'm meeting up with my mom and family to celebrate the Chinese New Year (but mostly to see my family).

So in the meantime, I'm basically doing some Korean-language cramming. I've been practicing some useful phrases with my mom over the phone--but it's really hard!!! The pronunciation has to be exact, or else it sounds like you're saying something else, something horrible.

For instance, I tried to say, "This tastes so delicious!" But my mom said it sounded like I said, "I do not like the way this tastes." And then I tried to say, "I'm really happy!" But my mom said it sounded like I said, "I want to die,". (Like, die meaning, I want to kill myself. Not, I'm dying from laughing too much!)

Also, I've been learning Japanese for a while too. At the Korean lesson tonight, I was conversing with one of the teachers, and everytime I wanted to say "yes", I kept almost spitting out the Japanese word, which is "hai". But I kept stopping myself right at the last second, so it basically sounded like I was a panting dog, "H--, h--, h--" was my response. My mom did tell me that I sounded like a Japanese person trying to speak Korean.

Oy gevalt!


p. ahn


  1. Awww good luck !!! you can do this! :) That's so cool. You're bilangual now!

  2. My mum's maiden name is Ahn and she's from South-Korea aswell, interesting :)

  3. Ah, hanboks are definitely beautiful. Good luck with the language cramming and enjoy the food in Korea. I miss it dearly.

  4. Haha aww, languages are tricky. I try speaking little phrases of my parents' mother tongue (Tagalog) and my Mom just laughs at me. It's hard though going back and not being able to communicate well.

    So good for you trying to learn it! I know it's not easy when an adult. I pretty much just give up and blame my parents for not teaching me when I was young... good for you to take the high road XD

  5. If you need even more Korean-language cramming, I can be your sounding board!

  6. Watching Park Chan-wook movies is about as close as I'm likely to get to learning Korean!
    Good luck with it, I understand it's among the most difficult to learn.
    I've always found the feminine/masculine differences in non English languages the weirdest thing to crack - if it's a shoe, who cares if it's masculine or feminine, it's a shoe!

  7. ahh korean is the easiest of the asian languages, but it's so difficult nonetheless. i blame my mom for my lack of korean, this is something that i should've learned before 5. 23 and learning a new language.. time needs to stop in order too have that happen. 행운을빌어 (totally googled that ^_^ )

  8. A crash course in the Korean language would probably have helped even just a little. I was born in Seoul, but raised in the United States for most of my life & lost the ability to speak Korean. As you can imagine, visiting relatives in Korea was a bit....awkward as I could not communicate with all but two, my aunt & one cousin.

    Have a great time on your trip.

  9. According to friends, I butcher my Korean pronunciation into sounding Japanese too. The languages are somewhat similar, pronunciation-wise... anyway, as musicians with a well-developed critical ear, I'm sure nailing down the right pronunciation will come in time.

  10. One of my friends is in your Korean class!

    BTW, I'm a graduate music student at USC, and I'm doing a jazz version of your song, "Wallflowers" -- I'm sure you're inundated with people giving you covers for your song, but if you want, I'd be happy to send an MP3 your way once I'm finished...

  11. I think you have a secret desire to learn Yiddish.

  12. That's hilarious. I took some Chinese language classes and would do similar things. I kept wanting to say "si" because Spanish kept popping into my brain. Have a great trip.

  13. That is how I feel when I am learning a new language. I feel like I am an animal trying to make sense of it all. I love your music. I am so happy I found this. I love blogs.

  14. Hello! This is my first time commenting. And I must confess that i can totally understand your troubles. Learning both korean and japanese at the same time can be terribly confusing.

    I've caught myself thinking of korean characters when I should be writing japanese and having sonsaengnim on the tip of my tongue when i should be saying sensei. It's nice to know that there's someone out there who is also challenging both languages.

    Actually, a trick i've come up with is to think of the written words before i say them. Maybe it will work for you too!

  15. So weird, when I also try to speak one foreign language, another foreign language comes out instead! I think the foreign language center of my brain must be cross-wired.

  16. ive tried learning Korean as well and when i try to say drink coffee im kopee mashaeyo they tell me that im saying nose bleed rather then coffee

  17. there's a "Joy Luck Club" reference in here somewhere, I'm sure of it. I tried to learn Korean once, but after "hello", I pretty much just sound like I'm doing a really bad impression of a Japanese man - I had to stop out of shame :(

  18. hi priscilla! i first saw you on a koream article! please check us out at www.myspace.com/aaronandjane
    we would love to open up for you. we are trying to find our niche in the indie music world. peace....

  19. It makes me remember when i tried to learn French. It was when i was 12 or 13. I thought French was so difficult, with the "ou", "que", "quelle", "au"... but my teacher, madame, was a monster, an ogre. Guess i learnt just... from fear. (hope she doesn't read this :P)

  20. A Korean language podcast might help.. I'm looking for a good one right now. Good luck!

  21. CuteI spent 2 weeks in S. Korea- loved the people and city,stopped asking what I was eating 2 days into my visit-Just ate and enjoyed the food. But would still prefer hamburgers and pizza. I am sure you will look sweet and beautiful in the Korean traditional clothes- Please take pictures and share.Oh, also the men treat the women like its 1955 in the US- surely an experience to have.

  22. Oy! Well, it sounds like I'm in the same boat as you in the Korean language department. Can't speak/write/read a lick of it. Good luck with the cramming!

  23. Hi Priscilla,

    Hope this doesn't burst your bubble but did you know that one study found out Korean was the hardest language for children to learn ... supposedly, on average, they couldn't master some grammatical procedure until the age of five.

    BTW, your post inspired my most recent blogpost ... we both have half-asian backgrounds. Please let me know if you have any thoughts.

    Ganbatte/Sí se puede/Jiāyoú/Keep trying, you can do it!

    How would you say that in Korean?

    Please post pictures of your Hanbok!


  24. That lady in the photo is actress Kim Hee Sun . I like her drama movie "Sad Love Story"


  25. Yeah I know what you mean.
    You could order crab (게) dish in a restaurant and sound like you're ordering dog (개).

    And there's the possibility that they actually bring you a dog dish.

  26. Sounds like a soon to be memorable trip.

    I was listening to my 8 yo son in the other room a minute ago. I'm thinking, "what is that calming tune he is humming? It took me a minute to realize that it was the refrain (?) from "Dream". I haven't played that song in weeks....yet it is stuck in his head...you have very young fans girl. :) Have a great w/e.

  27. It's the bridge actually isn't it? Anyhoo..love your sense of humor (your laugh is the best)

  28. Hi Priscilla Ahn,

    I've heard your song for the first time several months ago, and fell in love with yours.

    I think you're coming to Korea to celebrate KOREAN (Lunar) New Year's day, "Seol-nal"!
    I hope you come soon and enjoy..
    And please post your photos wearing hanbok :)

  29. haha so funny! I speak japanese too and i do the same thing... i'm french and when i want to say "oui" "hai" came out so naturally! and in french it's means "ouch" lol

    gambatte ne!

    Much love


  30. I like the sound of Korean. It has this versatility that it might sound harsh like Japanese at times. Yet it is mellow and soft and affectionate. It is funny though, I am saying all of this but I don't know a single word.

    I am sure you've already seen them, but in case you did not, cute Korean Movies like My Sassy Girl, Windstruck might serve as a fun way to fill your ears with Korean.

  31. dear priscilla,

    from a huge fan & fellow korean american korean language learner... some sites i find helpful:

    try koreanclass101.com :]
    or actually, the completely free and really new talktomeinkorean.com.

    best of luck! hope you have a great lunar new year trip.

  32. Wow and I thought French was hard. At least with that I just end up sounding like an American with bad pronunciation.

    Good luck on your Korean lessons!

  33. that is great that you are trying to learn. i want my children to be able to speak too, but they only know the basics. hanboks are beautiful!!! make sure you buy one while you are there. much cheaper than buying one here or having it shipped. :)

  34. haha...this is too funny! It shouldnt be too difficult to learn Korean in L.A.! You have so many Koreans there! Go to Ktown and you get to practice ;)

  35. PriscillaAhn hello. I am a Japanese fan. Please show me the address of fan mail to Priscilla Ahn.

  36. Hi Priscilla! I'm glad I came across your blog because 1. I love reading blogs and 2. it's your blog! My boyfriend and I really enjoy your music and we think you have a cute voice haha. My favorite songs of yours are "Wallflower" and "Red Cape". I love singing to them. :p

    Anyways, I wanted to tell you about a blog that I'm currently using called Tumblr. I'm not sure if you've heard about it before, but I just wanted to let you know because it's awesome. There are so many pictures, quotes, music, etc that you can re-blog from. I think you'd like it. So if you ever plan on getting another blog and you decide to use tumblr, go to tumblr.com and let us know! I'd like to follow your blog! Okay, I feel like an ad so I'll stop now. :x


  37. annyong!

    Anyway, absolutely love your music. Do you ever find it somewhat strange and unsettling that people actually love something you create? Or are you full of confidence and utterly egotistical? :P

    (This has nothing to do with your post, so sorry for digressing) Good Luck with the linguistic endeavors!

  38. ha ha I can imagine what you said to your mother. " na , jook go ship er. " maybe.

    and i can tell you one nice colloquial korean.

    "zzang i ya" means,

    it's the best of the best.

    you can use it for all good things around you.

  39. Ah! I'm trying to learn Japanese and Korean too. Well mostly Japanese but I've been dabbling in Korean as well. I'm completely infatuated with Asian culture and language. And the Korean language just sounds so super cute <3

  40. 안녕 프리실라!ㅋ
    visiting to korea for this 설날?
    that's what she said!
    who is she? you cousin.

    there's a korean fanpage 4 u.

    months ago...
    one day, a girl, who said she's your cousin, wrote that you will come to korea to see your 할머니 on this site.
    i was like, 'wow priscilla's cousin?? envy her, but is it true?'
    and then you guys went to japan.
    so i thought maybe that girl is not priscilla's cousin. -_-;;

    and then she uploaded pics of your EP and japanese dolls and wrote that your mom gave her your EP and you gave dolls to her.
    so i was like, 'hmmm maybe she's not lying she's actully her cousin, then why didn't she come to korea just next to japan?

    and then you wrote this!!!
    i'm like, 'WOW that girl is really priscilla's cousin!!'ㅋㅋㅋ

    she wrote that when your mom gave your first EP to her family, she said "우리 실라 첫 앨범이야-"(this is My Scilla's first record)
    she used '우리 실라(My Scilla / Our Scilla)'
    i think this is cute.... 우리 실라...(^.^;;)

    this is a very very very late comment.
    i actually read this post weeks ago,
    but i couldn't comment 'cause of lack of confidence in writing in english and fear of taking much time and my laziness.
    my major was english but i'm not good at it. (shame!)
    it takes more time to write in english.
    anyway this time i did!

    휴... ^.^;;
    그럼 안녕, 프리실라!ㅋㅋㅋ

  41. heylo ;]
    i went to korea this past month and although i think im really good at korean, im soo not. i have that "american accent" apparently. haha

    its okay if they dont understand you completely, because i bet they still love you for who you are, or thats what im assuming since my relatives did the same thing to me. haha.

    have fun in korea and happy chinese new years to you. make this year be a successful year for you ;]

  42. Haengbokhada...
    Jooga!!!! lol You make me laugh Priscilla.