Tuesday, October 7

Invasion of the White Dog, and Chanting Hangeul

The national dog of South Korea must be the tiny white variety. They toddle across the street on short leashes, parade around in their little striped Polo sweaters, ride imperiously in the arms of old women and young men alike, and sit in manicured and meticulously groomed rows on the vet's bench (the vet in blue scrubs who I have a sort of window-shopping crush on every morning as I pass his office).

Today I learned the chant for the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, with instruction from a supervisor and the enthusiastic guidance of my students. It sounds something like this. Ahem.

Ca-na-da-l/ra-ma-bpa-sa (breath) a-ja-tcha-ka-ta-pa-ha. Those are the consonants coupled with the first vowel. The vowels sound like this. Ahem.


Claire keeps asking me, can't you hear the difference between "guh," and "gkuh," and "gkkuh." I think she makes the first one softer and an iota closer to "g" than "k," the second a smidge more like a "k" than a "g," and the third she just spits through closed teeth. Really, they sound the same to me every time, just with a different attitude behind them. The giyeuk, the kieuk, and the ssang-giyeuk. The mild, the annoyed, and the pissed off.

But, I feel I am in good company, learning alongside my students, and I feel that, even though they laugh at me when I practice my new words on them, they are really rather encouraging.

By the way, I find it amusing that my notebook for Korean practice is labeled "English Notebook."


  1. Very beautiful picture of the dragon fly. Did you take it yourself?

  2. Sure did take it myself. Proud? It was on a lamp post at the corner coffee shop Angels-in-us.