On Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015 I attended my first Korean language class.
Our friendly and encouraging teacher is Chang In Young. There were just six of us last week, though our group could expand somewhat; new students are still welcome to join the class. (See below for more info about that.)
We learned how to read and write consonants and vowels (the strokes must be written in a particular order, or they won’t look right), and how to write our names.
When Ms. Chang said that “kang” was the Korean word for river, I asked her if that was the same kang used to write the name of one of my fave actors, Kang Dong-won? (강동원) “Oh, you know about him?” she asked. (And, yes, indeed, his name is written the same way.)
Ms. Chang confessed that she really enjoyed Kang’s film Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard. It’s a period-action-comedy that was shown here in Montreal at the 2010 edition of the Fantasia Film festival. After a few more film-related questions, she had me figured out: “Ha, ha, you want to know all about the handsome actors!”
Ms. Chang told us a bit about levels of politeness and kinship terms, which are very important in Korean culture. I already knew about “oppa” – if you are a woman or a girl, you will call your older brother, your older male friend, or your (older) boyfriend, “oppa.”
A woman or a girl will use the term eonni (often spelled unnie) when speaking with her older sister or older friend.
A blog called Ask a Korean! has more information about this tricky business of how to address people.
I am taking this Korean language course because I hope to return to Korea some day, and I’d like to be able to say more than “thank you” when I do. Meanwhile, I hope to understand more when I watch Korean films or listen to Korean songs. I also want to be able to read the labels when I go shopping and to share a few words with the people who work in Korean stores or restaurants.
At Lesson Two I will try to ask my classmates their reasons for taking the course.
The spring session at Ganada Korean Language School runs until May 9, 2015, and costs $140, payable in cash or by cheque. Lessons are given at various levels. To keep the school clean and dry, students are asked to bring slippers, heavy socks, or shoes that they only wear indoors.
Ganada Korean Language School
St. Augustine of Canterbury Church
5333 Notre-Dame-de Grace Ave.
Montreal, QC, H4A 1L2
The church is near the corner of Decarie Blvd., next to the Manoir.
Call 514-377-5695 or 514-660-8213
Or send an e-mail to: email@example.com