2 In Korean learning journey (:

Foreigner Talk

Came across this term in my classes. I can’t really remember the exact definition, but it talks about how we naturally try to simplify our speech when talking to someone else who isn’t a native speaker of the language. For example, knowing that the other party’s native tongue is XX but is currently learning english, I’ll naturally avoid using difficult words, complex phrases and try to simplify my sentences. We do this to facilitate conversation, avoid embarrassing the other party etc – all in good will.

But from the perspective of the foreign language learner, it’s not very helpful. It makes it harder to reach native-like grasp of the language when you are exposed to over-simplified sentences, slower speech etc. More so if you are not immersed in the culture and are relying on a few native speaker friends to improve your speaking skills.

Actually, I’m guilty of it too. If I meet a learner of English or Chinese (unless I know that he/she happens to be really good), I’ll try to speak slower and make my sentences simpler. But come to think of it, is it helpful to the person or not? This question becomes harder to answer if the other party is at an intermediate proficiency level.

Personally, I prefer it if my friends treat me like a Korean XD (or at least until I ask them to slow down) In this way, I’ll be constantly reminded of how much harder I have to work in order to achieve that level of proficiency. ^^

나는 한국인 못지않게 잘 하고 싶어. ㅋㅋ (욕심 많은 것 같죠!)

Any thoughts on this issue?

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    lyrynne
    19 October, 2009 at 7:22 PM

    I agree! My Korean friends always talk to me in simplified Korean and sometimes in 반발 so I can catch up with the conversation but it’s not really helpful. What I do is I watch Korean news where I can get difficult vocabs and grammar keys.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      25 October, 2009 at 9:30 PM

      I’ve never watched the formal korean news before! ^^ Perhaps I shall find some videos on youtube 😀

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