To the Folks in My Writing Class

Welcome to my Blog!

It has been sometime since I last updated my blog but this was an excellent excuse to make a new post!

This blog is about my experiences while living in South Korea and also updates on Korean Language, culture, and locations that have been the focuses for my studies.

I hope you all enjoy reading my past posts!

To my current subscribers:

I know it’s been a while… As a new father and full time military individual, my time has been chock full of busy activities. I’m sorry for any disappointment, but I look forward to posting here again soon! Leave me a comment about any Korean topic you are interested in and I will make that my focus!

An open forum on North Korea

 

I know I typically post items with length that do not require feedback; however, due to recent events, I am kinda curious about the general public’s views on the situation between North Korea and the rest of the world. Whether for or against, interested or simply do not care – whatever your views – they are welcome here. This is not a trash talk place – but at the same time, be honest. Do the recent events with the North incite fear or do you think it pointless or over-the-top?

I am breaking from the mold for a reason. After putting up my post regarding praying for peace on the Korean peninsula, I have decided to focus more on that issue in the coming days. I would like feedback as to what you think in order to get a good grasp on the prevailing views in regards to this topic.

One rule: Be professional. I don’t need to see insults slung around at people who disagree.

Also, help me out! Send people this way to give their opinions as well. I understand my audience is not very big so your help in providing people the opportunity to share their ideas on this topic will greatly enhance its output.

Now, with all that being said, Comment away and let me know your thoughts. There is no restriction on the subject matter EXCEPT that it must have something to do with North Korea and current events.

Your participation is greatly appreciated!!!

I will do my best to put in my two cents here and there~

A Prayer for the Peninsula…

As I’m sure most of you are aware, things have been steadily heating up between North Korea and South Korea (and all those allied with her). No matter my views, this is not a Post to Provoke. This is more of a Prayer for Peace. I am in the military, and that means I do what is ordered of me. Without question. I do this well, and will continue. However, although being one who is versed in the art of war, I still wish everyday for peace to come on the Korean peninsula.

I understand that some of my readers may not believe in prayer, or God. I can respect your views. I just ask that when you read this, you can view it as my wish for peace and stability for the people of Korea.

Today, I am lifting my voice up for the people who live on the Korean peninsula. I know this happens almost like clockwork, where one side or the other side blames each other for starting provocations. Threats fly around, fears begin to rise, and suddenly we find ourselves staring at another Cold War. I pray that the leaders of all parties involved will do their utmost to bring about peace that all of the innocents and citizens can enjoy.

Once upon a time, Korea was one. Perhaps one day that can happen again. However, those in leadership can not continue to sow discord in place of deliberation or spit provocations to acquire provisions.

War is not the only option, unlike some are shouting, and I pray everyday that – somehow – a peaceful solution can be reached without the needless bloodshed that so many are threatening. Someone has to make the first move. Someone has to stand up and be the hero of the time.

I know that, in the views of some, calling for peace can be viewed as weak. The last time I checked, saving innocent lives is the act of the heroic, not the cowardly.

I pray for Park Geun-Hye, president of the Republic of Korea, that the Lord would give her strength to make the right decisions for her people. I pray that she will take a stand for what is right in the face of danger but, at the same time, call everyday for a peaceful solution to the issue.

I pray for those who ally with the South, and their leaders. Particularly, I pray for the leadership of the United States, as they have the largest “foreign” hand in the affairs of the South (I am not saying that they are interfering. Merely that they are a big player in these activities). I pray that, while continuing to protect their citizens and those of their allies, that they can remember all throughout that peace should be the first way. Always. Make the right decisions for the American people, the South Korean people, and do that which will bring peace. The North Koreans are well aware of America’s capabilities. It may be time to dial down… This may help in diffusing an already stressful situation. There comes a time when repeating oneself over and again only brings irritation and can be viewed as a threat. Yes, the US and her allies should have no problems defending themselves. Let’s start requesting from North Korea an alternative to war instead of consistently reminding them that they can wipe them off the planet.

I pray for Kim Jong-Eun, and those around him that carry power in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).  I pray that they will embrace peace and come to a stop on their threats. They claim they are being threatened. If this is how they feel, the best thing they can do is open up dialogue and attempt to diffuse the situation. I pray that, instead of threatening to turn cities into a “sea of flames” they will understand that it is only making the situation worse.  Showcasing missiles and weaponry, naming cities that they want to obliterate, threatening to kill specific people – all of these things can not be accepted in the international community.

I feel like someone. anyone, needs to press the PAUSE button on the drama happening in Korea and begin to make a difference. Even if no one attacks, and the situation diffuses on its own, what happens next year? What happens the next time? There HAS to be a way to bring this terrible cycle to an end.

I have seen leaders visiting their allies, but what if leaders amongst the rivals met face to face? Both sides are taking hardline (and they feel necessary) stances towards each other. At this time, to prevent something that will change the face of the earth, its time to find a better way.

HOWEVER:

Building of nuclear weapons is not the answer.

For the North: The leadership has to realize that a nuclear weapons program will NEVER be accepted among the international community. Right or wrong? Irrelevant. Therefore, they must come to this understanding. They MUST relinquish this desire if they hope to avert war.

HOWEVER:

There is ALWAYS a way to negotiate.

For the South and her allies: What will it take to convince the North to relinquish their desire to build nuclear weapons? If the standing desire is for a denuclearizing of the Korean peninsula, we have to find out a compromise. One more powerful country can not go into another country, demand something of it, and expect them to fall in line. Some compromise HAS to be implemented.

This all sounds circular and there is a reason for that. BOTH sides have to do SOMETHING. Otherwise, this situation, this cycle, will only continue for the unforeseeable future.

No one, no matter what side they are on, desires this continued looming threat of doom and despair.

The leaders, not the politicians in high positions, the LEADERS need to meet. Park Geun-Hye and Kim Jeong-Eun. I know it sounds insane. Perhaps nothing would come of it. However, one of them should request to meet and do so with a mind for peace for both sides their people. Notice I didn’t say China or the USA. The leaders of both countries, meeting face to face for the entire world to see, both making the gamble in the name of peace…. Yes, I feel that it would be the start of something promising.

No matter what the future holds for Korea, I pray that innocents will be kept safe and that somehow, someday, the threat of ever impending war on the Korean peninsula will become something of a distant memory….

A-MEN

 

Mother Father Gentle MAN!

So I heard it, and I liked it! Hard to say how the world will react to PSY’s to single “Gentleman” but I will stand up as a fan right away. I enjoy the lyrics and the beat. I look forward to seeing the music video! My recommendation? Go to iTunes. Find it. Download it. Now.

 

 

 

 

 

Why are you still reading this? GO! 빨리~~

Good job, Psy!

THIS IS THE REASON I HAVE NOT WRITTEN ANYTHING IN A WHILE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reason I have not written anything in a while....

I will hopefully be back in action soon but… being a brand new daddy takes a lot of my time! His name is Ewan Lee Clark. In Korean, it is 이유안~

Famous Historical Figures: Choe Young

In this post series, we will look at some of the more famous people throughout Korean history that have gained great fame for their heroic deeds in safeguarding, fighting for and/or promoting the Korean way of life. In this first post, we will travel back to the 1300’s and look at a great General by the name of Choe Young 최영.

Choi Young Image

An artistic rendering of General Choe Young

One of the first lessons he was taught as a child was from his father: “Do not be covetous of gold.” It has been said that this was completely true about the life of Choe Young. Living to serve his king and country, Choe Young has been viewed as humble, loyal, patriotic, full of integrity, a strong leader, and a great protector during the Goryeo dynasty.

Map of the land under control during the Goryeo dynasty (in yellow) The green outline shows the land of the entire Korean peninsula (South and North) as of today.

Choe Young had a busy career serving the kings of the Goryeo dynasty. Some notable achievements were his battles against Japanese raiders that continuously badgered the coast. Another (and perhaps one of his more famous) doings was putting down a rebellion headed by a Jo Il Shin who attempted to overthrow the king and instate someone new as a ruler. Choe Young swiftly reacted and saw the end of this rebellion with all haste.

When the Red Turban Rebellion broke out, Choe Young again was given a time to shine. During this time period, Goryeo was technically considered part of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. The rebellion that broke out was targeting the weakening Yuans and Choe Young was called out to assist in fighting against the attackers. His successes during the numerous battles he participated in won him worldwide fame. When he returned to Goryeo, he reported to King Gongmin how weak a state that Yuan was truly in. This gave the king the idea to try and take back lost land. Of course, Choe Young was the key figure in any plan to fight for Goryeo.

Over the course of his life, General Choe Young fought in the military, rose to the rank of Commander-in-Chief, and even became mayor of Pyongyang. His end came as he fought against those who were once his allies. General Yi Seonggye, choosing to side with the Ming Dynasty, came back to Goryeo with the intention to storm the palace. He knew the only way to the king was through General Choe Young.

The hero put up a gallant fight. Unfortunately, in the end, he suffered defeat and was eventually beheaded at the order of General Yi Seonggye – who would become the first king of the new Yi (or Joseon) dynasty. Just before he died, Choe Young made a statement that no grass would grow on his grave because of the way he was put down. It will be interesting to know that, due to the red soil, grass did not grow for centuries over his grave.

In modern days, Choe Young has gained some more fame as his story has been put to television with a fantasy twist and also a naval vessel has taken his name.

신의 (Faith) was a Korean television series that depicted General Choe Young and his conquests against the Yuan dynasty. The general himself was played by Korean actor Lee Minho.

Choe Young is also the name of a Republic of Korea nave destroyer that is currently near Libyan waters. It recently was successful in rescuing and reacquiring a Norwegian tanker that had been stolen by Somalian pirates. Also, the ship was used to evacuate 32 Korean nationals who were stranded in Libya.

Well, I hope you found this interesting! I am in the process of finding other historical Korean figures to write about. If you have any suggestions, let me hear them! Also, if you have any other Korean research topics you are interested in, shoot me a message. I am always up for tackling new topics!

Until next time!

Hangul: The Korean Alphabet (Part 3)

Several posts back I introduced the way I find it easiest to learn and pronounce some Korean letters. In two separate posts I introduced Some basic Korean consonants and vowels. Today, I would like to add 5 more consonants (the last five) to the list! Hopefully, they will not be difficult at all so we can learn them quickly!

!!!!FYI: Most of the example words I will use in this one are not necessarily REAL Korean words and are not really menat to be. I am simply building syllables as a demonstration of how to make the sounds. I don’t consider this post advanced enough to make words so, I picked letters at random and combined them together. If they are real words, they aren’t supposed to be. And if they aren’t, well, that was the point. Ok… Here we go!

1.     ㄲ

If you look closely at this one, it should look familiar. Do you remember the letter ㄱ ? Well, this one is similar – very similar in fact.

At the beginning of a word: When this consonant is used at the beginning of a word, it will make a sound very close to ‘g’. However, this is a guttural type sound and usually should be emphasized well. I know this may not be the very best explanation, but lucky I have an idea to help you pronounce the letters this time. I will provide a syllable that includes these consonants in it. All you have to do is copy/paste it into Google translate and then listen to the voice say the syllable for you by pressing the audio button! This can help.     꼼

At the beginning of a syllable, NOT the word: This one will take the form of a gutteral ‘k’ sound. Be careful not to aspirate the sound. Just make it very defined and you should be alright! Here’s the practice syllables to show you what I mean.     남꼼

If this appears at the end of the syllable, it will make a ‘k’ sound. Not too difficult right?

2.     ㄸ

Another double consonant? Yes. This one is, again, similar to another consonant we previously reviewed: ㄷ .

At the beginning of a word: This one will take a sound very similar to that of our English ‘d’. The sounds of these consonants, although closely related to their single consonant counterparts, MUST be distinguished when pronouncing them. If you pronounce a ㄸ like a ㄷ then it could change the entire meaning of the word! “That’s a little drastic!” you may say. Well think of it this way. Two words. Road and Load. They mean two completely different things. Well, A person learning English from Korea may have a very VERY difficult time making any kind of distinction between the two. They do not possess a letter that makes a DEFINITE ‘l’ or ‘r’ sound. The ㄹ consonant makes a sound somewhere in between. So, imagine if they are having a conversation about a ‘Load’ when the whole time they were trying to talk about a ‘Road’. Anyway, here is the syllable for you to check out.     똔

At the beginning of a syllable NOT a word: This one will take the form of a well-defined ‘t’. To be very honest, I find it difficult to distinguish this one. Sometimes it sounds like a strong ‘t’ and other times its more like a weak ‘d’. In this case, practice and listening to a native Korean is the only way to master these. Make sure not to aspirate and you’re good to go!     아뚠

If this one appears at the end of a syllable, it will make a ‘t’ sound. Ok, moving on!

3.     ㅆ

By now, you should be seeing a pattern. Yes, all five of these new letters are double versions of letters previously covered. This one may be a little difficult to see a difference. The ㅅ and the ㅆ (at least to me) sound extremely similar. When pronouncing this one, just make sure that you define the ‘s’ very well and keep a stiff tongue. Try comparing these two syllables in the translate engine to see if you can here a difference.

사        싸

When this letter is used at the end of a syllable (and it is… often), then it will TYPICALLY make a ‘t’ sound. However, this syllable is notorious for being followed by a ㅇ consonant. Do you remember the rule for a syllable starting with a ㅇ? If a syllable that is not at the beginning of a word starts with ㅇ and the previous syllable ended with a consonant, then the (beginning) sound of that previous consonant will take the place of the null sound from ㅇ. For example! 있어요. If you break down the syllables each by themselves, then you would pronounce this as “it (eet)” + “eo” + “yo”. However, look at the end of the first syllable. You see that ㅆ consonant right? What letter IMMEDIATELY follows it? Yep! The ㅇ ! So, according to the rule, the ㅆ sound has to replace the ㅇ right? So the syllable would be pronounced more like this: 이써요 ~ 이서요. I (EE) + Seo + Yo = Iseoyo.

Do me and you a favor and take this syllable 있, put it into the translator and listen to how it sounds. Now, take this word and listen to it 있어요. See how it changes?

4.     ㅃ

Double consonant number 4! Ready, Set, Go!

At the beginning of a word: This one will make a sound which some people says is a strong ‘p’ but I believe makes a sound closer to a ‘b’. It does not get any aspiration so don’t blow a lot of air out when you pronounce this one.

At the beginning of a syllable and NOT a word: This one takes a form closer to a strong ‘p’. Here are two examples to see if you can tell the difference of the sound it makes based on its location in a word.        빠          오빠

FYI. You will find differing opinions on how some of these letters are pronounced depending on who you talk to. The thing is, just like in English, there are NUMEROUS exceptions to the rules presented. My goal here is to start you off into your learning experience and give you some tools you will need to get started on your Korean language learning quest!

5.     ㅉ

The fifth and final double consonant is here! This one stumped me for a little while but the rules I will give you are what work best for me. At least, when I first began.

When used at the beginning of the word: The most common sound I have noticed when pronouncing this one in this location was the ‘j’ sound. 짝   <— Put this syllable in the translation engine and see what you hear.

When it is used at the beginning of a syllable but NOT a word: At first, I found that the letter’s sound changes slightly to make more of a strong ‘ch’ sound when used in this location. However, the sound this letter makes both at the beginning of a word and at the beginning of a syllable are very VERY similar.

In all of these double consonants, try to think of them as stronger, more defined versions of their single consonant counterparts. Again, practice makes perfect. Listening to native speakers also helps tremendously.

FYI, a translate engine can only help so much and I offer it as a way to hear words spoken. However, they should ONLY be used as a last resort. Because I have not paid to make this website my own, I am unable to post any recordings of these letters being pronounced. Referring you to a third party is my only option for now…. sadly.

I hope this was informative and helped you learn something new. I am always looking to better my understanding and if you have any knowledge that can prove helpful, PLEASE share it! Also, if I come up with a better way to explain this information, I will update these posts and let you all know!

Thanks so much. Until next time!