Friday, December 10, 2010

여보세요 is もしもし

Image from news blog

Thought I'd share a little bit of my personal journal with y'all. 
"Found a podcast today about useful Korean phrases. Apparently 여보세요 (yeoboseyo) is the equivalent of もしもし(moshimoshi). Learned another thing .... actually, I already knew this: Korean phonetics make NO sense to me. "Yeoboseyo" sounds nothing like that to me. It sounds more like "Doo-goo-say-yo." Japanese romanji - as long as you know the vowels - is fairly simple to read. Even so, Japanese isn't nearly as fun as Korean. When you speak Korean you have to talk like you have marbles in your mouth. It's rather fun."
Quick note for everyone: もしもし and 여보세요 are both words for "hello." The interesting thing is that these are only used for two reasons. The first is for a greeting over the telephone. The second is used when a person is spacing out. For example:
  1. *ring ring* Moshi Moshi?/Yeoboseyo?
  2. *waves hand in front of friend's face* Moshi Moshi? Yeoboseyo? Anyone there? 

Both languages fascinate me. And for very different reasons. I was thinking last night about what I liked about them and came up with a few things:

Things I like about Japanese:
  • Romanji are easy to sound out.
  • Katakana/hiragana is fairly simple.  is always "shi."  is always "ku."
  • It's not harsh on the ears. I think of the sound as like a grown woman. Very sophisticated. 

Things I like about Korean:
  • It's much more attractive to the eye. The vowels and consonants are fairly easy to distinguish and the alphabet is one unit [instead of three like Japanese - kanji, hiragana, katakana. There's no kanji (adopted Chinese characters).] The only downside is the fact that it changes when you have so many of whatever. Like the "'y' to 'i' and add 'es'" rules in English. If Japanese reminds me of a sophisticated woman, Korean reminds me of a super cute child. 
  • The y's, b's, o's, l's and m's make for a fun time. Marbles, people, marbles.
  • It's not tonal, but it has a few phonetics that sound similar to Chinese (like the "xiè" in 謝謝)
Learning it is interesting. Since I don't know anyone who speaks either fluently, I'm listening to podcasts (which, by the way, are the most amazing things to ever happen for language. I'm currently looking for one in all Spanish so I can work on my listening skills.) I'm trying to develop an ear for sounds. I can already identify several sounds that I'm going to struggle with - just like the Japanese struggle with "r." Do any of y'all do this? Try to identify sounds that you can't quite get right and say them?

What languages are y'all learning? What resources do you use to gain a better understanding of it? If you listen to podcasts, what ones are your favorites? What ones do you suggest?

*おまけ* My name in hangul is 제시카 (Jesika); and in hiragana, it is じえしか (Jeshika).
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