If you don’t know the culture, you’ll never truly know the language. Don’t just look at a textbook. Watch the dramas, the movies. Listen to the music.
Language learning is all about engaging with the culture. And recently, I encountered a great example of why cultural knowledge (historical, current, popular – any and all forms of cultural knowledge) is key to linguistic competency.
In a group chat with well over a dozen native Koreans, I’m a quiet American. We mostly talk business opinions there – should we start this new side project, how should we respond to this request for promotion, what are our stats for last month. That sort of thing. It’s my unofficial training ground for the kind of Korean that I never got around to learning in college: business Korean.
So, sentence by sentence, I pull it apart. And then I run into a word I cannot find anywhere.
궁예질. Continue reading