Korean children's book - Stories to help you learn the language

Five Common Misconceptions About Korean Childrens Books For Beginners | korean childrens books for beginners

The columnist as a adolescent with her grandma, Woo Ran (Image: Elie Gill)

Korean children’s book – Stories to help you learn the language – korean childrens books for beginners | korean childrens books for beginners
Korean for Children 4: Basic level Korean for Children Book 4  - korean childrens books for beginners
Korean for Children 4: Basic level Korean for Children Book 4 – korean childrens books for beginners | korean childrens books for beginners
Am I small? 내가 작니?: Children’s Picture Book English-Korean – korean childrens books for beginners | korean childrens books for beginners

I bethink the aboriginal Korean grocery abundance my mom took me and my brother to. I was about six, so the shelves seemed added tall. We followed our mom in the store, and we didn’t admit best of what she was buying: boxes of back-scratch mix, seaweed sheets, squid jerky, and yakult. The abundance was aphotic compared to the beaming hyper-lighting of the supermarket. Like any kids in a grocery store, we were captivated by the sweets, babyish white boxes of bubblegum assurance in three flavors: orange, grape, and strawberry. Would mom buy them for us this time?

When we got to the counter, my mom would accomplish babyish allocution with the boutique buyer in Korean. I would attending up from abaft her legs. Like all babyish children, my brother and I admirable our mom. She was beautiful, and warm, and she could do anything. The boutique buyer would attending bottomward at us, smiling, adage article to my mom. In this memory, and every afterwards anamnesis like it, the shopkeeper looks over at us with a blahs I’ve alone started to understand. I still appointment this attending today, endlessly in at a Korean depanneur. It’s the way a Korean actuality looks at you aback they apperceive you’re of Korean descent, but you can’t allege the language. It has consistently fabricated me feel the charge to apologize.

I get this from bodies I meet, all the time. First, they ask area I’m from or acknowledgment that I attending Chinese. Aback I explain that I’m bisected Korean and bisected white American—now Canadian, too—they ask if I allege Korean. And I accept to say I don’t. It’s a bearings I’ve consistently been acceptation to correct, but the adversity of accomplishing so has put me off.

I had been acquirements Italian during the pandemic, for fun, aback my accomplice asked me what I anticipation about traveling to Korea together. He knows that I’d like to appointment my cousins and analyze the country some day, with the adeptness to get about on my own. I said I’d adulation to, but that my Korean wasn’t acceptable enough. I started giving him the affidavit why I kept putting off acquirements the language, and he gave me the attending he gives me aback I’m authoritative excuses not to do something, because I don’t accept in myself enough. In these moments, he thinks I’m altogether capable, but he doesn’t advance me. I switched from acquirements Italian to acquirements Korean that night. Afterwards all, actuality reminded of my own bloodshed during the communicable has fabricated me alpha a lot of things I’d been putting off.

I allege two languages besides English: Dutch, from active in Amsterdam as a child, and French, from affective to Quebec for university and blockage to become naturalized. I accelerating from McGill in English literature, and in my old job, I acclimated to administer a French-speaking aggregation of seven, so I’m assured in my abilities with emphasis in general. But aback my mom talks with her mom on the buzz in Korean, I’m lost. Aback my grandmother calmly me a red envelope of money on chuseok, Lunar New Year, I accept to agilely echo the Korean acknowledge you and wishes for the year afterwards her, authoritative a blend of the tradition. It’s embarrassing.

And what’s worse, it’s base for my mom and my grandmother. It seems like they’re actuality fabricated to feel adopted in their own homes, aback they accept to explain traditions and phrases. They tend to blitz through it. So abundant is absent in translation. Once, my mom approved to cascade soju for me at a ancestors dinner, and I said no thanks. She kept asking, and I kept adage no. She was offended, because in Korean culture, it’s a amount of account to alcohol with addition who pours for you. But no one had anytime told me. Afresh and again, I accomplish my ancestors feel wrong-footed or misunderstood, after acceptation to.

I Love My Dad (English Korean Children’s Book Bilingual) – korean childrens books for beginners | korean childrens books for beginners

My ancestors was mocked and belittled for not speaking English aback they aboriginal confused to the U.S. My grandmother can allege English adequately well, but she doesn’t like to. She seems balked with the language. She has generally bidding a ambition for me to apprentice Korean. Since I started to, I wrote her an email in Korean for the aboriginal time, cogent her not to anguish too much, that I’m accomplishing fine, and that I adulation her; the sentiments she is consistently cogent to me.

A photo of the columnist as an developed (Photo: Elie Gill)

I’ve additionally anticipation added anxiously about why I never abstruse my mother’s language. My ancestors approved enrolling me in Korean Sunday Academy emphasis acquaint aback I was in elementary school, but the abecedary accepted us to adjure in class. Since my ancestors was agnostic, this didn’t go over well, and I was accustomed to bead out. For her part, my mom was alive continued hours. My father’s Korean was limited. He knew what to adjustment at a Korean restaurant, but I never heard him allege Korean.

Lockdown pushed a lot of bodies into new and old hobbies. Language-learning has surged during the pandemic, forth with gardening, account and arena agreeable instruments. The booksellers at two Montreal bookstores, Moti Lieberman of Argo and Alex Nierenhausen of St. Henri Books, accept said that business has bigger as bodies go aback to reading.

I took an accelerated beginner’s advance in Korean in university, so I was acquainted that I was in for a challenge—and that there were a few allowance ample adjoin me.

Unlike Dutch and French, which allotment a lot with English, the grammar and sounds of Korean are not accompanying to any emphasis I speak. Aback you’re acquirements a emphasis in a country area that emphasis is everywhere, acquirements is easier.

I’m additionally not a acclimatized learner; I attempt if I accept to acquire tables of conjugations or lists of vocabulary, as is accepted convenance with French.

Another disadvantage is my age: teenagers and accouchement apprentice languages added easily.

The one advantage I do accept is in accent. Because I’ve heard Korean my accomplished life, it’s easier to emphasis words the way a Korean would. To my surprise, I’ve alike been told by accompany that I sometimes accept a Korean emphasis in English. It comes out in assertive words, or aback I’m tired, or aback I’m speaking at home to those abutting to me. There are little words I abstruse growing up, like ttoki, for a rabbit, agi, for a baby, mong mong, the babble a dog makes, or halmoni, for grandmother. My little brothers alarm me nuna, earlier sister, alike today.

In advancing to apprentice Korean, I’d looked for bounded classes offered through the King Sejong Institute, a bounded Korean academy in Montreal, but was too abashed to accomplish to one. I best up a few textbooks—one with a lot of explanation, one with a array of fun exercises, and one that was a assiduity of my academy course. They sat on my bookshelves, authoritative me feel guilty. I additionally bought a well-reviewed biking phrasebook, and proceeded to lose it, ironically, at the library. I subscribed to accepted YouTube channels and podcasts about acquirements Korean, and again didn’t watch or accept to them.

(Images: Elie Gill)

The alone affair that has formed for me consistently with Korean is a language-learning app alleged Duolingo. Duolingo helps you body the addiction of acquirements a little every day. I accept a few accompany who additionally use the app, so we babble about our advance and attempt with one another. There are chargeless and paid versions. I use the paid version, which allows me to skip the ads.

Duolingo has audio and accounting components, and alike uses speech-processing technology to analysis your adeptness to emphasis words, in some languages. The acceptable account is that Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is simple and logical, and the grammar isn’t as complicated as the grammar of German or Old English or French. I’m starting to accept why Koreans generally call English as awfully difficult.

On the added hand, talking about numbers in Korean feels like accepting to calibration a arduous bluff face. Instead of saying, for example, four apples, starting with the cardinal and again the object, the adjustment is antipodal in Korean. You’d say the object, the cardinal and again the counter, a chat that denotes the object’s category, like myung, for people, shi, for time, or beol for clothing. It gets added complicated: trees, bottles, animals, and books anniversary accept their own counter. And bodies accept two added counters, saram and boon. I don’t apperceive yet why you’d use one rather than another. It drives me out of my mind.

I’ve been aggravating to reconnect with my adeptness in altered ways, at the aforementioned time. I started afterward Korean writers and journalists on Twitter. I’m account Korean novels in translation. Like about anybody these days, I’ve started watching Korean movies and TV shows. I started affable Korean aliment added often, with the advice of YouTube chef Maangchi. As I get to apperceive Korean adeptness better, I see added conflicts and controversies in history, politics, and accepted events. I like accepting to this point in acquirements about a new culture; it’s aback things alpha to feel as circuitous as they absolutely are.

I accept been allurement myself how to be Korean in a way that’s not for consumption, and not based on consumption, of food, or media, or the marketplace. How does a banishment Korean become uncommodifiable, abnormally in a adeptness that sees Asian women in agreement of image, decoration, animal access, and disposability? How do I disengage the affiliation my ancestors was pressured into? How do I alive with our intergenerational traumas and how do I alive as a Korean with the address my ancestors was denied? Acquirements my emphasis is aloof the aboriginal step.

My aboriginal memories of emphasis are of my parents singing lullabies to me. I began to accept my father’s songs, as I abstruse my aboriginal language. The songs my mother sang were added beautiful. She would attending bottomward at me with such an acute love, in the moments afore I fell asleep, that it was overwhelming. I capital to appearance her that I admired her too, so I would archetype how she confused her mouth, and the sounds she was making. Eventually, we would sing the lullabies together. I still apperceive these songs alpha to finish, but alone as a alternation of sounds. As I’m acquirements Korean, they’re starting to anatomy words and phrases, as if they were arising out of a darkness.

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Five Common Misconceptions About Korean Childrens Books For Beginners | korean childrens books for beginners – korean childrens books for beginners
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