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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

pathological liar? exhibitionist?

I was in Costco today with my mom and a Korean middle-aged lady friend named "Cindy," just walking up and down the aisles. As two strangers were passing by, I said something random in Korean to Cindy, apparently well enough to make the passers-by double-take and marvel at my skills. I thanked them, and then, for some reason or other, was overtaken by an urge to show off a little more. So I went up and told them that I really recommended a certain candy, which was right in front of us, being sold in four packs. The thing is, I hadn't actually tried that candy, and I wasn't even sure whether or not I wanted to buy it for myself. I had tried another variety of candy made by that company, so I wasn't entirely lying...except, yes I was.

What's wrong with me? I hope they liked the candy.

Also, I had an astounding Korean-language day today. I somehow managed to correctly formulate the sentence "Would you mind asking where the cough medicine is for me?" (기침약이 어디 있는지 물어 봐 주시겠어요?) without really knowing how I did it. Most impressive was the perfect attachment of the of the suffix/infix 지 (ji) onto the right verb, conjugated in its own special way. This is impressive mostly because I've never run into "ji" (used in this sense) in a grammar book; I've just heard it enough in other, somewhat similar constructions, to have an intuition about how to use it here. It's almost totally subconscious. I can hardly formulate its meaning.

I'm sure you found that quite interesting.

To save you some effort, and to preemptively stifle a Jeff-comment: babelfish translates the sentence as "The cough medicine probably is where, it asks and it sees, staring keyss U bedspread."

3 comments:

rhstripl@artsci.wustl.edu said...

Is it already Wednesday there? How many hours are you ahead of central time? Way to own those free-floating suffixes.

Jeff said...

That translation is hilarious. Nice work.

Bob said...

Have you started to dream in Korean yet?

I think dreaming in a foreign language is a big sign that you've started to master it.