One day my advisor professor told me that Mr. Josh - 서당개 삼 년에 풍월 읊는다. He explained me the Korean proverb (속담) in English after he said in Korean. (After three years at Sodang (community school for children), even a school's dog can chant Chinese lessons.) He yelled at me to inspire me to learn Korean language when he saw a guy from my country was giving interview in Korean to the TV journalist in alumni association’s party. I liked the proverb but could not remember at that time but it struck my mind and I wanted to remember that proverb. I came back to my lab and ask my lab mate to repeat that proverb and then I remembered.
I used to remember Korean proverbs/quotes and use while speaking to Korean friends. They also inspired me to learn more proverbs. Actually, I wanted to learn Korean values and culture through Korean proverbs. In fact, learning proverbs is a way to be able to identify specific Korean customs. Further it helps us to find similarities and differences between Korean customs and my own county’s customs. Korean proverbs are direct reflections of wisdom, morals, and customs of Koreans. Even though some of the proverbs are handed down for hundreds years, morals and values are still intact in modern Korean life. The following proverbs are examples that teach us important issues in everyday life and appropriate behaviors that are required in Korean society.
I even tried to remember messenger tag line of Korean friends. I like learning Korean proverbs and idioms for many reasons. One of the main reasons was to improve my Korean vocabulary. Improving vocabulary by hitting the book is more stressful and we cannot enjoy the words.
These days I feel more comfortable to use Korean proverbs and Idioms. I want to use those in my everyday speaking. It is easy to talk to Korean friends using those proverbs and idioms. These Korean proverbs cannot be translated directly (even in other words in some cases) in English, even in my native language. When I try to translate, I feel the soul of the idioms or proverbs died.
I believe that these inspirational quotes and proverbs give sprits and say 화이팅 to them. As Wolfgang Mieder gave the definition of proverbs “Proverbs are short, generally known sentences of the folk that contain wisdom, truths, morals, and traditional views in a metaphorical, fixed and memorizable form and that are handed down orally from generation to generation.”
Some of the proverbs are more inspirable to the researchers. When I feel tired with everyday study I remember these inspirable proverbs. 호랑이 굴에 들어가야 호랑이를 잡는다. To write good paper you have to work hard and overcome the difficulties. 하늘이 무너져도 솟아날 구멍이 있다. Even if the sky falls on you, there is a hole from which you can escape.
The other popular way to make many friends and improve Korean language is learning idiom. Korean idioms are really funny, meaningful, and tremendous. For example, when my Korean friends ask me to go for 불닭 (very spicy barbecued chicken), I say 아니요, 입에서 불이 난다! (Oh no! fire comes out from mouth). When I say this idiom to my friends, they give me a great smile and I find myself more intimate to them. Similarly, when I go to drink outside with my friends, I usually say 죽을 때까지 마서.
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