It is common for Koreans to practice their English when they foreigners. It is also common for youngsters and young adult Koreans to do so to show off, or to have fun, relieve the boredom, whatever.
My mother, having come to Korea form my wedding,stepped out of a car at my soon-to-be-in-law’s apartment and we were swarmed by a hoard of elementary-school aged children yelling Hello enthusiastically enough that my mother may not have wanted to leave the car.
Many times, i have walked past a group of teenagers or university students to have one of them call Hello to my back, after I had passed them. The call is usually followed by laughter about the silliness of talking to foreigners.
I have to say I haven’t seen as much of it lately. perhaps Korea really is becoming more multi-cultural.
I, however, may be slipping backwards.
Earlier in the week, I saw a foreign woman at the university. Not recognizing her, but knowing there are many German and Russian students at the university, I said, “Guten tag” as we met on the stairs.
I kept going and heard a surprised, “Sprechen sie Duetsch” (ah, how’s my spelling?).
I had to turn and apologize that, no, I didn’t speak much German. “Ich spreche ein bission Duetsch.”(that spelling does look wrong).
Anyway, we soon parted but now I have to worry that I might be taking up bad habits here.
Tags: life in korea