Monday, November 15, 2010

바보, Cait

Michelle and I gave the 5th graders a test today, mostly as punishment for making me want to defenestrate them last week. There were several sections, including three sentences written in Korean for the students to translated into English. I was looking over the test while the kids worked and Michelle asked if I could translate the Korean sentences. I started sounding out the words* and translating under my breath.

그녀는 무엇을 하고 있니? Well, it's a question, 무엇을 means what, 그녀는 means she and 있니 means is, which give me What is she something. The title of Chapter 11 (one of the chapters being tested) is What Is She Doing? and anyways, I'm pretty sure 하고 means do, so 그녀는 무엇을 하고 있니? must mean What is she doing?

그는 노래하고 있어. 그는 and 있어 are he and is and 노래 is the first part of the Korean word for karaoke room and hey, I think 노래하고 would literally translate to do song, which means singing. 그는 노래하고 있어 means He is singing.

나는 달리고 있어. Well, as per the last two sentences, 있어 still means is and 나는 means I. I am something. 달리고, where do I know that from? Oh right, that's what my co-teachers are always telling the students when them come tearing into the classroom at top speed. 나는 달리고 있어 means I am running.

I looked up from the paper, pleased with awesome Korean skillz, only to find the fifth graders in the front row hanging onto my every word and frantically scribbling down the answers I had just inadvertently given them.

One of the boys gave me a thumbs up and said, "Thanks, Teacher."

Michelle looked at me and said, "You can't say the sentences out loud."

"I didn't think I'd be able to translate them," I wailed softly.

바보, Cait.**

*While I've been able to read Korean for almost two years now, I still don't recognize many words that aren't place names, so I have to sound things out when I read and sometimes, they turn out to be words I know.

**바보 - dumb, stupid, foolish

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