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Why are Koreans (Excluding Korean Americans) so horrible at English?

Gaesekke1Gaesekke1 Posts: 113Member
edited February 2012 in general discussion
As a Korean-American I feel like a large majority of Koreans (primarily the teens and young adults) are horrible at English, especially grammar. Out of all the Asian groups, Koreans seem to be the worst because almost every fob Korean I've encountered with make absolutely no sense when they are speaking English, which always puts me in a awkward situation, but at the same time, I find it funny as hell. When I have encountered with kids of other ethnic groups who aren't native English speakers - Chinese, Mexican, Greek, or whatever, nearly all spoke with an eloquent tone  (although they had a horrible accent), their grammar was still on point and are hundred times better than how the Koreans speak English. Why is that? I'm still Korean so I kind of feel embarrassed myself. Instead of "How are you doing today" Koreans would say something like "How do you do today" or "How did you do today" something along those awkward lines. Or instead of "I will call you tomorrow and let you know", they will say something like "I will call you at tomorrow and I will tell you it" Terrible. Those who have gotten out of ESL still tend to have awful grammar skills, and the funny thing is - Everyone makes the same, common mistakes, which can be learned and mastered in a very short period. Do you think it is because Koreans always tend to hang out with their own group of Koreans, not willing to break through the language barrier? Because if that's true, it's no wonder that their English skills never improve. What are your opinions?
Sleepless.
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Replies

  • MannosukeMannosuke Posts: 12,628Member

    SUPERSTAR

    It's not that bad.

    Whenever I play online games on SEA servers, even though their primary language is english, it still doesn't make any sense.
  • LittlePinky82LittlePinky82 S<3NE Posts: 709Member
    Maybe they don't use it enough in their every day life? Only thing I can think of. I know a family originally from Peru and they came here when one of the youngest girls was coming into college I think. Anyways, they still have a strong accent from their home country but their English is fine in speaking in every day life. I haven't personally talked to the grandparents in the family but from what I understand from my other family members who have they have a little trouble sometime... I just assume they just use English in their every day life with work, school whatever. They have a daughter who is a little kid who was born here and she speaks both fluently. So maybe it depends on how much exposure they have to English. 
    yoseopsleep.gif
  • koreanballadskoreanballads Posts: 713Member

    IDOL

    edited February 2012
    Trollish ID. Check.
    Not so subtle singling out of ___ ethnic group.  Check.
    Purported membership of said ethnic group to deflect criticism. Check.
    Perpetuation of racial stereotype.  Check.


    *slow clap*
    Please kindly read the signature rules.
    leehyori2happybubblecornflakemonday2471
  • damyoungjidamyoungji Toronto, CanadaPosts: 4,213Member

    IDOL

    I am not sure if it is true or not that Koreans are worse than other races when it comes to non-native English speakers, but I do not notice that most of them are rather weak when it comes to grammar. I have my fair share of experience with Koreans straight from Korea and it seems to me that either the students do not really prioritize their studies when it comes to the language, OR their education system does not really focus on the little things like grammar. I have friends who have improved a lot once they came here to study, but then I also have friends who still makes grammatical errors quite often despite staying here for almost a year. However, do keep in mind that even native speakers have issues when it comes to grammar. When I edit papers my friends write, I usually find at least one or two grammatical errors and these papers are written by people who were raised up here, or have lived here for over 5 years. I am not sure which schools you attended, but from what I remember, teachers rarely focused on teaching proper grammar to the students here (or at least at the schools I went to). I probably learned some in elementary school, but in high school? Teachers did not even teach us, despite the fact that I recall memories of teachers telling us to use the same grammar in papers and whatnot.

    In other words, if students living in countries where English is the native language have issues when it comes to grammar, it is no surprise that students from non-native English speaking countries have even more problem trying to get it right.
  • CrunchyrunchyCrunchyrunchy Posts: 640Member

    IDOL

    Mannosuke wrote on 12 February 2012 - 04:12 PM:

    It's not that bad.

    Whenever I play online games on SEA servers, even though their primary language is english, it still doesn't make any sense.


    How would you know someone's race in Online Games?
  • MannosukeMannosuke Posts: 12,628Member

    SUPERSTAR

    edited February 2012
    Crunchyrunchy wrote on 13 February 2012 - 01:24 AM:

    How would you know someone's race in Online Games?


    You ask them and hope they will be honest.
    No different from going up to a stranger and going "what race you be brah?"
  • CrunchyrunchyCrunchyrunchy Posts: 640Member

    IDOL

    edited February 2012
    Mannosuke wrote on 12 February 2012 - 10:25 PM:

    You ask them and hope they will be honest.
    No different from going up to a stranger and going "what race you be brah?"


    That is such a random question to ask...

    How the heck do you manage to suddenly ask someone their race. Do you go "Hey brah, before I party with you, what race are you? 
  • leehyori2leehyori2 donut king supports KONY 2012! Posts: 395Member
    edited February 2012
    You can't really judge the majority of the Koreans based on what you encounter so far and say plain out loud that 'they are horrible at English'.
    For them to speak another language is one thing, however, what you should consider is how they process their thoughts as well.
    So for example, English being James(just a name to make it easier) second language, grammar isn't going to be top notch. Why? Well James thinks in his language, translating to English will surely can't be perfect and there is possible flaws. Take Google translator as an example, sometimes it doesn't make sense.

    So to your question, it depends on the individuals.

    mmm....your username o-o....
  • followyourdreams.followyourdreams. heart of gold Posts: 277Member
    I find Koreans who are learning English always seem to have a good grasp of it. Like, the ones I've spoke to, they'll have a good idea of nuance and colloquialisms. I don't know if that's just the select few I've met, but I've always been impressed.
    are you flying like you want to?

  • Sleepless.Sleepless. Posts: 281Member
    Gaesekke1 wrote on 12 February 2012 - 04:07 PM:

    Or instead of "I will call you tomorrow and let you know", they will say something like "I will call you at tomorrow and I will tell you it" Terrible.

    Ahahaha. I've heard other Asian ethnic groups speak like this. Especially Chinese. But I think you answered your own question. Unless these Asians are always surrounded by native English speakers, then their English will never progress. That's why they say when learning a new language it helps to surround yourself with people that speak that language. The Koreans that you've met, though they live in America probably hang with and associate with other Koreans and speak Korean with them. Their English will probably never evolve past what they already know.


  • NPB-XKNPB-XK Thread Hijacker Area-Sexy-One - MontrPosts: 5,115Member

    SUPERSTAR

    edited February 2012
    The "How do you do" part is something I've heard in a cassette tape (back in the days) from an English class somewhere in South Asia...
    It went something like "Hi JooooOOOOHN?" - "Hi SaraaaAAAAH?" - "How do you do today JoooOOOOOHN?" - "I'm doing great! Thank you and you SaraaaAAAAH?" - "Great! Thank you!"
    So that was wrong? Damn...

    At least it's clean English... I would understand what they meant...
    The sad thing is that in America, those who went to school still came out like:
    "Yo yo wassup dawg" - "Yo nuttin' much homie, just chillin'" - "Aight aight pass me sum of yo goodies bruh"
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  • LittlePinky82LittlePinky82 S<3NE Posts: 709Member
    ^Lol yes and add to that different accents and slangs depending on your area and such. The tape thing reminds me of a documentary of North Koreans learning English. Only thing I wonder about is how someone would do in a conversation where there's a wide range of discussions and such. Not by the book learning. I agree with who said the best way to learn is to surround yourself around others. A Spanish prof I once had encouraged that. It reminds me of CL of 2ne1 who when she was first in Korea she didn't know any Korean. But after living there for a good while and being involved in the group I remember in season one of 2ne1 tv she said Korean is now what she comfortably speaks in her every day life and she apparently knows French, Japanese and English (along with Korean). I dunno if her knowing other languages had anything to do with it though. 
    yoseopsleep.gif
  • AnthonyKkoKkoAnthonyKkoKko Ontario, CanadaPosts: 1,989Member

    IDOL

    Well.. I have a chinese friend from Hong Kong that moved to Canada in Gr. 7, and even though it's been about 4 years, her grammar is still atrocious O_O.... on the other hand, some of my other immigrant friends picked up the language really fast.

    I think anyone can learn English, it just depends on their skillset and how willing they are to learn, improve and practice ^^
    Please kindly read the signature rules.
  • Dara-chanDara-chan Posts: 185Member
    ^ I agree.

    How successful you are in something only depends on how hard you work on it ^_^

  • happyhihihappyhihi Posts: 14Member, New Member

    ROOKIE

    well you have to understand that they are probably translating in their head from their language to English. You have to at least give them credit for being able to make the sentences. From my experience in Chinese I know that when you are translating from Chinese to English directly, then it wouldn't make much sense. It has to do with the sentence structure and the way the words are arranged in their language. Even when you use google translate to translate to a different language, it doesn't make sense, right?
  • .autumn..autumn. Posts: 92Member
    It's their second language. My Korean isn't amazing because I lived in UK and their English isn't good because they grew up in Korea.
  • thesisoflovethesisoflove everlasting star Cassiopeia World :)Posts: 1,775Member
    A lot of fobs move to Vancouver ie: RICHMOND.

    At my school, a lot of them can't even speak english even though they've been here for years.
    And they're all from china.. they have accents and their grammar is pretty bad imo.. 

    One of my best friends is korean, moved here to Canada when she was in grade 6, learned to speak fluent english in 2 years, but now she moved back to Korea and attends an international school.

    it depends how hard you work 
  • NPB-XKNPB-XK Thread Hijacker Area-Sexy-One - MontrPosts: 5,115Member

    SUPERSTAR

    Zaeiffenjiggsumjiggersson_de_korvuoyan wrote on 19 February 2012 - 10:04 AM:

    Well I being Korean and talks english gooden, parden me!


    Hey at least I understand you perfectly... But your username is not long enough...
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  • XaniksXaniks Posts: 39Member
    Maybe you're stereotyping?
    ~Xaniks
  • qasqasqasqas Posts: 14Member, New Member
    damyoungji wrote on 12 February 2012 - 09:52 PM:

    I am not sure if it is true or not that Koreans are worse than other races when it comes to non-native English speakers, but I do not notice that most of them are rather weak when it comes to grammar. I have my fair share of experience with Koreans straight from Korea and it seems to me that either the students do not really prioritize their studies when it comes to the language, OR their education system does not really focus on the little things like grammar. I have friends who have improved a lot once they came here to study, but then I also have friends who still makes grammatical errors quite often despite staying here for almost a year. However, do keep in mind that even native speakers have issues when it comes to grammar. When I edit papers my friends write, I usually find at least one or two grammatical errors and these papers are written by people who were raised up here, or have lived here for over 5 years. I am not sure which schools you attended, but from what I remember, teachers rarely focused on teaching proper grammar to the students here (or at least at the schools I went to). I probably learned some in elementary school, but in high school? Teachers did not even teach us, despite the fact that I recall memories of teachers telling us to use the same grammar in papers and whatnot.

    In other words, if students living in countries where English is the native language have issues when it comes to grammar, it is no surprise that students from non-native English speaking countries have even more problem trying to get it right.


    Your choice of words is unsettling. There's a world of difference between Korean ethnicity and Korean nationality, as with every ethnic group and every nation. To imply that Koreans as a race are distinct from others when it comes to language is a bit... It might be that Koreans raised in Korea have a particular problem with ESL, but if they do it's certainly not because they are ethnically Korean. I don't mean to jump down your throat about this but it sticks out to me when people say things like this.

    And yeah, the education system in the US is all kinds of messed up with regards to, among other things, not formally teaching the language. Native speakers still need to be consciously aware of the rules of their language. I went to public school in a fairly affluent area but I remember being taught far more about the formal structure of the English language in a foreign language class than I was in English class.

    I also find it trivially easy to discern most broken English that people whine about, and wonder why people get all bent out of shape about it. I say I wonder, but I already know - people with little/no exposure to foreign languages feel entitled. There really isn't a need to insult someone for the mistakes illustrated in the OP of this thread, in fact "how did you do today" isn't awkward at all outside of context.
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