Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shit Koreans Say ... when they see a foreigner.

You have heard the expression to "break out in song" right? Well, sometimes in South Korea people seem to "break out in English."

Koreans will say the stupidest things in English when they see a non-Asian foreigner. )Keep in mind most Koreans believe that any white person is American, except the blonds who must be Russian and all blacks are from Africa. but they will still use English if you are black or blond. Logic ... not a strong point.)I am not even counting the insane ways they will use and abuse hello. It seems as though if they know a word or two of English other than hello they MUST use it because a foreigner is there. Like they get some sort of prize or boost in stature for using English.

Here are some examples of what I mean.

I was waiting in a line in Dunkin Donuts once and two Korean women walked in. as soon as one saw me she stopped speaking in Korean to her friend. In English she says "Yes. Yes. I speak English." What the kimchi?!?

Another time walking down a sidewalk. As a group of Koreans pass by one of them starts saying "I am speaking English now." Really moron? I thought it was Swedish.

One time in a line up for a bank machine some ditz was yammering at her friend when she noticed me. Then she switched to English just to say "Yes. Yes. Ok. Ok. He is a foreigner." before switching back to Korean.

One time at a bar, and at least this guy had the excuse of having been drinking, a guy invited himself to our table. When I told him that we were having a private discussion and he should go away he says "I will sit and listen to your English." No, you will move your ass as far away from my table as quickly as you can.

I always taught my students not to do things like that unless they wanted the foreigners to think they were mentally challenged.


  1. Wow, the last guy reminds me of some people I've run into too. I had one experience where I got invited over to a table to have a drink with some Koreans. That was the first and last time I did that. I'm trying to talk to these people and all the while they are commenting on how interesting it is to be speaking English. They wanted to meet me again, so they said that if I broke the promise they would hate me. Well the next appointment was a week later, and after sobering up I realized that I really didn't want to meet them. Anyway, I showed up to the designated place and they didn't show, I was happy about that.

    After that I got invited to another table and I just flat out rejected them.

    It does pay off to learn some Korean though. Another time I was in that same bar and I was speaking Korean to some Korean friends, and some people just bought me a drink. They bought me a drink because I was speaking Korean. I didn't have to go over and talk to them, I just gave them a nod and they left (I'm not sure if they were just folks who hated English, or if they were cool.)

    Unfortunately though, I have a former university student who turned into a complete cling-on. He is a lot like your guy who wants to sit and listen. It's unfortunate when you have to tell someone to beat it, but I'd rather be they guy telling another person to leave than being the annoying twat who can't take a clue.

  2. The clingy students ... learned to hate them. One guy found out where I lived and started showing up at my apartment at 3-4 AM. At the time my 1st class was at 6:30AM.

    After the way I talked to him the third time he did that he stopped being my student.

  3. Oh ... I should have said showing up DRUNK at y apartment at 3-4AM.

    One time ... before this ... he tried lecturing me on not using abbreviations when replying to his text messages. I MUST use proper English.

    I was glad when he stopped being my student.

  4. I never us abbreviations when texting. It's a pet peeve of mine. You know what else is a pet peeve of mine? Drunk people showing up at my apartment at 4 in the morning. In fact...given the coice I would rather receive 100 texts in shorthand than have one drunk at my door at 4am.

    Learning Korean is good...but it just means that you suddenly notice all of the Koreans talking to each other about their English lessons within five seconds of seeing you. So...they see you....they talk to each other for ten seconds about their English lessons....then they show off some special phrase they've mastered.


  5. No, you will move your ass as far away from my table as quickly as you can.


  6. Burndog;

    Yeah, I would rather an abbreviated text other than a drunk asshole at my door at 4AM.

    As I started learning Korean I understood when I was being talked about and spoken rudely too. It made me wonder if learning it was such a good idea. Sometimes ignorance is bliss or at least prevents you from wanting to rearrange someones face.

  7. Queen Nairobi

    Thanks. :) That time I was lucky, the guy got the message and left.

  8. The thing that got me was the random "Hello!"'s that would be flung at you as you were making your way down the street. In a crowded downtown, these just seem to land on your ear while you're in the middle of doing something else or trying to avoid the 1,001 mooks who want to put their shoulder into you.
    Any time I saw a group of kids I just waited for one or another of them to notice me and start nudging the most junior of them forward to start speaking at me.
    Sometimes I would be long past them before a timorous "Hello..." would finally make it past their frozen vocal chords.
    And then there are the really ignorant ones that give you a sneering kind of "Hello!" and start shouting obscenities when you quite rightly ignore them.
    What gets into their brains and makes them think just because they see a foreigner it's time to start screaming random English words?

  9. I always have to shake my head at the stupidity of Koreans saying Look a foreigner in korean. Even worse is when the idiots start doing it in English.

    More than once I have had a Korean look at me and say "You are a foreigner."