우리는 특급전사 부부

[아시아경제 양낙규 기자]육군 제 31보병사단 김윤수 대위와 백혜진 대위 부부. 이들은 자타가 공인하는 특급전사 부부다. 남편인 기동대대 김윤수 중대장은 특전사 공수교육 1등으로 이수했고 부인인 신병교육대대 백혜진 중대장은 지난해 개인화기사격 경영대회에서 1등을 거머줬다.

2005년에 임관한 부부는 지난 2008년 11월 보병학교 고군반 교육과정에서 동기의 소개로 만나 7개월간의 연애끝에 2009년 6월 부부의 연을 맺었다. 하지만 결혼 이후에는 서로가 치열한 경쟁자가 됐다.

Linked from Naieebuh.

This nearly-indecipherable mess of odd scientifically-designed vaguely-runelike letters appears to refer to a couple of military officers, a couple in the romantic sense—who seem to have claimed some sort of prize referring to them as the “Best Frontline Couple”, which is how one of my own best friends and worst enemies, a double-edged backstabbing bar-brawling professor named Google Translate, explains the title of the news article and this post. But I cannot say definitively what the hell is going on here until I ask my wife, currently fast asleep beside me, to explain the mystery away, as she would be able to do almost instantaneously were she even barely conscious.

Actually these two paragraphs consist almost entirely of references to the titles and achievements of the man and woman in question, returning ceaselessly to their ranks in the military to an extent that would be absurd in English (and driving me to the pit of exhaustion as I was forced to look up each term; on the other hand, I now know the words for infantry (“Byeong!”), captain (“Daewae!”), army (“Goon!”), battalion “Daedae!”), personal firearms training (“Gaeinhwageesheegyeok!”), etc., etc.).

Now I shouldn’t indulge too much in this kind of idiotic cultural imperialism and disdain, viewed through the Korean mirror in this incredible video, where we see a man unashamedly referring to all English-speakers as foreigners, and generally taking out his frustration on a language he clearly does not understand—though his accent is above and beyond most of the Koreans who make any attempt to learn English. In particular he’s able to make the short i sound, which you hear all the time in English (which, in, it, etc.) though it is manifestly beyond nine out of ten of even the most advanced Korean learners of English.*

In diving deep within the depths of a language as fiendishly difficult as Korean, in seeking to decipher something as simple as a stupid newspaper article that would never see the light of day in the western world, and totally debilitating myself in the process, it’s so easy to bring down the tongue, the near-impossible code, that takes so much effort to understand.

Every aspect, from every angle, is this contradictory labyrinth, frustrating for learners and effortless for natives—perfectly normal people speak Korean or English at a level that would be astounding for someone to reach if they sought to learn either tongue as a second language. The crazy teacher in the video has taken it upon himself to teach English swears, even if it is pretty obvious to most language learners that one should not indulge in slang and swearing without a pretty thorough knowledge of the culture in question (one you can never hope to gain without spending so many years in the company of “foreigners” that you cease to think of them as such). He must have driven himself half-insane trying to get these bare crumbs of laughable knowledge, and so as a result you get these weird frustrated comments about how asshole is childish, and foreign bastards will inevitably swear around you, so you should be ready to verbally fight them back (and then walk away so that the engagement stays at a tie, oddly enough).

I’ve never seen any waygookin** swear at a Korean in English—which would be just as useful as swearing at anyone in ancient Greek—but I guess Koreans swear at foreigners pretty regularly, as you can see here, if you like, in which a Korean schoolboy runs up and says the equivalent of “pussy” to his female English teacher; yesterday on the subway an old man may have referred to me as a foreign bastard (“waygooknom”) to his friend in conversation, and some of the youngest children at my school amuse themselves most mornings by speaking the lowest form of their language to my face—an act which would get their hearts torn out of their chests by any Korean elder. I have to remind myself that things would probably be far worse for Koreans, if they suddenly inundated America as a result of a perceived desperate need on my country’s part to learn the Korean language.

*I recently taught (or tried to teach) David Bowie’s Oh! You Pretty Things to some kids in a class monitored by a co-teacher whose idiocy is only equaled by her malevolence, and as the song contains the swear “Bitch” I concealed it by rewriting the lyrics and saying that the word was “Beach”, as the two words sound identical to most Koreans, as evinced here. And of course the evil doctor no (who speaks English at a very solid advanced intermediate level) did not detect my ruse.
**Foreigners in Korea, take note: calling yourself waygooks makes no sense, you are foreign-country-persons, way-gook-in or waygook saram, but not just waygook. We complain about Konglish all the time, but what is this common misuse except an instance of the opposite equivalent, Enggookaw?

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: