Wednesday, 21 November 2012

(Day 124) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 29 D-127

sit-ups jogging chair-lifts
100 15 min 100
Breakfast, lunch & dinner = November 7
Hmmmm... What should I write about today? Culture and nationalism? Yesterday, it about was business, I guess today should be about dramas and k-pop... Then, maybe a couple entries about exercise thrown in for good measure. Wash, rinse, repeat, for the next 4 months...

Konglish is always worth a good rant and I think the most important obstacle preventing Koreans from learning English. They spend all their time speaking Korean (of course) and Konglish is when English words are adapted to the Korean lexicon. Except. They are always pronounced wrong, sometimes to the point of being unrecognizable as being English. So much so that when a native English speaker encounters a Korean and uses a certain English words, a Korean, more times than not, will have no idea what is being said unless the NES uses a bad Korean accent. So, words like “lighter,” “Internet” and “computer” all come out sounding like "ryeta," "intanetuh," and "gumpyoota." Pronunciation is actually a minor problem, but people are so set in their ways, it seems they are incapable of changing this, and as a result, when Koreans encounter new vocabulary, the bad pronunciation comes with it. This results in every word ending with a consonant always having "uh" appended to it and any word ending with an E, G or H has a Y added to it-- image becomes "imag-ee," watch becomes "watch-ee," and so on. But, like I said, only a minor annoyance. 

What's worse are the English words borrowed and given new meanings. Koreans know what a "handphone" is, but not what a "telephone" or "phone" is. Add the word "hand" to "phone" and a little light bulb goes off. Or the word for "dress" is "one piece." Why not just call it a "dress?" Why use "one piece?" If it comes in 2 pieces, wouldn't you have a t-shirt and a skirt? And isn't a skirt by itself also a "one piece?" A word that makes me laugh every time-- the Korean word for underwear is panties, no matter what gender.

So, what's the solution? Realize the Korean alphabet and language is not perfect. Scientific, maybe. Great as a combination, sure, but as a substitute for other languages, forget it. Make new Hangul characters for L, R, Z, V, F, or learn how to pronounce them properly, instead of using 3 characters to substitute for half the English alphabet. Rant over.

I had a visit with the head honcho himself today. I was asked to go see the warden of the entire prison today after lunch. We talked for about half an hour about the usual things-- how I was being treated, the food, how I could leave at any time if I came up with $8000... One beneficial thing to result from our talk is I may be able to get my colour pencils and bigger sketchbook. I tried to get my laptop, but no dice...

The warden told me I am the only foreigner in this prison. There are a total of 50 prisons in Korea-- 40 correctional facilities and 10 detention centers. There is a prison just for foreigners, but it only has foreigners convicted of a crime and sentenced to time in prison. I haven't really committed a crime, so much as failed to pay my fines. If I pay my fines, I'm free to go. The foreigner prison has about 500 prisoners right now, most of them Chinese.