Parenting Phrases in Korean

As an adoptee learning Korean, I noticed some funny differences with my Korean American classmates. More often than not, they were much slower readers. (Even though, once they read it aloud, their comprehension was far superior.) And, when it came to conversation, it flowed naturally for them. Whereas, I stumble to awkwardly spurt out phrases and sentences. I also noticed my vocabulary was limited to the types of things you learn in the classroom.

I first went to Korea in 2005 after one year of beginner Korean. I was armed with nothing more than a prepaid phone card and a physical English/Korean dictionary. I struggled with basic phrases like, “Can I have a subway map?” Even when I got the words right, I knew my delivery sounded strange.

Trying to incorporate Korean into daily life with the little guy has brought me right back to that feeling of being eighteen in a foreign city with no clue how to express myself. My “conversational” Korean is stronger on the listening side, for sure. And, when it comes to basic phrases like, “Let’s tidy up first” or “do you have a dirty diaper,” I was utterly lost.

A good friend of mine recommended this eBook. and even though my life as a mom doesn’t afford much time for reading and studying, it has been really helpful! It is structured with a brief introduction and explanation of how to use the book. There are audio files available online via links (also at the beginning of the book.) It is written in English, hangul, and romanized Korean. So, whatever your level, you should be able to practice and master the phrases. The book is separated into three sections: General Phrases, More Phrases, and Essential Vocabulary. But, I’d say the sections flow pretty naturally through practical topics like, “morning, going to daycare, using the toilet, discipline, etc.”

TTMIK is a great (paid and) free resource. They have a lot of videos on Youtube. (And, watching obviously helps pronunciation.) Sometimes I’ll watch one while I cook breakfast. Way to start the day and keep Korean fresh in my mind for the day. I would love to know if you have and use this book. And, what are some of the other resources you use to help your parenting in Korean?

  • Jennifer Schupp

    I am a Korean adoptee and just finally began learning the language a few months ago. I would love for my toddler to learn along with me (already, I think she has better pronunciation! :)) As I think you mentioned, it’s been very challenging to find good materials. I bought a kids Korean-English Dictionary, which I honestly use the most, and she likes “My First Book of Korean Words” but I mostly struck out, which is why I am so excited for you book to come out. And thank you so much for this recommendation.. I have a few TTMIK books and love their videos but had no idea about this parenting phrases guide. I can’t wait to check it out!

    February 5, 2021 at 3:22 am

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