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The Iron Language Curtain Lifts….Slightly

“Mi-ku-reom-ju-uoi”–This floor is snippery

It might be possible that the Iron Language Curtain is lifting ever so slightly and allowing me to glimpse communicating in Korean. I’ve been able to read Hangeul (the phonetic script in which most things are written in Korea) since I began to study it last fall in preparation for my move here, but the language itself has remained mostly impenetrable throughout these months. But there’s hope.

Last night I was apparently dreaming in Korean, and speaking it out loud!

Or rather, speaking and dreaming what my brain deemed to be Korean…which may or may not have simply been a jumble of random Korean phonemes. Last fall I wrote about the feeling of a language getting up and moving within my brain, a weighty feeling that something has shifted. Polyglots often mention the memorable first dream in a new language that precedes actually being fluent, and while I don’t believe that I will ever speak Korean fluently it certainly was a cheerful sign. I had somewhat worried that my language skills had abandoned me.

Italy took two months. Chile took one. France took for days. Korea is taking its sweet, slow time letting me access the language. Or my motivation has not been high enough. Or it’s just the first steps in a language for which I have almost no point of reference, making the process that much more difficult than the previous three (Romance) languages that I’ve learn in the last six years.

If I can order in Korean in the galbi restaurant back home when I get back, I’ll consider my time here a linguistic success. Now I just have to start dreaming more about Galbi.

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