When you start learning Korean and others hear of it; you will most often one or more of these question that will bother you pretty quickly.
1. How do you write my name in Korean?
Probably the number one question you will get when you even mention that you are learning Korean. You cannot blame other for being fascinated about seeing their names written in a strange writing system. Writing our name in Hangeul is probably one of the first things we all did when we began learning Korean. The first few times you get this question will be fun, but after the tenth time it will really start to get on your nerves.
2. Can you say something in Korean?
After you wrote down their name in Korean, one of the followup question can be “can you say something in Korean?” The question will come regardless your level, many will naturally expect you to be able to fluently utter some sentences on the spot. If you are a beginner this will be the cruelest and most vexing questions you will face. For advanced learners it will be the dullest and most irksome of questions.
3. Why did you choose to learn Korean?
Living in a society means you have to explain yourself to others even if it really should need any explanation. When you casually drop a mere mention that you are learning Korean (or any other language) people will automatically start to grill you why you chose the language. They will especially question you if their is no clear cut reason for choosing to do so.
4. Is Learning Korean difficult?
Learning Korean is not so much more difficult than learning Swahili or French. The difficulty of learning a language depends on many, many factors that differ from person and person. For an native European language speaker Korean will be more difficult than a native Chinese speaker because European languages are more different the Korean. However, its writing system is not something that makes learning Korean more difficult as that will probably be the easiest and quickest part of Korean for anyone to master.
5. Have you been to Korea?
Undoubtedly people will start questioning about the countries that speak the language and for Korean that is, surprise, Korea. It seems people always find it so amazing that someone chooses to learn a language of a country they not yet visited in their lives. This question will be asked more often by acquaintances than friends since I hope your friends know where you have been in your life.
There are probably other questions out there I forgot to include. Do you have any other (irksome) questions that you got when you mentioned that you are learning Korean? Let us know in the comment below.
#2 is definitely the worst for me. While I’m fairly comfortable saying things in Korean in a conversational setting, I never know what to say if I’m just told, “Say anything” D:
I have never been asked how to write someone’s name in Korean, but I can see how that would be pretty annoying.
Two other questions I often get:
1) Are you learning Korean because of K-pop / Korean dramas? To be honest I don’t have particularly strong interest in either, and when I say so most people look puzzled.
2) Are you Korean American? I have an Asian face (Japanese American) so I can understand the question but I do get tired of explaining it.
Oh, indeed! I do notice that often people ask whether you are learning Korean due to anything K-Wave related. Though I seem to see it being more asked by others learning Korean than people not learning. However, that is just my observation on that. 😉
People still judge a book based on its cover which can be tiresome when it is one of the most frequent asked question. One of my friends who is in the same boat just says yes because that is the fastest way to deal with that. 😀