Anyone can learn the Korean way of thinking!
“Uri” is an excellent way of understanding “self” that is inextricably linked with the surrounding beings.
If you look closely at the word “Uri,” you can see how Koreans understand themselves and their relationships with other beings. However, I believe that you also can learn and internalize a Korean way of thinking and get new inspiration for yourself.
There is a real-life example I would like to share with you.
This is a YouTube video made by a Korean channel which features a few foreigners who’ve moved to Korea. In this video, they talk about aspects of the Korean language which they’ve found to be interesting and different from their mother tongues. We’ll look at a segment from 8.25 to 8.45.
This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.
Here’s a transcript in Korean, and in English.
플로리안: 아 언니, 오빠! 오빠야~
플로리안: 그것도 신기해요, 왜냐하면 우리나라에는 없으니까…
타베야: 좋아해? 여자들이 오빠라고 불러주면?
플로리안: 졸라 안 좋아해요!
플로리안: 나도 오빠인데, 다른 사람들도 다 오빠니까!
플로리안: 나는 가치가 없다고 생각해요!
플로리안: 나는 소중한 사람이 아니라고 생각해요!
타베야: 오~ 오 신기하다!
Florian: Unni, oppa! (These words are what a younger girl calls an older girl and guy respectively)
Florian: That was so interesting, because we don’t have words like that in my country (Note that he says “uri country”).
Tabya: Do you like it when girls call you oppa?
Florian: I hate it so much!
Florian: Cuz even though they call me oppa, they call every other guy oppa too!
Florian: It’s like I’m not special anymore!
Florian: It makes me feel like I’m not their precious guy! :(
Tabya: Oh, that’s interesting!
At 8:29, notice the words Florian uses to mean “my country”. He specifically says “Uri country”, a very Korean concept which he was able to learn through learning the Korean language. This is a great example to show how the Korean culture and concepts we’ve discussed so far are not something that is restricted to people that are ethnically Korean, but are learnable by anybody who is willing to put in the effort to learn the language and immerse themselves in the culture.
Are you also interested in Korean culture? What have you done so far to try and learn about the Korean culture and language?
© Sungkyunkwan University