Among common English mistakes in Korea, there is one particular hiccup that is most likely to cause you to pull a muscle when you raise an eyebrow, such as when you hear a co-worker or student tell you that they are ‘so hard’.
You may consider yourself to be physically appealing, but trust us, the LAST thing you want to assume is that everyone in Korea wants to sleep with you just because they might say this around you.
Unless you are in a dark nightclub listening to pickup lines, expect when your co-worker or student is uttering this common English mistake, they are actually ‘very frustrated’, ‘under a lot of pressure’ or ‘experiencing difficulty.’ And that’s a perfectly understandable feeling for them to have in a workplace or ESL environment!
Understanding Common English Mistakes in Korea. Not ‘so hard’!
As the vast majority of Koreans you will encounter in Korea will be thinking in Korean before uttering English, this obviously will begin brewing your own personal volcano of common English mistakes in Korea that are sure to cause you to erupt at some point. So it is important for you to give them the benefit of the doubt, knowing that what they are really saying is something involving ‘매우 힘들다’ (mae-oo heem-deul-da’) or simply ‘힘들다’ (heem-deul-da) which Koreans are often taught to mean ‘so hard’ or ‘hard’, respectively.
So you can imagine a Korean learner of English who hasn’t broken through the glass ceiling yet of where they possess more diverse and contextually-accurate adjectives to choose from might trip up and say ‘I’m so hard’ when they really mean to say ‘I’m so frustrated’ or similar.
Ever experience this in your workplace or classroom? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments! Or better yet, what are some better and more accurate expressions you can explain to your co-worker or student? Adopting this kind of mindset will power you through those delicate first few months of misunderstandings in Korea.
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