18 April 2013

April 18 Photo: Hello!

Hello, Jambo, Buenos dias, Aloha, Zdravei, Hola, Annyeong haseyeo!

This board is located in the reception area of the International Education office at Mount Royal University and represents the diversity of students we have had come through our department. Do you know all of these languages?  Greetings seem so simple but it isn't always what it seems to be. In the same way that the question, "How are you?' doesn't always signal a desire to hear the real answer, every language will present its own  cultural expressions that require more than a literal translation to navigate.

When I had just arrived in Korea and was just getting a basic conversational level of the language, I remember trying to respond with full explanations to the question "Have you eaten your rice today?"
"No, I usually start my day with tofu patties or cereal".
"No, I will be eating later after a few more appointments."
"Yes, I just finished having lunch. We had rice and panchan"
None of these were the appropriate answer to this greeting. It has a similar purpose to our questioning "How are you?" and the only appropriate response is "Yes, I have. Have you?"

(And when you do eat your rice, don't forget your kimchi!)

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