Thursday, July 22, 2010

The joy of being completely out of your depth.

When I traveled to Korea a few weeks ago, I had the joy of being in a land where I found myself helpless as a three year old child. Hangul, the beautiful system of "alphabets" that the Koreans proudly use, is out of my reach at present. I can read in a very rudimentary way, but then with lots of difficulties and at an incredibly slow pace.

I remember the days when I first started to learn English at the age of 12. Then, even the difference of one letter "s" in the verb between "he plays tennis" and "they play tennis" was a discovery. I then went on to make small discoveries inch by inch, until English became my second language for reading, writing, and casting a web onto the world around me.

It is so blissful to be out of your depth. As I wandered through the streets of Seoul, I found joy in feeling helpless, surrounded by the wonderful and yet unknown universe of the Hangul. I would very much like to be out of my depth from time to time, as it is the only way to rejuvenation.

8 comments:

Dandelion Fuzz said...

Hangul on the neon sign looks like a cosmic code to me.
As for learning, the exploration of unknown parts makes me a lost child every day.
As we must be made of cosmic dust, even if they are historical organisms on the earth, I wonder we find joy in unlimited and helpless feeling.

Christine said...

I live in Seoul now. I have been in Korea for three years. Hangeul is a very easy alphabet to learn. It is considered one of the most comprehensive alphabets in the world. It was invented by King Sejong the Great in the 15th century so that the Koreans can express themselves in their own language better, rather than using Chinese characters.
It took me a few months to read hangeul well, mostly due to the vowel combinations. The consonants were easy. One problem is that there is no letter "w" in hangeul, so they use a few vowels in combination to make a "w" sound.

Greg said...

Speaking of depth, it can be fascinating to go exploring beneath the surface to see what is happening there. For example, the word "plays" in your example sentence and in the following one, "He saw several plays last year" looks the same, but the meaning of both the word "play" and the "-s" that follows are different. Anyone over adolescence thinks nothing of those differences, but understands their meaning and usage without explicit thought. However, a child may wonder why the verb "play" is plural in the first sentence. An adult may chuckle on hearing this, but the child has brought something out of the depths for us to wonder and consider.

Wander14 said...

When one learns English as
the first foreign language,
there appears the joy of understanding.

Time passes,
one tries to learn the second that,
then the joy of choosing comes out.
(in my opinion)

Currently I face some difficulties
of Japanese in spite of the fact
that my mother tongue is Japanese.

These hot days make me feel
very stupid(like Alice). hahaha.

MK said...

Yes, I am in Paris at present. Every time I come here, I am so fascinated by its history and beauty.
This time I am feeling strongly that I want to speak French with French people.
That would make my life in Paris more and more comfortable and enjoyable.
However, at the same time, I find myself being like a 5 year girl in un pays etranger(gaikoku) and that is so much a fun to be honest.
Funny...
I wonder if it's becoming rejuvenation to me.

Thank you Mogi-san ,for sending us a message in your blog both in English and Japanese constantly.
Although I don't make comments so often, it is always my source of energy and consolation maybe.

Anonymous said...

For teachers, I think that is a good way to understand students' feelings. Studying a new language makes us realise again how difficult the beginning is. Then, teachers will make allowances for students' readiness.

yuzu said...

Dear:Mr.Mogi
Recently my friends who are over sixty yeas old
have fresh spirits and try new things a lot.
It's so cool.
I think that I am still young.I want to be a nice explore,too.

Calvin said...

Mystery, what a delight... I was once stuck in Incheon for 30 hours but was afraid to go out and look around.