Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The letter 'V'

One of my biggest pet peeves of a Korean accent is the letter V (although the letter Z is a close runner up). For some reason 85% of my students pronounce the letter V like 'vui'. It has always bothered me, but the other day one of my preschoolers finally pushed me over the edge on this one when she (one of my best students in that class) turned to me and said "Teacher, not Vee, Vui".

Unfortunately, the mispronunciation of the letter V is also propagated in the media. For example, here is the song 'L.O.V.E' by the Brown Eyed Girls. They only get the letter V correct about half the time they say it...

And if you're curious about the pronunciation of the letter Z, they pronounce it as a J. Normally this wouldn't be such a problem, but when you're teaching kids, zoos come up quite often. Now, when you replace a J with a Z in the word zoo, it becomes Joo (aka Jew). With my most advanced class/oldest class I tried to explain what Jew meant so that they would realize how big of a difference there was between the word zoo and the word Jew. Unfortunately, it was completely lost on them. I might as well have been trying to explain Norse gods, because to them it 's just as obscure. Not to many Jews fled to Korea in the diaspora, evidently. They've never heard of Judaism.

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