In South Korea's culture education is taken very seriously. Parents sacrifice everything for their children
's education. They have class six days a week, sometimes seven, and are enrolled in various after school academies. english
academy is one of the more common academies parents send their children
to. After the Korean War it was required for students to take english
in school as a second language. It has become even more important since globalization and the advancement of technology.
's from english
speaking countries are invited over to Korea to work as an esl teacher
s. While teaching in Korea they have come across common problems that are reoccurring for Korean students. One major problem that Korean students face is language differences. According to ‘The East Asian Learner,' The phonetic system, the syntactic structure, and semantics of the two languages are so different that the transition from one language to the other requires enormous efforts from the learner. Basically the english
language is completely different from the Korean language and it's hard for the students transition when using english
Another major problem that Korean learners face is phonetic differences. The english
language is not phonetic whereas the Korean language is. The english
language is complex and so is the spelling of words. The sounds can be different with every spelling. There are also many differences from consonants and vowels. Korean students have difficulty pronouncing voiced consonants such as b, d, g, v, z, and Th. They also have to make extra effort to pronounce f and v because the Korean language does not have those sounds. The Korean language has one sound for r and l and it's extremely difficult for students to differentiate between both letters. “Students also have difficulty distinguishing these pairs of voiced and voiceless sounds from each other, as in the case of f and v, b and p, t and d, z, j and dz, and r and l.” (East Asian Learner). There are also differences in vowels. Students have difficulty saying ‘aw' because it does not exist in the Korean language. They tend to substitute ‘o' for it. They also have a problem pronouncing unstressed syllables because the Korean language uses full strong stress of vowels. It can be uncomfortable for them to pronounce an unstressed letter; page, pagee. Stress is another variable. english
is a stress-timed language whereas Korean is a syllable-timed language. It's difficult for students to get familiar with the english
Korean students also face syntactic differences. “In english
, the word order is SVO (subject-verb-object), while the basic pattern of a Korean sentence is SOV (subject-object-verb)” (East Asian Learners). When students write sentences they have to change the order of the words, which can be extremely difficult. It can explain why their responses are slower. Adverbs are also written backwards. The adverb comes after the verb and when talking about time and place Korean students tend to put the adverb in the beginning of the sentence or right after the subject.
Korean students face a lot of problems when producing the english
language. It is important for an esl teacher
to be aware of their common problems and reinforce the correct language. It will take time and practice.
Byung-Eun Cho. "Issues Concerning Korean Learners of english
Education in Korea and Some Common Difficulties of Korean Students." Oxford Brookes University — Oxford Brookes University. Web. 16 June 2011. .