A Kids Song…

October 3, 2007 at 10:23 pm Leave a comment

Do yourself a favor and click this link. It’s a flash animation of a popular Korean kids song. If you happen to be studying Korean, you’ll even be able to find a bunch of other songs on the Yahoo site. They are great study tools. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to get the gist of the meaning just from watching, but the translation is important for the cultural insight I picked up today.
My little brother is a curly-curly haired brat.

He only has one true name, but he has a few nicknames

Mommy, she calls him honey pigDaddy, he calls him toadI call him prince

Which one is right? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

It’s important to know that this song is written from the perspective of a big sister. When I first saw this, I wasn’t 100% sure of all the words, but I new enough to guess based on the pictures. And the last nickname I assumed to be prince, and not princess. This of course makes sense to my American mind, where sibling rivalry is the norm, especially between two young children of the opposite sex. I’m not sure what it says about Korean culture… if it reinforces the rather misogynistic status quo, or if it is just a positive example of sibling love. I an imagine the silly kids song in English that would have the same happy big sister thinking she was so clever to call her little brother princess. ( I should point out that the link I sent you is a different version from the one I saw, where the boy really does look dressed like a princess during that line.)

The second verse repeats the first half, but goes on to elaborate just how special this little brother is:

He’s a healthy “honey pig” that eats well

He’s a kind hearted and happy (plump) toad

He’s a wise and brave prince

Which one is right? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

I actually didn’t know about this second verse until today which really prompted these thoughts. Again, I’m not sure what it really says about Koreans, but I am struck by what I see as glaring differences in what an American English song would say.

In other news, this week is the big biennial “Mass Games” put on by my school. Pictures to come sometime this weekend.

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Entry filed under: Culture, Korean, Language.

My intentions my new phone

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