My background and what Korea means to me

This is probably going to be my most personal blog post in quite a bit. I’m going to explain why I am the way I am, and what made the way I am today. People who know me, know me to be a shy, quiet person, with very strong opinions on some subjects, and a love of Korean culture.
Let me give you a bit about my background… (btw I’m not worried about privacy here).

I was born in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China in 1988, the year of the dragon. I’m not full Chinese – my mother is Manchu, and my dad is full Han Chinese, thus I consider myself a “mix” even though Manchu’s look like Chinese and speak Mandarin Chinese.
My hometown is Manchuria, an area invaded by the Japanese during WWII around the same time they occupied Korea.

When I was four years old, in 1992, China was still very poor, and only started to become more capitalist. My family was poor, and we immigrated to Canada to seek a better life. My dad was already there attending Queen’s University, so we settled in Kingston, ON at first.

After my dad graduated, we moved to Orillia, ON, a small city in central Ontario about 2 hours north of Toronto (why my parents chose to move there remains a mystery to me). Even there, my dad had to work long hours to make ends meet for our family (my brother was born in Orillia). We started out in a small apartment, and then gradually saved up enough money to purchase our own home.

I grew up in Orillia, Canada
I grew up in Orillia, Canada

I lived in Orillia for 12 years, until I was 18. Orillia is a small, quiet waterfront city of 30,000 people, and there were no Asian people there, so it was always hard for me to make friends. Being shy and introverted, I was always a loner with a few close group of friends in elementary and high school. I tried to fit in more in high school by playing on the local football team and hockey teams, but it just wasn’t meant for me. An anecdote of just how shy I was back then; I would often hide in the bathrooms before classes started just so I wouldn’t have to mingle with students in the hallway. I hated making small talk (and still do) with people.

Plus, high school was too easy. My high school life consisted of: playing guitar, playing Magic cards, and playing video games. My mom often tried to hide my guitar and my computer away from me and forced me to study math books instead, thinking that I didn’t do any homework (I actually finished all my homework in class). During high school, I worked several menial jobs like being a dishwasher, cashier, YMCA supervisor, skating arena cleaner, waiter, etc. It was tedious but it taught me the value of money. I had only a small group of friends in high school, all white (no Asian kids in my city), and all male (I was terrible with girls back then).

When I was 18, I decided to move to the big city in Canada, which was Toronto, to attend university at the University of Toronto, the biggest and most prestigious university in Canada. I majored in Computer Science because I had been designing websites and hacking games a lot in my high school days, and it was a natural fit.

In my first year, I stayed at a dorm roomed with a Korean roommate. He introduced me to Korean culture and to Korean church where I attended for a year and made some Korean friends. This was my first introduction to Korea. After only half a semester, I moved out to live with my dad. My parents you see, work in different places. For some odd reason my parents chose to stay in the small city of Orillia, and my Mom works there, but my Dad has a job in Toronto, and thus my Mom essentially lives by herself during the weekdays, and my Dad commutes back and forth between Orillia and Toronto (a 1.5hr drive) every weekend. They have been doing this for the past 15 years, and they are too secure in their jobs to think about moving. Anyways, since my Dad owns a place in Toronto, I mostly lived there during my university years.

University College was my resident college
University College was my resident college

UofT is one of the top schools in computer science, but it was absolutely brutal in marking assignments. How good a lecture was completely depended on the professor teaching it, and some courses I passed based on luck and last minute classmate help only. Even though I felt more at home with more Asians (UofT is roughly 40% Asian), every night I had to study in the library or in the computer lab to finish programming assignments, and thus had no spare time to socialize.

In addition, I was still quite introverted and it was still hard for me to make friends outside of my computer science classmates. One incident happening during university which changed my personality forever. I met a girl in my FLC (first year learning community) which was quite helpful to me to make friends in freshman year given my shy personality. Basically all my friends in Toronto I met during frosh week and my time in FLC. Anyways, that girl was friendly at first, but then after a few months she started getting really annoyed with me for some reason, and I had no idea why, and ultimately my pestering caused her to become quite rude and hostile to me. She was ultimately a bitch, but at the time I was a pretty innocent guy, so it changed my views on how people react to me. From then on, I didn’t care as much about the reactions people have towards me, whereas before I was trying to make everyone happy with me. I never did reconcile with that girl, but its fine because it taught me a lesson. Life isn’t all roses.

I originally wanted to do a double major in commerce and computer science (this was also when I did Commerce Toastmasters which improved my public speaking), but ended up doing a double major in Economics when some of the CS courses became way too unforgiving. I was quite good at Economics and my 80s/90s in those courses helped bring up my GPA. During this time I worked as a caller for the UofT Alumni and some co-op jobs to help pay for my tuition. Also, I took a full semester of Chinese and practiced on QQ and made some Chinese friends on there in order to raise my Chinese level back up from years of growing up in a non Chinese environment.

After I took a great internship opportunity (called PEY) for engineers and worked for the Canadian government for one year, I realized that I had to move to the United States in order to escape the cold boredom of Canada and also the high taxes and low wages. I became more politically conservative and also started investing in stocks around this time. And Silicon Valley was where I wanted to be. So I applied for a bunch of California jobs before I graduated.

Luckily, one company gave me an offer! If it wasn’t for them, I would have been in Taiwan on an AIESEC internship (AIESEC was another club I joined in my last year of university). So I ended up in the heart of San Francisco, where I’ve always wanted to be. This was one of the highlights of my life as I could finally tell my family I was going to be making good salary, especially since my dad didn’t think I was going to amount to anything, as my parents didn’t have high expectations for me (my brother was always the favorite), but I proved them wrong. Why did my father always look down on me? Especially since my Dad was also a programmer, and I had been doing websites since I was 12 proved that I had engineer blood in me, you would think he would have had more trust in me.

My office was beside the Transamerica Pyramid
My office was beside the Transamerica Pyramid

I was the youngest engineer in the company I joined, so I only had one other friend who was slightly older than me but still Chinese American, but we got along well due to our similar personalities and interests. He remains a good friend to this day.

San Francisco had much better weather, much better technology, and even more diverse people than Toronto, but it was no easier for me to make friends. People here were just too quirky for me, and I found myself wanting to be more and more Asian, towards my roots. Although I had some Chinese friends in university, here in SF, there were more Koreans than Chinese, so most of my friends ended up being Korean. And I really accepted Korean culture, since my college roommate was Korean, I had attended Korean church with him before, and Korea is very close to my birthplace in Manchuria.

I had also found that I enjoyed Korean food more than Chinese food, and that I was more attracted to Korean girls than Chinese girls. This must be some kind of genetic thing, as I can’t really explain it. When I went to Korea last year, the culture was completely different, everyone was more conformist and hung out in groups, it was more about being together than being individual kind of thinking, and I felt much more at ease, like I belonged more there.

Seoul's massive metropolis was completely different than America
Seoul’s massive metropolis was completely different than America

So where to next? It seems that my thinking has become more and more Asian, and less and less American, so it seems inevitable that my next step be to move to Korea (where most of my friends are) and live there a year or two, just to confirm my suspicions that where I belonged all along was… back where I came from. But this isn’t easy, as I didn’t want to be an English teacher, nor do I want to work as an engineer in Korea for long hours and low salary. But I hope that there is a way I can be happy and find what I’m looking for over there. I’m 26 years old now, and it’s about time I finally find a place to settle down.

Busking in Hongdae
Busking in Hongdae
Hiking up In-wang mountain
Hiking up In-wang mountain
Gangnam nightscape
Gangnam nightscape
At Lotte World
At Lotte World

To be sure about my love for Korea, here’s a video I recorded while in Seoul for submission to the 3 minute Korea video contest:


…and some good news!! My Korean language learning website has been converted to WordPress mainly because of WP’s built in sorting/searching functionality and support for plugins for SEO and Facebook commenting. Check it out here:


Korean Grammar, Verb/Noun Conjugations, Continued…

Continuing from my previous post on learning korean, I’ve found that many textbooks and beginning korean grammar books are insufficient. Mainly, they’re too old fashioned and often teach you very formal, polite ways of saying things. But I want to be able to talk to my korean friends using colloquial modern usage!! I’m not going to Korea on business or anything, I just want to make some korean friends. So those books don’t help me there. (the best book out there is probably this one).

But luckily I found a site that is pretty good at teaching korean called Talk to me in Korean, and it often gives examples that are very colloquial, which is good. I will summarize noun/verb conjugations here, when I use brackets or parens, its to denote different politeness levels, or different vowel/consonant conjugations.

Noun conjugations:
-은/는, to denote topic noun, which is more general than the subject, also used for contrast.
-이/가, to denote the subject, which is more specific than the topic.
-들, to emphasize plurality on a noun.
-을/를, to denote noun being acted on by a verb (the object).
-으로/로 , to denote a noun is being used (by,with), or direction, or selection, or change.
-의, to denote possession between two nouns.
-(이)나/아니면 – to link nouns with ‘or’ expression.
-에, which can denote place, time or quantity. It’s equivalent to [at / on / in].
-에서, which indicates a dynamic location or source of action. It’s same as 에 but has to be action happening there.
-와/과,-하고,-(이)랑 to link two nouns together. 와/과 is most formal, (이)랑 is most colloquial.
-도, which adds the meaning of also/too/even to a noun.
-만, which adds the meaning of just/only to a noun.
-이나/나, which means something similar/or/as many as/about.
-에서/부터,-까지 which means from a time/place to another time/place.
-한테, -한테서, which means to someone, and from someone.
-[noun1] [noun2]-보다 더 [verb] – to compare two nouns.
-를 위해/위해서, to add meaning of ‘in order for’ to a noun.
-[noun1] 하고 [noun2] 중에서/중에 – adding meaning of ‘amongst/between’ two nouns. -사이에서 is used for meaning of ‘amongst’ between people. -사이에 is used for meaning of ‘between’, talking about physical space between two nouns.
-아무(런) + [noun] + -도 + (없어요) = there is no [noun] of any kind
-(이)라고 + [verb1] – adds meaning of ‘they say that (something is) + [noun]’ (quoting). -(이)래요 + [verb1] is another way of quoting someone, more colloquially. -(이)라던데(요) is another way of quoting someone, but expecting a response from the listener.
-[noun1] 말고 [noun2] – expressing not [noun1] but [noun2]
-에 비해서 – means compared to something. -에 비하면 – means if compared to something
-대신에 means ‘instead of’
-가장 + [noun] + 중의 하나 – adds meaning of ‘one of the most’ to a noun/verb.
-(이)라는 건 – ‘what they call…’ ‘so-called…’
-에 따라 다르다 / -에 따라서 달라요 / -마다 다르다 – it depends on [noun].
-같이/처럼 = like + [noun], as + [noun]. [noun1]-같이 and -같은 + [noun2] – the thing (noun2) which is like [noun1]
-만큼 – as much as [noun1]. -얼마만큼 – how much of [noun1]
정말 -고 싶지만 – as much as I would like to….
-(이)라니까(요) – ‘I said I…/I told you that I…’
-적 -ic, -ical, -like, a sort of

Verb conjugations:
안 + [verb] / -지 (않다/않아요/않아), which adds negative form of the verb.
-아/어/여 (주세요/줘), which adds meaning of ‘favor/do this for me’ to the verb.
만약 + [sentence], -(으)면, which adds meaning of ‘if’ to a verb.
-고 – which links verbs together with ‘and’.
-거나,-든지,-든가 – which links verbs together with ‘or’.
-지만 – which links verbs together with ‘but’.
-아/어/여요,-자 (casual), which adds meaning of ‘let’s do’ to a verb.
-아/어/여서 linking verbs, to show reason (because), result, or purpose.
-라도, which is used in suggestions to mean that it isn’t the best choice or option. Means ‘any’ when used with who/what/when/where/which.
-(으)니까 also links verbs to show reason or relationship, but can be used in imperative sentences as well.
-ㄹ/을 텐데 also links verbs, but its about assumption or guessing, more uncertainty.
-기 위해/위해서, ‘in order for’
-ㅁ/음 is to turn single words (verbs or adjectives) into nouns, and not full sentences.
-밖에 + [negative verb], ‘only’,’nothing but’
-(으)ㄴ + 다음에,-(으)ㄴ + 후에,-(으)ㄴ + 뒤에, ‘after doing [this]’
-아/어/여 + 도, ‘yet/but still’
-자마자 -‘as soon as’
-ㄹ/을 수록 – ‘the more [verb1], the more [verb2]’
-다가, 하다가 – ‘while I was doing [verb1]’, ‘and then…’ to join the next sentence.
-(으/느)ㄴ 데다가 – in addition to [verb]ing, on top of being [adj]
-(이)라고 + (말)하다 – ‘to say that…’. -(으)라고 – is the same meaning but used for imperative statements.
-(ㄴ/는)다고 + [verb1] – ‘they say that (something) + [verb1]’ (quoting). -(ㄴ/는)대(요) + [verb1] is another way of quoting someone more colloquially. -(ㄴ/는)다던데(요) is another way of quoting someone, but expecting a response from the listener.
-다고/라고 들었어요 is used for ‘I heard that… / they say that…’
-그러니까,제 말은,아니 + [new meaning] + -(ㄴ/은/는)다고요/-(이)라고요/(-(이)라는/-다는) 말이에요 – used to correct yourself in sentences to say ‘I mean..’ [new meaning]
-(으)ㄴ/는지 – adds meaning of ‘whether or not’ or uncertainty to a verb.
-[verb1]-지 말고 [verb2] – expresses not verb1 but verb2
-는 대신에 – ‘instead of’ and ‘in return’
-(으)ㄴ/는 김에 – ‘while you are there’ ‘while I am at it’ etc to the verb.
-(으)ㄹ 겸 (해서) – added to express more than one purpose to the verb, and also functions as a slash (/) meaning.
-(으)며 /-(으)면서 – while; at the same time; (doing) simultaneously.
-(으)러 가다 – giving reason for doing something.
-는지에 따라(서) 다르다 / -느냐에 따라(져)요 – it depends on [verb].
emphasis: -기는 + [verb] (DID do [verb]) / 수는 + [verb] ( COULD do [verb]).
-(으)려면 S: equivalent to if S intends to [verb]
-으러/러 – to show in order to do something
-아/어/여 봤자 + [negative verb] – even if, it’s no use, it won’t work.
-(으)나마나 – no matter whether someone does something or not.
-길래 + [result verb] – doing something as result of observation or judgement.
-아무리 + [verb] + -아/어/여도 – no matter how + verb/adj/adverb. 아무리 -어/어/여 봤자, 아무리 -고 싶어도, 아무리 -려고 해도, 아무리 -(으/느) ㄴ다고 해도 are similar.
아무리 + [verb] + -아/어/여도 그렇지… – no matter how, but still….
-냐고 + [question related word] (물어보다,질문하다,말하다) – makes reported questions, ie. he asked, she asked, I asked…, etc
-기만 하면, -(느)ㄴ 한 (more formal), -지만 않으면 – ‘as long as’
-도록 – “so that”,”in a way that”,”to the point where”. The verb before -도록 either: expresses objective of following verb, expresses effect or method leading to following verb, expresses extent or degree of the following state or action.

Verb-Noun conjugations
To make a verb into a noun (-ing), add -는 것 to the verb. This becomes -는거 when speaking, -는건 when its a topic, -는게, when its a subject, -는걸 if its an object.
There is another way to do this, add -기 to the verb, which becomes -긴 when its a topic, -게 when its a subject, -길 when its an object. But the usages of this way is more specific than using -는 것.
-(는거) 잘 하다/못 하다 – to be good or poor at doing something
-(는거) 같아요 – ‘seems like’, or ‘I think that’, to a noun-verb.
-(기) 전에 – ‘before’ to a verb-noun.
-기 쉽다 – easy to do (something).
-기 어렵다 – hard to do (something).
-(이)라는 + [noun]/것 – adds meaning ‘this thing called…’. For verbs, -(ㄴ/는)다는 것 – ‘what they call…’ ‘so-called…’
-ㄴ/은 + [noun], which turns adverbs into adjectives (present tense noun modifier).
-는/(으)ㄴ/(으)ㄹ + [noun], which turns verbs into adverbs (present tense noun modifier).
-(으)ㄹ + [noun]/것 – to make a verb future tense noun modifier
-(으)ㄴ + [noun]/것 – to make a verb past tense noun modifier
-ㄴ/는 + [noun]/것 – to make a verb present tense modifier
-던 is attached to past or present tense verbs (replacing 다) to modify following nouns (it’s the [noun] that I am/used to [adjective-verb]). .

Copula (endings):
-있다 (base) / 있습니다 (formal) / 있어요 (polite) / 있어 (plain) = to have, to be there.
-이다 (base) / 입니다 (formal) / 이에요 (polite) / 이야 (plain) = to exist, to be.
-하다 (base) / 합니다 (formal) / 해요 (polite) / 해 (plain) = to do.
-돼다 (base) / 돼요 (polite) / 돼 (plain) = to function, to be possible, can do.
-같아요/같아 – ‘seems like’, or ‘I think that’ to a noun.
-군요 /구나 – implies the speaker acknowledges or recognizes something (I see).
-거든(요) – used when giving information or explaining something (because).
-고 (싶다/싶어요/싶어), adds ‘want to do’ to the verb.
-지(마세요/마), ads ‘don’t do’ to the verb.
-ㄹ 수 있다/없다, 못-, adds ‘can/cannot do’ to the verb.
-(으)ㄹ 수도 있다, adds ‘could/might do’ to the verb.
-(으)ㄹ 수 밖에 없다, adds ‘having no choice but to’ or ‘obviously, bound to be’ to the verb.
-아/어/여야 되다/하다, adds ‘should/have to do’ to the verb.
-네요/네, to add an nuance of surprise or expression to a verb.
-는데/은데/ㄴ데 – added to verbs to either 1) add ‘and then/so then’ to the next sentence, 2) add ‘but,however’ to the next sentence, 3) expecting an explanation or asking for explanation when its a question, 4) expressing surprise when used as exclamation, 5) adding meaning of though to the sentence. In 3), 4) and 5), 는데 is the copula.
-(으)ㄹ 리가 없어요 – adds ‘it can’t be, it’s impossible that…’ to the verb
-아/어/여도 되다 – adds ‘it’s okay to, don’t have to…’ to the verb
-(으)면 안 되다 – adds ‘you shouldn’t, you’re not supposed to…’ to the verb
-지/죠 – added to verbs when you are talking about something other person knows about or has opinion about.
-아/어/여지다 (졌요 past tense, 질 거예요 future tense) – adds ‘to become’ to the verb
-게 되다 (됬어요 past tense, 될거예요 future tense) – adds ‘eventually do something, find oneself doing something, ends up that way’ to the verb
-(으)ㄹ 뻔 했다 – adds ‘almost did something’ to a verb.
-(으)시+tense ending – adds honorific form (more respect to person).
-아/어/여 보다 – adds ‘try this’ to the verb
-(ㄴ/는)다 – used to show reaction about a present situation, talking about a present action, used in writing to describe series of actions.
-ㄴ/은/는 편이다 – to give a adjective/verb meaning of ‘relatively’ or ‘rather’
-잖아(요) – used when correcting someone, or providing an excuse, or insisting you are correct (You see? I told you).
-(고 있)는 중이다 – emphasizes that you are in the middle of doing something [verb].
-(으/느)ㄴ지 잘 모르겠어요 – adds ‘I’m not sure if…’ to the verb.
-겠- adds “I guess that…” to the verb.
-(으)ㄹ 때도 있어요 – adds ‘other times’ + verb.
-(으)ㄴ (past)/-는 줄 (present)/-(으)ㄹ 줄 (future) + 알다 (알았어요) – to think/know that someone has done/will do something / know how to do something.
– ^above structure + 안 / + 물다 (몰랐어요) – to not think/know that someone has done/will do something.
-nouns: -(이)군요/(이)구나, verbs: -군요(구나), action verbs: -는군요/는구나 – to add the meaning of realization or “I see” to the sentence.
-(으/느)ㄴ 척/체 하다 – to pretend to do [verb].
-(으)ㄹ 만하다 – it’s possible, or reason to, or worth to do [verb].
[action verb] + -느라고 + [negative verb or state] – giving an excuse for something, can also be used to mention goal or adjective.
-더라(!),던데요(!) – telling someone a fact based on what you experienced. -더라고(요) – makes it more calm and neutral. Can only be used with your emotions, based on what you experienced, but cannot be based on your action or will.
-다니까(요) (adj), -(느)ㄴ다니까(요) (action) – adds ‘I told you so! / I said I…’ to a verb
-(ㄴ/는)다잖아요/-라잖아요 – adds “don’t you see that…”, “come on, isn’t it…” to a verb

Present tense:
-아요, -어요, -여요, -해요 to a verb.

Past tense:
-았어요, -었어요, -였어요, -했어요 to a verb
-았/었/였 + -다고 + verb – quotes the verb in past tense

Future tense:
-ㄹ/을 (거예요/거야), 할 (거예요/거야) = simply adding meaning of ‘will do’ to the verb
-(으)ㄹ게요 = focuses more on actions/decisions in reaction to or result of something
-겠 – a more formal way of saying ‘I’m going to’
-(으)ㄹ래요 = strong intention, more casual, equivalent to ‘I’m going to’
-(으)려고 하다 = expressing that something is about to happen, or will happen soon.
-(으)ㄹ 것 같다 – implies you are think for certain something will happen.
-나 보다 (for verbs) / -(으)ㄴ가 보다 (for adverbs) – adds meaning of ‘I assume / I guess / I suppose’ to a verb, less stronger.
-(으)려나 보다 – you have an idea that someone has an intention of doing something (it looks like).
-(으)ㄹ 거 + -라고 + verb – quotes the verb in future tense

Present Progressive:
-고 있어요

Present Narrative:

-(으)세요!! – present tense with a more downward tone.
-어라/아라 – plain form.
-(으)라니까(요)! – ‘I told you/I said…’!

-present tense with a more upward tone + ? is the standard form
-습니까? is a very polite form
-나요? (for verbs) / 가요? (for adverbs) are slightly less polite than the standard form
-니?,냐?,야? are casual forms of the question.
-(으)ㄹ까요/까?,-ㄹ래요/래?,-시겠어요? / -시겠습니까 ? (formal) – to add meaning of ‘shall we?’ or suggestion to a question.
-지? (casual) / 죠? (polite) seeks confirmation (right?) from the listener, or wondering.
-는데? seeks more explanation from the listener.
-(는 거) 어때요? to add meaning of ‘how about’ [noun/verb].
-(는 거)에 대해서 + (어떤 것 같아요? / 어떻게 생각해요?) – adds meaning of ‘what do you think about’ [noun/verb] to the question..
-아/어/여도 (돼요/괜찮아요/될까요(uncertain))? – adds meaning of ‘do you mind if I…’ [verb] to the question.
-아/어/여 (주실래요/줄래)? – asks someone if they mind doing [verb].
-겠-? – expressing assumption or asking others opinion about a possibility.
-길래 + [result verb]? asking about reason or background for a decision
-(이 with noun)더라?,-았/(이)었/였지?-았/(이)었/였죠? – ‘what was it?, what was it again?’

Passive tense:
-adding meaning of ‘gets, to be, is possible’
-with negation (안), means – can’t or unable to
-아/어/여지다 (With action verbs)
-이 (verbs ending in ㅎ다)
-히 (verbs ending in -ㄱ다, -ㄷ다 or ㅂ다)
-리 (verbs ending in -ㄹ다)
-기 (verbs ending -ㄴ다, ㅁ다, ㅅ다 or ㅊ다)
-이/히/리/기 + -아/어/여지다 (double passive)
-되다 (verbs ending in 하다), which gives meaning of possibility or ‘can be’.
-어 있다 – something is in a certain state as a result of an action.
-게 되어 있다 – something is bound to (or destined to) be in a certain state

Causative tense:
-adding meaning of ‘to make, to cause, to let’
-이 (used mostly after a vowel or sometimes after ㄱ)
-히 (used mostly after ㄱ, ㄷ, or ㅂ)
-리 (used mostly after ㄹ or ㄷ irregular.)
-기 (used mostly after ㄴ, ㅁ, or ㅅ.)
-우/구/추 (various others verbs)
-시키다 (used with 하다 verbs)
-게 하다 – works with all verbs

무슨 / 무엇 (뭐) / 몇 = what
언제 = when
어디 = where
누구 = who
왜 – why
어떻게 = how
얼마 – how much
어떤,어느 – which
-Adding -ㄴ가 to the end of the above W’s will give it meaning of ‘some’ in a question.
ie. something = 뭔가? somewhere = 어딘가? sometime = 언젠가?
-Adding 아무+[noun]+나/도 = any/no
ie. 아무나=anybody,아무거나=anything,아무데나=anywhere,아무때나=anytime.
아무 말도/아무 이야기도 – no word. 아무한테도 = to nobody. 아무렇게나 = whichever way.

이것 / 이건 / 이게 / 여기 / 이곳 = this thing / here
그것 / 그건 / 그게 / 거기 / 그곳 = that thing (closer) / there
저것 / 저건 / 저게 / 저기 / 저곳 = that thing (farther away) / there
조금, 아주, 정말, 전혀, 별로, 진짜 – little bit, very, really
하지만, 그렇지만, 그런데 (근데) – but, however
그리고, 그래서 – and (between sentences), so (and then)
아니면 – or (between sentences)
더, 다 – more, all
제일 / 가장 – most, best
다 – completely, yet
덜 – less, not competely, not yet
아직, 벌써 – still, already
너무 – too much, very
좀 – some

가끔,가끔씩,때때로 – sometimes
어떨 때 – at what times, when. 어떨 때는 – sometimes A, other times B
다른 때는 – other times
훨씬 – much (more), far (more)
앞에, 옆에, 위에, 밑에, 뒤에 – in front of, behind, on top of, under, beside
쯤, 약, 정도 – about, approximately
그래도 – yet, but still, however, nevertheless
그러면, 그럼 – well then, in that case, if so
위하다, 위해, 위해서 – in order to, in order for
괜찮아요 / 아무렇지도 않다 – don’t worry, it’s ok, it’s fine, it’s cool
확실해요 – for sure, certain, without a doubt
가끔, 자주, 별로, 맨날, 항상,전혀,거의 – sometimes, often, seldom, always, not at all, almost
아무것도 아니에요 – it’s nothing
수고하세요/수고해요 – keep up the good work
수고하셨습니다/수고했어요/수고 , 많으셨습니다/수고 많았어요 – thanks for your effort(s)
어차피 – anyway, either way, in any case, after all
진짜예요,진심이에요 – I mean it.
무슨 말이에요? (polite),무슨 소리예요? (casual) ,무슨 말씀이세요? (formal),무슨 뜻이에요? (literal) – what does it mean?
달라지다 – to change. 좋아지다 – to improve, become better. 많아지다 – to increase. 없어지다 – to disappear.
소용 없어요, 안 돼요, 시간 낭비예요 – it’s no use, it won’t work, you can’t do it, it’s a waste of time.

Business Tech

Ideas and Improvements for Apple’s Siri

Siri, the personal digital assistant
Siri, the personal digital assistant

Recently I’ve been quite interested in Apple’s Siri, ever since I received my iPhone 4S and watching the WWDC Developer’s conference. At first I thought it was just a novelty, but upon seeing the upcoming features in iOS 6, my interest has been heightened. I’m interested in machine learning, AI, UI design, and aggregating content, as I’ve tried to do before. See: History of speech AI and How Siri works.

Concept and Functionality
Siri is essentially a search / AI engine thats powered by the voice.

The original Siri application relied upon a number of partners, including:
OpenTable, Gayot, CitySearch, BooRah, Yelp, Yahoo Local, ReserveTravel, Localeze for restaurant and business questions and actions;
Eventful, StubHub, and LiveKick for events and concert information;
MovieTickets, Rotten Tomatoes, and the New York Times for movie information and reviews;
Bing Answers and Wolfram Alpha for factual question answering;
Bing, Yahoo, and Google for web search.
Apple integrated it with default iOS functionality, such as contacts, calendars and text messages. It also supports search from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Wolfram Alpha and Wikipedia. Siri also works with Google Maps and Yelp! search in the United States only.

Context specific service searching
What I would like to see is Siri searching certain services depending on what keywords are being said. For example, if I say a query such as “What is the Earth’s circumference?” or “What is the area of a circle?” then it should direct me to Wolfram Alpha because Siri recognizes these queries as mathematical questions.
Asking about the news should take me to the New York Times, CNN or maybe show me some blog posts, tweets, etc.
Famous persons or companies can take me to their wikipedia page, twitter page, facebook page and website.
If I asked a knowledge question such as “Who was Rene Descartes?” or “Who invented basketball?” then it should direct me to a Wikipedia article or Yahoo/Bing Answers page. Location queries should pull up Google (or soon Apple) Maps.
Programming questions should take me to StackOverflow or some related forums.
Food queries will pull up Yelp and OpenTable to make a reservation and read reviews.
Asking about travel should pull up Priceline/Expedia/Kayak and TripAdvisor.
Movie based queries should take me to Fandango and Rottentomatoes, concert tickets to TicketMaster and event tickets to EventBrite.
Job related queries can take me to LinkedIn or Glassdoor.
In short, Siri should link all these Web 2.0 companies (that all have an API) together. Its the ultimate content aggregator.

I think it would be better if you said the name of the service that you want Siri to pull from if there’s multiple sources.
So for example, if I were to say “Java, Wikipedia” – then Siri would pull from Wikipedia. But “Java, Google” would just do a google search,
and “Java, Stack Overflow” would search stack overflow for the keyword. This would make it easy and intuitive for Siri to bring up the correct response.

Integration with web and OS X
How about having Siri come to Macs and PCs? How about having Siri be accessible as a web application running on the cloud? Almost all computers come with microphones, so why not? I see the advantage of making Siri exclusive to iOS but soon I think Apple should make it widely available.

Text input
The main problem with me using Siri is that it looks awkward when I’m talking to it in a public place, or using it at a meeting can be distracting. So Siri should take text input to fix that. I’m sure some Java parser in the backend is translating natural speech into strings anyway, so it shouldn’t be too hard to make a text based option.

Expanding services
Siri should be able to integrate with countless Web 2.0 services. And it should be locale specific. If I’m in China, then Siri should integrate with Baidu, QQ, Sina, etc. If I’m looking for a deal, then Siri can pull up Groupon. Point is, Siri can be the glue that ties all these services together. And maybe pulling up Youtube when I’m looking for a funny cat video or something. Perhaps Siri can learn from users in general, in context, and know what to say in response depending on what other users have said to it (a la Cleverbot).

Social integration and Ad delivery
Siri now provides Apple with the same data as Facebook. It can learn about a user’s behavior, their location, their preferences, their hobbies, etc. Anything about a user can be learnt through Siri, so now Apple can do anything and everything that Facebook can do, including delivering targeted ads. If Siri knows you’ve been going to mexican restaurants lately, maybe it can show you an ad from another mexican restaurant nearby. Or maybe suggest you to buy Star Wars from iTunes or Netflix if you’ve been watching sci-fi movies lately. Or maybe show some ads from ESPN if you’ve been watching or asking about sports alot. Or direct me to the iTunes store for Usher’s new album or concert if I’ve been listening to a lot of his songs. Since Siri knows everything about you, it can be the ultimate ad and content delivery vessel.

Better Multilingual support and Translation
Siri will integrate with over 15 languages with iOS 6, so I would like to see quality recognition for different dialects and accents, particularly for Asian languages. And this would probably require a lot of native speakers and language specialists, but I think if Siri can do this well, then it could also be the best translator (by storing speech patterns and tonal variance). We all know Google Translate sucks for Asian languages, so I’m sure Apple can do it better!

Now that Siri is multilingual and will integrate with car manufacturers soon (potentially replacing navigation), I see lots of potential with it in the future. It has the possibility of overshadowing Google or Facebook, since it both searches by voice, and retains user information. So these are just some of my ideas for future improvements from Siri, but where it goes remains to be seen.