This post will talk about my dyslexia. I will give an example using 형용사. 형용사 hyeongyongsa is translated as adjective, stative verb, or descriptive verb.
First, I will explain a bit about dyslexia as background information, then I will give you a demonstration of the thought process I go through every time I see the word 형용사.
I have only experienced my own dyslexic brain, so I can’t be certain, but I think for some people the process of reading a sentence is very quick. Perhaps this process slows down a little bit while they are learning a second language. An English speaker learning Korean becomes aware that word order is different, learns some vocabulary, adapts when there isn’t a one-to-one mapping of words, and can pick up patterns simply by hearing or reading the language.
For me, the process is much more difficult.
I go through a complex decoding process to make sense of sentences, even in my native language. It means my reading is very slow. However, reading is easier than listening, because with reading I can go over a sentence many times until I wring some sort of sense out of it. I can take my time. With spoken language, the sentence is said rapidly and the person keeps going, not knowing that my brain is still trying to decode and is in a state of confusion. It is worse when the context is an unfamiliar one.
My learning process is tied to trying to cope with my dyslexia.
The reason why I spend so much time trying to convert words to images, is that things without images are very difficult for me to decode.
Words that have multiple meanings are also troublesome. I am struggling to decode a sentence and I meet the word “state”. Does that mean state like Massachusetts, or state like to speak, or state like H20 can be frozen, liquid, or gaseous?
Whomever came up with calling Microsoft word processing software “Word” should be shot. It took a “word” that I understood as a series of letters that compose a unit of language, and added in the confusion that it might also mean software.
So when I am trying to decode a sentence, some words are easy (red, ball, jump) and other words are hard (a/the, non-concrete words, words with multiple meanings). The more sentences that have things that are hard for me to figure out, the more lost I become. I build up my internal concept of what sentence is, but sometimes I have gotten it wrong like guessed that ‘state’ was Massachusetts but it is actually ‘state of changing from ice to water’ and I have to throw out everything and go back to re-analyze the sentence from the beginning again.
No wonder why dyslexics are called slow. I do read slowly, and it is sometimes a difficult process taking a lot of effort.
I also have trouble wrapping my brain around words that can be different parts of speech. For example, “a fast car”, “he drove fast”, and “she is on a fast”. Adjective, adverb, noun.
Then the linguists decided to reclassify some words I know as adjectives as determiners. Determiners … another hard word … I can’t picture it. I’m still vague about it. I throw linguists a dirty look and try to adapt. LOL
(Hang in there, I am getting to the one point, which is an explanation of how I decode the word 형용사 hyeongyongsa as an example of what a dyslexic person goes through while reading. I just need to provide the background information for those who don’t know about dyslexia already.)
If I am understanding correctly, Korean has verbs which can function as adjectives. These are called 형용사.
From the Wikipedia article Adjective:
Most, but not all, languages have adjectives. Those that lack them typically use words of another part of speech, which is a describing word for a person, place or thing. To serve the same semantic function; an example, such a language might have a verb that means “to be big”, and would use as attributive verb construction analogous to “big-being house” to express what English expresses as “big house”.
So 형용사 isn’t really an adjective, it merely acts like one. To try to reduce my confusion, I translate 형용사 in my brain as “stative verb”. That is not a lot better. “stative” is a difficult word that has no visual picture for me. Basically, what it is saying is 형용사 is a word that expresses a ‘state of being’.
I convert “stative verb” to Lucy the from Grammaropolis. Lucy
Demonstrating decoding a word by a dsylexic
Ok, you made it this far in the reading. Congratulations! Now, let me demonstrate what I go through every time I see the word 형용사.
Most people: See word 형용사, think ‘adjective’, and keep reading.
Dyslexic Julia: I see the word 형용사 and my thought process goes like this:
형용사 is stative word. Stative = ‘state of being’. Lucy is stative verb. Lucy = Happy = 형용사. 형용사 is kinda-sort an adjective. Jake is an adjective. Maybe 형용사 = Jake?
I start humming the adjective song “So let’s modify and describe! The adjective will fill my palette plenty. Which one? What kind? How much? describe how many? ” Colors are adjectives. Relieves my stress about understanding what 형용사 means. Maybe if Jake and Lucy had children, they would be 형용사? haha