I stumbled on to this video, which after a short titles segment, has a man practicing his Korean with some Korean shopkeepers in USA.
I have never had this experience, to just chat with a Korean casually. It was fascinating to watch. A lot of what the man said are things I could say in Korean (although with considerably poorer pronunciation than he does). Mostly, I could grasp what the man was saying, but was clueless about what the Koreans were saying. Without subtitles, I would have been lost.
I found it interesting to see how he handled different situations. He started off slowly warming up the stranger as he spoke Korean. When he made the connection that he “liked Asian women” because his wife was from Taiwan, the shopkeeper seemed to open up and become much warmer. When he said his nickname was mouse, he got genuine laughter, and a real conversation was going on.
He had coping mechanisms for handling when he had no clue what they were saying. It kept the conversation going, much better than “uh, I got no clue what you are saying” which I probably would have said, shutting down the warmth of conversation.
I found watching the video exhausting. Even with subtitles, I strained to understand and kept checking the time. Only 8 minutes? Phew, I was tired. But I pushed on. It was so interesting! So today’s listening included 30 minutes of real Korean conversation.
I will need to look into this Facebook page Level Up Documentary: Living Life through Languages. I think it is a whole series of videos where Moses takes his language learning “on the road” to have real conversations. (Jealous of people who live where they could just bump into Korean speakers!)
I think his approach is kind of sly. He spots someone who looks Korean, but he doesn’t approach them saying “Are you Korean? Will you let me practice speaking Korean to you?” No, he sort of pretends he is approaching them for other reasons, and once he has them talking, he asks if they are Korean and just starts speaking Korean to them, subtle like. Poor folks have no idea they are about to be roped in to a long conversation. Clever! I could never do that. It would feel dishonest to not be direct about my purpose. Besides, I just don’t make small talk to strangers, ever.