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Archive for the ‘FOSS4G’ Category

Korean Drumming at FOSS4G Seoul

Posted by smathermather on October 3, 2015

Korean Drumming at FOSS4G Seoul:

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Pictures from my last few weeks.

Posted by smathermather on October 3, 2015

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Mini-series on Korean words, part 4: Apologies

Posted by smathermather on October 3, 2015

In order to function at a most basic level in a given society (which I do not yet in the South Korean context), it is good to know the basic words of courtesy — the equivalents of “Excuse me”, “Pardon me”, “Nice to meet you”, “Hello”, “Goodbye”, etc..

Today we’ll talk about how to say “I’m sorry.” Between talking across cultural / language / expectation differences, and just spending time with individuals you might not know well, being able to apologize is a very important tool in the toolkit.

Hangul for "I'm sorry".

Hangul for “I’m sorry”.

Mian (mee ahn) is the root of one way of apologizing in Korean. Often you’ll be saying this formally, so Mianheyo (미안해요) would be what you would say to apologize. If you don’t need the formal, usually you’ll say “Mianhe” 미안해.

For a more comprehensive coverage of apologies (plus pronunciation!), see Sweet and Tasty TV’s coverage of this:

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Uninformed botanical musings

Posted by smathermather on September 28, 2015

I had the good pleasure of attending FOSS4G Seoul. One of the organizers (Heegu Park) early on told me, in response to the workshop I planned, something to the effect of “Whatever you need, Steve, ask for it. Nothing is impossible.”  The organizers truly were capable of fulfilling any request.  More on that later.

Last time I was in Seoul, I took lots of pictures. This time, so few, I’m afraid. But I took a few. I need some help with botanical sleuthing.

 Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, Geauga County, Ohio

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, Geauga County, Ohio

 

There is a flower native to the Eastern United States called jewelweed. Jewelweed is no exciting flower, but common in moist places, useful for treating poison ivy and other skin ailments. It’s medicinal and is among the first plants that I learned in walking in the woods in Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio. In the floodplains of Halfway Creek near my childhood home, it was common to the point of being weedy. (The above photo is from Geauga County in Northeast Ohio).
While hiking near Ongnyeobong Peak (옥녀봉 — the romanization is based on the sign at the peak, but I’m not sure it’s right) south of Seoul I saw this little impatiens in very similar habitat:

Unknown impatiens, Gwacheon City, South Korea

Unknown impatiens, Gwacheon City, South Korea

Anyone know it’s common or botanical name?

 

Location of unknown impatiens

Location of unknown impatiens

 

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Mini-series on Korean words, part 3: Agglutinative language

Posted by smathermather on August 31, 2015

Short linguistics aside

For me, understanding a language, beyond a memorization of terms, is predicated on the idea that I understand something of the underlying logic to the language. So today, instead of a Korean word, we’ll talk about the term agglutinative. (bless you)

In short, what it means is that a language uses a lot of prefixes, stem words, and suffixes, and that these components of larger words don’t change their sound in order to be put together.

Let’s take some English words as a counter example. When we look at English numbering, we have this weird thing that happens in the teens. The first thing we notice, is that for numbers between 10 and 20, we call them teens not tens. English is not agglutinative, it is fusional. When prefixes and suffixes come into play, often (but not always) the sounds change. Think of thirteen (not three-ten or three-teen) vs. Fourteen.  Fifteen is another departure — we might expect five-teen.

And don’t even get me started on twenty (two tens), or thirty (three tens)… .

Korean Numerals

By contrast, Sino-Korean numerals are agglutinative.

FYI, in the Korean Language, there are two numbering systems: the native Korean system, and the Sino-Korean system. More on that another time.

So, if I say the number three (sam), the number ten (sheep), and the number three again (still sam), I get 33, or sam sheep sam: 삼십삼. If I want to say 13, that’s just sheep sam, or 십삼. You prefer the number 88? Well that’s 팔십팔, or pal sheep pal.

FYI, the proper romanization of the word 10 (십) is “sip”, but as the s sound in front of the long e sound is pronounced sh, we’ll just consider the whole process an homage to counting sheep. Somehow apropos given the nation is 13 time zones away from me… .

 

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Mini-series on Korean words, part 2: Land of Mountains and Sea

Posted by smathermather on August 30, 2015

A good logo is hard to come by. I love the logo of Korean National Park Service. It’s simple, beautiful, has elements of complexity to it, and makes a simple statement: land of mountains and sea. The mountains and the sea are sources of life in Korea, from the resources and farming found on the edge of the mountains, the peace found hiking and visiting temples in the mountains, to the resources and seafood found in the sea. More to the point with KNPS, many of the national parks lands are reserves of mountains or protected ocean.

Today we will look at the second word in our mini-series on Korean words (see the first here): the Korean word for mountain: san.

The Korean character 'san'

Look to the individual characters that make up the syllable, and we see ㅅ(s),ㅏ(ah),ㄴ(n). This is a simple enough word.

As Seoul is surrounded by mountains, you will encounter san as a syllable in many contexts. Take for example a mountain to the north of Seoul, Bukhan Mountain, or Bukhansan: 북한. This name mirrors one of the names of North Korea: Bukhan. Buk means north, Han is the river that flows through Seoul. So the full name is “Mountain north of the Han”.

Buhkansan 북한산 is also the name of the national park that contains the mountain it is named for.

If you visit Seoul for FOSS4G, I highly recommend a hike in the mountains. It’s a rare megacity and capital that contains a 30 square mile national park inside its boundary. If you do visit, I recommend doing so during the week — weekend visits are very busy.

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And I will fly ten thousand miles…

Posted by smathermather on July 22, 2015

Contemplating FOSS4G 2015, Seoul, South Korea | SEPTEMBER 14TH – 19TH, 2015, but don’t speak Korean? That’s ok. You will be treated oh so well even without Korean.

But…  if you want to show your hosts and hostesses a little care in return, maybe learn a little basic Korean. I highly recommend the sweetandtasty channel on YouTube, starting with the word “Love” or “sarang”. You’ll love the place, the people, and the food.

 

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Korean and Hangul

Posted by smathermather on December 10, 2014

As I am contemplating FOSS4G 2015 (save the date! Seoul, South Korea | SEPTEMBER 14TH – 19TH, 2015) I contemplate what it means to be functionally illiterate for the first time in 30 years.

You see, when, if you are an American born, English and Spanish (kinda) speaking guy and you get dropped into East Asia, there is no alphabet for you to rely on for even the slightest clue about street signs and restaurant names, and everything else.

Now, to be fair, my experience in Seoul this year was not too bad — many signs are written both in English and Korean. But, as I encourage the FOSS4G world to descend upon Korea (especially prompting the Europeans and Americans to go out of their comfort zone a little), I highly encourage a little study of Hangul, the phonetic alphabet of Korea.

Hangul is pretty easy to learn, it’s phonetic (unlike if you try to read Japanese or Chinese), and it will serve you well to study it even a little bit, so you can recognize patterns.

hangul

So, learn some hangul, save the date, and I hope to see you there.

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And I will fly ten thousand miles…

Posted by smathermather on December 7, 2014

Contemplating FOSS4G 2015, Seoul, South Korea | SEPTEMBER 14TH – 19TH, 2015. It’s only 18 cents a mile to get there from Cleveland, but only 0.11 dollars a kilometer, because the metric system is more economical.

If you need inspiration for your own travels to Korea, Mr. Sanghee Shin has that for you. He starts with technology, food, arts, culture, economic potential, but also solicits your love of booze as incentives to go. I think he might know his audience.

http://www.slideshare.net/endofcap/7-reasons-why-you-should-come-to-foss4g-2015-seoul

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