Some critique on my essay please?

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Nyang_da
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:51 am

Some critique on my essay please?

Postby Nyang_da » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:54 am

I really hate the ending, but I'm not sure how to fix it. I'd appreciate any advice. Thanks!

Korean has multiple gradients of emotions that have no English equivalent. Suhwoon is a mixture of sadness and disappointment. The closest translation is “miffed”, but the words don’t quite match. Miffed is huffing at a minor annoyance. Suhwoon is calmer, more sad than angry. Yet, the word isn’t as passive-aggressive as “I’m not angry, just disappointed.” Suhrup is to be on the verge of crying. The word works best when the source of grievance watches nervously as you fight back tears. Ggool ggool (coincidentally, the word also means “oink” in Korean) is to feel flat for no reason while reveling in the flatness. I suppose melancholy is a close translation. However, melancholy has dignity. Melancholy is sipping tea while enjoying the gloom. Ggool ggool is to be sprawled on the bed. You’re thirsty, but the drinking fountain is outside, and life is too deliciously overwhelming to put on pants for.
I feel in Korean. To hold a normal conversation, I need to translate however I feel into the exact word or phrase in less than a split second, lest I insert long awkward pauses or lapse into a long soliloquy about my feelings. The process gets easier. I don’t know if it would ever feel completely natural.
Korean doesn’t feel completely natural either. My parents hate vague complaints. If I didn’t like a certain brand of shampoo, for example, I had to describe exactly why—the slippery texture, and the greasy smell. I learned to spew blunt and detailed analysis that emphasized specifics and rigid chains of reasoning. The verb that describes such a person—ddajida—actually has a negative connotation in Korean. English, on the other hand, had stronger verbs and sentence conjunctions. This is not to say Koreans are illogical, but English as a language was easier for me to use analytically. I started reading primarily English non-fiction around middle school. In 8th grade, I decided to study in the states where English would be the dominant academic language.
By the time I got to Amherst, my natural language had become a hybrid of English and Korean. English described my analysis, and Korean described how I feel. Most students in my high school were bilingual and we all constantly switched between languages depending on the situation. Once I started Amherst, I became too overwhelmed by English’s permanence to bother speaking precisely in everyday conversations. “Fuck” seemed plastic enough to describe however I felt, and my new friends didn’t mind that I talked like a pirate baby. I was used to academic English, so I thought I sounded civil in class. But one of the classes in my first semester at Amherst was a seminar on performance. The professor for the seminar wanted essays on emotional responses to performances rather than academic analysis. I had to force my feelings into the cruder English categories. I never used profanities, but my professor thought I had serious anger issues because of my word choice.
I didn’t want to sound like I was ready to flip over tables. I started reading novels again to teach myself how Americans describe their emotional states. I don’t know if the books actually helped. Most fictional situations didn’t apply to me, and I tend to take things much less seriously than typical story characters do. Fortunately, just making the effort was enough to be a constant reminder that I feel in ways English can’t identify. Heartfelt conversations require precision and attention to details.
I suppose I would have the easiest time in a bilingual society of Korean and English. But translating gradually became a reward of its own. Translating is another chance for me to examine exactly what I mean. I have also made significant progress. At least, my seminar professor seemed to think so. She took me aside again at the end of the year and apologized for misjudging me. I wasn’t angry. I was just snarky.

User avatar
RCSOB657
Posts: 2276
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:50 am

Re: Some critique on my essay please?

Postby RCSOB657 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:59 am

I advise removing the cuss word to start.

Danteshek
Posts: 2172
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:40 pm

Re: Some critique on my essay please?

Postby Danteshek » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:05 am

And you do not have to mention you attended Amherst three times ! (although I get that attending a top college is a big deal for Koreans)

Nyang_da
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:51 am

Re: Some critique on my essay please?

Postby Nyang_da » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:18 pm

Danteshek wrote:And you do not have to mention you attended Amherst three times ! (although I get that attending a top college is a big deal for Koreans)


Good point. I'm surprised I didn't notice that. Thank you!

whats an updog
Posts: 207
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:12 am

Re: Some critique on my essay please?

Postby whats an updog » Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:26 pm

Nyang_da wrote: I feel in Korean. To hold a normal conversation, I need to translate however I feel into the exact word or phrase in less than a split second, lest I insert long awkward pauses or lapse into a long soliloquy about my feelings. The process gets easier. I don’t know if it would ever feel completely natural.


Here do you mean hold a normal conversation in English or in Korean? I think you mean Korean, but only came to that conclusion after reading your whole essay. If you mean English, then you should punch it up by saying something like, "I feel in Korean. I speak in English."

Also a couple small changes: "To hold a normal conversation, I need to translate HOW I feel into AN exact word or phrase in less than a split second..." "I don't know if it will ever feel completely natural."

Korean doesn’t feel completely natural either. My parents hate vague complaints. If I didn’t like a certain brand of shampoo, for example, I had to describe exactly why—the slippery texture, and the greasy smell. I learned to spew blunt and detailed analysis that emphasized specifics and rigid chains of reasoning. The verb that describes such a person—ddajida—actually has a negative connotation in Korean. English, on the other hand, had stronger verbs and sentence conjunctions. This is not to say Koreans are illogical, but English as a language was easier for me to use analytically. I started reading primarily English non-fiction around middle school. In 8th grade, I decided to study in the states where English would be the dominant academic language.
By the time I got to Amherst, my natural language had become a hybrid of English and Korean. English described my analysis, and Korean described how I feel. Most students in my high school were bilingual and we all constantly switched between languages depending on the situation. Once I started Amherst, I became too overwhelmed by English’s permanence to bother speaking precisely in everyday conversations. “Fuck” seemed plastic enough to describe however I felt, and my new friends didn’t mind that I talked like a pirate baby. I was used to academic English, so I thought I sounded civil in class. But one of the classes in my first semester at Amherst was a seminar on performance. The professor for the seminar wanted essays on emotional responses to performances rather than academic analysis. I had to force my feelings into the cruder English categories. I never used profanities, but my professor thought I had serious anger issues because of my word choice.
I didn’t want to sound like I was ready to flip over tables. I started reading novels again to teach myself how Americans describe their emotional states. I don’t know if the books actually helped. Most fictional situations didn’t apply to me, and I tend to take things much less seriously than typical story characters do. Fortunately, just making the effort was enough to be a constant reminder that I feel in ways English can’t identify. Heartfelt conversations require precision and attention to details.
I suppose I would have the easiest time in a bilingual society of Korean and English. But translating gradually became a reward of its own. Translating is another chance for me to examine exactly what I mean. I have also made significant progress. At least, my seminar professor seemed to think so. She took me aside again at the end of the year and apologized for misjudging me. I wasn’t angry. I was just snarky.


Take out the red sentence. Even more than just "fuck", "pirate baby" sounds like something you would say to a friend not write in an essay for law school.

Also, I assume this is a diversity essay, but it doesn't come to a strong enough conclusion for me. Right now I just think "okay so learning a second language has a cultural element that is difficult to learn" but I don't know what that says about you. You're asking me to come to my own conclusions about you and all I know is that you're apparently snarky. I don't know how to fix it for you, but you should think about what you want me to walk away from this essay thinking/understanding. Once you've got that, an ending will come more naturally.




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