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Showing posts from February, 2015

The Problem With "Everyone Should Learn How To Code"

Every week another article comes out frantically telling us that everyone should learn to code, that coding is an irreplaceable skill in the 21st century skill set, that you can supercharge your career if you just spent 20 minutes a day for 21 days to learn how to code, or some similar nonsense. Even Obama has joined in, stating on a number of occasions that "Everybody's gotta learn how to code." While the intent is often good, I think these sentiments are dangerous for a number of reasons, but mostly because they cheapen coding and show a complete lack of understanding about what it is.

The problem with "everyone should learn how to code, just like everyone should learn how to read and learn how to do arithmetic" is that fundamentally, coding is not arithmetic. It's not even like arithmetic. It's not like reading. And by comparing coding to the fundamental skills that form the lowest possible foundational step of intellectual pursuits (e.g., you can…

English Lesson: "한국에 오신지 얼마나 됐어요?"라고 영어로?

I've lost count of how many times Koreans have asked me the question, "How long do you stay in Korea?" in those words or something very similar. Clearly this question is taught in every English class in Korea, because I hear it over and over again, so I just wanted to be very clear about something here:

DO NOT USE THIS EXPRESSION. IT IS INCORRECT.

This phrase is incorrect for a few reasons, but primarily because it sounds ambiguous to native English speakers. Specifically, there are probably two different questions that you really want to ask:

1) How long have you been in Korea? (한국에 오신지 얼마나 됐어요?)
2) How long will you stay in Korea? (한국에 얼마나 있을 거예요?/한국에 얼마동안 있을 계획이에요?)

Nearly always the intended question is number 1, "How long have you been in Korea?", followed afterwards by number 2, "How long will you stay in Korea?". But the incorrectly stated question ambiguously sounds somewhere in between number 1 and number 2. So, don't ever use it again. T…

How to Gossip in Korean

If I had to choose an aspect of Korean grammar that is absolutely essential yet is misunderstood or often misused by most foreign learners of Korean, it would be quoted/reported text. In other words, talking about what other people said. "She said she'd arrive by eight, but she's still not here yet." "They say it's going to be really cold tomorrow." "You asking me if I know what I'm doing?" "The teacher says to shut up and start doing your homework." Stuff like that. We use these expressions in nearly every single conversation we have, yet the way this grammar is formed in Korean is so different than English that I see many foreign learners of Korean simply give up and never learn it properly.

Lucky for you, today I'm going to teach you this grammar, and you'll find that it's really not so hard after all!

First off, forget the way this works in whatever language you speak. Because Korean is not English, it's not S…