Tag Archives: language

The Sound of American English?

I suppose this video isn’t quite fair, given that there’s a pretty wide variety of accents within the US (from the South, New York, rural Minnesota/the Dakotas, etc.) — not to mention the rest of the countries in “American” — but it really does sound a remarkable amount like English as I know it. Continue reading

“You Need To Respond Verbally.”

It frustrates me when the color of my skin makes people think that I don’t speak English. I was on a plane a few months ago, sitting behind the people in the exit row. The flight attendant asked the person whether they understood the requirements of sitting in the exit row; when the person (presumably) nodded, they were told, “You need to respond verbally.”

It brought back a memory of a flight I’d been on previously. I was sitting in exit row, and the flight attendant asked whether I understood the instructions. I nodded — I don’t remember how many times I’ve flown seated in the exit row, but it was enough to be nothing new. Instead of telling me that I need to respond verbally, the flight attendant then asked me whether I understood English. Continue reading

Legitimacy and Being Korean

This post was posted in its original form at 10:37 PM, November 8, 2009 on my former blog.

Issues of legitimacy have affected for nearly as long as I can remember. Nowadays, I have a whole bunch of ways in which the legitimacy of my membership to an identity group is questioned, but when I was younger, there was really only one identity that was challenged. Still, I’ve dealt with questions of legitimacy for nearly my entire life.

I’m a person of color, as most of you know. I’m Asian — Korean, if you want to be specific. I’m also — and here’s one of the big reasons why there are legitimacy issues — I’m an adoptee. I was adopted as an infant and raised by my two wonderful (and very not Korean) parents in the heartland of the grand U.S. of A. In a lot of people’s eyes, that’s makes me not Korean. Never mind my brown skin, my birth in the Republic of Korea (that’s the official name for South Korea), my status as a naturalized citizen (which, by the way, makes me ineligible for presidential candidacy), my self-identification as Korean, or the fact that people here in the States see me as “other.” I wasn’t raised by Koreans; I don’t speak Korean: ergo, I am not “really” Korean. Continue reading