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Eric Nam talks about the pains of being a Korean-American with limited knowledge on Korean

By jubilantj   Thursday, May 12, 2016   70,350   6,241   94



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The life of a gyopo (Korean who permanently resides in another country) in Korea is not an easy one, especially if you are a gyopo with a limited knowledge of the Korean language. Eric Nam was one such gyopo to experience the struggles with the confusing Korean language which can trip up even native speakers. 

SEE ALSO: Eric Nam to remake an OST from 'Princess Hours' for his next collab!

The singer talked all about his past difficulties with the Korean language on the May 12 episode of 'Happy Together.' He told the guests and MCs, "I've made several mistakes on air because of my mispronunciations. I was supposed to say 'image byunshin' (Korean word for 'change') but instead I pronounced it as 'byungshin (Korean word for 'retard')'; thankfully, it was just a recording so [what I said] was edited out.

Eric Nam then went on to say that he used to have a difficult time saying the Korean term shibaljeom which means 'starting point' as shibal is an offensive word. He recalled, "I even begged my manager. I told him, 'I'll only sing and attend events. I will never do variety.' It was so hard for me that I even had nightmares." 

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li_xiao_yan Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I understand this completely! I also cannot say shibaljeom. My "sayo" (i'll buy it) sounds like "ssayo" (it's cheap). Korean is hard. And once you "sound" half decent in Korean, they expect you understand everything. Ugh. Even with my whiteperson face. I don't know how many times I had to say "I know my Korean sounds good, but believe me, I don't understand what you just said." It's probably 100x harder if you actually look Korean! Poor Eric!

kitteauaena Friday, May 13, 2016

omg, imagine if Eric's mispronunciation of byunshin didn't get edited out...there'd be so much backlash and you'd know there'd be people who wouldn't believe that he mispronounced the word :(

daFoolio Friday, May 13, 2016

he shouldn't be so hard on himself... his korean is really good!  i think its a feat in itself that he is on tv and able to hold conversation

huggi Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm a Korean that's never lived in Australia so I can relate... it's quite awkward whenever I visit Korea because my Korean isn't quite up to scratch (I'd probably be considered intermediate fluency).

huggi Friday, May 13, 2016

wow, I super screwed that one up... correction: "never lived in Korea"

InfiniteExoColab huggi Monday, May 16, 2016

Haha, nice timing for the correction

ilikeJB Friday, May 13, 2016

He should meet Joon Park. Joon Park is a Korean American too and he identifies strongly in being Korean American. Meaning he doesn't see anything wrong being a someone that didn't fit the labels in both countries but comfortably goes through confidently within both countries. People who condemn others for lacking are the lacking ones. At least the ones around Eric actually helped him and look at him now, he is confident to use Korean language and he is also fluent in other languages.

Misa54 ilikeJB Friday, May 13, 2016

I agree with you .I was born in Europe live in three different countries an I am very confident within all three countries.Also I am grateful for opportunity and experience.

FoXmasteR Thursday, May 12, 2016

He's half american? but why he's ugly?

ilikeJB FoXmasteR Friday, May 13, 2016

Korean American is not half American.

k_kid FoXmasteR Friday, May 13, 2016

Being half white automatically makes you handsome? Also, Korean-American means he's a Korean person who happens to be American, whether he was born there or naturalized.

InfiniteExoColab FoXmasteR Friday, May 13, 2016


wearelife FoXmasteR Friday, May 13, 2016

It's not right to assume mixed koreans, more specifically korean-americans, are more attractive. You don't have to be or identify as "white" to be an american

kookay09 FoXmasteR Friday, May 13, 2016

1) He's Korean-American. Meaning he's full blooded Korean and born in America. 2) Why are YOU so ugly with your disgusting words? Now shut the fuck up and learn your manners! -_-

L_catzzz FoXmasteR Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hahahahahaha xD

li_xiao_yan FoXmasteR Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gyopo means "Korean born American" aka he was born in Korea and moved to America, OR his parents are both full Korean and immigrated to the States where they gave birth to him.

imatroll (Banned) Thursday, May 12, 2016

This comment has been removed due to violation of our TOS. (Reason: spammer)

elly2k  imatroll (Banned) Thursday, May 12, 2016

God forbid should we ever pay attention to people who are charming, engaging and funny if they're not cute or good-looking.

NgohiongPuso  imatroll (Banned) Thursday, May 12, 2016

I don't understand why he gets sooo much attention. He is not cute at all...... I was talking about you!

kookay09  imatroll (Banned) Thursday, May 12, 2016

You're not cute either. So shut the fuck up.

k_kid  imatroll (Banned) Friday, May 13, 2016

To each, their own. He can be the most handsome person in the world to someone, even more than say Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp and to another person he can be the ugliest person ever like how you think of him.

InfiniteExoColab  imatroll (Banned) Friday, May 13, 2016

Cause he doesn't judge people

wearelife  imatroll (Banned) Friday, May 13, 2016

ever heard of recognition of talent? and personally I don't think he is unattractive

imatroll (Banned) wearelife Friday, May 13, 2016

This comment has been removed due to violation of our TOS. (Reason: spammer)

imatroll (Banned) k_kid Friday, May 13, 2016

This comment has been removed due to violation of our TOS. (Reason: spammer)

imatroll (Banned) NgohiongPuso Friday, May 13, 2016

This comment has been removed due to violation of our TOS. (Reason: spammer)

NgohiongPuso  imatroll (Banned) Friday, May 13, 2016

Are you a parrot? You essentially just wrote the same thing and didn't prove anything except for being a dumb ass. Tata LOSER. ,,,, I still mean you!

k_kid  imatroll (Banned) Saturday, May 14, 2016

Did I say anything wrong?

Exo_Leia Thursday, May 12, 2016

Aww jeez, it sucks that he would've gotten so much hate that he even had nightmares of going on variety shows... I'm glad he does them now though ^-^

Winston Thursday, May 12, 2016

It seems the fear of backlash from viewers/netizens etc, is making people afraid of making mistakes on air or is it that the viewers/netizens are less forgiving to celebrities.

icefire89 Winston Thursday, May 12, 2016

That was my feeling too

ChiMki_KiYomi Thursday, May 12, 2016

I feel u Eric

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