Please Teach Me English

Please Teach Me English is one of our favorite Korean films. And there’s a funny story about the first time we saw it but I’ll save that for the end.

The story centers on a young Korean woman, Young-ju, who works as a civil servant in one of the city offices. Since sometimes expats who only speak English come in with questions, her boss decides that she should take an English class. There she meets Moon-Su, a girl crazy shoe salesman who is always flirting with the teacher, Cathy. The rest, as they say, is history but with many funny twists and turns.

One of the secondary storylines involves international adoption. Moon-su has a sister who was placed for adoption in America. She has contact Moon-su and his mother and is planning a visit to Korea. Moon-su’s learning English in hopes of being able to communicate with her when she arrives. Her arrival brings about a big misunderstanding with Young-un.

Now for the funny story. This was one of the first Korean films we watched, and so, of course, we had not regularly heard the language. We knew a few words and phrases but our Korean was even more limited than it is now. All through the movie I was thinking it didn’t sound like Korean but didn’t want to say anything because I was sure I was wrong. Finally in the last 10-15 minutes of the film, a character said “I love you” (according to the subtitles). Then I knew we hadn’t been hearing Korean; they hadn’t said “sa rang hae yo” but something else.

Sure enough, my husband checked and we’d listened to the whole movie in Mandarin. 🙂 Talk about a multicultural experience: a Korean film in Mandarin with English subtitles.


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