Jumat, Desember 1, 2023

Indonesian Teaching in South Korea

Donny Syofyan
Donny Syofyan
Dosen Fakultas Ilmu Budaya Universitas Andalas

What is on your mind when it comes to South Korea? Young people may find K-pop and Korean drama as popuplar matters. For Indonesia netizens,  Korean youtubers actively comment on Indonesian musics or artists either using Indonesian or Korean. To me, South Korea and Indonesia celebrate their respective independence day in the same month, August 15 and 17 respectively.

As a matter of fact, the relation of two countries is going deep into the cultural aspect. What is probably ignored by many is the growth of Indonesian studies in many of South Korean universities. By the time Indonesian teaching is seen dim in Western countries such as Europe, except particular areas such as Perth Western Australia, the study of Indonesia begins to grow rapidly in South Korea. This is very encouraging given the shifting global trend to the East with its increasingly dominant economic power. South Korea is regarded as one of the countries playing a key economic role at the international level.

Indonesian studies in South Korea require an understanding that the country needs to be viewed not only from Korean Pop (K-Pop) and drama waves that have been famous throughout the universe. Personal relation such as mixed marriage between Korean men and Indonesian women is a fascinating phenomenon. After the end of the Korean War, the industry in the country continues to grow rapidly. For sure, it provided great job opportunities. Not simply were they for Koreans but also employment opportunities for Asians, including Indonesians. Therefore, since the 1980s, Korea has become one of the countries in Asia for migrants to get better jobs.

Various constraints—social, religion and food—facing multicultural families in the South Korea could be well overcome due to the use and mastery of Korean language in day to day actual interaction. Multicultural families residing in Korea must be able to read and communicate with the Korean language. Smooth communication will certainly result in better social intermingle.

During their earlier stay in Korea, Indonesian employees often find that language is big problem until they are able to actively speak. The Korean government provides systems and services that help multicultural families adjust to the social environment in a proper manner. In addition, the government also provides service that includes internal issues such as domestic violence. It is not served in Korean only but also in English, Indonesian, Vietnamese and any other languages.

Cultural approach is more preferred and appropriate when it comes to teaching Indonesian language to Koreans. Indonesian teaching in Korea must be viewed from the cultural perspective. Any concepts and strategies for teaching Indonesian to foreigners could not use and rely upon similar pattern. It is necessary to consider some levels of generalization, particularly concerning linguistic type and cultural background of target people. Seen from linguistic aspect, Koreans have isolated language background like Chinese and Japanese. Therefore, proper strategy to reach Koreans is by teaching simple formation of Indonesian language and maximizing basic words use. This pattern can be seen in the use of daily Indonesian language or Chinese speech and writings freely found in their newspapers and literary works.

There is a very noticeable difference between Korean and Japanese/Chinese cultures, which is judged from orality. The Chinese use purely iconic letters in which all the auditory are taken by the visual. The Japanese use three different types of alphabet, the visual Chinese alphabet (Kanji) on the one hand and the auditory local alphabet (Hiragana and Katakana) on the other with Kanji being its dominant letter. Compared to Kanji, the other two alphabets can be regarded simply as a complementary function. Korean people fall somewhere in between. Their letters are auditory and not arranged in a linear fashion, but spatial.

Compared to the Japanese, the Korean culture is relatively crowded. People love talking, speech and sounds, showing a very strong tendency to orality. Koreans tend not stand living in a quiet atmosphere and area. That is what many Koreans swiftly leave the solitude of Buddhism showing high interest in the mountains and embrace Christianity full of crowded speech as in the market.

Koreans seem to be very fond of oral debate and negotiation. They have a bustling market culture instead of fixed price-based as listed in the price tag. Hence, despite fancy shops and malls in Korea, people tend to always have spaces for the mobile street traders (PKL) outside of the stores or malls. To a certain degree, it leads to very strong growth of Korean SMEs, which turn into the greatest source in absorbing foreign labor, including Indonesian workers.

Knowing the Korean background, Indonesian teaching strategies for Koreans should be oriented on the use, not the grammar. Grammar is taught only as far as it supports the language use. The topics that are suitable for daily setting involve negotiation and bargaining — in market, company and politics. Equally important, successful teaching Indonesian to Korean people is also closely bound to the availability of conversation materials with language patterns, topics and opportunities fitting the language and cultural background of the locals.

Donny Syofyan
Donny Syofyan
Dosen Fakultas Ilmu Budaya Universitas Andalas
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