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President Moon’s German message and Yun Isang

Posted July. 07, 2017 07:10,   

Updated July. 07, 2017 07:34


According to American writer Mark Twain, “A gifted person ought to learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days, and German in 30 years.” “I will never forget your help” can be translated into “Ich werde Ihre Hilfe nie vergessen” in German. Here, the main verb should be sent to the end and the first letter of “Ihre,” a possessive adjective (second person, formal), should be capitalized. Like this, German grammar differs from that of English. German is not an easy language to learn.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said “Guten Abend” and “Vielen Dank” in his joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Such greetings are not surprising, considering many foreigners with no Korean skills saying “Hello” and “Thank you” in Korean. However, it is surprising that President Moon wrote “Ich werde Ihre Hilfe nie vergessen” in German on the back of the picture when he met with Karl Hauser, who served at the German medical team dispatched to Korea after the Korean War.

President Moon reportedly learned German as a second foreign language at Kyungnam High School. Some applicants choose German, not English, as the foreign language for the preliminary bar exam. President Moon may have asked for some help to write the sentence in German. It is interesting that he tried to speak and write German after using no English word in the U.S.

One of the most famous Koreans in Germany is composer Yun Isang. South Korea’s first lady Kim Jung-sook offered flowers at Yun’s grave. He was not allowed to visit South Korea due to his alleged spying for North Korea until he died in Berlin. "Happy Mrs. Jung-sook" majored in voice at university, but just said that her seniors who studied composition had keen interest in Yun. It seems that Yun’s story moved her more than his songs. Yun took a boat in Japan and sailed to waters off Tongyeong only to return without visiting his hometown. It is unfortunate that her offering of flowers was overshadowed by North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.