Steven Seagal and modal verbs

So I have started teaching my mini-lessons this week, and I’m focusing on modal verbs, namely should, had better, have to and must.  This is a particularly difficult thing to teach, because in Korean textbooks, they are all translated to mean the same thing.  This might not seem like a big deal, but as a foreigner in Korea it’s actually a pretty important to know.  “Julie, you should go to dinner with us.”  Okayyy– is that an actual “should”?  Or more like a “have to”?  Usually it’s more like a “have to”.

Anyway, just thought I’d point out a  seemingly insignificant difference between our two cultures that, as it turns out, is actually pretty important.  Another one you ask?  By all means.  This guy:

“Is that washed-up D-list movie actor Steven Seagal?” you might be asking.  Why yes it is.  “What does washed-up D-list movie actor Steven Seagal have to do with Korea?” You are now wondering.  Let me tell you.  Literally 50% of the time if you turn on Korean TV you will find a Steven Seagal movie on.  Usually on channel 70– channel 70 loves some Steven Seagal.  I bet that there is a Steven Seagal movie on  T.V. everyday in Korea .  Probably several times a day.  I have not yet sat staring at the TV for 24 hours, but I have maternity leave coming up, so maybe I’ll test this theory out.

Joo-Young and I have surmised that he is some sort of Korean favorite as we can see no other reason why on earth he’s on TV so much.  Why Steven?  Why?  Is it your low-budget shoot-em-up movies?  Is it your ever-expanding neck?  Perhaps it’s your believable tough-guy lines?

The only other reason we could come up with is this:  Sometimes American movies or TV shows that are played on Korean TV include small snippets of Korean culture or language– the latest Jim Carrey bomb?  “Yes Man”?  He takes Korean lessons.  The National Geographic special on stigmata?  Yup, a Korean stigmatic is featured prominently.  So… Steven Seagal?  Well, here’s a connection you may not have known about:

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10 thoughts on “Steven Seagal and modal verbs

  1. Anonymous says:

    i like you mr.steven i am your fans

  2. Anonymous says:

    i like you mr.stevem i am your fans

  3. farina says:

    grande esteven seagal, o cara e melhor de todos!

  4. Nancy says:

    Huh, I never thought of Korean-people-watching-American-movies-for-Korean-references as an observable phenomenon, but now I’m reminded of how my family used to gather round to watch M*A*S*H and cheer whenever the background featured a sign in Korean. Also one time I walked in on my mom watching an episode of Lost, which had a Korean guy, and she admitted to not knowing what the show was about or why she was watching it.

    • julieloukim says:

      The Korean lady from lost, Yunjin Kim, is a big deal over here– or I think she used to be. She’s on some beauty product commercials from time to time and she’s been in a bunch of movies and TV shows, but I’ve never seen the guy who played her husband on TV once–I don’t think he’s been in Korean TV or film. You should totally watch “Yes Man” with your mom.

  5. Lex says:

    actually related: after Yes, Man, Jim Carrey released I Love You Philip Morris, and it was awesome. You should watch it.

    I have no idea what Clenentine is about. I thought that lady weeping in the car was the little girl all grown up after having seen a guy who reminds her of her father in the hall of a hospital. What…. what happened?

    • julieloukim says:

      We actually saw I Love you Philip Morris– or part of it anyway on Korean pay-per-view with Joo-Younf’s family– it got turned off pretty quickly after the first sex scene– I think it actually came out here earlier than it did in the U.S.– also released early? Paris Hilton’s my new BFF, Dubai. Not kidding. It was a long and tedious winter.

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