Korean Culture: Have you heard of the phrase, modesty is a virtue?
Have you heard of the phrase, modesty is a virtue? One of the most important Korean culture is modesty. Ask a Korean if he can speak English, and even if he can speak well, he will reply politely that he cannot. And if he really can’t speak well? Of course, if he really can’t speak well he will say the same thing.
But in Korea, for the most case, there is only one way to demonstrate modesty in such a situation, and that is with the phrase, 잘 못 해요 ( I don’t speak well ). You may want to learn Korean in Emagasia.
Have you heard of the phrase, modesty is a virtue?
Koreans consider modesty very important, especially in interactions with people to whom they need to show respect. While in the West, honesty is very important, in Korea, modesty is more important than honesty. In Korean society, it is the skilled person who acts modest in front of others who are seen as considerate and wise, rather than the skilled person who displays his talents. That’s why people say 잘 못 해요 ( I can’t do it well ).
They know as well as others that they in fact can do it well, but need to display a sense of modesty at all the times. However, in a job interview or similar situation, unpracticed at bragging, Koreans can sound as if they are incompetent. The same phrase can sound like modesty or incompetence depending on situation.
So now you know – next time a Korean praises your ability to speak Korean, modesty reply 잘 못 해요!