"I'm fine, and how are you?"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This is a completely random thought I decided I just had to post up, so bear with me!

As many of my fellow English teachers know, when dealing with South Korean students, the following dialogue is fairly common:

Person A: "Hello, how are you today?"
Person B: "I'm fine, and how are you?"
Person A: "I'm fine."

I think to many English teachers, this seems pretty unnatural and a little goofy. More advanced students will say other things other than "I'm fine", but having "I'm fine" as the "standard" answer to the question seems somewhat awkward, because few people say it. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but in the US, I think there are other more common answers (such as "I'm alright") that convey the same general meaning.

However, tonight I'm working on a "self-introduction" lesson, and I've come to realize that I also used to abuse the word "fine".

Back when I was in grade school, every day my parents would ask me "How was school?"

And 95% of the time (not an exaggeration...I actually may be underestimating), my response would be "Fine." And I wouldn't go into any more detail. If I responded with something else, it was quite the event.

So, I guess I was just as good at giving out a "standard answer" as all of these Korean students!

Anyway, that's my random thought of the day. Hopefully it wasn't too random.


Masako said...

Korean and Japanese always say "I'm fine"
Nobody teach us another greeting even "I'm good".
If you say many kinds of greetings to the students, students could know how to say in English not only I'm fine.
We want know more!!