I still have a Korean accent

detail from Wondra Chang's family history in her father's own handwriting.
My family history goes back 2,000 years even though it’s sketchy that long ago. This is detail in my father’s handwriting written in Chinese.

I came to America after my vocal cords were firmly set to speak Korean. To this day they refuse to yield to a foreign tongue so I talk and sound funny in this country. I haven’t spoken Korean for decades and now I find myself competent neither in Korean nor in English. When I started my middle school, I was determined to do well in English, unlike many other students who excelled in every subject but English. My efforts paid off. In my high school years, my goal was to memorize all the words in the small English dictionary that I carried with me every day. I didn’t succeed.

I still have problems with articles, prepositions, tenses, idioms, and the pronunciation of certain sounds. That’s why it took me over ten years to finish my first novel. When I give a speech or a presentation, I just tell people to ask me to explain if they don’t understand my English.

Categorized as General

By Wondra

Wondra Chang was born in South Korea and has lived in the U.S. since 1970. Her writing discipline began at age ten, writing five short stories a day under the tutelage of a writing teacher. She won first place in a province-wide in-person writing competition. She studied journalism at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her husband, Bernard Rauch.