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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: Korean Superstitions and Beliefs. Lesson 1 The Number 4 and Pig Dreams. I'm Becky and I'm joined by Jaehwi.
Jaehwi: 안녕하세요. (annyeonghaseyo) Hi, I'm Jaehwi.
Becky: In this lesson we will talk about two common superstitions in South Korea. The first superstition is about bad luck. What's it called in Korean?
Jaehwi: 숫자 사, (sutja sa).
Becky: Which literally means "The number 4." Jaehwi, can you repeat the Korean phrase again?
Jaehwi: [slow] 숫자 사 [normal] 숫자 사
Becky: In Korea, it's believed that the number 4 is a symbol of bad luck.
Jaehwi: This is because the Sino-Korean words for "four" and "death" sound the same. We use the word 사 to mean both “four” and “death.”
Becky: So people tend to associate the number 4 with death or bad luck. In some ways, it’s similar to the American superstition that 13 is unlucky.
Jaehwi: Right. For example, hospitals and hotels in Korea don’t have a fourth floor.
Becky: I heard about this. Instead, the floor is marked F. Or, when numbering the floors, they skip four and go straight from the 3rd floor to 5th.
Jaehwi: I guess you can’t be too careful.
Becky: The second superstition is about good luck. What's it called in Korean?
Jaehwi: 돼지꿈, (doejikkum).
Becky: Which literally means "pig dream." Let’s hear it in Korean again.
Jaehwi: [slow] 돼지꿈 [normal] 돼지꿈
Becky: In Korea, if a pig appears in your dream, it means you’re going to have good luck.
Jaehwi: Right. In Korean culture, pigs symbolize wealth and luck.
Becky: This is because in the past, only rich people could eat pork. So let’s say I have a dream about a pig. What should I do next?
Jaehwi: Buy a lottery ticket right away!
Becky: Is that what most Koreans do after having a pig dream?
Jaehwi: Yes, it’s not uncommon. I did once, although I didn’t win at the time.


Becky: There you have it - two Korean superstitions! Are they similar to any of your country’s superstitions? Let us know in the comments!
Jaehwi: 안녕히 계세요 (annyeonghi gyeseyo)