Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Answer to the Question of the Week

How old would people with birthdates of March 10, 2001, and October 31, 1978, be in Korea on August 31st?

  • 8, 32-0 (0%)
  • 7,30-1 (33%)
  • 8, 31-0 (0%)
  • 7, 31-0 (0%)
  • 7, 29-2 (66%)

The correct answer is 8, 31. In Korea, everybody gets a year older at the start of a new year, not on the birthday. The only way that a person's Korean age matches his/her Western age is when he/she was born on January 1. Here in Korea, I am 23, even though I am 22 in the United States. When I ask the students their ages, they tell me their Korean ages. So, if a student tells me he is 10, then I have to remember that he is nine if his birthday has passed and eight if his birthday has not passed.

4 comments:

Debbie said...

I may not be getting the hang of this, but it seems that if a child says they are 10, and their birthday has passed, then they are really 10; if their birthday is still coming up (as yours is) then they are really 9. I don't see a way that they could be only 8 (US) if they say they are 10 (Korean age) ...

Josephine Teacher said...

I think that it might be a little bit confusing the way that I explained it. A student born on June 26, 1999 would be 9 right now, but a student born on October 31, 1999 would be 8 and would soon be 9. These two students would be Korean 10 because they lived in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Basically, the age of a person here is the number of different years in which a person has lived even if not all the years have been full years.

Ben, Kelli and Nicholas said...

OK, given all that, it sounds like a person's Korean age would never match their western age, even if they were born on January 1. A kid born on Jan 1, 2006 would be two here and three there right now. Right?
If we used that age system, imagine the lines there'd be at the Department of Licensing on New Year's Day when all the new 16 year olds wanted to get their driver's license...

Chris said...

oSeems to me that China uses a similar system of determining the age. (Of course, if there is some incentive, the government there just assigns a new passport, in order to qualify for the Olympics).