@JohnBlomberg - Not to worry, you had it right the first time. "압니다" vs "아십니다" -- in the case where there is no pronoun, the first would in most cases be first person, whereas the second must be second or third person.
@alex Thanks for the reply.
"honourifics aren't used when talking about oneself." Thanks for this.
So does this mean what I am hearing is 압니다 with the 시 inserted somewhere in it? I do not believe I am hearing 시 압니다. My trouble is: from my understanding the pronoun is mostly optional in Korean, but that the verb itself does not change conjugation based on the pronoun associated with the verb. In other words, I would not be confused if what I heard was 시 압니다 , but it sounds like 아심니다.
I'm guessing if I were to study for another few months a question like this would seem infantile to me (as so often happens with early-on language learning), but that is where I am with the language.
Thanks for any help.
@JohnBlomberg - The answer is not a simple one as far as the grammatical explanation. "시" is part of the honourifics in Korean, and honourifics aren't used when talking about oneself.
What you'll find is that Korean is very different from English, and in my experience the best way to get used to it was to listen a lot to Koreans speaking with each other. Thankfully I had regular opportunities to witness this in person, but it is still possible with resources both here on LingQ and on other sites across the internet.