Sunday, August 15, 2010


Konglish is a combination of Korean and English. The English language is creeping quirkily into Korean slang. When Korea industrialized and English words flooded in, people couldn't find- or bother to find- proper translations. They chopped, patched or twisted English words to create wacky terms. Sometimes they adopted English words but gave them different uses and meanings.

In Korea, a comedian is called "gagman" and people say "eye-shopping" instead of window shopping. They also say "autobi," for motorbike. "Villa" is called to an apartment building of just few stories and "Apart" for an apartment building. People shout "One shot!" when they propose a toast. Actors or actresses are called a "talent" even when they are not talented.

It's very confusing when you stay in Korea for a long time because you think those Konglish words are the right words for English and you often use them when you're in an English country.

The study of English is mandatory in schools from third grade. But the stress has always been on reading and rote memorization of English grammar and vocabulary, rather than conversation so most of them are afraid of foreigners.

Before they invented their own alphabet in the mid-15th century, Koreans borrowed Chinese characters. Chinese influence on Korean remains deep, and most old generation can read and write Hanja. Korean names have Hanja ang it's included in their ID.

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