Konglish ( _ko. 콩글리시) is the use of English words (or words derived from English words) in a Korean context. The words, having initially been taken from English language, are either actual English words in Korean context, or are made from a combination of Korean and English words. It is considered a
sublanguage. [cite web |last=A C.V. |first= |title=The Discourse of Konglish: A Sociolinguistic Study of English as a Native Part of South Korean Vernacular |date= |url=http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Towers/5067/outline.htm |accessdate= 2007-04-12 ]
Origins of Konglish
Much Konglish appeared following the Korean War when US troops mixed with Korean troops and English vocabulary, real and slang, permeated Korean.
Words such as chan-seu (찬스: "chance," "opportunity") and hom-reon (홈런: "home run") are adoptions of English words that are fairly faithful to their original meanings. In most cases, however, they are not exact counterparts to the original English words. For example, chan-seu is not used in the sense of "chance" as in "luck", but has an expanded meaning that covers "bargain sales" (also a Konglish expression) and other promotions.
Some words derive from regional or unusual varieties of English. For example, hat-ke-i-keu (핫케이크; "hotcake") is the Korean word for the dish more familiar as "pancake". A haen-deu-pon (핸드폰; "handphone") is more familiar as a "cellphone" or a "mobile phone" to most speakers of English. "Hotcake" is more popular in some regional varieties of English, and indeed is used in the popular expression "to sell like hotcakes". "Handphone" is used, notably, in Singaporean English.
Some words derive from English words but have meanings that are different from their English meanings. Examples include keo-ning (커닝; "cunning", from Japanese カンニング), which means to cheat on an exam; oh-ba-i-teu (오바이트; pronounced similarly to "oh bite" but derived from "overeat"), which means to vomit; and pa-i-ting (파이팅 or 화이팅; "fighting"), a Korean cheer that can roughly be translated as "Victory!" but can also be used as a word of encouragement (a la "Courage!").
In the 20th Century, a large class of Konglish words came into Korean usage by way of Japanese. These include words that originate from English and other languages, were modified or transformed in meaning from the original language as they were adopted into Japanese, and then were adopted into Korean usage. Because of this, many of these words were made to conform to Japanese phonological features, and therefore can be unrecognisable.
* wa-i-sya-sseu (와이샤쓰; "shirt; dress shirt", from Eng. "white shirt"; J. ワイシャツ "waishatsu") "in standard usage, "wa-i-syeo-cheu"—a form closer to the English pronunciation—is preferred"
* ppa-kku (빠꾸; "back") "not standard usage"
As longer English words were often abridged when they were adopted into Japanese, many words of English origin show up in Korean as follows:
* a-pa-teu (아파트; "apartment"; J. アパート "apāto"). This word is used to mean not only individual suites, but "apartment building" or "apartment complex".
* mi-sing (미싱; "sewing machine"; J. ミシン "mishin") "in standard usage, 재봉틀 "jae-bong-teul", a Sino-Korean word, is preferred"
* te-re-bi (테레비; "television"; J. テレビ "terebi") "in standard usage, "tel-le-bi-jeon" is also used"
Some words came from other European languages, but are generally classified as Konglish as well.
*a-reu-ba-i-teu (아르바이트; "part-time job", from German "Arbeit", work; J. アルバイト "arubaito", with same meaning as Korean)
*ho-peu (호프; "bar; pub", from German "Hof", courtyard)
*brau (브라우; a term used for some beer drinking establishments, from German "Bräu", brew)The non-standard expression o-ke-ba-ri (rough synonym for "OK", "That's good") most probably came from a combination of English "OK" and Japanese "okimari (おきまり; to decide)". There is also an opinion that it came from the English phrase "Okay, buddy."
Konglish is commonly mistaken as the term for
Similar words exist for the mixture of English and other languages, notably
Elements of Konglish
In South Korea, the term Konglish is used to refer a variety of English spoken with a Korean accent. Its pronunciation is closest to
American English, influenced by American TV shows and movies, with some British Englishelements. This makes it the second Asian variety of English based on American English pronunciation after Philippine English. But there are still some differences:
*Words ending with consonants, except b, d, g, and s, are appended with a
*Final consonant clusters add a
schwaat the end, while at the beginning of the word, a schwa is inserted between the consonants.
*Voiced "th" (ð) like them is pronounced "d" and voiceless "th" (θ) like thrill is pronounced "s".
*"l" and "r" are allophones in Korean. Final and initial "r" are sometimes pronounced as "l". Speech is sometimes non-rhotic.
*Unaccented vowels "a", "i", "o", and "u" in final syllables before consonants, except, "l" and "r", are pronounced in full vowels.
*"F"s are pronounced "p" or "h", since there is no widely used "f" sound in Korean.
*"V"s are pronounced "b", since there is no "v" sound in Korean.
*"Z"s are pronounced "j", since there is no "z" sound in Korean.
*"R"s are pronounced as alveolar flaps [IPA|ɾ] .
Korean Immigrant "Konglish"
Another aspect of Konglish is the inclusion of English words in Korean sentences, or the use of Korean words in English sentences. This phenomenon can be commonly seen in the culture of second generation
Korean-Americans. Here, the supplanted words are often loan words used to fill the gap of a limited Korean or English vocabulary. These borrowings may be seen as being used to compensate for a deficiency (or perceived deficiency) in either English or Korean.
This behavior, referred to as
code-switchingby linguists, may be an expression of the speaker’s desire to be included in either the English or Korean speaking community even though this speaker lacks complete fluency in the respective language. In this case the use of a mixed Korean Immigrant Konglish can be seen as an attempt to gain entry into the social group even though there may be something of a lack of language ability.
Another possible rationale for the use of English words in Korean sentences or Korean words in English sentences may simply be that these linguistic borrowings help the speaker to better convey their meaning than if only one language were used. Because of cultural differences between American and Korean society, there may be no single corresponding word to concisely express an idea in the other language. It may, for example, be simpler to merely say something such as “I helped my father because of hyo(효)” than to say “I helped my father out because of a deep sense of traditional
Confucian filial piety”. This is especially true when both the speaker and listener are familiar with the borrowed term.
Finally, this form of Korean Immigrant Konglish may be used between fellow Korean Immigrants who wish to express their unique identity that is neither wholly of the adoptive country nor wholly Korean, but a complex fusion of both. This should not to be thought, however, that these speakers are trilingual speaking Korean, English, and this form of Konglish with equal fluency. Generally people who speak Konglish lack the ability to speak one of either of the languages of English or Korean fluently. It is, however, correct to assess that by speaking some from of Konglish (speaking neither English or Korean), these speakers are signaling their membership in this special Korean Immigrant subculture. In so doing, speakers of this type of Konglish act to exclude both Korean speakers who lack an understanding of English, and English speakers lacking the ability to comprehend Korean. In this way, Korean Immigrant Konglish has become the unique language of this cross cultural second and third generation immigrant group.
Misuse of English
It is also worthy of note that the term "Konglish" has taken on a second meaning among the English-speaking ex-patriate population of
South Korea. It is used commonly to refer to misuse of English, typically on signs, menus, t-shirts and stationery, often with comical results.
List of Konglish Words Without English Equivalents
The following is a list of words used in South Korea that:1) have their origins in English but lack precise English equivalents largely due to the fact that they describe (new) Korean social phenomena2) have their origins in English but have taken on a new definition, one unfamiliar to most native English speakers3) use English words in new combinations.
*파이팅 or 화이팅 (fighting)- this oft-cited Konglish word has no English equivalent. It is an interjection used to express a healthy "fighting" spirit or tenacity of will. [http://www.squarehe.com/images/0606/korea-fighting.jpg] [http://www.gokorea.info/nonrand/krfighting.jpg] Its closest English equivalents might be: "Right on!," "Go for it!," "Get it done!" ("Get 'er done!"), "Don't give up!", "You can do it!" Koreans typically accompany this interjection with a raised fist. [http://www.gokorea.info/nonrand/krfighting2.jpg] Company photos usually include employees giving the raised "fighting" fist. [http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/img_dir/2008/07/11/200807110022.jpg]
*셔터맨 (shutter man) - a derogatory term for a man who is financially dependent on his wife. The term stems from the phenomenon of the husband whose wife runs a store while, seemingly, his only "job" is to drop off his wife, open the shutters, pick her up at the end of the day and close the shutters. [ [http://enews.korbravo.com/242 Pairing off in changing times |A small leak will sink a great ship.| ] ]
*부킹 (booking)-the process whereby a group of Korean friends of one sex is introduced to a group of Korean friends of the opposite sex. This activity only occurs in night clubs and is sanctioned and run by the night club. Often a fee is required for booking. To many, the service is often perceived as illicit due to sexual connotations, but by many others deemed necessary because a) Koreans are often too shy to approach strangers of their own volition; b) Korea lacks "Western-style" bars and pubs where people routinely mingle with strangers. Korean-style drinking establishments are populated by booths and tables that cater to couples or groups of friends who, generally, do not mingle with strangers.
*엠티 - MT (abbr. membership training) -a weekend retreat for students of the same academic department or employees of a business to promote camaraderie and good will. Although an ostensible abbreviation for "membership training," this faux corporate jargon can be said to have more of an ironic tone, as it lends a sophisticated air to what constitutes nothing more than drinking and talking until late in the morning. [ [http://xemin.tistory.com/entry/%EB%B0%B0%EB%82%B4%EA%B3%A8-%EC%97%AC%EB%A6%84%EC%97%A0%ED%8B%B0 Blogging about an MP] ] [ [http://www.freewill.or.kr/?mid=photo&page=4&document_srl=381 Blogging about an MT] ]
*오피스텔 (Officetel) - a
portmanteauof "office" and "hotel". An officetel is usually a small, modern room that has basic facilities including a kitchenette and a bathroom with a shower. While many officetel are used as functional offices, they are increasingly being designed with permanent habitation in mind and often resemble miniature condominium apartments. In some cases, officetel avoid higher taxes than those levied on actual apartments. [ [http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2890322 INSIDE JoongAng Daily ] ]
*원룸 (One room) - A bachelor apartment. [ [http://www.oneroompro.co.kr/ 원룸프로! ] ]
*커닝 (cunning) - A term used by school children to mean cheating. For example, if a student thinks another student is copying off his test, the student might say "Teacher, he is cunning!" [ [http://ckmusic.com.cn/?mid=photo2&page=4&document_srl=15979&sort_index=voted_count&order_type=desc A "not work safe" example of "cunning"] ] [ [http://blog.joins.com/media/folderListSlide.asp?uid=ksb8123&folder=131&list_id=7982807 Korean photo essay on how to "cunning"] ]
*쌤쌤 (same same) - Two things are exactly the same.
* 매직 (Magic Time) - When a woman is
menstruating[http://wiki.galbijim.com/Magic_time] , derived from a popular Korean female sanitary product called "Magic". [http://www.gokorea.info/rndimg/600magicday.jpg]
* 원 플러스 원 (one plus one) - A buy-one-get-one-free sale. [http://gyopowife.wordpress.com/2008/02/20/11/]
* 슬리퍼 (slipper) - Any street shoe you slip your foot into, not bedroom footwear.
* 원피스 (one piece) - A one piece dress.
* 에어컨 (air con) - A Korean short form for air conditioning. [http://www.airconnara.com/]
* 프린트 (print) - Konglish for a photocopy.
* 골덴 (golden) - Corduroy material. [ [http://www.machomen.co.kr/shop/shopdetail.html?brandcode=250002000096 마초맨 [a030 Wringkle detail washing corduroy(골덴) bootcut (블랙) ] ]
* 스킨스쿠버 (skin scuba) - Scuba diving [ [http://hyuscuba.com/introduce/introduce.htm 한양대 스킨스쿠버 다이빙 클럽 ] ]
* 사이다 (cider) - A clear soda beverage similar to Sprite or 7UP, neither an alcoholic drink nor made from fruit. (example:
* 슈퍼 (super) - A small convenience store, derived from "supermarket". Generally refers to independent stores and is not applied to franchises such as 7-11 and Family Mart.
* 샤프 (sharp) - A
* 오므라이스 (omurice) - A combination of "omelet" and "rice". A rice filled omelet.
* 세트 (set) - A "meal" or "combo" in a franchise fast-food restaurant, e.g. "Big Mac set".
* 커플세트 (couple set) - Matching clothing worn by a young couple on a date. [http://www.gokorea.info/nonrand/coupleImage17.jpg] [http://www.gokorea.info/nonrand/coupleImage13.jpg]
* 개그맨 (gag man) - A comedian. A famous Korean comedy show is called a "gag concert".
* 원샷 (one shot) - A form of toast, roughly equivalent to "bottom's up". It challenges the drinker to finish his drink in one gulp. [http://dic.impact.pe.kr/ecmaster-cgi/search.cgi?kwd=bottoms+up] [http://e4u.ybmsisa.com/EngPlaza/hotWord.asp?idx=1447&page=7]
* 팬티 (panty) - A unisex term for underwear. Male and female underwear are both referred to as panties.
* 헬스 (health) - A gym.
* 디카 (dica) - A
portmanteauof "digital camera".
* 서비스 (service) - On the house or free. [http://gyopowife.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/water-is-self/]
* 스킨시프 (skinship) - A term referring to a physical relationship
* Hunting - trying to hook up with a pretty girl
* eye shopping - browsing
* greasy - dirty or unshaven
List of Korea-related topics
Contemporary culture of South Korea
* Honglish or Honkish (
Hong Kong: based on Cantonese)
* [http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Towers/5067/intro.htmAcademic paper on Konglish]
* [http://22.214.171.124/cgi-bin4/main.cgi/Konglish_To_English.doc?down_num=1096948625&board=mid_11_04&command=down_load&d=&filename=Konglish_To_English.doc Extensive Word doc listing Konglish words]
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