Friday, November 16, 2012

Konglish 101

When I was in Germany, I thought the amount of English words used in advertising was excessive, but Korea it seems, takes it one step further.  Konglish, the use of English in a Korean form/way, is pretty rampant here as well. A perfect example, take a look at this carton of milk below.

Goot Mo-Ning
If you could read Korean, you would read the name like this: Goot Mo-Ning Oo You.  That's right, this is Good Morning milk.  I was pretty pleased the first time I realized that, but for a lot of older Koreans and for North Koreans trying to assimilate here, it must be totally baffling trying to wade through and make sense of cutesy Konglishized English.  I even saw a sign which used Konglish, and then proceeded to italicize in English letters which word they were trying to use, in case it wasn't clear to those reading it.  

Konglish can be found everywhere here and while it is a huge help for English speakers, as long as you can read the Korean, there is one catch: you have to learn to say it in the Korean way.  Otherwise they will have a hell of a time trying to understand you.  As I learned while repeatedly trying to tell the restaurant downstairs I want my food for Take Out, instead of Tay-Ik Ow-Tuh.

Want to learn some more 'Korean'?  Here are a few words you'll likely already know:   “romance” (로맨스/romance), “telebijeon” (텔레비전/television), “keompyuteo” (컴퓨터/computer), “keopi” (커피/coffee), “diary” (다이어리/planner) and “handphone” (핸드폰/cellphone).  With a few more that you'll likely know the words, but may not know what the Koreans mean when they use them:

searching for a mate
Pronounced 'Hun-Ting'*, rather than it being about shooting animals, it means going out to look for a guy or a girl, being on the 'prowl' so to speak.

blind date
This word, which we normally use for business, in Korea is meant as a date, or a blind date.

throw up; vomit
This one threw me for a while, because the Korean spelling doesn't sound so close to the English at first listen.  O-ba- Ee-T, sounds like overeat, however the Konglish meaning is to throw up, or vomit.

There's one even for the Germans, Ah-luh-by-tuh (아르바이트) or 'arbeit', means p/t job in Korean.  They also say 'all-ba' for short.

For a complete list, have a look here.

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