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Konglish what does it mean? Konglish, short for Korean-English, is the use of English in the Korean language. In South-Korea Konglish is wildly used in daily speech of the Korean citizens and also in the entertainment and advertising industries because the new generation of Koreans thinks it's cool and exciting to use English. Some people don't think it's a good thing of Koreans to use English in this way and that it doesn't create a special status in using it. But on the contrary Konglish does help communication between English speaking people and native Koreans, what gives tourism a revival because of the possibility of easy communication between western countries and the Asian country. But what is Konglish really doing for the culture of Korea? Is it helping to develop the Korean Language or is it a loss of the original language of Korea? Or is Konglish having a bad influence on the original language or the process of learning the English language? To make this understandable there shall first been given an introduction of the Korean language and its existence.
The Korean language uses the phonetic writing system called '??'(Hangeul). This system originates back to 1440 when the 4th King of the Joseon dynasty, Sejong the Great, proclaimed the language. The new system was introduced to the Koreans to make reading and writing easier to learn and to grasp for everyone. Before this the Korean language used Chinese characters for their writing system, these characters are called '??'(Hanja) but aren't much practiced any longer in modern Korean life. These are now mostly used in academic writings and such mixed with the new system. The Hangeul alphabet is set in syllabic blocks, which consists of 14 consonants, (?/g, ?/n, ?/d, ?/r or l, ?/m, ?/b, ?/s, ?/ - or ng, ?/j, ?/ch, ?/k, ?/t, ?/p, ?/h) 10 vowels (?/a, ?/eo, ?/o, ?/u, ?/eu, ?/i, ?/ya, ?/yeo, ?/yo, ?/yu ) and 24 Hangeul letters that are called '??' (Jamo), that are consisting of at least two of the 14 consonants and 10 vowels. The most common used example to show how this system works is to show how to write the word 'Hanguel' (??). The word 'Hangeul' exists of two blocks: 'Han/?' = ?/h +?/a +?/n. 'Geul/?' = ?/g + ?/eu +?/l. All loose consonants and vowels are coming back into the two blocks that form the word.
The term Konglish originates from merging of the two words English and Korean. To create the term they maintained the 'Ko' from Korean and the 'nglish' of English and merged 'Ko' and 'nglish' together what creates 'Konglish'. Konglish started to arise after English and other languages started to penetrate in to the Korean language through loan words. The high degree of that English fused with the Korean language caused that English is almost fully integrated with the Korean language and the way of speech of the Koreans. Where there are for some terms/things Korean words they even changed these into English words. The pronunciation of Konglish and English is almost identical but the writing of it in Hangeul is slightly different when romanizing the Hangeul system back to western system. The writing of Konglish words works how the Hanguel system writes them. So for example the word 'rhythm/ ??' changes into 'lideum' or 'rideum' when Romanizing it back in to the western writing system. So when pronouncing it the pronunciation is almost the same as the original pronunciation of the word. On the internet you can find various lists of translations of Konglish/Korean words, Hangeul that are Romanized and translated into English. But it doesn't end there Koreans even create their own Konglish words like 'drunken rice' what describes 'Makgeolli' the country's traditional rice wine and 'skinship' which means bonding physically or in a different way between persons like friends or lovers .
Some people do think Konglish is too much used in the Koreans daily life; someone with this opinion is Brian Deutch, a blogger and freelance writer. He writes: 'I firmly believe there's way too much English in Korea. Not only too much English, but too much Gibberlish: English actually has meaning, while Gibberlish is simply decoration, background noise, or a comedic prop. I also firmly believe Korean words should be used rather than simply borrowing words from foreign languages, a process that not only strips the original words of meaning and context but can leave people behind. In some cases, such as on menus or cosmetics labels, Koreans are prevented from understanding what they're reading by the overuse of foreign words for seemingly no reason.' My opinion about this is that indeed where and when there are words for things in the original Korean language these should remain in the Korean language and should not be directly used from the English language or change into Konglish. The reason for this is to preserve the Korean language for the next generations, this because even at the current time many Korean words are changed into English or Konglish and the younger generations don't even know the original Korean words for these things. But when there is a thing or object that Korean language doesn't have a direct translation for in their own language then it's when English language or even Konglish could be used to describe these things.
I also believe that Konglish helps communication between English speaking people and Koreans and that using new English words or Konglish makes Korea more accessible for non-Korean speakers to visit the country for tourism. On the other hand there are rising questions about the level of English education in Korea and if Konglish has a bad influence on this. Deutch earlier named in this essay said that he thinks that the Konglish does have bad influence on the English education and that makes it harder for native Koreans to learn the language. He talked about this in an interview with the Korean times where he said this: 'The overuse of English in Korea has a few negative consequences. It actually makes it harder for Koreans who are learning English, because they are so accustomed to pronouncing these borrowed words the Korean way that they can't adjust to English pronunciations and meanings. Even English teachers with decades of experience cannot produce some of English's sounds, and the with so many English words being used in daily Korean speech, it's harder for students to adjust to the demands of the other language.' I can't help but agree with his statement that Konglish in a way does make it harder for students to learn the correct way of using the English language, but I also think that Konglish in a certain degree also helps Koreans to learn English. This because of the great unstoppable western popularity and influence that forced itself into the daily life of the Koreans. Just like Sebastian Harrisan, a writer of the Korean Times, says his article 'The State of Art': 'Koreans are fascinated by English and will always opt to put English on a t-shirt, on a shop window or even play English music to enter a cool little clique and the demand will only rise in the future.'And I can only agree with his opinion from my own experience with the Korean culture. My experience is mostly based on what I read, hear and see about the country but I've got what I think is a good knowledge from the 3 years that I've concentrated on Asian cultures and also about the current state of popular things in South-Korea.
But I think the biggest problem of the use of Konglish is the division between the older and younger generations and also the difference between Korean speaking people from outside South-Korea. Lee Eun-joo a contributing writer of the JoonGang Daily wrote about a North-Korean defector with the name Lee Chul-min entering South-Korea in the article 'A wordy problem faces the Koreas': 'North Korean defector Lee Chul-min was shocked when he first arrived at Incheon International Airport in 2001. Neon signboards flashed advertisements in English or Konglish (a mix of Korean and English), a sight he had never seen in the North. It was difficult for Lee to adapt to the new environment while coping with unfamiliar South Korean expressions, especially technical terms or gossip. In the year Lee arrived, Ha Ri-su, a Korean transgender entertainer, was the talk of the town. But Lee couldn't converse about the subject. He did not understand the word 'transgender' and felt humiliated for his ignorance. Timid and not wanting to stand out, Lee typed in the English term while doing a search on the Internet and finally learned that the word refers to a person whose gender identity may be different from what he was born with. For several months after his arrival, Lee was terrified that his ignorance about South Korean terms would cause miscommunication. 'Difference is regarded as a handicap in the South,' Lee said.' This quote confirms my thoughts about the difference between Korean speaking people from outside South-Korea as you can see the even the closest country to South-Korea has problems with understanding Konglish, maybe this because of North-Koreas lack of contact with the western/outside world. But it also shows that when someone doesn't know a word's meaning it causes
But that Konglish makes the daily life, in the same country, a problem is stated in another article from The Chosun Ilbo, a Korean online newspaper called 'Foreign Names Take Over the World of Food': 'Coffee has become an essential part of the daily lives of Koreans. Each Korean drank 288 cups of coffee in 2008, based on the amount of coffee beans that were imported that year. But elderly Koreans, who cannot speak English, as well as some younger Koreans who are not yet au fait with the coffee jargon, say ordering the beverage is strange and difficult. "Coffee is imported, so we cannot do anything about the names," says one man in his 60s. "But why are the sizes classified as 'short' or 'tall' in English?" he said. "I'm a university graduate and have lived without any problems until now. I never imagined I'd end up getting nervous ordering coffee." You can see that the older generations who don't have much knowledge of English or Konglish are having difficulty with these new differences. Because of growth of the use of Konglish I think there is going to be a big division between the generations because the younger generation won't know the original meaning of words and the older generation can't understand the younger generation because of their excessive use of Konglish in the Korean language. Maybe that people don't even know the original language anymore after several generations.
In conclusion you can say that Konglish certainly is an enrichment for the Korean language if it comes to tourism, entertainment and advertisement. Tourism will grow because of Konglish thanks to the possibility for non-Koreans to understand certain things and aspects better of the county. But also the growing popularity for the western world such as music and other products in South-Korea, just like Sebastian Harrisan of the Korean Times mentioned in his article, causes the growth of Konglish. In daily speech and English education in South-Korea you could conclude it can also cause confusion between different generations and could even cause a division between them. It even could provoke the disappearance of the original language if this goes on. As conclusion I can say that it would be better is Konglish is only used when necessary and should not be used in daily life to preserve the original language of the county.
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