Studying in Korea (Pg.17)

Living in Seoul, Korea by Paul Symonds

In England we used to have old English in the style of writers such as Shakespeare and through the years, this English slowly developed into the British English of today.

Somewhere in between, the Americans came along and changed the spelling, dropped some of the clear pronunciation, added on a slurry ‘r’ sound and changed some of the grammar to create a bastardised version of English called ‘American English’. In Korea, the Korean people have taken some American English, some British English and created Korean English, a mix of the two, although based more on American English. There are now many weird and Seoul nightlife Koreawonderfully ‘Konglish’ expressions, as you will see.

When I first arrived in Seoul and started teaching, I was careful to say ‘Korean English’ rather than ‘Konglish’. I feared that the word ‘Konglish’ was a derogatory word, but it was when I used the expression ‘Korean English’, that people were amused and surprised. I have realised since, that Konglish is an affectionately used term to simply express the Korean version of English.

Before going any further, let me just say, I realise it is real difficult to learn a second language and I am not being critical, but simply trying to point out the interesting and funny side of Konglish. I am sure that if I learn more Korean, I will make far greater mistakes. With that said, let us continue.

Common Mistakes in Korean English -The following are common mistakes in Konglish, which you will hear often.

Meeting and meeting in Korean English

The word ‘meeting’ is misused in Korean English, time and time again. In English a meeting (noun) would usually refer to something involving business, i.e. used in the context of a business meeting. An example of this is “I have a meeting with my friends”. When talking about friends we would usually use the verb, i.e. “I am meeting my friends later”. In Konglish, it was common to hear the noun version used, when referring to friends and this sounds a little awkward sometimes.

If you have any thoughts, would like to publish this book, or any general comments or questions about this book 'Living in Korea' then email me now.

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