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Korean and Japanese English vocabulary: a bridge over troubled waters?. Judy Yoneoka KLC Jan 2005. Philosophy of Englishes. English is an international language with many flavors, called “varieties” or “Englishes”

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korean and japanese english vocabulary a bridge over troubled waters

Korean and Japanese English vocabulary:a bridge over troubled waters?

Judy Yoneoka KLC Jan 2005


Philosophy of Englishes

  • English is an international language with many flavors, called “varieties” or “Englishes”
  • Some of these are native (ENL), some are second language (ESL) and some are foreign language (EIL) varieties.
  • All are used and useful for intercultural communication and should be viewed as such.
  • No variety is “bad” unless it cannot be generally understood, in which case it is not English.
janglish and konglish
“Janglish” and “Konglish”
  • Janglish The language of Nippon is being subtly transformed through a reckless frenzy of linguistic borrowing, and … this katakana revolution will ultimately only dilute and pollute it.(Denbushi blog, Aug. 3, 2003)
  • Konglish How bad can bad English get? Very bad indeed, … "Konglish“ (is) the hybrid of jazzy Korean and messy English that, "like heavy traffic is an unpleasant but tolerable side of life" in the East Asian capital. (Cohen 2001)
  • 1. Historically similar Korean and Japanese English
    • Prewar vs. postwar Korean English
  • 2. Formally similar Korean and Japanese English
    • Shortened forms, Acronyms, hybrids
  • 3. Functionally similar Korean and Japanese English
    • decorative English
prewar vocabulary brought into korea from japan
Prewar vocabulary: brought into Korea from Japan

--More than 1,400 words from foreign languages (especially English) in Japanese before 1945

  • mishin (sewing machine) 1861
  • ou rai (all right) 1864
  • stove (heater) 1868
  • match (matches) 1870
  • stand (lamp) 1872
  • gown (robe) 1884
  • trump (cards) 1884
  • hairpin (hair clip) 1885
  • hotchkiss (stapler) 1906
postwar ke language revision
Postwar KE language revision
  • since World War II, there have been several efforts to purge Japanese and Japanese style English loan words from the Korean lexicon, and/or to “correct” the pronunciation of Japanese English.
  • e.g.
  • ppada ‘butter’  pӧthӧ
  • takusi ‘taxi’  thaeksi
  • hoteru ‘hotel’  hotel (Shim 1994:228)
but from my materials
But from my materials…

As a conservative estimate, 50-60% of “Konglish”=“Janglish”

Another 20% or so is “understandably similar”

  • ball pen (ball-point pen)
  • talent (entertainer)
  • vinyl (plastic)
  • rimocon (remote control)
  • sign pen (felt pen)
  • symbol mark (logo)
  • golden time (prime time)
and konglish from japan
…And ”Konglish” from Japan
  • hand(i)phone (cell phone)
  • motel, love hotel
  • skinship
  • Japanese Konglish: “jake” “pas” “bansoko” “kisu”
  • White day -- originated in Japan 1980, and spread to Korea.
  • “Black Day”
    • April 14 is for people who did not give or receive gifts, and it is celebrated by eating black Jajang noodles.
prewar process 1 truncation
Prewar process 1: Truncation

Prewar: apart(ment building), note(book), ero(tic), cray(on)-pas(tel) centi(meter), demo(nstration)

Postwar: remo(te) con(trol), cream sand(wich), (news)caster, air con(ditioning), (loud)speaker

JE only: anime(shon), barten(der), fami(ly) res(taurant), mail ad(dress), appli(cation), pro wres(tling), mother com(plex)

KE only: night (club), white(-out), le(isure)(s)ports, depre(ssion), gang(ster) movie, (com)ment、(mee)ting

  • Sharp pencil -- sharp in KE, shapen in JE
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken -- kenchiki in JE and Kentucky chiken in KE
  • =the process of truncation was in place in both languages before the war, and has continued independently since.
prewar process 2 plurality

Prewar process 2: “Plurality“

“Extra” plurals

donuts, peanuts, shirts, fruits

“Missing” plurals

sunglass, slipper, corn flake, manner, suspender, match

Very regular!!

=Plurality doesn’t really have a place in either variety

postwar process 1 acronyms
Postwar process 1: Acronyms

Largely postwar phenomenon except SOS (1912)).

  • Common to KE and JE: SF, OL,OA
  • KE alone: D/B = Database, D/C = discount, O/D = Owner-driver, O/T = Orientation, MT = membership training, OST = sound track, PD = producer director
  • JE alone: OB old boy, OG old girl, QC quality control, (L)DK=living, dining, kitchen, LL=language lab, BF= boyfriend, GF= girlfriend, SL=steam locomotive, TT =team teaching
  • commercial CF in KE CM in JE
  • After sales service A/S in KE after-service in JE

=The process of creating acronyms developed independently, possibly commonly based on US military English? (GHQ, GI, etc.)

postwar process 2 hybrids
Postwar process 2: Hybrids
  • Common to both: 電子 range, 検索 engine

JE only KE only

  • PET bottle PET 瓶
  • mailing list mail 目録
  • image change image 変身
  • 発砲 styrol styropon
  • vinyl袋 vinyl bag
  • hairpin 머리pin
  • = Hybridization is an independent but similar process in both languages
shared perception of english westernization modernization
shared perception of English = Westernization = modernization
  • Englishizations in business and in advertising to promote a “cool” product image. “decorative English”
  • “love love honeymoon” found in a KE advertisement (Tranter 1997:145)
  • “Janglish” can be found outside your door. Here are some other examples of “Konglish”:
the case of lotte
The case of LOTTE
  • Where did Lotte begin?
  • first founded in 1948 – in Japan with a VERY American product: chewing gum.
  • Founder Shin Kyuk-Ho/Nagashima Takeo brought the company to Korea soon after normalization of diplomatic relations between Korea and Japan in 1965.
  • Today, he is famous as the owner of…
  • Lotte Marines in Japan,
  • Lotte Giants in Korea.
  • Products in Japan-- black black, juicy fresh, free zone, no timepure white, cool shock, C.C. lemon, choco pie, coolish ice cream
  • Prducts in Korea-- Lotte Sand and Chic Choc cookies, Screwbar ice cream, NudePepero chocolate sticks, Let’s Go and Wooly Booly gum
winter sonata image of a modernized korea
“Winter Sonata”: Image of a Modernized Korea

“Sonata” came from the English translation

Which “Yon-sama” is more famous?

-this serious Korean boy searching for his past?

-or this thoroughly Westernized man

who has forgotten all about it?

conclusion english as a bridge
Conclusion: English as a bridge
  • “The story of Cinderella, a Western fairytale … is a tale familiar to both Koreans and Japanese audiences through their individual imports of Western culture. In some cases, when Korea imports cultural programs from Japan, what the nation is adopting is a reified version of a Western myth. Since Korea has long been acquainted with Western goods, their reemergence through another culture is perhaps accepted as a simple matter of conventionality.[1]”
  • [1]http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/culture/200402/kt2004021219302611690.htm
cultural exchange and bilateral trade will continue
Cultural exchange and bilateral trade will continue…

This year, South Korea lifted almost all restrictions on the import of Japanese culture.

  • A new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is currently under negotiation between Japan and Korea and will probably be completed next year.
and asian english can play a role as common ground
..and Asian English can play a role as common ground

For three reasons:

1. In terms of common script, Korea and Japan have no other choice (kanji have different readings).

2. Like Cinderella, it is familiar and appealing, and has a positive image for both.

3. Because of historical and formal similarity, there is no need for either country to worry about being “wrong” -- JE and KE are already “wrong” in so many of the same ways.

So when Bei Yong Jun says
  • He is speaking a language everybody understands.
    • Thank you!
selected bibliography
Selected Bibliography
  • Przybyla III, L. H. Konglish2 (2004) available online at Leon’s EFL Planet http://efl.htmlplanet.com/konglish.htm
  • Shim, Rosa Jinyoung (1999). "Codified Korean English: Process, Characteristics and Consequence." World Englishes 18: 247-258.
  • Song, Jae Jung (1998). “English in South Korea”, Australian Linguistic Society, available online at http://www.cltr.uq.edu.au/als98/jsong426.html
  • Tranter, Nicolas (1997). “Hybrid Anglo-Japanese loans in Korean”, Linguistics 35 133-166. Tranter, Nicolas (2000). “The phonology of English loan-words in Korean”, Word. 51-3, p. 337-404.
  • Umegaki, Minoru, ed. (1977). A Dictionary of Loan-words (Gairaigo Jiten, in Japanese). Tokyo: Tokyodo shuppan.