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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Konglish Cleaning?

Back to writing lesson plans this week, at least for a few hours. Rather than teaching kindys to spell "napkin" or making sure 8-year-olds know the proper terminology for an airplane crash, I'm writing about Konglish. Konglish is English words that have been adopted (and slightly modified) by Korean language.

Some are obvious: "choco" is Konglish for "chocolate," "hand phone" is "cell phone" and "sunglass" is "sunglasses."

Others are more fun: "MacGyver knife" for "Swiss Army knife," "punk tire" for "flat tire" and "eye shopping" for "window shopping."

And then there are those Konglish words where I can see absolutely NO English root. Do you know what "arbeit," "hotchikiss" and "klaxon" are? ("part-time job," "stapler" and "horn," respectively)

It's good to teach students the correct English words so no one is confused during a visit to America when they want to play a game of "pocketball" (pool), but I can't help but think they would be better off just taking normal English classes. Using "choco" and "sunglass" may not be correct but they will get the point across. It seems like a waste of 45 minutes but hey, I'm just doing my job.


Just a few days after joking with a friend that the gossip column in The Washington Post consisted mostly of Congressional sightings ("Ooh, Dianne Feinstein at Whole Foods. She brought reusable bags!"), Washingtonian unveiled the cover of its May issue:

Yep, that's a damn good reason to live in Washington.


  1. Interesting post!

    Arbeit probably came to Korea during the occupation: In Japanese there's a similar word, arubaito, borrowed from German.
    Klaxon is a made-up trademark like Kleenex, Xerox or Escalator.
    Hotchikiss is from a mistranslation in the Korean version of Office Space.

    Kidding on the last one...never heard that word before. :-)

    - Ben (Weiss's friend from Hawaii)

  2. holy crap is that obama? wow he is attractive!