The Beauty and Perils of Konglish, the Korean-English Hybrid

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Slide: 1 / of 8 . Caption: “Lost in Konglish” is a black-and-white, artfully smudged zine by designer Ran Park.Ran Park

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Slide: 2 / of 8 . Caption: Park lives in Berlin right now, but is from Ulsan, a coastal town in South Korea. On a recent trip home, she noticed something funny about her native tongue.Ran Park

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Slide: 3 / of 8 . Caption: “People had started using English words as if they were Korean,” she says. Words like “bus,” as seen here are now pronounced the same way in English as they are by Koreans. Ran Park

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Slide: 4 / of 8 . Caption: Konglish follows few formal rules. It includes loanwords like camera (written as “카메라,” pronounced like “camera”), curtain (“커튼,” said like “curtain”), and ice cream (once again, written as “아이스크림,” but said like, “ice cream”).Ran Park

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Slide: 5 / of 8 . Caption: The rise of Konglish has to do with how important the English language is to South Koreans. In Seoul, luxury apartments go by names like “Luxtige” (a portmanteau of “luxury” and “prestige”), or “Forestige.” Apparently, this makes the apartments more covetable.Ran Park

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Slide: 6 / of 8 . Caption: Park is skeptical of English’s influence. For one thing, she says, pseudo-anglicisms often lack the descriptiveness of native words. (In North Korea, for example, people don’t call donuts “donuts”; they say “ga-lack ji bbang,” which translates loosely to “a ring of bread”).Ran Park

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Slide: 7 / of 8 . Caption: “People haven’t really realized that there’s a phenomenon, that we are losing our own language,” she says.Ran Park

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Slide: 8 / of 8 . Caption: That’s why, as you turn the pages of “Lost in Konglish,” distortions and smudges grow more intense, until the text becomes indecipherable.distortions and smudges grow more intense, until the text becomes indecipherable. It’s chaotic, a bit like speaking in Konglish.Ran Park