(Special focus on Konglish & false cognates)
Learning any language is all about learning just the 6000 or 7000 … most frequently words in that language. It does not entail being a walking dictionary in that language (I doubt if it is even humanly possible. It is impossible even for the native speakers). So, at the first glance, it does not seem like such a herculean task. But, it may still be a daunting goal for someone who is learning a language which is VEEERRRY different from his/her own language, or worse, which has its own unique script or alphabet (quite alien from his/her own language) and not to forget for people like me who have been foredoomed with a terrible memory.
So, one quick way of getting your hands on those lexicons is to look for cognates existing between your target language and your own language. I got this idea from Jimmy Naraine’s video entitled “Accelerate Language Learning Speed with 2 GREAT Techniques”.
Since, the language I am using to learn my target language (Korean) is English, and my blog is also essentially intended to cater for English readers, I am presuming that your language is English as well. Therefore, the trick is to find the cognates between your target language and English.
A cognate is basically a word in one language that is directly or indirectly related to some other word in another related language and thus they have same or similar meaning, structures, phonetics and pronunciation. They are derived from the same ancestor and belong to the same linguistic family. For example, the word “exactly” in English has following cognates in six other languages as shown in the figure below. Hence, for an English speaker it is far easier to remember these words in the target language without making much effort.
But you’re lucky if you are learning “related” languages like Spanish, French, German, Italian, etc. What if you are an English speaker learning a rather unrelated language like an Asian Languages? Do cognates work for you too? Well, sadly, it is true that you won’t find as many cognates of English words with Asian languages as you would for other European languages. But don’t be disheartened already! Luckily for us, English happens to be one of the most assiduous “linguistic lenders”. Hence, you will find a wide assortment of “loan words” in Asian languages that have been borrowed from English. Since I am learning Korean, I can only speak for Korean language. Well, I can tell you about Nepali and Hindi too! Both of them have numerous English words being used, that too, generously. For example, I just found out today (while doing some homework for this post) that there is actually a separate Nepali word for “Telephone”. So far everybody simply calls it “telephone” with Nepali spelling (Romanized one).
So English being the official international language in this globalized era, almost every language has borrowed words from it. And Korean is no exception. What is more interesting is that the Korean language has not only simply borrowed words from English, it has recreated some of them giving a slight “twist” in the meanings to create its own unique and amusing set of “Konglish words” and/or “false cognates”.
Straightforward English Words
Before, going into those Konglish words or “Korean-English words with a twist” as I’d like to call them, let me talk briefly about the downright ‘loan words’ from English, that are used in Korea, with the same meaning as their English counterparts but with a Korean spelling (romanized version) and a Koreanized pronunciation. In my opinion, these do not fall into the Konglish category, as Konglish essentially encompass slight (to major) variation in the meaning of the original English word. Likewise, they do not fully fit in the definition of cognate as well, as the “same origin and related words” are the key attributes for cognates. So I am not quite sure if it covers direct romanization or not. But again, I am no linguist to be giving definitions. Hence, feel free to offer corrections if any of my statements are wrong or misguiding. I would be glad to correct them in accordance to your suggestions.
There are numerous such straightforward “loan words” in Korean. Here is a short list of such list:
|7||텔레비전||TV (there is also 테레비=but that is more of a Japanese-Korean Cognate|
Konglish and/or False Cognates
Ok. Now back to Konglish– “Korean-English words with a twist”. So what exactly is Konglish? Konglish are essentially the words or terms, that have been derived from English, BUT which have been koreanized to have a different meaning than the original English words, which is used and understand in South Korea only.
To illustrate, have a look at this short webtoon I found it on My Korean Husband’s very interesting “Konglish” series. (For more similar posts, Visit their website here, where Nicola explains her latest discoveries of Konglish words along with her great self-created webtoons.)
So, as you can see from the picture, the Konglish word “Fighting” is no doubt an English word, but it does mean “fighting or quarreling” as we understand it. It is a Konglish word which is a kind of a word used for cheering or rooting someone meaning “Cheer up!” /“You can do it!”/”All the best”/”Go for it!”, etc. Therefore, Konglish are words that definitely appear English and are formed using loan words from English, but they have a new meaning, the difference in the meaning can range from slight difference to a completely unrelated meaning altogether. Providing the most simplistic view on the structure of Konglish, Konglish words are primarily formed through one of the following three ways:
- Changing the meaning of the English words
- Creating completely new phrases (fabricated phrases) using English words which do not exist in English
- Abbreviating the original English word, but such abbreviated versions do not exist in English
Of course there are other categories of Konglish based on:
- Pronunciation differences, (occurring primarily due to absence of exactly matching sounds in Korean in the process of koreanizing the English words, for eg, Korean does not have a “F” sound so all “F” sounding words are converted into the closest matching sound “P”.
- Brand names being used to indicate the product category itself, such as the brand “Burberry” (버버리) means “overcoat” in general. (But this is not surprising at all, even we say “to Google something” if we want to say “to look up something in the internet”. Ubiquity of something is bound to bring about such coining of terms.
- Altered phrases
These categorizations have been based on two chief research articles, namely, Dr. David Shaffer’s- “False Cognates: Teaching Techniques for Korean Loan-word Interference” and Cui Xue-Bo’s –“An Analysis of Lexical Borrowing From Languages: “Konglish” ”.
We cannot talk about Konglish without explaining about false cognates. A false cognate is a pair of words which appear to be cognates but they are not, as they have different meanings. So, although they seem similar, they have completely different meanings which are quite misleading for the learners.
Now, the good news is that Korean has Konglish words which are quite easy to remember for us. But the bad news is that, these Konglish words are notorious for being false cognates. To put another way, most of the Konglish words (mainly the fabricated phrases and abbreviations have meanings in Korean considerably different from the English counterparts. So, both the Korean language learners and English learning Koreans have a hard time distinguishing between the meanings. Most of the time, they don’t even realize that these differences exist. Therefore, we can find some research works being done and literature being devoted towards solving this problem created by false cognates in Korean, especially from the point of view of teaching English to Koreans.
These are the words that would immediately bring out reactions such as “Say WHHAAAAT????” from any English speaker. For example, I was shocked to see this picture on the internet once that literally reads “립 앤 아이 리무버” that is “Lip and eye remover” in English. It is basically a cleanser or make-up remover product. But in Korea they just get rid of the “make-up” part. So, I have had my share of these moments. And I still do every time I learn a new Konglish word).
Anyway, my purpose for this post is not to give you a detailed analysis of Konglish (I am not qualified enough for that). So I am only introducing these concepts briefly so that we can use them to remember new Korean words easily, while at that same time not making sure that we do not fall prey to the “misleading” aspects of these loan words.
So be it: Cognates, Konglish, false cognates, or simply loan words, the bottom line here is that we can use them TO LEARN NEW KOREAN WORDS. After all, our ULTIMATE GOAL here is TO ADD AS MANY NEW VOCABULARY AS POSSIBLE TO OUR KOREAN LEXICON REPOSITORY. Besides, there are a handful good research articles and write-ups in the internet that dissect the concept of Konglish in more detail. Check out my reference section for this post, if you want to have a look at some of the more comprehensive explanations.
So in this post, I have compiled a list of 150 “Loan words” in Korean from English. I learnt most of these words through my Korean friends, Korean shows, dramas, songs, etc.
I have been compiling them ever since I started learning Korean. But I also found that some AWESOME bloggers and YouTube videos, especially these two videos by Talk to me in Korean (TTMIK) (part 1 & part 2) have done extensive work on compiling similar lists. So I have also borrowed some words from them which I think are used the most in Korean. (Please find them listed in the reference section of this blog).
So here my list of 150 Konglish words, which have been divided into two parts: (i) the general Konglish words or phrases and (ii) the abbreviated ones, which often act as false cognates.
|S.N||Loan words||What it sounds or appears in English||Meaning as understood in Korean|
|1||아이쇼핑||Eye shopping||Window shopping|
|4||오픈 카||Open car||Convertible|
|6||이벤트||Event||Promotional event or activity as a part of a marketing campaign|
|9||클로버||Clover||Clubs from playing cards|
|11||골든아워||Golden hour||Prime time, peak viewing/listening time for television, radio, etc.|
|12||콜롱||Cologne, men’s perfume||Perfume used after having a shower|
|13||코팅||Coating||Laminating (paper, documents) with plastic|
|16||게임 룸||Game room||Video game arcade|
|17||그래머||Glamour||Voluptuous, curvaceous female|
|18||네임 카드||Name card||Business card|
|20||다이어리||Diary||Schedule book, planner, appointment book|
|21||다이어트||Diet||Weight loss attempt|
|22||드링크||Drink||Caffeine-laced pick-me-up tonic|
|23||더치 페이||Dutch pay||Dutch treat|
|24||(가스) 레인지||Gas range||Gas burner, gas stove/range|
|25||(전자) 레인지||Range||Microwave oven|
|26||레포트||Report||Prepared schoolwork assignment|
|27||라이트 코크||Light coke||Diet coke|
|28||라이브 잉글리시||Live english||Real-life English|
|30||리본||Ribbon||Bow and ribbon|
|31||매니 큐어||Manicure||Fingernail polish|
|32||맨션||Mansion||Large, luxurious apartment|
|33||모닝콜||Morning call||Wake-up call|
|36||미팅||Meeting||Blind date, group blind date|
|37||버버리||Burberry (the brand name)||Overcoat|
|38||백넘버||Back number||Jersey number/ player number|
|39||백미러||Back mirror||Rear-view mirror|
|40||벡싱거||Back singer||Back-up singer|
|42||브릿지||Bridge||Bleach (like hair color, highlight colour)|
|45||빌딩||Building||Tall office building|
|46||빌라||Villa||Countryside vacation home|
|47||볼펜||Ball pen||Ball-point pen|
|49||사이다||Cider||Carbonated lemon-lime drink like sprite, 7up|
|52||서비 스||Service||Complementary service/ something given as a free service, things on the house, freebies|
|53||선텐||Suntan||Tinted sheeting for window glass|
|56||스킨쉽||Skin-ship||Physical intimation, touching, hugging, etc|
|57||스크랩||Scrap||Clip (and file)|
|60||스포츠 댄스||Sports dance||Ball room dance|
|61||서 클||Circle||School club|
|62||샐러리맨||Salary man||Office worker|
|64||엔지니어||Engineer||Mechanic, repairman, technician|
|66||오일||Oil||Any petroleum product for motor vehicle use|
|67||올드 미스||Old miss||An old maid, spinster|
|68||오피스텔||Office-tel (Office + Hotel)||A place where the lower storeys/floors are rented out for businesses, offices, stores, etc, whereas the upper storeys/floors are rented out for residential purposes, homes, etc.|
|69||원룸||One room||Studio apartment, a one-room flat,|
|70||원 쇼트||One shot||Cheers! While drinking|
|71||와이셔스||White shirt||Dress shirt|
|74||츄레이 닝||Training||Warm-up suit, track suit, sweat suit|
|76||캔||Can||Canned beverage, tin can|
|77||컨닝||Cunning||Cheating (on a test)|
|79||코펠||Copper||Camping pots and pans|
|80||콘사이 스||Concise||Small dictionary|
|81||콘센 트||Consent||Electrical/Power Socket, outlet|
|83||크랙션||Klaxon||Motor vehicle horn of any type|
|85||트럼 프||Trump||Western playing cards|
|86||트롯||Trot||Genre of music loosely associated with the fox-trot|
|87||팀||Team||Division in a company|
|88||티 켓||Ticket||Gift certificate|
|89||토스트||Toast||Omelet sandwich which is grilled|
|90||팝송||Pop song||Popular English language music|
|91||팬시||Fancy||Stationery and/or knickknacks|
|92||포스 트||Post||Breakfast cereal|
|93||프린트||Handout, print-out (Not 프린터 = printer)|
|97||하이퍼 마트||Hyper mart||Grocery store|
|98||핫도그||Hot dog||Corn dog|
|99||헤이어 밴드||Hair band||Head band|
|101||핸드폰||Hand phone||Mobile phone, cell phone|
|102||호치 키 스||Hotchkiss||Stapler|
|S.N||Loan words||What it sounds or appears in English||Meaning as understood in Korean|
|104||나이 트||Night||Dance club|
|106||드라 이 버||Driver||Screwdriver|
|108||다큐 / 도큐||Docu||Documentary|
|114||백||Back||Backing, support, connection|
|115||샌드||Sand||Cream-filled sandwich cookie|
|119||스킨||Skin||Skin lotion, toner|
|120||아이스 께끼||Ice cake||Ice bar|
|122||에어 콘||Air cone||Air conditioner|
|125||젤리||Jelly||Soft, gelatin candy|
|127||콤비||Combi- (from combination)||Sports coat and trouser|
|128||콘도||Condo||Membership resort or hotel|
|129||크림 샌드||Cream sand||Cream sandwich|
|131||펑크||Punk||Tire puncture/ breaking of a promise, appointment|
|132||포테 토||Potato||French fries|
|134||헬쓰||Health||Health club, gym|
|135||화이 트||White||Tipex, correction fluid/pen, white-out|
|136||히어링||Hearing||Listening comprehension (히어링 시럼 =listening comprehension test|
|137||팬츠/빤스||Pants||Underpants (British English)|
|138||비디오||Video||Video cassette recorder/player|
|139||트랜치||Trench||Trench coat/ overcoat|
|141||셀프 캐메라||Self camera||Home video|
|142||트러벌 (mostly 피부 트러벌)||Trouble||Skin problems like pimples, etc.|
|143||애프터서비스 /애이 에스||After service or A/S||After sales service|
|144||엠티||Mt (membership training)||Trip, retreat|
|147||오티||O / T||Orientation as in orientation class for new students, etc|
|148||오무라이스||Omu-rice||Omelet + rice|
|150||시 에프||CF||Commercial film/ video advertisement|
I hope you will easily be able to have these 150 Konglish words under your belt through the above list.
While doing a little homework for this post, I came across many superb articles and blog posts, who have done a splendid job explaining the loan words in Korean. Some of these write-ups also cover cognates and loan words of Korean from other languages too. So I salute the works by all these people. Hence, here is a list of some great works that I’ve had a great pleasure reading and whom I have referred for compiling the most commonly used Konglish words.
- TTMIK Ask Hyojin – Konglish Videos part one and part two
- TTMIE- Talk to me in English 콩글리시 videos part one and two
- David Shaffer’s – “False Cognates: Teaching Techniques for Korean Loan-word Interference”
- Leon’s Planet Blog – Konglish
- Muninn’s Blog – Konglish
- CUI Xue-bo’s – “An Analysis of Lexical Borrowing From Languages: “Konglish”
- Jeffrey Miller’s – Konglish
CHEERS TO ALL LANGUAGE LEARNERS! 화이팅!