An experience in class after teaching for a few days…

Class: Teacher! John cunning!

Me: I guess. He does seem pretty slick that, John.

Class: No, teacher! Cunning!

Me: Okay, but he’s not master spy or anything.

Then I got blank looks and more screams of Cunning!

So that was introduction to the wonderful world of Konglish. Med Magazine defines Konglish as:

Konglish can be broken down into four types: (1) words whose meanings have been altered; (2) words that have been fabricated to mean something entirely different from the borrowed word or phrase; (3) words in which the pronunciation has changed; (4) and words or phrases which have been abbreviated. Konglish also incorporates ‘pseudo loan-words’: English terms that are used by Koreans but only after making a direct translation from Korean to English. One of the more obvious examples is the word Konglish, which is formed by taking the initial syllable of Korean (Ko), removing the ‘E’ of English and then combining the remaining parts of the two words.

So here are some of the more interesting Konglish I have heard since being in Korea.

Hand Phone = Cell Phone

Refrigelater = Refrigerator

Salaryman = Businessman

Cunning = Cheating One

Manicure = Nail Polish

Service = Gratuity

Dutch Pay = Paying Dutch

Officetel = Office & Hotel

Just Do Me = Nike‘s Just Do It

Eye Shopping = Window Shopping

Orangee = Orange

Strangee = Strange

That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Do you have any funny Konglish words or sayings to add to the list?

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This post was written by

Brian Dye – who has written posts on Kiss My Kimchi.
I’m a blogger, writer, and teacher. I’ve been working in South Korea’s ESL field for the last three years. My one year contract has unexpectedly turned into a journey that I’m still on and loving.

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