Foreign Language Tip | Is “Konglish” A Thing?

Have you  ever heard the word “Konglish”?

My first time hearing that word was about a couple of weeks ago when I was skimming an article on how you can learn Korean a lot faster than you think you can. Now, granted, I am not in the business of trying to promote “quick learning” nor am I trying to do that myself. I know enough Korean to teach it on a basic level and that’s about it. I’m still working on it currently. But it never dawned on me just how much Korean I really knew until I looked at that article and saw that word.

What is “Konglish”?

Apparently, these are English words that are used the exact same way in Korean except they are pronounced differently. Words like, “computer”, “DVD”, “taxi”, etc. are all words that qualify for “Konglish”.

However, I dare to take that a step further. When you hear a sentence or read a sentence, do you pick out words you already know? Have you begun practicing by incorporating Korean words in English phrases or vice versa?

It sounds absolutely insane to do that but there is a thing called “Spanglish” and those of us (not me anymore – don’t use it you will most certainly lose it) who speak that language fluently do it all the time without even thinking about it. So what’s the difference in that and “Konglish”? Not much actually.

It is possible to say something like this… “아이고! 나 ate too much! 내 stomach 아파요!”

It looks crazy. It probably will sound crazy. And feel crazy to say this in conversation to a non-Korean speaker. But for someone learning the language, speaking in this manner to a friend who is also learning the language or knows the language, it might actually be a bit more helpful than you think.

I’ve been in the middle of a conversation with someone before and was switching back and forth between English and Korean just like the example above and there was no confusion. In fact, the conversation continued to flow and it helped my mind adjust quickly when I was listening to someone speak in Korean later on.

That’s not to say that this will work for everyone because it won’t. And in some cases it may even confuse you when you try to do it and so it’ll probably be better if you don’t try it if you know it’ll slow you down. But for those of you who want to try it to help with fluency, go right ahead!

You never know what may prove to be helpful while you’re on your language journey.


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