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The Influence of the English Language on the Korean Language

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In today’s Korean society, there have been a lot of controversies regarding the influence of the English language on the Korean language. There has been a lot of contact between the two languages as it embraces Englishsized Korean and deal with bilingual creativity involving Korean-English Mixing. South Koreans have now grown typical to utilize some words or phrases that may look Korean but sound distinctly English. These words or phrases is a hybrid of two languages that are called “Konglish.” The rise of this phenomenon have become serious and spread within the Korean society to the point there is a belief of losing the native language. The Konglish phenomenon has impacted the Korean society by degrading the culture of the native speakers and forcing the English language to become a dominant force within the society.

To begin with, after the domination of the English language into the Korean society, there have been growing tensions whether it is necessary for the English language to blend in with the Korean language. According to Ran Park, a graphic designer, she mentioned that when she came back to her hometown, she noticed a change of her local language. The hybrid of English and Korean was being used and she said that “people had started using the words as if they were Korean.” The significance of this statement is to show how one’s culture is prominent to the society while mixing one’s universal language to the local can make the sentence or words shattered. However, the involvement of the English language established certain loanwords into the Korean language which eventually causes mistranslations as well as fabricated phrases that incorporate English words but are not easily understood by the English native speakers. The Konglish loanwords such as “hand phone” came from “cellphone” which brings up the idea that Konglish is leading to confusion of both English and Korean. Aside from that, the rise of the English phenomenon has led to an issue of the youth population regarding the importance of English education. Since the English language is universal, the Korean society believes there is a need for English education to be a requirement in schools. South Korea has recently banned the education of English for first and second graders since they are not capable of understanding a new language yet and recent statistics show the students’ proficiency in Korean decreased when exposed to English at a very young age. With this in mind, it gives the society the impression of how the government tries to prohibit the usage of excessive English as they desire to prioritize the learning of Hangul.

Not to mention, due to the inequality of the rich and poor in South Korea, it only makes sense for the more affluent to get access to English education. This would eventually lead the society to have a big division between the one with more English knowledge and the one without. Meanwhile, the Korean language follow strict rules especially the rules of the highly phonetic Korean alphabet called “Hangul.” Konglish has a negative effect on the Hangul, as it destroys the traditional values of a South Korean and people have not realized this phenomenon leading to the loss of the native language. Due to the long history of the Japanese colonization of Korea, South Koreans take strong pride in their culture and language as they refuse to repeat what happened at the past when they were stripped of their citizenship. On the other hand, the world of media has allowed Konglish to become a source of communication to the public where people have started to believe as if this phenomenon helps develop the culture of South Korea. However, too much excessive usage of the Konglish forces the audience to realize that this language is the main source of communication for the Korean society. This provides the reason why South Koreans especially people who are in professional fields, are disgusted by the fact that people are denying the culture of the local language or Hangul. In fact, children who start watching the television or computer at an early stage get influenced easily, leading to a decline of understanding of their original native language.

Overall, the rise of the Konglish phenomenon have surprisingly impacted the Korean society in a way that was not meant to be and enabled it to become superior over the native language. As the Konglish continues to progress as a powerful source of communication, people may start to adapt to this language and utilize it for their own benefit. The collision of the Korean and English language have shaped the Korean society today and people around the world will eventually see how this phenomenon will evolve in the future.

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