중앙데일리

What’s your house?

Type of apartment helps people size up strangers

Nov 23,2003
The following is a tip on Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Mr. O’Brien, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Mr. O’Brien:
I teach English to middle-aged Korean women at a hagwon. One day, when I asked them to talk about their homes, I heard an interesting argument. While looking at a photograph of a small apartment, the women argued over whether it was an apartment or a villa. One woman insisted she lived in a “mansion apartment,” not an “apartment.” While everyone was nodding, I didn’t quite understand the difference.

A. IHT-JAD:
Koreans often ask for the specific address or type of one’s home to figure out one’s economic status. Compared with ordinary apateu, or apartments, in Korea, the “mansion apateu” generally refers to a more spacious, and thus more expensive, apartment. A villa (pronounced billa in Korean) has a different meaning in local real estate terms; a villa refers to a low-rise apartment building or flat. Because a villa has fewer units in one building, Koreans generally, consider it more private.


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