중앙데일리

“Korea Fighting!”

“Konglish” fitting the occasion for Koreans

June 18,2006

A large banner in downtown Seoul that prompts the Korean soccer team to “fighting.”

Here’s this week’s tip on Korean language and customs:

Q:
Koreans have promoted the proper usage of their language for years through education and campaigns, but one expression I hear and see everywhere, “Fighting,” doesn’t seem to annoy people but is promoted on a large scale. By listening to Koreans use “Fighting” on TV programs and World Cup matches, I can vaguely understand its meaning, but I’m curious to know how Koreans got to use it in the first place.

A:
Koreans admit that the meaning of the word, “Fighting,” and its usage are not only irrelevant but also incorrect. “Fighting!” is used to mean “Go for it!” or “Way to go!” and to encourage a “fighting spirit” in players engaged in competitive games. This notion was introduced to Koreans decades ago through old, double-translated English-Korean dictionaries, originally compiled by Japanese lexicographers. The Japanese version is similar but only shorter: “Fighto!” Many Koreans agree that the expression is “Konglish,” but find it familiar, functional and fun.


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