[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]English here should be praisedAt an annual Town Meeting attended by Seoul’s mayor, Lee Myung-bak, and top central government officials on Dec. 4, 100 foreign residents and business representatives complained about issues such as traffic congestion, school fees and, what’s more, the poor English of Koreans. --Ed.
Mayor Lee Myung-bak was blindsided by his audience. His team should have prepared him better. While there may, indeed, be things that Westerners do not like about Seoul or Korea, they have no room to complain with regard to language. Comment, perhaps, but not complain.
Research shows that English, by a long shot, is the most difficult language on the face of the earth for Koreans to learn. Research also shows that the return on the investment Koreans make in time, effort, and money, in learning English is lower than the return on the same investment to learn Japanese, Chinese, or Arabic.
In view of the data, Koreans should be complimented on how well they manage to speak English, in spite of the odds against them.
by Steve Stupak