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Monday, July 26, 2004

(Korean language) Awarded suggestion to replace "well-being"

Donga Ilbo writes that the suggestion to rename welbing (웰빙, from English "well-being") to purely Korean ch'amsari (참살이) has been given the first award in an ongoing campaign to find out replacement for loanwords (see the site Urimal tadûmgi).

Ch'am is here in its positive sense, "true", "real", added to sari, "living".

Seems that ch'amsal (斬殺), "decapitation", "beheading", is not a widely known term...

I like this idea of taking suggestions for replacements for some of the more cumbersome loanwords, but I'm afraid the chances of ch'amsari (or chamsari in the new Romanization) becoming a standard in everyday speech are not that high. The importance of English in conveying ideas of modernity and development is just so big. A lot depends on the media of course; is Donga, one of the organizers of the "language trimming" campaign, going to use the experession it has given a prize to? And throughout the history, Korean language hasn't actually shown much resistance towards loan vocabulary - on the contrary, to me one of the major characteristics of Korean is its ability and willingness to absorb foreign vocab - 외래어 흡수력.

But on the whole, I'm positive towards the campaign itself - which also reflects me being a speaker of a language which has been strongly molded and developed in a similar fashion. Learners of Finnish would perhaps like if for example "plastic" was plastiikki instead of muovi, which became the word for the concept in the similar manner with the Korean case above.

About the Urial tadûmgi site; registration with the Korean citizen number is required to leave suggestions or take part in polls.

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