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Friday, March 16, 2007

culturizing apartment buildings

Seoul Administration Court (?, Haengjông pôbwôn) has made a decision that allows an apartment block to change its name after substantial outer renovations had been made on the buildings. The residents in the "Lotte Nakch'ôn Apartments" in Dongjak-gu had requested the Dongjak-gu authorities that their residences be renamed and registered as "Lotte Castle", but they were refused for the reason that legislation allowing that was not in force yet.

Still, the court ruled that there is no legal reason to refuse the name change, as more than three fourths of the residents backed the change, the construction company had consented as well, and the outer renovation was sufficient for the change of housing brand. The decision quoted the residents' motive for the name change as "changing the name of the apartment [block] to a beautiful one in order to have a cultured (munhwajôk) image."

Nakch'ôn - the previous name of the apartment block - is not that colloquial everyday Korean, and for me it doesn't really sound that notorious, giving the idea of something to do with heaven (ch'ôn 天) perhaps. Ok, there are two meaning in the online Standard Korean Dictionary:
1) 낙천01 (落薦)
「명」후보자의 추천이나 천거에서 떨어짐. ¶삼촌의 낙천 소식에 가장 가슴 아파한 사람은 할아버지셨다.§
「참」공천02(公薦). So that means "failing to get appointed."

2) 낙천02 (樂天)
「명」세상과 인생을 즐겁고 좋은 것으로 여김. ¶자네의 그 낙천은 아무도 못 따를걸.≪황순원, 신들의 주사위≫§「반」염세01(厭世). "Thinking that world and life are good."

Perhaps, if Chinese Characters were still in common use, nakch'ôn when written as 樂天 would appear as cultured as "castle", whether written in Roman characters or in Han'gûl. But I guess in order to compete with apartment brands such as "Royal Duke," 樂天 or 낙천 just won't do.

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Comments to note "culturizing apartment buildings" (Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated)

<Anonymous Sonagi> said on 18.3.07 : 

Reminds me of how the English word "mansion" was twisted into Korean as "dumpy five-story concrete block."

<Blogger Gomdori@KU> said on 31.3.07 : 

This stuff is nothing compared to "Anusville I" and "Anusville II" in Seocho....

When will Koreans wake up and realize that not all english names are as fancy as they think...

<Anonymous Antti> said on 2.4.07 : 

This stuff is nothing compared to "Anusville I" and "Anusville II" in Seocho....

You almost got me with that. But I guess you mean "Honorsville", which comes out, I admit, similar in pronunciation to what you wrote. It's a bit like when I saw someone in SNU grad school reading a book called 아날 학파 (Anal hakp'a). I was a bit startled at first - boy do they read heavy stuff here - but I quickly understood that it was a book on the Annalist (Annal) school of historians in France.

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