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Mixed Feelings: Attitudes towards English loanwords and their use in South Korea

Sofia Rüdiger
Published Online: 2018-06-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2018-0010


This questionnaire study investigates South Korean students’ attitudes towards English loanwords and their use. Even though English enjoys high prestige in Korean society and is considered a requirement for personal and professional advancement, usage of English loanwords is evaluated predominantly negatively or with mixed feelings. For loanwords that semantically deviate from standard English meanings and thus demonstrate Korean identity (i.e., Konglish loanwords), the evaluations turn even more to the negative. Nevertheless, participants also posit positive aspects of general English and Konglish loanword use and, additionally, put forward a variety of perceived reasons for using English words. This study shows that general positive attitudes related to a language can be reversed or at least modified when it comes to the combination of the prestigious language with the native language.

Keywords : loanwords; language attitudes; English in Korea; Konglish; lexical borrowing


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About the article

Received: 2017-10-20

Accepted: 2018-03-02

Published Online: 2018-06-15

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 184–198, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2018-0010.

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© 2018 Sofia Rüdiger, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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