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Commonly misunderstood English words
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jpe wrote:
Zyzyfer wrote:


One issue that hit me recently was how "office" is used in English. Some Koreans think it refers to the entire company only and not to an individual room with a person or people in it.


Actually I find the opposite more often -- Koreans always say "I go to my company at 9am", instead of "I go to my office" or "I go to work". I try to explain to them that the company is kind of an abstract thing not a specific place.


Actually the company thing is a good one.

The bit about the confusion on office is a bit hard to explain and kind of specific. Like basically 실 in an office setting would refer to an office, I suppose, within the building, but I was recently asked if "office" is small enough to refer to that. Not really a big deal but I couldn't think of anything else for my last post. Embarassed
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was hoping people would number their entries.

alongway wrote:
Wow..
lot of know it alls here who clearly know nothing

Quote:
2.) Famous. Kdef: having a good reputation or name. Edef: when a good many people have heard of something.

I typically hear this used by Koreans to refer to a feature or food of some other city. You don't get to have a good reputation or name without many people hearing about you.

It's often quite applicable if you bring up some town they'll often point out that it's famous for a certain kind of food, and most people you talk with about that town will ask you if you ate that particular food while you were there (like dalk galbi in Chuncheon). If you're talking about some other kind of usage, it certainly isn't the most common way I've heard the word used here, and it does certainly fall inline with standard english usage as tourist information often includes lines like "XXX village is famous for..."


"This town is famous for X" is fine, but I'm not talking about the collocation 'famous for something', besides which it's a phrase you'd typically get in a tourist brochure. The misuse I'm referring to here is when they say 'Restaurant X is famous' when it isn't. I thought that was obvious.

Some more:

Hometown. Your hometown cannot be an area, district, or neighbourhood within a city. It has to be a town.
Outside. Kdef: any place outside your home. Edef: anywhere out in the open. If you were working in an office all day, you were not 'outside'.
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the interests of trying to get a definitive list going, I think we need some rules. The object is to identify words, phrases or collocations that have a meaning in English which Koreans seem generally unaware of, rather than a list of all common errors. In other words, something like a dictionary.

Both misunderstood words and errors more generally more often than not result from literally translating from Korean a.k.a. language interference. In fact, we could probably give a Korean word or phrase for each piece of warped English. But I want to focus as far as possible on (English) words and their correct meanings or usages rather than branch off into grammar (as the thread title suggests). Mainly just so as to have a focus.

Rules:
(suggestions for improvement and sharp-edged criticisms both welcome!)

a.) Stick to the format: give your entry a number, give the Kdef, and the Edef.
b.) Try to give definitions, rather than generalized observations.
c.) Give a specific word, phrase, or collocation. This is not meant to be a list of common grammatical errors.
d.) Only enter words that exist in English. Konglish words or expressions or combinations of words that do not exist in English do not belong here.

The List

1.) Body language. They think it means gestures, i.e. using your body to talk. It actually means what your body says whether you mean it to or not.

2.) Famous. Kdef: having a good reputation or name. Edef: when a good many people have heard of something.

3.) Funny. Kdef: fun or interesting. Edef1: amusing. Edef2: peculiar.

4.) Crazy. Kdef: a severe insult referring to a mental disorder. Edef1: mad or insane. Edef2: a slang word referring to something you admire.

5.) Ballad. Kdef: a folk song. Edef: it has a wider meaning.

6.) Soso. Koreans think it means OK. In reality westerners rarely say this and if they do, it means very mediocre.

7.) Glamour. kdef: big breasts. edef: um...

8.) Oh you are so poor. Kdef: an expression of sympathy, e.g. if you are sick. Edef: an observation that you have no money. 'You poor thing' would be the correct phrase.

9.) Expect. Kdef: look forward to something. Edef: expect something.

10.) Hard. Kdef: difficult or arduous, but also the feeling of suffering you get in a difficult or tiring situation. Edef1: difficult or arduous. Edef2: firm.

11.) Prepare an item. Kdef: get an item you need in order to get ready for something else, e.g. prepare spoons (for a picnic) Edef: make an item ready, e.g. prepare sandwiches (which need work, as opposed to spoons, which don't).

12.) Nice to meet you! Kdef: a phrase you use whenever you see someone you know. Edef: a phrase you use the first time you meet someone.

13.) Hometown. Kdef: your place of origin, including town, area, district, or neighbourhood. Edef: Your town of origin only.

14.) Outside. Kdef: any place outside your home. Edef: anywhere out in the open. If you were working in an office all day, you were not 'outside'.



Items pruned from the list: (in no particular order)

1. that situation Particularly when "it" or "that" would suffice. Pronoun problem rather than a misunderstood word.

2. Today one of my student asked me "What does your cup contain?" I guess that's not technically wrong, but it is weird as hell. Register problem, i.e. formal rather than conversational. A whole 'nother are.

2. I agree on the "two years later" thing, even with advanced students, but again it's more the fault of English than anything else....why do we say "a little later", or just "later" but not "[specific duration of time] later"? We do use 'later' in that way but only in narratives set in the past. Perhaps this could go on the list but not as is.

3. "My body is sick" Student is using the wrong subject. Debatable whether this should be on the list.

4. "I wanna lose my weight" Incorrect interpolation of 'my' in the collocation 'lose weight' but doesn't really affect meaning.

5. "marry with..." Badly phrased, but the meaning is not misunderstood.

6. arbeit - to mean pt work Doesn't exist in English.

7. good - to mean im finished Plz explain further?

8. pervert (beyontae) to mean just about everything (im amazed that such small children bandy the word pervert about). Alternative definitions please.

9. time - to mean wait, please. im sure this came from a song a few years back and just stuck Maybe they just haven't learned the word 'wait' yet?

10. Comfortable and convenient I always hear being mixed up. A mix-up rather than a misunderstanding I think.

11. Boring Commonly misused. "I went to the movie but I was boring" Student needs a lesson on the ~ed/~ing adjective distinction.
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mnjetter



Joined: 21 Feb 2012
Location: Seoul, S. Korea

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Privateer wrote:
7. good - to mean im finished Plz explain further?

I'm not the one who posted that, but perhaps they mean like in the following dialogue?

A: Do you want some more juice?
B: No, I'm good.

If that's the case, I'd say that isn't a misused or misunderstood word. I use it like that all the time.

If that's not the case, ignore my speculation. I have no idea. Razz

Anyway, here's mine...

15. A "sharp" is not a pencil unless it is actually made by the Sharpe company, and even then, it is a proper adjective, not a noun. Though to be fair, we English speakers really have to get on the ball and find something easier to call it than "mechanical pencil," heheh.
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alongway



Joined: 02 Jan 2012

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
15. A "sharp" is not a pencil unless it is actually made by the Sharpe company, and even then, it is a proper adjective, not a noun. Though to be fair, we English speakers really have to get on the ball and find something easier to call it than "mechanical pencil," heheh.

And you want to claim that's a Korean issue?
Why don't you hand me a Kleenex while you explain that to me.
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Old fat expat



Joined: 19 Sep 2005
Location: a caravan of dust, making for a windy prairie

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

service: Kdef-to give extra items. Edef-to do something/your work; does not require giving of items.

not that I'm complaining about the extras.
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mnjetter



Joined: 21 Feb 2012
Location: Seoul, S. Korea

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alongway wrote:
Quote:
15. A "sharp" is not a pencil unless it is actually made by the Sharpe company, and even then, it is a proper adjective, not a noun. Though to be fair, we English speakers really have to get on the ball and find something easier to call it than "mechanical pencil," heheh.

And you want to claim that's a Korean issue?
Why don't you hand me a Kleenex while you explain that to me.


Most native English speakers say Kleenex for tissue, but not Sharpe for mechanical pencil. Most Koreans do. So....yes?
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alongway



Joined: 02 Jan 2012

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mnjetter wrote:
alongway wrote:
Quote:
15. A "sharp" is not a pencil unless it is actually made by the Sharpe company, and even then, it is a proper adjective, not a noun. Though to be fair, we English speakers really have to get on the ball and find something easier to call it than "mechanical pencil," heheh.

And you want to claim that's a Korean issue?
Why don't you hand me a Kleenex while you explain that to me.


Most native English speakers say Kleenex for tissue, but not Sharpe for mechanical pencil. Most Koreans do. So....yes?


The issue being using a product name as a generic name for the product which is how sharp is being used.
Which is how it was described as being wrong, which is something native english speakers do with certain very well known products. Perhaps for awhile the only mechanical pencils in Korea were sharps and hence all became known as sharps.
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nicwr2002



Joined: 17 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:07 am    Post subject: h Reply with quote

mnjetter wrote:
Privateer wrote:
7. good - to mean im finished Plz explain further?

I'm not the one who posted that, but perhaps they mean like in the following dialogue?

A: Do you want some more juice?
B: No, I'm good.

If that's the case, I'd say that isn't a misused or misunderstood word. I use it like that all the time.

If that's not the case, ignore my speculation. I have no idea. Razz

Anyway, here's mine...

15. A "sharp" is not a pencil unless it is actually made by the Sharpe company, and even then, it is a proper adjective, not a noun. Though to be fair, we English speakers really have to get on the ball and find something easier to call it than "mechanical pencil," heheh.


I used to think my students were saying 'good' until I found out they were just saying 끝 which means 'finished' (I thought they just had bad pronunciation)
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nautilus



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Location: Je jump, Tu jump, oui jump!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alongway wrote:
Why don't you hand me a Kleenex while you explain that to me.


Right. Unfortunately brand names have become nouns and even verbs in many cases..subtly reducing the effectiveness of the english language. "I'll facebook you a picture of my nikes".


Mr. BlackCat wrote:
I'll chime in about famous.

In my experience, Koreans completely overuse/misuse the word. You can link as many articles as you want, but as a native speaker since birth I know when something sounds wrong. Famous is used when popular, well known or known for, would work better. Don't worry, this isn't an insult to Koreans. They're speaking a second language. I don't know why some people take offense to simply pointing out differences in languages or difficulties when learning either.

I will say though, that the overuse of this word becomes tiresome. Every little village in Korea is "famous" for some type of food, every temple is "famous", every Korean who has ever been in front of a camera is "famous". More often than not, Koreans will tell me the person we see is a "famous singer" or the temple we visit is a "famous temple". It's not famous if you can't tell me his/its name without looking it up. I would say it has something to do with language, but why not say he's a 'singer' or it's just a 'temple'. That's my mini rant.



For some reason Koreans have inherited a certain limited set of english words- either from movies or history- that they either massively over-use, or misuse. Yeah its exceedingly tiresome to the ear to hear koreans go on about "ballade" everytime you randomly talk about music.

Ok buddy. There's another one I can't stand.
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le-paul



Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Location: dans la chambre

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

arbeit is used in korean to say part time work. no further expalnation needed there.
good- when a teacher is finished checking some work ( myself for example) i often comment that the work was 'done well', so i will say 'good' as in that was some good work. i have noticed in a few places that people will say ' good' when finished as if to say ' im finished' not realizing that they are commenting on their own work. maybe nicwr is correct, ill have to check that. maybe i have misunderstood too.

time - most korean students will be able to translate gida rida or chomshimman ya into ' wait' or 'wait please' if you ask them. they just seem to prefer saying 'time' sometimes. like i said, i think there was a song (or maybe a tv ad.) a few years back that kept saying time instead of wait and people latched onto that.

beyontae - i hear children as small as 4 years old accusing each other of being a pervert for mentioning any body part or as much as showing a sock. i was just more surprised with this one than thinking it was misused (over used maybe) as when i was a child, i had mo idea about the word pervert. everyone seems to use it quite liberally.

i hope that satisfies you privateer.
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SMOE NSET



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought when they use "time" it is referring to a "time out." So, maybe it is a sports reference?
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jvalmer



Joined: 06 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Koreans:
hometown = birthplace

And often they will assume you grew up there.
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Sister Ray



Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Location: Fukuoka

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nautilus wrote:
that they either massively over-use.


Delicious food

This has become my most loathed adjective.
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le-paul



Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Location: dans la chambre

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sister Ray wrote:
nautilus wrote:
that they either massively over-use.


Delicious food

This has become my most loathed adjective.


yep, hate that one too. everything is delicious or hated (shil oh), nothing inbetween. maybe its true though, koreans seem pretty passionate about eating...
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