Posted by: rbbadger | September 14, 2011

P’amŏsŭ Maket

Here’s another example of borrowing English words in Korean.  About a fifteen minute walk from my home is Nong Hyup’s supermarket.  Nong Hyup is the farmer’s credit union.  They used to be my bank.  They sell fresh produce in some of the branches and also have supermarkets all over the country.

Instead of calling this a 농민시장 (nongmin shijang, or farmer’s market), they’ve settled for Ungsang Nonghyŏp P’amŏsŭ Maket* (웅상 파머스 마켓).  (Ungsang-ŭp used to be the name of the district where I live.  It is now Samho-dong officially.  While this area is still referred to as Sŏ Chang, Sŏ Chang-ri disappeared from the maps some time ago.  Nong Hyup, or Nong Hyŏp is the farmer’s credit union.)

I still find it highly ironic that some Korean ultra-nationalists, who favour getting rid of Chinese characters or hanja because they are foreign and respresent (to them) Chinese imperialism, have no trouble importing English words on a grand scale.  Just as long as you spell it with the Korean alphabet!  For those who wish to purge Korean of English loan words, I sympathise, but I doubt it will ever happen.

*I feel like using McCune-Reischauer today.  In my opinion, M-R is a superior system of Romanization, at least much better than the one dreamed up by the Korean government in 2000.  I’m still not a fan of it.  If you prefer the Yale method, Ungsang P’amŏsŭ Maket would be Ungsang Phamesu Maket.  The Yale system is a little weird.  Unlike McCune-Reischauer, which is mostly meant for people who have no knowledge of Han’gŭl, the Yale method pretty much assumes a knowledge of the language.  The McCune-Reischauer system is generally used in scholarship while the Revised Romanization has yet to find scholarly acceptance outside of Korea.  Linguists use the Yale Method, invented by one of the great authorities on the Korean language, Samuel E. Martin. 

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