14 July 2004

Muninn on Deciphering Korean and Konglish

Muninn, who's back to blogging, has some interesting posts on deciphering Korean by filtering words through screens of Japanese, Chinese, and/or English.

Konglish (like Let's Dutch pay 'let's go Dutch', overeat 'vomit', and walker 'combat boots')

Guessing Korean 안내 [annae] and 은행 [eunhaeng] (respectively, 案内 'information', Jp. annai, not used in Ch.; and 銀行 'bank', Jp. ginkô, Ch. yinhang).

BTW, the ginkgo tree in Korean is also eunhaeng. This is much easier for an English speaker who knows Japanese to remember than for a monolingual speaker of either Japanese or Chinese.
Its name means "silvery apricot" (銀杏 yin2 xin4) in Chinese. The same name is used in Japan, where ginkgo later transplanted, but the Japanese pronunciation [was] ginkyō, and this is what the Westerners heard in the eighteenth century. However, the modern Japanese reading is ichō or ginnan (although the Kanji are the same).
But Muninn warns of false cognates, like 手紙 'hand paper', Jp. '(postal) letter', Ch. 'toilet paper'.

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