Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Japanese + Korean or Korean - Japanese?
I learned the term, "ippay (이빠이)" when I got my first motorcycle. When I was asked how much do I want my tank refilled, I said, "full tenk-uh" (I'll explain the spelling on some other blog). The attendant made me repeat what I said and I got frustrated so I just asked for a 5,000 won refill. Back at work, I asked what the Korean term for "full" is and my superior said "ippay." The next time I went back for a refill, I used the term and everything went fine.
That was, until I got to a different gasoline station (some years after). I asked for an "ippay" and the gasoline guy proceeded... let's call him Dude... As he was doing his job, Dude politely corrected me.
"You shouldn't say, 'ippay' because some people might get offended."
"Oh? Then what should I say?"
"Kadeug (가득)" he says, "'Ippay' is a Japanese term. We don't use that anymore."
"Oh, I see. I didn't know that. Kadeug it is, then."
Later on, I confirmed this with my other superior (I currently have 2) and he agreed. Although he believes "ippay" isn't as offensive as Dude says, it is much safer to use "kadeug" when talking to strangers, just to avoid the same conversation.
Along came the Dokdo argument between Japan and Korea (something I know nothing about and had no interest in).
I wish I had pictures of the old chain stores. But before this Dokdo thing, Family Mart was scattered all over Korea. I didn't even know Japan has them until I watched some anime where a Family Mart was shown (probably Bleach). One day, I noticed one of these Family Marts were gone and changed its name. Same type, same employees, only now it's CU... or something. I assumed it was just another new store under a new boss, on a small business. But roaming around other places, I noticed all of the Family Marts changed their names to CU.
After about 2 weeks, I went in to one of them CU stores, bought some stuff, then asked the teller why did they change the name.
"Family Mart is a Japanese brand."
"Ah, I see." I said, nodding. "I got it."
"Korea wants to make a brand of our own so we won't use any Japanese names anymore." He went on.
I left thanking the teller and satisfied with the info. I guess there's going to be some changes in Korean dictionaries from now on. I wonder who's in charge of making those words/names. I also wonder when will they get rid of Konglish. It's one of the most annoying things I find here in Korea.