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Let's End Distorted Language Usage


Let's End Distorted Language Usage

   Korea has a higher rate of online activities than many other comparable nations, and the Internet is as ubiquitous as the telephone. People without Internet access at home can easily get connected at school, work or Internet cafes. Internet chatting is a very popular pastime and also a way of meeting new people.
With this trend, lots of internet solution corps. such as Daum Communications, MSN Korea and ICQ ("I seek you."), a very popular communication corp. in the USA , serves the chatting tools.
Some days ago, I was chatting with a foreign friend in Hong Kong by means of a communication tool. During the conversation, she suddenly said to me, "How's yr sch life? I have an exam tmr."
"What do you mean?" I asked to her. "Haven't you ever used these ICQ words? She introduced me to a few ICQ words: ic = I see, bb = bye bye, I duno = I don't know, u2 = you too, sby = somebody, thx = thanks. tmr = tomorrow, sch = school. And that's just a few.
Currently, it is easy to come across this reduced language while surfing the net, especially in chatting rooms.
There's a similar trend in Korea, too. We can easily find examples of reduced Korean language usage in all sorts of broadcasting, newspaper and magazine, especially in the entertainment sections. Every Sunday evening at 9 o'clock, lots of people watch the comedy show "Gag Concert" on KBS. In that program, the comedian Hwang Seung-hwan, who has risen to stardom for his role as a fickle young woman on the show appears on stage with lively music and pretty women. With that as a beginning, transvestite women, mimic high-pitched female voices, and say Hairu (in English, Hi) and Banga, Banga! (in English, Nice to meet you.)
As you know, language is a constantly changing organized matter. The Korean language, especially, is open to phonetic notation. Thus, we can easily change a word and reduced it. However effectively reduced words which are spread by teenagers finally become distorted language.
A report conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Seoul National University's Professor Min Hyun-sik, found that precise use of the Korean language is now in decline compared with six years ago because it has become mixed with teenagers' new communication language.
Teenagers' jargon, which is being spread by then into the mainstream culture, is distorting the Korean language. And they also exclude anyone who does not understand their jargon from a conversation," said Lee Se-won, who is working for Ohmylove (http://www.ohmylove.co.kr), an online chatting service corporation.
Some cyber-psychologists claim that unlike adults, who differentiate between jargon and the recognized language used for daily communication, the young generation usually use jargon, their communication language, as a common language and which even needs an interpreter. Despite growing social concern about the distorted use of Korean language, no one seems to know how to stem the tide.
Amidst deep anxieties about distorted Language usage, some netizens have lately attracted considerable attention. The "People who object to distorted language usage" show their affection for "Hangul" through a lively campaign to appreciate the Korean language while pointing out problems of imprudent language usage.
"When I was chatting with my friends, I usually used this abbreviated writing. That sort of style was prevalent among young people. But, this distorted language usage is already passe," said Kim Young-dae, one of the organizers of "People who object to distorted language usage."
"Our members are mostly teenagers. An array of people are joining with us and considering how to reform the conversation on the Internet," Mr. Kim added.
The website Antioutside (cafe.daum.net/antioutside) has been the main way for them to raise their voices. The youth webzine "Idoo" (www.idoo.net) also participates in their movement through the Banner campaign. 
"We have a right and a responsibility to correct the deleterious aspects of conversation on the Internet." shouted the staff members of the committee.
It will be beneficial to Korean culture if the movement started by teenage netizens obtains good results. These young netizens will learn true affection for Hangul through this movement.
The Webster Dictionary defines "Hangul" as an alphabet of 24, formerly 25, characters invented in the 15th century in which the Korean language is usually written; also called onmun.

Kim Jung-yoon  sasports@hanmail.net

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