K-beauty, hallyu and mukbang: dozens of Korean words added to the Oxford English dictionary | South Korea

The wave of Korean culture has swept through the editorial offices of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which has added more than 20 new words of Korean origin to its latest edition.

The “Definitive English Language Record” included words hinting at the worldwide popularity of the country’s music and cuisine, plus one or two whose roots in the Korean language may be less obvious.

The prefix K- is highlighted, as you would expect given that so many people outside of South Korea are now listening to K-pop – which was added to the OED in 2016 – are watching K-dramas or use K-beauty products.

The new words include hallyu – the Korean original for the wave of pop culture that made BTS one of the most popular bands in the world and Squid Game the Netflix sensation of 2021.

“The increased international interest in South Korea and its popular culture, in particular. as represented by the worldwide success of South Korean music, film, television, fashion and food, ”the dictionary says in its definition. “Also: South Korean popular culture and entertainment itself. Often as a modifier, as in Hallyu Craze, Hallyu Fan, Hallyu Star.

But as the dictionary’s new additions make clear, Korean cuisine is much more than its basic spicy kimchi, which first appeared in the OED as early as 1976. New food-related entries include bulgogi – thin slices of beef or pork – and chimeek – Korean-style fried chicken and beer.

Traditional culture is represented by hanbok – formal wear worn by both men and women – and Hangul, the Korean alphabet designed by King Sejong in 1443.

Aegyo, a certain type of cuteness or charm considered to be quintessentially Korean, and similar to the Japanese word kawaii, was included both as a noun and as an adjective. There is also room for mukbang, or live broadcasts of people eating extraordinary amounts of food while chatting with audiences online.

The inclusion of “skinship” is more surprising. Commonly used in South Korea, where it is rendered as seukinsip, and Japan (sukinshippu), it captures the emotional bond that comes from close physical contact between parent and child, lovers and friends, according to the dictionary.

OED said the inclusion of so many Korean words was recognition of a shift in language usage beyond the English-speaking world.

“The adoption and development of these Korean words in English also demonstrates how lexical innovation is no longer confined to traditional English centers in the UK and US,” he added. noted.

“They show how Asians from different parts of the continent invent and exchange words in their own local contexts, then present those words to the rest of the English-speaking world, thus allowing the Korean wave to continue to ripple on the sea of ​​English words. . “


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