Category Archives: Konglish / 콩글리시

콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English)

My new book, 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), is finally out and available for download from iTunes. Written partially in Korean, the book is designed to help address common problems faced by Korean learners of English, plus those who teach them.

I set up a separate section of the blog, KONGLISH / 콩글리시, to focus on Konglish-related writing, including excerpts from the book. Having researched and written on Konglish since the late 90s, I have a fair grounding in the subject, but am always open to learning more – please post comments below or in a related post.

콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English)

Another goal in writing the book, as I blogged about in the Digital Publishing category (above), was to learn how to use Apple’s new iBooks Author program, and then compare it with Adobe’s Creative Suite, InDesign, and Captivate. While the Apple product, all of six months old, lacks many of the capabilities of the much-older Adobe programs, it also lacks their price (Author is free) and steep learning curve. You can be up and productively writing in Author in minutes (provided you own a Mac – there is, as yet, no Windows version), something that cannot be said for those new to, or only mildly familiar with, the Adobe monstrosities.

Having used the product for six months and found it generally user-friendly, practical, and simple, if occasionally buggy and odd (as blogged about in previous postings), I am curious to see what Apple makes of Author. Will it follow iTunes in eventually expanding to Windows? Will Apple allow authors to publish to platforms (i.e. Kindle and Nook) outside of iTunes and iPad? Will Apple finally stop putting that irritating little ‘i’ in front of iEverything iIt iMakes?

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New ‘Konglish’ Category

UPDATE (11 July): The book has been approved for sale (!) and is slowly working its way through the Apple bureaucracy. It has yet to make it into iTunes, but is currently visible on the iTunes Preview website.

I’m adding a new section to the website today, in honor of my forthcoming book, 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), an education book intended for the Korean market and written entirely in Apple’s new iBooks Author.

The new section will consist of common 콩글리시/Konglish expressions and how best to translate and explain them in English. After visitors from the U.S., visitors from South Korea make up the largest readership for the blog and my 1stopKorea website. Adding this content, written partially in Korean, is a way of addressing that readership.

The new book, despite the use of the iBooks platform, marks a return to my roots. I’ve been researching and writing on Konglish since the mid-90s, making it the focus of my first book, 미국에선 안통하는 한국식 영어표현 (roughly: ‘Konglish expressions that won’t work in the U.S.), published way back in 1999 and, unfortunately, now out of print.

Please enjoy the new section and feel free to add any Konglish, including a translation/explanation, you come across. I’ll be adding the first few expressions shortly, but backdating them so they don’t completely take over the front page of the blog. Thanks, and enjoy!

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오토바이 … 자동 자전거?

More Janglish! If you put together the English words “automatic” (or “automobile”) and “bicycle” you get … nothing.

Instead, try using “motorcycle” or, though much less common, “motorbike.” The key is to drop the “auto” part and use the word “motor” along with the word “cycle” (a reduced form of “bicycle”). “Motorcycle” is also both a noun and a verb, so it’s okay to say, “I like to motorcycle on nice fall weekends,” or, “Is motorcycling dangerous?”

People will also use the word “bike” to mean “motorcycle.” Keep in mind that, even among native English speakers, this can be confusing, since “bike” also means “bicycle.” If you say “bike,” people will only know whether you mean “motorcycle” or “bicycle” from the context of the situation or conversation.

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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“비 온다” is not “rain comes”

This one, “rain comes,” is a direct translation of the Korean expression “비 온다”. In English however, the words “rain” and “snow” are also verbs, so they don’t need an extra verb like “comes.”

Instead, simply say, “It is raining,” or “It is snowing.” If the rain/snow is predicted, then you can try, “It will rain tomorrow,” or “It’s supposed to snow tomorrow.” Other examples include, “It might rain this weekend,” “There’s a 30% chance it will snow tonight,” or “It will stop raining this afternoon.”

If you try and translate “비 온다” as, “Rain is coming,” it does NOT mean it is currently raining, as in the Korean expression. Instead, it means there is rain in the forecast and it might rain LATER, but it is not raining NOW. Please be careful of this important difference.

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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Konglish: 비닐하우스 (Vinylhouse)

Aren’t a lot of these actually made from glass? Either way, we don’t normally use the word “vinyl” this way in English. Instead, use “plastic.” We tend to think of vinyl as a kind of fake leather (가짜 가죽), not something clear.

Either way however, we wouldn’t use “vinyl” or “plastic” or any other material for this expression. Instead, we would say “greenhouse.” The key to remember for the English expression is that we don’t focus on the material used to make the building, we focus on the type of building (whether it is made from glass, plastic, or something else).

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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Konglish: Good cooker = 좋은 밥통?

Two little letters are what causes the problem here. Take off the “er” from the end of “cooker” and the expression is fine. Leave it on however, and you’re talking about a machine, not a person.

So, just say, “I’m a good cook” and everything is fine. You could also say, “I’m good at cooking” or even add the type of food you are good at cooking, “I’m good at cooking kimchi fried rice.”

A side point here is that “making” is a more common verb than “cooking.” You can “make coffee,” “make popcorn,” “make kimbap,” or even “make ice cream,” but it would be odd to use “cook” with any of those foods.

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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Konglish: 백넘버 … 뒤번호? 등에 쓴 번호?

Though there are two English words, “back” and “number,” this is not an English expression. If you use it while watching sports, an English native speaker might understand the meaning, but to be clear, you’ll need a new term.

The key here is that the number is not actually written on a person’s back, it’s on their uniform, usually a jersey. So, you can say, “jersey number” or “uniform number.” The most common thing to say though is just “number.” You can also sometimes hear “player number.”

“She is number 13,” or, “His number is 21,” are both common ways to express 백넘버 in English.

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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Konglish: Home-p … 집 소변?


Whether it’s “mini home-p” or just “home-p,” this expression sounds very odd in English. “Home” is, as you know, “집,” and “p” is either a letter in the alphabet or a way of saying “소변.” So this one could sound like, “집 소변” in English – not a good thing!

The Korean expression is a shortened version of the English word “homepage.” You could use that word, or “webpage” to express the meaning. “Website” is a similar word, but means a group of pages, not just one.

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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Konglish: A/S Center … 아/ㅅ 센터?


If you use the term, “A/S center” with a native English speaker, you’re likely to get the same puzzled expression as you would get by saying “아/ㅅ 센터” to a native Korean speaker.

If you try and stretch it out, to “after-service center,” it would be like saying, “수리한후 센터” in Korean. Obviously, not a good thing.

Instead, just get rid of “after,” and you will be fine with, “service center.” You could also try, “shop,” “repair shop,” or use the verb-based expression, “take it in.” For example, “My TV broke, so I have to take it in.” Or, “I have to take my cell to the shop for a new battery.”

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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Konglish: Save it on the 딱딱


In Korean, it is common to use the term “하드” (“hard”) to mean a drive on a computer, like “hard drive” in English. Unfortunately, in English, the meaning of “hard” is closer to “딱딱한” or “어려운” than anything computer related.

Instead, the best way to express this one is either “hard drive,” for the drive on your computer, or “the cloud,” for saving it remotely. For example, “Save it to the cloud,” or, for downloading, “Download it from the cloud.” A longer example is, “I saved the document to the cloud.”

Excerpted from 콩글리시 to English (Konglish to English), my most recent book, available now in Apple’s iTunes bookstore.

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