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October 12, 2004

English Contradictions in Korea

Today's Korea Herald newspaper carries an article by columnist Cho Se-hyon, who looks at the "contradictions" between his country's perceived goal of becoming an international hub and what he sees as growing anti-foreigner and anti-English sentiments. He cites an example: "Marking Hangeul (the Korean language) Day two Sundays ago, a group of people interested in "keeping our language alive," rated the city government of Seoul as one of the 10 worst organizations, "interfering" in the development of the Korean language by using English on city buses to help foreigners get around more easily." In contrast with this and other calls for the removal of English loanwords, he asks why so many Koreans are "eager to teach our children English in school and by private tutoring? Isn't it true that many of our parents do not hesitate to send their children to America, Britain, Australia and other English-speaking countries, spending tens of thousands of dollars just to teach them the language?"
Contradictions abound

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