“Kojanglish”: Korean and
Japanese English vocabulary
Judy Yoneoka
“Janglish” and “Konglish”
Janglish The language of Nippon is being
subtly transformed through a reckless frenzy
of linguistic borrowing, and … this katakana
revolution will ultimately only dilute and
pollute it. (Denbushi blog, Aug. 3, 2003)
Konglish How bad can bad English get?
Very bad indeed, … "Konglish“ (is) the
hybrid of jazzy Korean and messy English
that, "like heavy traffic is an unpleasant but
tolerable side of life" in the East Asian
capital. (Cohen 2001)
1. Historically similar
Prewar “Kojanglish”
--More than 1,400 words from foreign
languages (especially English) in Japanese
before 1945
mishin (sewing machine) 1861
ou rai (all right) 1864
stove (heater) 1868
match (matches) 1870
stand (lamp) 1872
gown (robe) 1884
trump (cards) 1884
hairpin (hair clip) 1885
hotchkiss (stapler) 1906
After World War II, there were efforts to
delete Japanese and Japanese style English
loan words from the Korean lexicon, and/or
to “correct” the pronunciation of Japanese
ppada ‘butter’  pӧthӧ
takusi ‘taxi’  thaeksi
hoteru ‘hotel’  hotel (Shim 1994:228)
But “Kojanglish” still exists
50-60% of “Konglish”=“Janglish”
Another 20% or so is “understandably similar”
ball pen (ball-point pen)
talent (entertainer)
vinyl (plastic)
rimocon (remote control)
sign pen (felt pen)
symbol mark (logo)
golden time (prime time)
…And “Konglish” from Japan
hand(i)phone (cell phone)
Japanese Konglish: “jake” “pas” “bansoko”
White day -- originated in Japan 1980, and
spread to Korea.
“Black Day”
– April 14 is for people who did not give or receive
gifts, and it is celebrated by eating black Jajang
2. Formally similar Korean
and Japanese English
“Kojanglish Creation”
process 1: Truncation
Prewar: apart(ment building), note(book), ero(tic), cray(on)-pas(tel)
centi(meter), demo(nstration)
Postwar: remo(te) con(trol), cream sand(wich), (news)caster, air
con(ditioning), (loud)speaker
JE only: anime(shon), barten(der), fami(ly) res(taurant), mail
ad(dress), appli(cation), pro wres(tling), mother com(plex)
KE only: night (club), white(-out), le(isure)(s)ports, depre(ssion),
gang(ster) movie, (com)ment、(mee)ting
Sharp pencil -- sharp in KE, shapen in JE
Kentucky Fried Chicken -- kenchiki in JE and Kentucky chiken
in KE
=the process of truncation was in place in both languages
before the war, and has continued independently since.
“Kojanglish Creation”
process 2: “Plurality“
“Extra” plurals
donuts, peanuts, shirts, fruits
“Missing” plurals
sunglass, slipper, corn flake, manner,
suspender, match
Very regular!!
=No plurality in either variety
“Kojanglish Creation”
3: Acronyms
Largely postwar except SOS (1912)).
 Common to KE and JE: SF, OL, OA
KE alone: D/B = Database, D/C = discount, O/D = Owner-driver, O/T
= Orientation, MT = membership training, OST = sound track, PD =
producer director
JE alone: OB old boy, OG old girl, QC quality control, (L)DK=living,
dining, kitchen, LL=language lab, BF= boyfriend, GF= girlfriend,
SL=steam locomotive, TT =team teaching
commercial CF in KE CM in JE
After sales service A/S in KE after-service in JE
=The process of creating acronyms developed
independently, possibly commonly based on US
military English? (GHQ, GI, etc.)
“Kojanglish 4” : Hybrids
Common to both: 電子 range, 検索 engine
JE only
 PET bottle
 mailing list
 image change
 発砲 styrol
 vinyl 袋
 hairpin
KE only
mail 目録
image 変身
vinyl bag
= Hybridization is an independent but similar process
in both languages
3. Functionally similar
Korean and Japanese
English = Westernization =
“decorative English”
English in business, advertising, music, TV,
etc. promotes a “cool” image.
LOTTE Examples
More Examples of Bridging
the Gap with English
“Kojanglish” can play a role as a
bridge between Korea and Japan
For three reasons:
1. In terms of common script, Korea and Japan
have no other choice (kanji have different
2. Like Cinderella, it is familiar and appealing,
and has a positive image for both.
3. Because of historical and formal similarity,
there is no need for either country to worry
about being “wrong” -- JE and KE are
already “wrong” in so many of the same
Selected Bibliography
Przybyla III, L. H. Konglish2 (2004) available online at Leon’s EFL Planet
Shim, Rosa Jinyoung (1999). "Codified Korean English: Process,
Characteristics and Consequence." World Englishes 18: 247-258.
Song, Jae Jung (1998). “English in South Korea”, Australian Linguistic
Society, available online at
Tranter, Nicolas (1997). “Hybrid Anglo-Japanese loans in Korean”,
Linguistics 35 133-166. Tranter, Nicolas (2000). “The phonology of
English loan-words in Korean”, Word. 51-3, p. 337-404.
Umegaki, Minoru, ed. (1977). A Dictionary of Loan-words (Gairaigo Jiten,
in Japanese). Tokyo: Tokyodo shuppan.

The Striking Similarity between Korean and Japanese