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[Opinion] Slang

Posted June. 03, 2003 22:01,   


According to the “Big Dictionary of Our Language” published by the Korean Language Society, slang (sogger in Korean word) means vulgar or colloquial expression. Slang is not used in official places or in writings that is formal or serious. Slang can be stimulating or amusing but it can give an impression that the speaker is vulgar and uneducated. Slang is not always too vulgar to use as it can reinforce affinity and bond if used among a group of people belonging together. Literatures or films use much of slang because formal language has limit in expressing all the limitless human feelings.

Slang which can tell the attitude or psychology of the speaker nakedly, maximize in signifying process of language. “Slang reveals the nature of an individual, and enables us to express us faster, easily, and humanistically,” said Professor Kim Dong-ern who pulished the first Korean slang dictionary. Slang can be effective in releasing suppressed emotions.

President Rho Moo-hyun is likely to be remembered as the first president who introduced street language into official situations. He might have thought using slang matches his image of being an ordinary citizen. “Former Presidents had too stiff necks, I used slang in pursue of breaking the vertical hierarchy,” President Rho said in a press conference on his 100th day of his inauguration.

When he worked as a human rights lawyer, he may have been more effective to express his affinity by saying “how many champs are there?” rather than “how many workers participated in the meeting.” However, such an expression is not suitable for a leader of a country. “My dream is doing real democracy even if Korea may look like a `shit hole (Gae Pan)` overseas,”said President Rho said last month at an ambassador couple meeting. Such a slang expression like shit hole can be adequately used in a novel to express the speakers voice more vividly, but it is not appropriate at all to use to ambassador couple.

“The media have had a custom of filtering the language of former Presidents if the language is not adequate. But for what I said, they thoroughly examined and made for of it,” said President Rho.

There are, however, several errors in his excuse. Former authoritarian Presidents did not use slang at least to protect their authority. I am not saying the authority of the stiff necked Presidents was admirable. However, his blame of the media for not filtering what he says is no different from blaming the mirror rather than the ugly face.