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[Opinion] Alien Language

Posted January. 11, 2005 22:15,   


Grammar destruction in spoken language is an issue for all countries that wish to keep their mother language beautiful. Even an expert in English will be confused with an Internet sentence like, “c u in ur office 4 aftnoon mtg, tx.” It is suppose to mean, “See you in your office for afternoon meeting, thanks.” However, it has been altered by not spelling out the words fully or destroying grammar to write fast and easily. Mtg, an abbreviation of meeting, is now being proudly placed in the dictionary.

Words like sem (teacher), bang-ga (good to see you) and urswayo (welcome), can be identified even by the elderly who are blind to spoken language. As you have to press mobile phone letter keys with your first finger quickly to send messages with a word limit, abbreviating is understandable. Emoticons, although strange to the elderly, are cute. It is inevitable to laugh when receiving an e-mail from your children saying, “If you do not buy me a mobile phone, I will ㅠ.ㅠ (cry).”

However, talking in an alien language is absurd. The fact that the alien language printed in Dong-a Ilbo yesterday was supposed to mean: “I trust you big brother,” is just nonsensical. If using spoken language has the speed and convenience of writing, using an alien language is like using a secret code. It is named alien language because the language, using Korean, Chinese, English, and Japanese all at once, looks like what an alien would write.

There is a lenient view of looking at this language as youthful entertainment and game, meaning it will not last long. However, the importance of writing clearly to send the right messages should not be forgotten. Language is a period’s method of communication and an indication of core and culture. Language destruction can inhibit communications and ruin cultures. Alien language might be a red flag.

Hwang Ho-taek, Editorial writer, Hthwang@donga.com