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First of all, not all foreigners do this, of course.  But a majority of the ones I've encountered do.  And newbies get a pass, of course.

Words like "Gangnam style" pronouncing it like "gang member" (long a sound).  I mean, you've heard Psy pronounce it a million times and not once does he say it with a long a sound. 

Noraebang and Pc bang, also with a long a sound.  If you've been here long enough, you can read it and it's not a long a sound.  I usually hear this one from Brits.

Dong-dong-ju, it's a long o sound here, so have it!  But nooooo, I hear let me seeeee that dong-dong-ju, with a short o sound (like thong. some of you might be too young to recognize the thong song).

Tuk-tuk pronouncing it like "tuck-tuck" even though you've been complaining about how the locals have been pestering you every 5 feet and hearing them say it with "ooh-ooh" sounds like "toohk-toohk" or "took-took".

"Do you want a took-took?"
"Yeah, how much for a tuck-tuck?"
"1 dollar for a took-took."
"Okay, I'll go with your tuck-tuck."

순천 and 여수.  Suncheon and Yeosu.  Suncheon is pronounced correctly (Soon-chuhn) but go a little south and I hear "Yo-su" or "Yuh-O-su".  There is no extra "o" sound.

Of course, these are just a few examples and the sounds exist in the English language so there's no excuse there.  Is it intentional?  White/foreigner-privlege to say things however the f you want?  Or are you really hard of hearing that you can't tell the difference when they say it and the way you say it?  But you can read Hangeul and you see the signs.  So, I'm honestly curious how or why this happens.



Oh, and the best part is when you mock words like "English-eeeeeee" and "Nice-uh!"  How do you get on their case about your language and then turn around and butcher their language?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 08:14:04 am by kimjones »


  • Nivea
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1644

    • September 02, 2011, 11:23:30 pm
I dunno, why do Koreans keep saying beacheeeee?

Frankly, this is why I avoid going out in public.


  • Korea13
  • Super Waygook

    • 494

    • May 29, 2013, 08:36:18 am
    • korea
I don't think it ignorance or intentional. You cannot seriously expect someone who is not a native speaker (mother tongue) of the language that they cannot speak to have a clear pronunciation of that language.

From your name, it look like you are Korean so you must be able to pronounce you language (English/ Korean) easily, but don't assume other expats will be able to do the same.

Get over it.


  • Epistemology
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1906

    • September 19, 2010, 01:57:27 pm
    more
Learned behavior. It's the same reason why some my students refer to the song Poker Face as ****er face.

People pronounce sounds the way they learned to interpret that character/letter. It's not rocket science, jeez.
Away an bile yer heid ya numpty,ye dinnae ken whit yer talkin aboot.


Yes, not rocket science but the sounds exist in English.  They are not foreign sounds.  The f and l/r are a tricky sound for them.  Long and short vowels aren't tricky in English.

Learned behavior. It's the same reason why some my students refer to the song Poker Face as ****er face.

People pronounce sounds the way they learned to interpret that character/letter. It's not rocket science, jeez.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 08:24:22 am by kimjones »


On the contrary, I am not Korean. 

When other foreigners mention "I think it's pronounced this way."  They will say "I'll say it how I want to say it."

And the examples I gave are not subtle differences (with the exception of Yeosu).  You and I both know the long vowel and a short vowel sound are very different.

I don't think it ignorance or intentional. You cannot seriously expect someone who is not a native speaker (mother tongue) of the language that they cannot speak to have a clear pronunciation of that language.

From your name, it look like you are Korean so you must be able to pronounce you language (English/ Korean) easily, but don't assume other expats will be able to do the same.

Get over it.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 08:21:14 am by kimjones »


"Oh, and the best part is when you mock words like "English-eeeeeee" and "Nice-uh!"  How do you get on their case about your language and then turn around and butcher their language?"

I dunno, why do Koreans keep saying beacheeeee?

Frankly, this is why I avoid going out in public.


  • qnddj
  • Adventurer

    • 36

    • August 27, 2014, 03:13:54 pm
    • Jecheon
I think some people honestly can't help it.

I took an Advanced Japanese class and one person in our class who had excellent grammar and vocabulary... but every time she spoke we all cringed. She couldn't pronounce the Japanese "L/R" (らりるれ ろ) and just used a really hard, Americanized "R" sound instead. She had studied Japanese for years and was a grad student focusing on Japan studies, so I don't think that she didn't know the difference... just she couldn't change it.

In my case, I tend to struggle with the double consonants (ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅆ ㅉ) and even though I know I'm saying it wrong, it's really hard to fix my pronunciation. ._.;


  • country09
  • Expert Waygook

    • 653

    • January 05, 2011, 10:04:21 am
Must be a slow day over at your school OP.


If someone keeps saying sounds wrong, it's because they aren't listening to how other people are saying it correctly. It took me a while to get this.

The Korean transliteration scheme is confusing until you get used to it. A lot of words are randomly written in English here and it's easy to read them and assume they are pronounced like English words, like PC Bang.
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Quote from: Mr.DeMartino on Yesterday at 01:40:32
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Quote from Mr.DeMartino on June 14, 2019 at 02:28:07
Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit


If someone keeps saying sounds wrong, it's because they aren't listening to how other people are saying it correctly. It took me a while to get this.

The Korean transliteration scheme is confusing until you get used to it. A lot of words are randomly written in English here and it's easy to read them and assume they are pronounced like English words, like PC Bang.

In a korean textbook I have, I found words like t shirt, accessory, jacket, video etc all in the korean vocab section.  Why would I need to know what they meant?  konglish is so weird.


  • kjritchhart
  • Veteran

    • 106

    • September 12, 2013, 01:38:04 pm
    • Yeoju-eup
    more
Oh, and the best part is when you mock words like "English-eeeeeee" and "Nice-uh!"  How do you get on their case about your language and then turn around and butcher their language?

What really gets me is that you think that "everyone" mocks Koreans and their English pronunciation skills.  Everyone makes mistakes in a second language and making fun of them is wrong.  Pronunciation is a hard thing to master and even those who might seem "fluent" in a second language have issues sometimes.  OP the thing I think you fail to realize or need to realize is Korean isn't our first language.  People try and they deserve respect for trying.  Learning another language can be difficult and making fun of or being ignorant yourself isn't helping anyone.

Basically, everyone deserves respect, especially when they are trying with a language. 


You're seriously gonna lead off with stabs at white privilege when you're talking about pronunciation? Jesus christ dude. Those are the kinds of examples people doing actual wrong beg for so that they can point out that every time people bring up privilege it's just to whine about the most inconsequential nonsense possible and blame people unjustly for it.

I could also add that saying a whole sentence in English and then slipping into an accent for a single word will make you sound like an asshole or that some people genuinely lack the ability to conceal their native accents/hear themselves to know what they're pronouncing wrong but I'm worried you'll accuse me of upholding the patriarchy and oppression of minorities if I do it.


Why do you care how people say words?  I personally like to say nice in a very exaggerated korean way because it's fun.   Sometimes other words, too. There's nothing wrong with doing it either.  Get over it.


  • busandar
  • Super Waygook

    • 276

    • March 05, 2013, 11:41:05 am
    • Busan, South Korea
I think this comes down to the fact that native English speakers have heard English with every accent under the sun.

Koreans haven't, so they're a lot more rigid about how they expect to hear their words pronounced.

English speakers are used to hearing many words get "butchered" but usually we'll still understand what the person is saying so there's no need to correct it because effective communication isn't about perfection.

So, my theory is that when native English speakers learn another language it can be hard for us to understand why we're being upheld to the level of a native Korean speaker (in this case) when we don't hold others up to that unrealistic standard with their English.

Alos, nice-uh, change-ee and the like aren't really accent issues or "butchering" issues; they are mispronounced words that the entire culture has embraced as the norm. Kind of like your example of tuck-tuck on our end etc. It happens in every language.

Also, it's not just about sounds it's about delivery of said sounds, which is the most difficult part of Korean. When they correct me on my pronunciation it's largely to do with my delivery and where the emphasis needs to go rather than the sounds themselves. To think that just because English speakers are familiar with a sound and that should be enough to execute perfect pronunciation is an ignorant assumption.

I think there's a lot more that goes into this than what you referred to as potentially  intentional or  white/foreigner-privilege to say things however the f you want.

How other people pronounce things is out of your control. Live and let live.


  • Korea13
  • Super Waygook

    • 494

    • May 29, 2013, 08:36:18 am
    • korea
OP, Since you are not Korean, I assuming you're a Native English Speaker from one of the English Speaking countries.

Let me ask you this? do all Native English Speakers spoke with the same pronunciation or difference?

American English/British English/South African English/ New Zealand/Australia and etc.

We all have different way of pronunciation our own language (English). Even harder when speaking another second language.


  • Epistemology
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1906

    • September 19, 2010, 01:57:27 pm
    more
Yes, not rocket science but the sounds exist in English.  They are not foreign sounds.  The f and l/r are a tricky sound for them.  Long and short vowels aren't tricky in English.

Learned behavior. It's the same reason why some my students refer to the song Poker Face as ****er face.

People pronounce sounds the way they learned to interpret that character/letter. It's not rocket science, jeez.

You missed the entire point.
People pronounce characters and letters the way they learned to. That's why we speak in so many different accents and dialects. No two regions within a country will say the same word exactly the same way. People pronounce things the way they know how to, which isn't always right. I butcher french. I have no issues admitting that because its true. Why do I do that? Because I over-roll R's, which is part of my own linguistic heritage.  When I see the letter "r" My brain automatically says "Roll that sucker. Roll it!" and I unconsciously do so unless I actively stop myself.

You are reading far too much into things. Far too much.
Away an bile yer heid ya numpty,ye dinnae ken whit yer talkin aboot.


  • tamjen
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1180

    • June 19, 2013, 08:08:14 am
I purposefully mispronounce Korean words as my way of fitting into their society. You know, Koreans mispronounce some English words so I'm just trying to be a good foreigner and slide into the cultural groove.

Hail Caesar


  • Dweebs1
  • Veteran

    • 102

    • December 07, 2010, 02:52:11 pm
    • Yeongwol, Gangwon-do
When I'm with Korean's and I pronounce a word incorrectly, they don't correct my prounciation.


Yes, not rocket science but the sounds exist in English.  They are not foreign sounds.  The f and l/r are a tricky sound for them.  Long and short vowels aren't tricky in English.


Actually Koreans sounds may seem like they exist in English, it's really more subtle than that.  For example , ㅈ ㅉ, are these two sounds recognized as two different sounds in English? no.  Also, even though you can say 울, is like ul, there is actually subtle differences in how these sounds are made in an english speaking mouth and korean speaking mouth.   When korean people hear the sounds in a different way, it is heard differently and can even sound like a different word to them even though to a non korean it sounds like what they want to say.