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  • toddsqui
  • Expert Waygook

    • 604

    • November 14, 2013, 02:53:30 pm
    • South Korea
Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« on: June 25, 2015, 10:35:32 am »
Why do Koreans use English words when they are doing math in their math classes?

I overheard a math class the other day use words like "x minus y" and other formulations and was wondering about this. When I asked my co-teacher about this, he said "it just is."

Any shedding of light on this curiosity of mine would be much appreciated. Google doesn't help me.

Thanks,


T
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Re: Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 10:46:41 am »
I don't think it is strictly English, but more likely Greek or Latin -- whatever language the original theorems were derived in.
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  • z80
  • Expert Waygook

    • 659

    • August 24, 2014, 07:34:50 pm
Re: Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2015, 10:58:33 am »
It is normal for Koreans to use English terms for anything that didn't exist in Korea prior to 1953.

Having said that mathematical terms are reasonably universal.


  • pkjh
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1511

    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
Re: Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2015, 11:12:58 am »
They do have Korean terms for some of the basic math functions like + - x /. But for a lot of the advanced calculus stuff I have yet to hear the Korean equivalent, if there is one. Anyways, when the kids get to middle/high school, they often use the english terms for -+ and what have you, but I'm willing to bet most elementary kids won't know the english terms.


  • HyooMyron
  • Super Waygook

    • 493

    • October 14, 2013, 11:36:39 pm
    • Jinju, S. Korea
Re: Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2015, 11:33:53 am »
On the same note, do other countries do this as well?


  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 3939

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2015, 11:57:03 am »
Not French-speaking parts of Canada, although they have been known to make up words rather than use an English one (even if the English word is used in France).


Re: Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2015, 12:21:16 pm »
1+1 입니다.


Re: Why do Korean students use English words when doing math?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 12:34:07 pm »
It's hard to describe any of those words as "English", anyway.  Most are either slightly changed from Greek, Latin, or French to fit into English pronunciation OR they are just the identical word pronounced in "English".  This is exactly what Koreans do.  They pronounce the original word with a Korean accent which, to us who have heard a lot of Konglish, might sound like they are just poorly annunciating an English word.

Sometimes it doesn't even seem reasonable to describe any word as "English". The entire language and every word in it is a haphazard patchwork of dozens of old languages, clumsily cobbled together amid the rise and fall of one reign after another, one conquest after another, and one politically motivated concession after another.  This is one of the most beautiful things about English - every word bears a complicated origin story and tells us about our own history.  On the other hand, because most spellings and pronunciations evolved independently of each other, the language makes no logical sense from the perspective of a new learner.  Even new English words are usually derived from Greek or Latin.