The Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) criticized several radio broadcasters in Korea recently for incorporating English into their shows in favor of Korean words.
Specifically, the KCSC criticized their use of English words such as “nice” and “activity” when a similar Korean word could have been substituted in its place.
“There is a need for a concerted effort to use our own language when a Korean word exists that could replace a foreign word with the same definition,” the KCSC concluded.
Other than the above issue, the KCSC also frowned upon excessive use of non-formal banmal in certain broadcasts. “Even though you might have a personal relationship with other people on the air, caution must still be used when using banmal in broadcast, and even more careful when using it with normal citizens.”
At face value, it seems ridiculous, right? The Korean government criticizing radio stations for using English while their population is obsessed with speaking English and “going international” with it. Hence the existence of most foreigners in their country to begin with. Well perhaps it is still ridiculous, but the reason behind it isn’t that absurd to me.
Complete history lesson aside, when only one to two generations ago another country (Japan) tries to systematically eliminate your language from your culture/society, using foreign languages over Korean becomes a bigger deal than it would seem like for foreigners on a site like say … allkpop or Asian Junkie even. Hell, in America people complain about Spanish use despite it not being a threat and having never had foreign ground troops set foot in the country before (besides the War Of 1812, but that doesn’t count because … America’s Hat).
So given that context, it does annoy me when I read comments like, “LOL OMG THIS IS SO STUPID GET OVER IT” or “OMG KOREA IS SO RACIST/NATIONALISTIC/WHATEVER“. Just as a blanket statement, comments of that nature are sort of just dumb. While I point out the double standards and absurdities in Korea myself, I don’t really see this specific issue as being that absurd, honestly.
Now where I do find it to be ridiculous, besides the aforementioned reasons I already gave, is that their use of English is directly tied to the success of their biggest cultural export, K-pop. So it’s a tad ironic that the Korean government is critical of the use of English (in anything) since that same use of English has sparked a lot of the popularity for the cultural export they readily endorse.