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This is "Konglish", not "Kongish".  We just finished studying the latter, which is Hong Kong style English, in this post, and surveyed other varieties of Asian English in this post, including Konglish,which is the subject of the present post.

Konglish is Korean-style English, and it seems to be thriving.

Let's step back a moment to mention a Korean word that, just three years ago, became known to almost everyone on the planet, namely, "Gangnam".  Of course, it was the wildly popular song by South Korean musician Psy that made the expression familiar to people around the world.

The success of Psy's phenomenal hit spawned a whole series of take-offs, from the recherché "'Oppan Chomsky Style'" (10/27/12) to the "batshit insane music video" by Wang Rong Rollin, "The chick(en) says ko-ko-de(k)" (11/18/14).  But what is this "Gangnam Style"?

As explained in Wikipedia:

"Gangnam Style" is a Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seoul, where people are trendy, hip and exude a certain supposed "class".

All this by way of preface to an article about English inundating Gangnam and other upscale urban districts in Korea:

"'Konglish’ floods into apartment brand names" (7/22/15)

Some of the names they are coming up with are hard to get upon first glance:  "Luxtige", "Blesstige", "Tristige", and "Forestige".

Kendall Willets remarks:

I recently spent some time in and around these apartment complexes and noticed their puzzling names.  I hadn't known that the Xii brand is an acronym; it's hangulized as 자이, which sounds like some halfhearted attempt to pronounce it as a word.  There's also a strain of bastardized Latin that's not mentioned in the article;  the nearby 챌리투스 was a mystery until I found a link to caelitus.

Notes [VHM]:

jai 자이 (a kind of Yoga?)

chaellituseu 챌리투스 || caelitus


  1. Bobbie said,

    August 11, 2015 @ 9:27 pm

    Wonderful "explanation" of the long apartment names!

    "Some apartment names have up to 13 syllables in Korean…

    'Some say jokingly that the names are getting longer and more complicated to make female residents’ mother-in-laws have difficulty in finding the apartments and barging into their home,' the real estate agent said."

  2. Kaninchen said,

    August 12, 2015 @ 2:21 am

    Totally off-topic, proposal for a different post: the tragic result of a language misunderstanding, with two non-natives communicating in English (No jump / Now jump)


  3. 번하드 said,

    August 12, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

    Ah, the lovely memories…
    Got a photo somewhere of one apartment building, called '석탑' [seokt'ap] (stone tower).
    Unfortunately somebody must have felt this wouldn't be fashionable enough without
    transliteration into English, so the sign also said "SUCK TOP".

  4. Victor Mair said,

    August 12, 2015 @ 8:04 pm

    From a Korean colleague:

    Living in a brand-name apartment is a big deal in Korea and and for some reason, Koreans think that English adds a luxurious image to the brand. So some small construction companies build and name apartment complexes that sound like brand apartment names. A few examples include:

    자이빌 Xiville (RR – jaibil; MR – Chaibil) for 자이 Xi (RR- jai; MR – Chai) built by GS Engineering and Construction, formally known as LG Construction)

    푸르지요 (RR-pureujiyom; MR- P'urŭjiyo) for 푸르지오 (RR- purijio; MR – P'urijio; PRUGIO 푸르 (RR-pureu; MR- p'urŭ; meaning – green, fresh, clean) +지오 (geo)) built by Daewoo Construction

    라미안 Ramian (RR- ramian; MR-ramian) for 래미안 Raemian (RR- Raemian; MR- Raemian; 來(futuristic)美(beautiful)安 (safe)) built by Samsung C & T

  5. David Morris said,

    August 16, 2015 @ 9:12 am

    This evening travelling from Incheon airport to Seoul, I saw a large apartment building with 'Honorsville' in very large neon-lit English letters down the side.

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