Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Engrish talk

I've been pretty busy over the past couple of weeks. I got sick over my food, visited my grandma, have been hanging out, and on top of all that, am still trying to find a decent job.

Speaking of the job hunting, this is what I do when I try to find a job. I go to a job site everyday and type in "English." I do that, because I want an English writing job. Then, I get hundreds of results, ranging from teaching to writing to translating, and it's just amazing how there are so many English-related jobs in a non-English speaking country like Korea.

Korea is officially in love with the English language. I guess it was a couple years ago. Some rich yet dumb parents got their children's tongue trimmed so that they can pronounce English words more easily. There are thousands of English schools all across the country and native speakers of English are always welcome. The government is trying to build an "English town" where people speak English and write official documents in English. Thousands of students go abroad to study Engish for a year or so, without which it's now become almost impossible get a job. In this country, speaking English, preferebly with nice and smooth American accent, is a prestige that people yearn for, oftentimes for nothing.

English education is now a mamoth industry that generates billions of dollars each year and it's been growing like no other industries have. And, English-language media here is a weird hybrid between education and journalism. People in English-speaking countries read their newspapers to get information. And people here read English-language newspapers to study English. As long as they are written in English and can feed them with new vocabularies and idioms, people don't complain about the quality. So this puts English-language journalism here in a really weird position. If people don't care about what they get from reading, what do you write for? Of course, foreigners here rely on English-language media, but they only represent a small portion of the audience.

Your readers would underline your sentences and frantically try to memorize them, like they do when they study with their textbooks. Contents don't matter to them, because study materials are meant to be boring anyway. Doing real journalism as a career is nothing but a remote fantasy to me now. Do it in Korean? Well, I don't think so, Korean-language media have their own problems I don't wanna deal with and you don't wanna know.

1 comment:

shawnsninja said...

So I am starting my teaching english as a foreign language courses soon - probably be done in a year or so - i cant wait to come chill you with jun!

ps - do korean girls like us american guys - i can speak really good english!!