K-pop, Korean entertainment/culture, Korean fans/netizens [2014~]

[ADMIN] Confusing Konglish words - scandal, wannabe, mannerism

As a blogger translating Korean-English, I feel like these three Konglish words - scandal, wannabe, mannerism - don't get enough explanations and could be confusing at times. So this time I'm going to elaborate them.

Scandal (스캔들, seu-kaen-deul)

Probably the word that confuses international fans the most. In English, the definition of 'scandal' is "an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage." In Korean, the word means 'dating rumors' exclusively. It doesn't contain the negative connotations that the English word has. When so and so are rumored to be dating, Korean media would write "There's a scandal between the two". Sam Hammington had also pointed out that Koreans use the word wrongly. On a rare occasion, I do see Korean media using the word to mean a 'political scandal', but for 99% of the time, it's used for dating rumors between celebrities.

Example from Radio Star
MC: Hong Jin Young-ssi, you had a scandal with your father?
HJY: When I was in university, my father woke me up at 7AM and drove me to school everyday. Since he was a professor at the same school, the students mistook it and thought I was dating him.

Wannabe (워너비, wuh-nuh-bee)

This is the word that used to confuse me for a while. In English, a 'wannabe' is "a person who tries to be like someone else or to fit in with a particular group of people." However, the meaning is totally reversed in Korean. In Korean, a 'wannabe' is someone whom you want to be like.

But here's the thing you gotta watch out. Koreans also use the word 'role model' (롤모델, lol-moh-del). The slight difference between a 'wannabe' and a 'role model' is that a 'wannabe' is someone that you want to be in terms of appearance & style whereas a 'role model' is someone that you want to be in terms of career & inner aspects.

- "Hyuna is so cute and sexy, she's my wannabe!"
- "Yoo Jae Suk's personality is admirable. He's my role model."
- "G-Dragon is a wannabe of many men for his fashion."
- "Son Seok Hee is a very respected announcer who is a role model of many people."

There's no problem with using both words interchangeably since it means similar thing in Korean (someone you want to follow), but just remember that 'role model' is used more seriously than 'wannabe'.

Mannerism (매너리즘, mae-nuh-lee-jeum)

The word has two meanings in English. The first meaning is "a habitual gesture or way of speaking or behaving." The second meaning is "excessive or self-conscious use of a distinctive style in art, literature, or music". In Korean, the word is only used for the second meaning. Mannerism is when something, especially art, is stuck on the same old style and doesn't change. So when the word is used, it's always a negative context and is usually meant to criticize people like artists.

- "Their music is becoming repetitive, they need to get away from their mannerism."
- "The webtoon artist must be caught in his mannerism, his webtoon is boring now."
- "I'm caught in mannerism and it's making me feel miserable, I need to make changes to my life."

Note that the third example is not related to arts. You can use the word beyond art-context in Korean.

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