The latest OED update includes the prefix K-, which is an abbreviation for “Korean” and “combined with other words to form names related to South Korea and its popular culture”.
These words include K-pop, K-beauty, and K-Drama, all of which are popular industries around the world. The word “Hallyu”, which means “Korean wave”, has been added, referred to civilization and South Korean pop entertainment.
Defining Hallyu, the dictionary says: “The growing international interest in South Korea and its popular culture, particularly in the global success of South Korean music, film, television, fashion, and food.
“very: [representa] South Korean popular culture and entertainment itself. Often as a modifier, as in Hallyu Craze, Hallyu Fan, and Hallyu Star. “
Similarly, many popular Korean dishes have been added to the dictionary, such as “banchan” (small appetizers of pickles and vegetables served with rice), “bulgogi” (thin slices of beef or pork marinated and then cooked on the grill or sauteed.) and japchae” (a kind of transparent fried noodles).
The word “mukbang” also appears in the new version, it refers to the very popular videos of people eating large amounts of food while speaking to their audience. Mukbang videos are known to collect millions of views and have spawned YouTube celebrities.
Several words referring to ancient features of Korean culture were also included in the modernization, including “hanbok” (a traditional Korean dress worn by both men and women) and “tang soo do” (a Korean martial art).
Danica Salazar, Global English Editor at the OED, noted the spread of South Korean culture and books: “We are all on top of the Korean wave, and this can be felt not only in movies, music or fashion, but also in our language.”
The OED said that adding so many Korean words to its update was an acknowledgment of the change in the way the language is adopted, invented, and shared outside the English-speaking world.
“The adoption and development of these Korean words in English also demonstrates how lexical innovation is no longer limited to the traditional centers of English in the United Kingdom and the United States,” he said.
“They showed how Asians in different parts of the continent invent and exchange words within their local contexts, then present those words to the rest of the English-speaking world, allowing the Korean wave to continue to wave in the sea of English words.”
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