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영어 바로쓰기-한국식 영어의 허점과 오류-작문편 (8)
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In many instances there are English words which are used by Koreans in ways that are markedly different from the way those words are used in standard English. The following three problem sentences are important examples.

1) xxx- Los Angeles Olympic champion Malcolm Cooper, of Britain, and silver medalist Daniel Nipkow, of Switzerland, will also challenge for the title in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. –xxx

The word which is being incorrectly used in this example is ‘challenge’. In fact this word is very frequently misused by Koreans. They commonly use it, as in this sentence, as if it were an intransitive verb meaning to struggle or to strive very hard for something. I suspect this misunderstanding results from an attempt to translate the Korean word, ‘tojon hada’, with the English word, ‘challenge’.

In fact, ‘challenge’ is a transitive verb. It does not mean ‘to try hard’ for something; the meaning is quite different. ‘To challenge’ means ‘to call on someone to engage in a contest or flight’. For example, “Maria challenged Henry to a game of chess.” In another meaning, ‘to challenge’ means ‘to dispute or to take exception to a statement or claim.’ For example: “Fred said that he was the only man in the country qualified to be president, but his opponent challenged his claim.” Notice that in both of these meanings, ‘challenge’ is a transitive verb; in neither case does it mean ‘to try hard’ for something. Thus the object of the first sentence (i.e., what is being ‘challenged’ is ‘Henry’); the object of the second sentence is “claim”

Therefore, in the many error sentences where Koreans use ‘challenge’ to mean ‘try hard for something’, they should instead use such appropriate, intransitive verbs as ‘strive’ or ‘struggle’. So, in the situation described in error sentence #1, we could say: “Malcom Cooper will strive for the gold medal in the ’88 Olympics.” But in cases where two or more people are striving for the same goal, i.e., where there is a rivalry, the most appropriate intransitive verb would be ‘compete’ or ‘vie’:

1) ok- los Angeles Olympic champion Malcom Cooper, of Britain, and silver medalist Daniel Nipkow, of Switzerland, will also compete [vie] for the title in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

As you can see, the proper use of ‘challenge’ is markedly different, both in meaning and in grammar, from the common Korean-English use. Here’s a sentence illustrating another English word which is very frequently misused by Koreans:

2) xxx- …the organization has to do more to help women artists indulge in their work in spite of all the obstacles that may stand in their way. –xxx

The problematic word here is ‘indulge’. Koreans typically use this word to mean something like what the English language expresses as ‘to be absorbed in’ something. I suspect they may be attempting to translate the Korean word, ‘ppajodulda’. But this is very far indeed from the meaning of ‘indulge’. To quote from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: “INDULGE: to yield to the desires and whims (of oneself or another), especially to an excessive degree.” In other words, when we say that someone ‘indulges’ in something, we are suggesting that some lack of restraint or lack of discipline on their part has led them to partake of or participate in something rather unproductive or perhaps wasteful. The strong implication is a lack of self-control or restraint; it is certainly not a very positive connotation. Generally, we speak of ‘indulging’ in cases where we do not fully approve of an activity, or where we acknowledge that it would have been better to have avoided it or at least done it in a more restrained way: “You ought to put more energy into your work instead of indulging in idle gossip all day.” Again, what Korean-English seems to have in mind by its use of ‘indulge in’ is probably more like what English expresses as to ‘be absorbed in’ something.

In error sentence #2, the writer is referring to an activity, pursuit of an artistic career, which he obviously does not disapprove of and which is certainly not a function of ‘yielding to desires and whims’. Far from it, pursuit of an artistic career requires discipline and hard work. I’m sure the author really means something like ‘devote oneself to’. I would correct the sentence as:

2) ok- …the organization has to do more to help women artists to devote themselves to their work in spite of all the obstacles that stand in their way.

The expressions, ‘to devote oneself wholeheartedly to…’ and ‘to dedicate oneself fully to..’ would be appropriate here. Here is one final example of a word that is consistently used by Koreans in a way which differs from its use in standard English:

3) xxx- Unknown organizations spread groundless rumors about specific candidates’ privacy, wealth, and personal backgrounds. –xxx

The culprit here is the word, ‘privacy’. The actual meaning of this word is somewhat abstract. It refers to the condition of concealment or seclusion (“I don’t like to share a room with others because it doesn’t allow me enough privacy.”). Koreans, however, tend to use this word to refer to the specific content of what is being concealed. In English, we use the expression, ‘private matter’ or ‘secret’ or ‘personal matter’ or ‘private affair’ or ‘private business’ to refer to the specific content (the information) of what one wishes to remain private. Thus, a typical Korean-English sentence would be: xxx- I never ask my daughter about her divorce because it’s her privacy. –xxx To express the idea properly in English, we would say: ok- I never ask my daughter about her divorce because it’s her private affair.

In error sentence #3, the writer uses ‘privacy’ to refer to the content of what a candidate wishes to conceal (i.e., a subject of rumors). This is the typical Korean-English misuse of the word. I would correct the sentence as:

3) ok- Unknown organizations spread groundless rumors about specific candidates’ private lives [private affairs], wealth, and personal backgrounds.

To understand the way that the word, ‘privacy’ is properly used as an abstract noun referring to the condition of concealment, consider this sentence: “The candidate considered the reporter’s questions a violation of his privacy.”

After those three examples of specifically Korean-English problems, you may find it refreshing to look a few problems which are not limited to Koreans using English. The following error is similar to those occurring in the English writing of people from varied language backgrounds, including, most inexcusably, native speakers of English.

4) xxx- In addition to the regular security guards, the party has nine martial arts experts in their 20s or 30s, which are mobilized for the security of nominee Roh whenever the stumping rallies are held. –xxx

The problem here concerns pronoun reference. Look at the relative clause beginning with “which are mobilized for…”. To what noun does that relative clause refer? From the context it is obvious that the clause refers to the nine men who are skillful in martial arts. But how can we use the pronoun, ‘which’, to refer to human beings? As everyone knows, we use the pronoun, ‘who’ (or ‘whom’ in the objective form) whenever we are referring to a human subject (or to an animal that we regard in human terms, such as a beloved pet); for a non-human subject, we use the pronoun, ‘that’, or ‘which’. So, in error sentence #4, the writer has used a non-human pronoun, ‘which’, for human subjects, ‘experts’. Obviously the sentence could be corrected simply by replacing ‘which’ with ‘who’:

4a) ok- In addition to the regular security guards, the party has nine martial arts experts in their 20s or 30s, who are mobilized for the security of nominee Roh whenever the stumping rallies are held.

However, it seems likely that the author was thinking of those nine men not as individual men but rather as a collective unit, as a force. In this case, the non-human pronoun, ‘which’, makes sense, but it can only be used if a suitable non-human noun has been introduced previously in the sentence. I think the word, ‘squad’ or ‘team’ or ‘force’ would be appropriate:

4b) ok- In addition to the regular security guards, the party has a squad [team, force] of nine martial arts experts in their 20s or 30s, which is mobilized for the security of nominee Roh whenever the stumping rallies are held.

In this case, the singular, non-human noun, ‘squad’ (or ‘force’ or ‘team’) provides adequate reference for the non-human pronoun, ‘which’, used with the singular verb.

Now see if you can find the errors in the following two examples:

5) xxx- Kim also claimed that the current regime is planning tremendous election frauds… He asserted that he has already secured sufficient evidences of the plot. –xxx

6) xxx- Police are known to have taken 17 printed matters including some on the ‘chuche’ ideology of North Korea’s chieftain, Kim Il-sung… -xxx

These two sentences are two instances of the same sort of problem. If you can’t see the errors, here’s a hint: Counting uncountable nouns.

The problem noun in #5 is ‘evidence’. This is an uncountable noun. We can speak of ‘sufficient evidence’ or ‘insufficient evidence’, of ‘having enough evidence’ etc. But we cannot speak of xxx- evidences –xxx in the plural or of xxx- an evidence –xxx. If we want to divide the uncountable ‘evidence’ into countable units, we can speak of a ‘bit of evidence’ or ‘piece of evidence’ (“The suspect’s signature on that document is a very incriminating piece of evidence.”). We also frequently use the expression, ‘scrap of evidence’, most commonly in negative constructions (“The police had to release the suspect because they couldn’t find a scrap of evidence against him.”). I trust you to be able to make the correction:

5) ok- Kim also claimed that the current regime is planning tremendous election frauds… He asserted that he has already secured sufficient evidence of the plot.

Now do you see the offending noun in #6? ‘printed matter’ refers to that which is written or printed, and it is also an uncountable noun. If you wish to treat printed matter as countable, you could refer to ‘items of printed matter’ ‘printed items’, or, in many cases, ‘documents’.

6) ok- Police are known to have taken 17 printed items including some on the ‘chuche’ ideology of North Korea’s chieftain, Kim Il-sung…

In fact it is very rare that English-speakers use ‘printed matter’ in talking about actual, specific items. It is most commonly used in designating that kind of material and differentiating it from some other ‘matter’: “The postal rate for printed matter is cheaper than the rate for personal letters.” Thus a sentence like #6, written by a native English speaker, would use a more specific term than ‘printed matter’: ’17 books’, ’17 pamphlets’, ’17 posters,’ or whatever the case may be.


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