Living in a foreign country where English is not the first or second language creates a pretty interesting situation. The meanings you took for granted can be challenged as English is used within an entirely different context. Some people call this Konglish (Korean/English mix). I call it creative genius!

Here are a few examples I've come across many times over.

  • Glamour: refers to well endowed women. Possibly to those with curves everywhere
  • Hip: here it means bum/bottom/ass. I have no idea what they think the actual hip is called in English!
  • Sensitive: used to explain away things such as crying bouts, hysterics, touchy reactions. It often signifies acceptance of a personality, rather than having any negative comnnotations. I first came across this term the day I (unwisely) sported the Halloween mask I found in a cupboard at work. Wearing it was probably not so bad. Tapping an unsuspecting teacher on the back and giving her one major shock was  the mistake! I think there's a 'no masks rule' in the contract for that job now.
  • Pig: apart from the farmyard animal this is used to descibe the overweight. Koreans tend to be literal, so the word isn't as inflammatory as it would be in the UK for instance. The other day I shared an elevator with the cutest young couple ever. Me being me I told them that. The response :'Noooooooo, we are pigs! (Sure they were a little heavier than is typical here, no less cute though.)
  • Skinship: something beyond kissing with your partner./making out Not to be confused with the Japanese language use of this word, which refers to sharing a spa bath together
  • Holiday: means a day off from work, often only Sunday. This caused a lot of confusion for me at the start of my Asian adventure. Sometimes I still have to remind myself that holiday does not mean vacation
It's inevitable that when you are exposed to new takes on a language you begin to use it yourself. For me this means I'm often teased when I visit the UK. Not only do I pepper my speech with American vocabulary (garbage for rubbish, elevator for lift, stroller for pushchair... ), I also throw in a few words which make absolutely no sense at all to anyone but myself!

No wonder that I usally get asked at least once which country I'm from!