ENGLISH CULTURAL ETIQUETTE FOR KOREAN SPEAKERS 🇰🇷❤🇺🇸 Koreans say in English that may be misunderstood by English speakers are "Fighting", "Cheer up" and "No (way)". Here is some advice to help avoid confusion:
If you want an English speaker to understand that you are encouraging them, you may say "Good luck!", "You can do it!" or more informally "Go get 'em!". If you want to encourage yourself and a partner / team, you can say "All right, let's do this!"
"Cheer up" (힘내):
In English, "cheer up" is only used when a person is sad. If you say it to someone who is not sad, it sounds very strange 😳. Be mindful that "cheer up" can sound like a request or an order.
To be safe, only use this expression informally when someone is sad and you are trying to make them happy. Avoid using it in text messaging if possible.
If you are with a sad person that you want to cheer up, you may empathetically say: "I hope/am sure all will be ok".
"No way" (아니에요):
While "no way" is a polite response to a compliment in Korean, in English it means "I can't believe that". It is an unusual response to a compliment. When you respond "No (way)" to a compliment, you are telling the person who complimented you that they are being untruthful or false (which may be perceived as offensive).
It is best to say "thank you"🙂, "I am happy you liked it", "I am touched, thanks". Thanking the person who gives a compliment is always the easiest polite response in English.
What faux-pas have you heard English speakers make in Korean and what would you recommend?
(Thanks to 경아 and Annie for their input)
Image: Jan 20, 2021-A colorful promise after a dark storm
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