Saturday, March 28, 2009

When "Just what were you thinking?" is not a rhetorical question

It would be appropriate to say that this picture of Korean pop singer Son Dambi (손담비; son tambi) is "sexy."

Not so if you're talking about the same person when she was a prepubescent girl.

Somebody at the Chosun Ilbo should be fired and investigated. Yes, borrowed words morph in meaning, but 섹시/sexy is very clear in meaning to native Korean speakers.

On a semi-related note, when then-octogenarian mŏn-halmŏni first met my future ex-fiancée, who was staying in my apartment while she visited from Kyōtō, I was surprised to hear her calling Naoko "sexy." "Halmŏni is pretty hip," I remember saying to myself. Until I realized she was referring to Naoko as a saekshi/색시. (But to her credit, she said she didn't think there was anything wrong with her staying in my place even though we weren't married because "요즘 그래.")

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