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'Rizotto,' 'selca' make it into Korea's contemporary dictionary

All Headlines 10:47 October 07, 2009

By Shin Hae-in

SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- A dictionary including some 40,000 new words commonly used in contemporary South Korea will be published in time for the anniversary of the Korean alphabet Hangeul this week, scholars said Wednesday.

The 390,000-word dictionary, which took 17 years to complete, is based on the Corpus Linguistics, in which existing terms are combined to form new words, and is comprised of the most commonly used vocabulary words in newspapers, books and other published materials, said Korea University's Institute of Korean Culture.

The dictionary will be published by the institute Thursday, a day before South Korea marks the anniversary of the creation of Hangeul. The Korean alphabet turns 563 years old this year.

The dictionary includes not only commonly-used foreign words like rizotto, psychopath and b-boy, but also such terms as "selca" and "ggotminam" that emerged out of South Korea's Internet-driven youth culture.

Selca, a compound of "self" and "camera," refers to taking a self portrait by turning the camera toward one's face. Ggotminam, a compound of the Korean words for flower, "ggot," and a handsome man, "minam," refers to a good looking man with delicate and feminine features.

These and similar expressions were spontaneously created and spread via the Web. South Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world with more than 85 percent of households connected to broadband Internet.

Although such words have been commonly used in newspapers and official documents, it is the first time that they have appeared in a dictionary.

The dictionary also includes new meanings of older words. For instance, the word "pulda," which originally meant to untie or unpack, is also now used to mean the "loosening (of a person's curly hair)."

"This dictionary will serve as a milestone for a new era of dictionary publication," the institute said in a press release. "We used brand new compilation methods to create a brand new dictionary."


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