Welcome to Linguistics and Korea

Ever wondered why Koreans speak "bad English"?
Why it's so hard to learn Korean?
Why it's so hard to have "normal" conversations with Koreans?
Why it's so hard to fit in with Korean culture and society?
We don't claim to have the perfect answer to these questions, just a few hints that we hope will clarify the situation.
If you have questions, comments or suggestions, we'd be happy to hear from you. Email us at raphael.hadid [at] gmail [dot] com

Doing business with Koreans - business cards

Business cards are very important in Korean culture and everyone has them, whether they are college students, managers or even some housewives.

Koreans always include their name and the name of the company or school they are affiliated to. They also include all their contact numbers: cell phone, office phone and email. Most include their position within the company. However they do not include the name of the school they graduated from. They do include their degree title if they attended graduate school (usually Ph.d, M.d or J.d, some include the title MBA or MA, but never BA or BS, and never the name of the school, no matter how prestigious).

Some Koreans include their picture in the business card. Pictures on business cards in Korea mean that the person is willing to "help" rather than do business. They are usually those who own small businesses, work for NGOs, Church ministers, plumbers, or any people who do home maintenance and the like. Those willing to negotiate contracts and big deals tend not to include pictures in business cards.

Koreans have high respect and admiration for those who include the title P.hd in their business card. However, they tend to regard those who include the name of the school they graduated from as a sign of arrogance. Koreans tend to take more seriously people who have their company's logo instead of the company's name printed out. However they do not like it when the logo is placed in the middle or when too much importance is given to it. They prefer people who highlight their name the most.

As Koreans like to deal with businessmen on a personal level, they like names to be highlighted and dislike European cultures which tend to give minimal importance to the name or not display the name at all.

If one does not leave a personal contact number in a business card, that is, at least a personal email address, Koreans will take it as a sign that the person does not want to be contacted, and will therefore be reticent to contact him.