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

How the Korean media portrays infidelity

Anyone who has watched Korean movies, dramas or who reads the Korean press will get the impression that there are no happy Korean couples and that they all cheat on each other.

Korean movies and dramas know that they increase their audience by portraying extramarital relationships more than "normal" relationships. Any decent movie or drama needs something "unusual" to happen in the storyline, something that shocks the public and that makes them reflect on the issue. You will thus find way more extramarital relationships in Korean movies and dramas, as it is the easiest way to portray something unusual.

Let's take a look at media figures on infidelity: some newspapers reported that as many as 70-80% Korean men cheated on their wives and 20-30% women cheated on their husbands. How true is this? It is a known fact among sociologists that only frustrated people respond to surveys. Think about it for a second: would you bother to participate in a survey if you had nothing to complain about? My view on this is that figures on infidelity are much lower in Korea.

The other thing is that the Korean media portrays couples as frustrated couples. There are several reality shows on how men cheat on their girlfriends, husbands on their wives, news reports on how actors and singers cheat on their significant others. But think about it... how many people would read articles or watch television shows about couples living happily?

Finally, entire radio shows in Korea are dedicated to callers complaining about their love lives. How many people would call such shows to report that everything is
going fine with their couple? Wouldn't they destroy the atmosphere?

This is not something true only to Korea, it is true of most modern civilizations. Victimization in the media ends up making people feeling victims themselves, as happy couples may suddenly feel deviant for being happy, as the accepted norm for love and relationships in the modern world is that it should be complicated and extramarital relationships should be part of every relationship. My view on this is that most Korean couples live happy lives and have harder times struggling to make a living than to be happy with each other.