Korean neologisms of 2017–2021

Correlation between borrowing, semantic characteristics, and lexicographic representation


  • Hae-Yun Jung Kyungpook National University
  • Soojin Lee Kyungpook National University




Korean neologisms, loanwords, loan-based neologisms, semantic categories, lexicography


This paper investigates the Korean neologisms of the years 2017 to 2021, collected by the Center for Korean Language Information Studies at Kyungpook National University, and examines in particular the 1,081 neologisms that contains at least one borrowed element, which constitute 58.2% of the neologisms collected during that timeframe. The analysis of the source languages of the loans (i.e., the borrowed elements) confirms the preponderance of English in neologism creation due to its status and prestige globally, with 1,024 neologisms containing at least one English morpheme. The examination of semantic categories of the loan-based neologisms shows the dominant interest of Korean speakers in the Economy, Society, and Life & Lifestyle domains, which is also reflected in those that were included in the dictionary Urimalsaem or suggested for inclusion by the dictionary users. Those neologisms in particular were further analysed and proved to be testament to cultural changes in Korean society, which has been shifting from a traditionally Confucian, male-dominant, work-oriented, and holistic society to a society that gives more space to women (ppaminisuthu “dad feminist”) as well as the individual (nanalayntu “me-me-land”) and their well-being (welapayl “work-life balance”, chonkhangsu “countryside vacances”).

Author Biographies

  • Hae-Yun Jung, Kyungpook National University

    Hae-Yun Jung received her MA in Korean Studies from SOAS (London) and is currently writing her PhD thesis at Kyungpook National University (Daegu, South Korea), where she is a lecturer in Korean culture and society. Her research interests include lexicography, language contact and borrowing, as well as cross-cultural studies.

  • Soojin Lee, Kyungpook National University

    Soojin Lee is a lecturer at the department of Korean Language and Literature in Kyungpook National University (Daegu, South Korea), where she obtained her MA (on academic keywords) and is writing her PhD thesis. She has been a member of the research Korean neologisms of 2017–2021 21group for the Korean Neologisms Investigation Project since 2012. Her research interests include lexicography, lexicology and neology.


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How to Cite

Jung, H.-Y., & Lee, S. (2023). Korean neologisms of 2017–2021: Correlation between borrowing, semantic characteristics, and lexicographic representation. Lexicography, 10(2), 194-216. https://doi.org/10.1558/lexi.26353