Extra! Korea

October 29, 2010

Hilarious Mistake

Filed under: hilarious mistake, humor — extrakorea @ 12:28 pm

First of all, I want to say that I was not laughing at my students. Making mistakes is a normal part of learning, especially a language. Even children who will later become native speakers make mistakes (albeit logical ones, e.g. “Mommy, yesterday I goed to Disneyland.”). Also, learning English is very difficult for Korean speakers, as Korean is for English speakers.

My students were talking about Superstar K, which is similar to the American TV program American Idol. They were comparing and contrasting the winner, Huh Gak, with the runner-up, John Park.

Huh Gak can sing many kind of music, because his voice has wide range. On the other hand, John Park is suitable for Negro music like jazz and R&B because he is good at sing to the rhythm.

After laughing out loud (I couldn’t help it!), I apologized and told them that they shouldn’t say “Negro.”

Them: Why not?

Me: “Negro” is an old-fashioned word. Also, some people don’t like it.

Them: What should we say? “Black people’s music”?

Me: Umm … How about “music invented by African-Americans”?

Them: OK.


  1. I think the accepted code word these days is “urban.”

    Comment by ZenKimchi — October 29, 2010 @ 11:41 pm

  2. “Urban”? As in the opposite of “rural”? So what would be the proper term for a non-African-American who lives in a non-rural area? And what if I want to use the word “urban” to describe a type of area?

    Comment by extrakorea — October 30, 2010 @ 4:15 am

  3. I listen to BBC radio and they always say black music.

    Comment by Breda — November 8, 2010 @ 5:56 am

  4. Umm. . . honey, don’t nuke it.

    There is the American music genre simply called “Country,” even if it’s production takes place in cities.

    Back on topic, yes, ‘Urban’ is an accepted ‘code word’ as ZenKimchi has stated.

    ‘Urban’ works if you really NEED to emphasize the fact that it’s “music invented by African-Americans.”

    A broader and acceptable term is ‘Black Music’. (Urban usually only refers to Hip/Hop and Rap, not Jazz).

    Another option, although it’s less common, but more PC-sounding, is to say ‘African-American music.’

    ~Just wanted to add my two cents 00

    Comment by berdecinismo — November 9, 2010 @ 2:52 am

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