Flavor of the Month — How To Lick Korean and Come Out A Head

A Longer Tongue to Help Lick Korean Pronunciation

A student who “dreams of living and working in South Korea once she finishes university” has gone to the lengths of having her tongue surgically lengthened so that she might speak Korean better.  Ms. Brooksbank-Jones had her tongue lengthened because she found that she could not properly pronounce certain sounds.  Without a doubt, Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones deserves all the flavor she can get.

  • Bangzi

    I bet Korean isn’t the only HARD thing she finds it easier to get her tongue around now…

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    Seriously Elgin… “Lick” and “Head” in the same title?!?!?

  • R. Elgin

    You forgot the “flavor” Wangkon.

  • slim

    A few years back there was a reported mini-craze of Korean parents having their kids’ tongues surgically lengthened to help with English.

    WTF?

  • cm

    “A few years back there was a reported mini-craze of Korean parents having their kids’ tongues surgically lengthened to help with English.”

    I have to question the validity of the supposed tongue surgery. It seems to me I’ve heard so many people writing about it, but none of them know anybody who have done this surgery first hand, nor can I find any Korean cosmetic/surgery hospitals who offer this surgery which supposedly exists.

    I think the Korean mothers cutting off the tongues of their children to improve English is largely a Korean media creation, or over-hype of a couple of unique cases like this English girl in this article.

  • The Goat

    People are dumb.

  • judge judy

    i can’t tell if she’s sticking out her tongue or that’s just an awfully big lower lip.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ jefferyhodges

    Since the operation, she can no longer keep her tongue in her mouth . . .

    But seriously, the article is a parody, right?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • slim

    Wait till pawi sees this example of “a white” with a body-mutilating obsession with Korean culture!

  • iMe

    I clicked the link and … What a rack on that girl! Welcome! Welcome to Korea!!!

  • slim

    It ain’t a rack until Sonagi blesses it as such.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ jefferyhodges

    How quickly this thread has declined. First, it was just cracks about her tongue. But with all this publicity, her long tongue will come between a rack and a hard place when she arrives here for further oral work on her Korean.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • gbevers

    I think I remember reading about this girl somewhere else. If I remember correctly, her dentist, Kim Jang-seol (金長舌), was the one who proformed the procedure.

    The girl was so satisfied with the results of her tongue operation that she is now considering having her Achilles tendon severed to allow her to do better kimchi squats.

  • Q

    kimchi squats

    Gerry is a racist.

  • BK

    I see an embittered expat in the making.

  • gbevers

    Also, something else in the article (#13) that I forgot to mention was that after her tongue operation, the girl was interviewed by a Korean reporter who asked her what her favorite Korean food was. The girl answered, “Flied lice.”

  • Q

    the girl was interviewed by a Korean reporter who asked her what her favorite Korean food was. The girl answered, “Flied lice.”

    Hey bitter man, it sounds better than Japanese who said “We pray for MacArthur’s erection.”

  • http://www.xanga.com/wangkon936 WangKon936

    I see an embittered expat in the making.

    Just judging by the commentors I see that fit that description on Dave’s ESL Cafe and at TMH, she’s missing one critical component. She’s missing a penis.

  • http://kuiwon.wordpress.com/ kuiwon

    What’s the actual impact of tongue lengthening? I have no problems pronouncing English or 韓國語.

  • http://coryinkorea.wordpress.com/ 코리아

    I predict a Sunwoo Matchmaking account in the near future so she may find the perfect Korean man on whome to practice her new found skills. The features department at The KT is all ready to run the feature story.

  • http://ulsanonline.com martypants

    I had a student who had her frenulum cut – that’s the little strip of skin under the tongue that keeps it nailed to the floor of the mouth. At first her speech was terrible because her mouth was swollen. But even after it healed her English was no better. It had nothing to do with the tongue – it was all in the brain as she didn’t really want to study English and mommy and daddy made her. Apparently they felt that mutilating her would make her study more?

    I just don’t get Koreans.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I predict a Sunwoo Matchmaking account in the near future so she may find the perfect Korean man on whome to practice her new found skills.

    Rubbish. Classy individuals prefer Duo.

  • http://www.latenight.ca Hyalucent

    I’ll also bear witness. I had a student who underwent the same thing martypants wrote about. The surgery did nothing to change how he sounded, but he was a pretty keen learner. I fully expect his English got better and better, but rather than attribute it to his hard work, I imagine his folks are praising the surgery to this day.

  • http://dok.do/4lur41 Apodyopsis Gymnophoria

    re#5

    “A few years back there was a reported mini-craze of Korean parents having their kids’ tongues surgically lengthened to help with English.”

    The parents were NOT having their childrens tongue surgically lengthened, they were having the lingual frenulum (or frenulum of tongue – a small fold of mucous membrane extending from the floor of the mouth to the midline of the underside of the tongue), cut off to improve their childs’ English pronunciation.

    I never realized (and will have to check into it) that Koreans have longer tongues than foreigners?? Unless, this girl just had a very short tongue to begin with.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ jefferyhodges

    I also remember the craze. The Koreans whom I spoke to, and those whose newspaper articles I read, called it “lengthening the tongue” — at least in English. I even had a ‘discussion’ with a Korean professor of linguistics and tried to persuade her that the ‘lengthening’ wouldn’t help.

    Koreans can surely stick their tongues out of their mouths, and if they can do that, their tongues are long enough to pronounce any sound.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    1. Start with a story of a silly British girl.
    2. Apply MH commenters.
    3. End with 10 stories of silly Koreans.

    Pawi, I think you should come up with another sauce.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ jefferyhodges

    And I would add that this British girl, if she had no problems with English pronunciation, didn’t need a ‘lengthened’ tongue for Korean.

    There are silly people everywhere, and this operation is a silly way to try to improve pronunciation in a foreign language.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • Q

    If you have a short tongue, you’re only able to say “띠발놈”, “개개끼야, ” “따랑해.” That sounds funny, even if you mean it serious.

  • Benjamin Wagner

    All the best in to Rhiannon in her Korean language studies, but I wish she hadn’t chosen to perpetuate to the myth that race is somehow tied one’s ability to speak a language with native fluency. Ironically it’s an allegedly short “Korean tongue” which supposedly makes it difficult to produce the English L/R sounds, the Brit’s “short” tongue should have made her a natural if any of these nonsensical theories had any scientific basis.

    In 2003, the NHRCK sponsored a short film dealing with the practice of Korean parents subjecting their children to “tongue surgery” (lingual frenectomy, frenulotomy) to lengthen the tongue in the mistaken belief that doing so will improve the child’s pronunciation of English L/R sounds. See “여섯 개의 시선,” (aka If You Were Me), “신비한 영어나라” (aka “Tongue Tie”). See also Sang-Hun Choe, “S. Koreans Accent Surgery in Bid for Flawless English,” LA Times, Jan. 18, 2004. (“The government is so dismayed that its National Human Rights Commission has made a movie to scare the public into ceasing the practice.”), available at http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jan/18/news/adfg-tongue18.

    A recent CNN broadcast lumps “tongue surgery” in with the widespread practice of cosmetic surgery as an example of Koreans “seek[ing] [a] ‘western’ look,” which doesn’t make much sense since a lingual frenectomy isn’t a “look” to be seen. The article also includes a quote from a doctor saying the practice is “caused by the hyper-competitive drive in Korea,” which doesn’t address the underlying mistaken belief that “Korean tongues” are somehow phenotypically incompatible with foreign sounds. See Kyung Lah, Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek ‘western’ look, CNN May 24, 2011, available at http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/19/korea.beauty/index.html

    Matt has a good post on a student of his who’s parents send her for a “tongue tie”:
    http://populargusts.blogspot.com/2007/01/plastic-surgery.html

  • judge judy

    although the tongue-cutting craze may be over, it seems the hormone shot craze continues. some friends of mine just started them for their daughter. although she’s normal height, the parents think it’s worth $16,000 to make sure she’ll be taller than them when she grows up.

  • R. Elgin

    Though I indulged my sense of humour, IMHO, this article demonstrates how South Korea has become a Place To Be and that the popular forms of media are very influential and more potent in promoting Korea than any sort of blatant marketing.

  • jay_craig56

    What a dumb ass chick. If were her father, she would get a tongue lashing.

    Seriously though, Koreans do a great job of fooling Euros into thinking Korea is a paradise. When the Euro finally makes it here, the rude awakening they have is fun to witness.

    At least for me, I knew this place would be drab as hell.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    What surgery could I have to speak Chinese? I try, but it makes my sinuses ache.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Wonder if the rack came courtesy the NHS, too…

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Oh, and ditto what Elgin said.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    A student who “dreams of living and working in South Korea once she finishes university” has gone to the lengths of having her tongue surgically lengthened so that she might speak Korean better.

    she might want to consider getting her ambition surgically enhanced as well.

  • Awarren

    judge judy – do you have any information on how prevalent the use of growth hormones is in Korea? This is an amazingly disgusting practice, and it would behoove BBC to do an hour-long documentary on this as a moral service to poor Korean adolescents by shaming Koreans to their core in front of the world.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Given the events in the UK over the last week, I really don’t think the BBC is in a position to be shaming other countries right now.

  • Awarren

    That is besides the point I think. Do you think Koreans should be ashamed of this practice, and if so, what can be done to stop it? Or should we just ignore it in the name of cultural relativism, or the fact that other countries also have their social ills?

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #13,

    I feel so guilty for laughing at that one, but I just can’t help it.

    In any case, as one of the comments left below the article suggests, she probably had a real medical reason for having the surgery done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankyloglossia

    I’m guessing the whole bit about her getting it done to help her learn Korean is just an excuse to get her to pose in a school girl outfit. The Daily Mail is a trashy tabloid, after all.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    I’m suggesting that the BBC might have more pressing social ills to address at home. If anything, it should be KBS running documentaries shaming Brits “to the core” for raising a generation of shameless, nihilistic, violent, ambitionless and entitled youth.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Oh, and Someguyinkorea, I consider insults directed at the Daily Mail to be fighting words. There is no finer newspaper in the world today. And anyone who says differently is a flaming pinko.

  • YBT199

    Oh, and Someguyinkorea, I consider insults directed at the Daily Mail to be fighting words. There is no finer newspaper in the world today. And anyone who says differently is a flaming pinko.

    It’s actually a pretty entertaining read and occasionally has some reasonably good stories.

    Here’s a nice one – three civilised, educated girls get six months in the slammer for looting. One had stolen ten packs of chewing gum. Surprising that the Brits have descended to such draconian, brutal, retarded US-style harsh sentencing, but what can you do?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025356/UK-riots-arrests-Croydon-model-Shonola-Smith-looted-Argos-Facebook-joker-Hollie-Bentley.html

    Sorry if this is off-topic and should be in Roberts bits bin, but his dissing of the Daily Mail had to be addressed.

  • Awarren

    Again, Robert – that is not point. My point was that it is abhorrent that some Korean parents are giving healthy, normal children growth hormones so that they don’t have to suffer the shame of being in the shortest 20 percentile when lining up for exercise class, and that Korea as whole does not feel this is something to be so ashamed about, not whether BBC or the UK has the right to shame the Koreans.

    So let me ask you. If you had children, is there any conceivable reason, other than a clear medical one, that you would give your children growth hormones for the reasons that Korean do? And assuming the answer is a definite no (of course it is), why is that the case? Maybe it is not such a bad thing after all – right? Maybe it is not such a big health risk – right? After all, being tall can make you more successful – right? Or America and other countries have their own problems – so your adopted country can be culturally exceptionalized (as long as you stay out of the picture) for such monstrous acts as cutting up children’s faces and shooting up healthy children to make them prettier and taller?

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    YBT199: Actually, the Daily Mail is the only English-language paper I actually make it a point to visit and read. Sure, it’s biased and trashy, but as a fan of tabloid trash with right-wing political leanings, I find it entertaining.

    BTW, six months for looting hardly seems draconian. I might make an exception for that Shanola Smith, though, but only because she’s smoking hot.

    Awarren: I never said Korea should be culturally exceptionalized. Do I think giving young girls hormones to grow is a good thing? No. Do I like the prevelance of plastic surgery in Korea? No. And if you’d left it at that, I’d be inclined to agree with you. But you didn’t. You called on the BBC to shame Korea to the core as a moral service to poor Korean adolescents, and I’m saying the BBC would be much better served concentrating on the infinitely worse social ills plaguing Britain’s own poor adolescents. It would be like Saudi state TV running a documentary on gender inequality in Britain.

  • guitard

    iMe wrote:

    I clicked the link and … What a rack on that girl! Welcome! Welcome to Korea!!!

    Robert Koehler wrote:

    Wonder if the rack came courtesy the NHS, too…

    ???

    What rack are you guys talking about? She’s a large A-cup…maybe a really small B-cup.

    You guys have been in Korea too long.

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    ‘You called on the BBC to shame Korea to the core as a moral service to poor Korean adolescents, and I’m saying the BBC would be much better served concentrating on the infinitely worse social ills plaguing Britain’s own poor adolescents. It would be like Saudi state TV running a documentary on gender inequality in Britain.’ marmot

    awarren, you say what?

    ps are you british?

  • http://pawikoreapics.blogspot.com/ pawikirogii 石鵝

    btw, british arrogance is just endless. they don’t seem to realize they are from yesterday.

    keith, how are you?

  • Awarren

    “It would be like Saudi state TV running a documentary on gender inequality in Britain”

    The difference being that there is no gender inequality in Britain among the native population, and no one in the UK would notice what a Saudi state TV documentary is covering. Korea would definitely stand up and notice if BBC “World” did an objective video on the prevalence of growth hormones in Korea, because of the damage it would do its vaulted image, and because so many in Korea just don’t realize how sick this would be perceived outside their world.

    Perhaps this is really needed. Because the US has its Michael Moore’s and brutally funny outsiders like Sacha Cohen to delve into its social ills and absurdities, Korea certainly does not and is need of some serious self-reflection.

    To see the positive effect that BBC world reports have had on shameful practices in countries, one only has to look to the series they did on orphanages in Eastern Europe. But one must be careful. After all Bryan Gumble’s comment that Korea’s primary export commodity was its babies did shame the country, but instead of Koreans adopting more babies, the government chose to address the face-damaging statistic itself by delaying and curtailing abortions, dooming many children to life in orphanages.

    But anyway Robert, I am done here and I thank you for telling us where you stand on the issue.

  • fanwarrior

    This is the daily mail..
    let that sink in before you give too much credence to this story..

  • hamel

    I am with guitard – I saw no noteworthy rack. Just a stack of books.

    Shonola – ooh yeah. I could get behind that.

    But did nobody notice Gerry Bever’s brillian 한자 inspired pun above? I thought it was great! I am surprised not even kuiwon seemed to pick up on it. That Gerry is clearly a cunnilingusist — ooh, that was a slip of the tongue.

  • cm

    A little story of one Brit girl who does a silly thing, turns into a subject of BBC should shame Korea in front of the world. Nothing ever changes when it comes to superiority of the Western morality.

    You gotta love the Korean blogs.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    But did nobody notice Gerry Bever’s brillian 한자 inspired pun above?

    I noticed the pun, but it was hardly brilliant — it lacked subtlety.

    For a truly brilliant hanja pun, here is some 김병연:

    書堂 乃早知 (서당 내조지) : 서당을 일찍 알았으니
    房中 皆尊物 (방중 개존물) : 방안에는 모두 존귀한 물건 들이라
    生徒 諸未十 (생도 제미십) : 배우는 자는 통틀어 열명도 안 되는데
    先生 來不謁 (선생 내불알) : 선생이 와도 인사마저 없더라.

  • Arghaeri

    Whats all this fuss about UK being in crisis, and the BBC, it’s just a bit a looting and pillaging, not even enough for one episode of CSI.

  • hamel

    thekorean: Ok so I was over-the-top in my praise.

    I like puns, but I was not able to understand all of your puns. I require a lesson. Please school me, oh 불알선생.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I think 불알선생 is a proper moniker for someone else on this blog :)

    This is probably more proper for the Open Thread, so I will post the explanation there. Give me a few minutes.

  • Charles Tilly

    To see the positive effect that BBC world reports have had on shameful practices in countries…

    Why does the Beeb need to do it? You seem pretty squared away on the subject and you probably want it done in just the right way. If that’s the case, do it your god damn self, tosspot.

    Set up a blog, get a YouTube account, hit the pavement, dig through sources, ask questions and report back through said blog and YouTube clips. C’mon, it can’t be that hard.

  • Benjamin Wagner
  • R. Elgin

    Yes, Ben, but with a lot less taste.

  • Benjamin Wagner

    I’ll assume you’re having “pun” again, but I was actually impressed that the 아시아경제 picked up on the 2003 film.

  • Gog

    Many people here seem to have no understanding of ankyloglossia or other conditions of the mouth that can affect articulation, such as exessive overjet or mandibular retrognathism.

    Just because one’s tongue can push past the lips does NOT mean they will be able to produce any sound. To form the various consonants, the tongue must be able to relax, tense, stick out, pull back, move up, and curl back (depending on the consonant). Sometimes it must be placed between the front teeth–other times, it must relax and allow itself to flap against the alveolar ridge. Other times, it must contact the uvula. There are dozens of different positions it must take.

    Some languages are easier to speak than others with a tethered tongue (those that lack sounds such as the alveolar trill, alveolar tap, or uvular trill, for example). Others are virtually impossible to properly enunciate without a freely-moving tongue.

    Ankyloglossia is a condition that often causes a lot of problems unless treated (best treated by laser surgery–less risk of scarring and complications). There is nothing necessarily stupid about this girl’s surgery.

    Surgical revision of a malformed lingual frenulum (which is what ankyloglossia essentially is) has been performed for centuries, although modern techniques (i.e. laser surgery) are far superior to old methods.

    It is very likely this girl was suffering from ankyloglossia–else, her tongue would have been mobile enough to produce Korean consonants.