South Korea: New Seoul slogan sparks 'Konglish' debate

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightFacebook/Seoul Metropolitan Government
image captionThe finalists were whittled down from more than 16,000 entries

South Korea's capital, Seoul, has chosen a new slogan to promote the city internationally, but it has left some people confused.

"I.Seoul.U" triumphed in a vote held in the city on Wednesday, beating two other options: "Seoulmate" and "Seouling", the Korea Times reports. A panel of nine experts, including two professors, and more than 1,000 members of the general public took part in the final selection. The slogan will be used to promote the city around the world, and replaces the current "Hi Seoul". According to the paper, the project cost in the region of 500 million won ($436,000; £286,000).

Even before the vote, many people raised concerns that "I.Seoul.U" doesn't make much sense in English, and that none of the finalists inspired interest in the city. Now that the slogan is official the mockery has increased, with social media users posting parodies online, the Korea Herald reports.

On the city government's Facebook page thousands of users have "liked" posts about the new branding, and plenty welcome it as a "great choice". But many aren't happy, with some calling it "Konglish" - the Korean practice of adopting English words in a way that English speakers often cannot understand. "They were all rubbish but at least Seoulmate actually made sense," writes one user. "Terrible choice. I was in Seoul this year and this makes me feel nothing of what I felt when I visited," another person says.

Previous slogans have included "Infinitely yours, Seoul", which apparently expressed the city's "infinite capacity for development", and the potentially risky "Seoul, My...", which left a gap for people to fill as they saw fit.

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