Recently, the neologism term called Dol-jik-gu, an expression normally used in baseball to express a straight player, shooting has become in every day society. However, nowadays, it is also being used to explain speakers who speak directly and straightforwardly. When someone expresses their opinion honestly yet without affectation or inquires about others’ private matters forwardly, Koreans call the speaker’s behavior a Dol-jik-gu. Kim Gura, Sayuri, and Park Myungsoo are some of the renowned entertainers. To be more specific, when I say, ‘Why are you wearing that country-folk looking hat?’ instead of ‘Your hat looks very retro,’ I am using the term. True as it may be, Dol-jik-gu mannerism is not a recognized linguistic terminology but it conveys more than it denotes in terms of mere definition. It can deliver so much more such as one’s background or identity. Above all, this word is eye-catching because it reflects changes of peoples’ attitudes towards language. For a long time, especially in Korea, expressing one’s opinion straightforwardly was regarded the language of the socially lower class. It was better to be humble avoiding directness. This type of communication was once considered elegant and admirable. However, this generation has disappeared now as demonstrated by the use of this term.
On the other hand, I believe Dol-jik-gu to be a positive style of conversation dialogue as it avoids ambiguity and allows one to put her/his food down. It reflects the younger generation’s characteristics. Imagine someone praising you directly with heart-warming words such as ‘I would have never survived the year without your advice.’ Surely those words would make you feel much better. Still, this type of speaking must be separated from speaking roughly or throwing stones at others. The conversation may soon turn into a quarrel without a lack of consideration.
Even though speakers’ attitudes towards language vary greatly according to one’s generation or circumstance, there is the immutable principle: speech is a picture of the mind. Draw upon your words by considering not only how much your words may cut through someone like a sword but also on how soft words can make the world beautiful. Now that the end of the year has come, Dol-jik-gu could be a good means to speaking season’s greeting if done wisely. With this in mind, I would like to end this issue’s letter with some frank words. Dear readers, thank you for all your interest and affection for SMT. SMT would be nothing without you. Reporters and I struggle days and nights to return your love. We hope your love of SMT will continue next year.
Koo Kim Gyohyun / Editor-in-Chief