This would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
[quote=“Kim Kyoung-wha”]Yahoo! News Fri, Oct 17, 2003
Koreans have surgery to speak better English
Thu Oct 16,11:08 PM ET
By Kim Kyoung-wha
SEOUL (Reuters) - Chop a centimetre or so off your tongue and become a fluent English speaker.
That is the hope that recently drove one mother to take her six-year-old son for surgery aimed at ridding him of his Korean accent when speaking the language of choice in global business.
Driven by a desire to give their kids an edge in an increasingly competitive society, a surprising number of South Koreans have turned to the knife in a seemingly drastic bid to help their offspring perfect their English.
Bae said that he had received many inquiries about the operation, mostly for children aged between 12 months and 10 years. Of these, only 10 to 20 percent had led to surgery.
For a tangible improvement for those with ankyloglossia – the medical term for those with a short frenulum – months of language training is needed even after surgery.
“It takes time to see pronunciation actually improve as picking up a language or saying it properly is a complicated process to master,” he added.
Robin Bulman, an American living in Seoul who has an adopted five-year-old Korean daughter, felt that surgery might hurt a child’s self-confidence.
“I think it’s gross. Mutilating children’s tongues is not the solution. If a parent takes his child into the surgery and then, if the child is still unable to speak unaccented English, what would that do to the child’s self-esteem?”
Bulman says her daughter speaks perfect English, admittedly with a strong Montana accent.
“If there’s just some real problem with Koreans speaking English, a physiological problem with their bodies, how can a pure Korean child speak perfect English?”
Many Koreans believe an early start in English could give their children an edge and so do not hesitate to send them overseas or at least to evening classes.[/quote]