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    #1

    difference in the meaning

    Is there any difference in the meaning between Korean-American and American-Korean?

    I have never heard of American-Korean and it is rather called "Korean-American" in general to mean Korean who were born or brought up in the U.S.A, but according to someone, Korean-American means those who were born in Korea but later moved to USA and American-Korean means those who were born and brought up in USA.

    Is it really right that the two terms have different meaing like someone's explanation and I wonder if there is really a term like "American-Korean".

    What about "Korean-Australian" and "Australian-Korean"?


    Please give me clarification and thanks in advance.

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    #2

    Re: difference in the meaning

    No, it's not right. A Korean American would be someone who lives in the US (as a citizen) who is of Korean heritage/ethnicity. That could be an immigrant himself, or someone born here.

    To the extent that a person or his children become assimilated, they would begin to identify simply as "American."

    If such a thing as an "American Korean" existed it would be someone who was a citizen of Korea, but of American ethnicity. (Which is a problem because "American" isn't really an ethnicity.)

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: difference in the meaning

    I can only speak about the US. For some reason, instead of saying we're just "Americans" some people think it's important to say where you're from or where your ancestors are from.

    It would be only "Korean-American," regardless of where the person was born.

    It was somehow important to state where the person originated, you could say he was "Korean-born" but that distinction is rarely needed.

    If you said an "American-Korean" to me, I would assume the person was from the US and now living permanently in Korea.

    EDIT: I'm a slower typist than SD, apparently.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: difference in the meaning

    In the US:
    “Korean American” means ethnically/originally Korean, living in/citizen of the US.
    “American Korean” means ethnically/originally American, living in/citizen of Korea.

    so both are correct, and here’s why. In English, modifying adjectives precede their nouns, for example “large tree”, or “depressing movie”, where “large” and “depressing” are adjectives, and “tree” and “movie” are nouns. When a native speaker hears “Korean American”, they naturally hear “American” as the noun, and therefore “Korean” as a modifier. This is reinforced by constructs like “Korean food”. The “Korean” adjective tells you that the food it ethnically Korean.

    Try this abstracted example:

    Orange can mean a. the color or b. the fruit.
    Green can mean a. the color or b. the putting area of a golf course.

    You’d never want to eat a green orange (yuck, it's spoiled!), and you’d have to paint the grass to see an orange green.

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