I don’t know if I’ve already talked about it, but I realized a few months ago how legalizing same-sex marriage had an impact on the vocabulary we use in French.
Interesting fact (at least to me): since I keep going back and forth between French, English and Korean, I often get frustrated by how, depending the language, you fail to fully convey what you want to say, sometimes just because the word simply doesn’t exist in one language but does exist in another one. I wonder if English-speakers had a long debate on how to call same-sex married couple. I don’t think they had to because “married couple” itself is neutral. It becomes tricky when you say “they’re married” and you don’t know what the “they” stand for, but it’s still neutral because you can use it either for a full group of men or/and women, right?. Well, not in French. The 3rd person plural form is the same pronoun you would use for a full groupe of men. So, I do think it’s quite amusing how “they’re married” (ils sont mariés) actually use the plural form of “he” which means that basically French people have always talked about married couple (man+woman) as if they were talking about two men being married… I don’t know if my explanation is clear enough, if my French people who read this can come up with a better explanation, don’t hesitate to share.
MY POINT WAS this ambiguity behind who is exactly married doesn’t exist in Korean because they use the term “boo-boo” 부부 (夫婦) which for short translation is “married couple” or even just “couple” BUT, as it is often the case in Korean, it’s a word with Chinese origins b/c Koreans used Chinese characters to write before hangul was created. So the 부(夫) and 부 (婦) literally means “husband” and “wife”. When you talk about [insert name]부부, people know you’re referencing also to the husband or the wife of said person. Therefore when reporters talk about the Kim Jho Kwang Soo couple and use the term 부부, it is really not the appropriate term unless you double the hanja sign 夫夫 or 婦婦… But I don’t feel like right now Korean people take this into consideration and they use 부부 because it’s convenient to talk about people who are married. At the end of the day, if the meaning does switch to become also “husband-husband” and “wife-wife”, they won’t have to create another word per se. I feel like I’m rambling… I shall try to find another interview because it was a bit of an issue this week, but they were “bigger news” , so it didn’t make an impact like their wedding did.