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Park's office chooses 'bonanza' for Korean word 'daebak'

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- When President Park Geun-hye first broached the word "daebak" last month to underscore the claim that unification with North Korea will bring massive benefits to South Korea, the choice of term caught people's attention.

It was because the word, which means great success, was seen as unfit for such an official event as Park's New Year's news conference as it has usually been associated with informal settings, such as TV comedy programs, and was even considered a slang by some.

After the press conference, some reporters even asked aides whether it was right for her to use the word. Presidential officials stressed that it is a legitimate word listed in Korean dictionaries, not slang, and there is no problem with using it.

Then came the issue of how to translate the word into English.

Some media outlets, including Yonhap News, used the word "jackpot" while some others used "bonanza."

After some searching, the presidential office announced Thursday that it has decided to use "bonanza" as the official translation for "daebak."

Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said that bonanza was determined to be a more appropriate translation because "jackpot" could be seen as associated with gambling. Min said, however, that jackpot can also be used in more informal settings.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is believed to have affected the decision.

When he met with Park in Seoul last week, the top American diplomat praised her for having a "great vision" for unification with the North, using the word "bonanza" to refer to Park's belief that unification will bring about huge benefits, officials said.

"We very much welcome President Park's efforts to build trust, which I believe can lead to improvements in North Korea's human rights situation and ultimately lay the groundwork for peaceful reunification of the Peninsula," Kerry said in a joint news conference with his South Korean counterpart.

"We congratulate President Park for her discussions of this, for her willingness to express a vision about it, and particularly for her declarations regarding the possibilities of economic bonanza and other benefits that could come from that vision," he said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140220/parks-office-chooses-bonanza-korean-word-daebak