Volume 26
Graduate Working Papers

Mock Koreaboo: Appropriating Appropriation

Sara Rosenau
CU Boulder Linguistics

Published 2022-08-30


  • K-pop,
  • mock languages,
  • internet linguistics,
  • indexical order,
  • stance,
  • fandom
  • ...More

How to Cite

Rosenau, S. (2022). Mock Koreaboo: Appropriating Appropriation. Colorado Research in Linguistics, 26. Retrieved from https://journals.colorado.edu/index.php/cril/article/view/1577


Within the K-pop fandom, there are major divisions between types of fans. One of the most notorious type of fan is the Koreaboo, a pejorative term used for global fans perceived as wishing they could be Korean themselves and seen as being far too invested into K-pop itself at the expense of the rest of Korean culture. One of the major hallmarks of being a Koreaboo, according to critics, is the unnecessary incorporation of Korean vocabulary into non-Korean speech, particularly words like oppa. K-pop fans have innovated a form of speech which I am terming “mock Koreaboo” for the purpose of condemning this form of being a fan and positioning themselves as above koreaboos. Through the use of elitist stances (Jaworski & Thurlow 2009), K-pop fans index their disapproval of Koreaboos and their fetishization of Korean culture, creating a separate indexical order from Koreaboo speech.