▲ Lee Ki Joo giving the lecture. Photographed by Lee Arim.
On March 30, Lee Ki Joo, the author of a best-selling book, Temperature of Language (2016), gave a lecture titled “There is Warmth and Coolness of its Own in Our Language and Words” in the Centennial Memorial SAMSUNG Hall of Korea University (KU). The lecture was a part of University Plus program, a series of distinguished lectures planned to foster students’ creativity and sensitivity, provided by the Basic Education Center of the Office of Academic Affairs. Lee’s essay, Temperature of Language, is currently ranked number one in most of the best-seller lists.
As a writer and the CEO of a publishing company Malgeumteo, Lee has been promoting his book by giving lectures in various places. He first began his lecture by bringing up his experience as a reporter, emphasizing the sophisticated skills needed to create an effective piece of writing. Then, he took up the main topic, humanities within language and culture. “I believe that there is something called temperature in every word we say. As everyone has different voice and fingerprints, there are different textures in everyone’s language.” He explained by giving multiple examples from his everyday life, artworks, and global figures. He introduced a doctor who refused to call his patients as “patients,” for he thought the word might make them worse, and found the value of silence in Barack Obama’s speech after the mass shooting in Arizona.
Lee concluded the lecture by reminiscing on the moment of his grandfather’s death. He said, “My grandfather, who used to be a taciturn man his entire life, said just one word before he passed away. ‘Hand.’ I learned how a single word can carry enormous weights. It is not the length of word that is important, but the temperature a word exudes.”