Wednesday, January 30, 2013

oh, engrish, volume one.

i love engrish. i first discovered its existence back in high school when i was studying japanese and the internet was becoming a thing. i remember finding a website dedicated to engrish and i would check it regularly. and now, since i am in asia, it is everywhere.

back in the late '90s and early 2000s, chinese and japanese characters were on everything. it was one of the cool trends back then, and i owned quite a few shirts with something i couldn't read or understand scrawled down the side. at the time, i remember wondering what on earth it actually said, and being amused at the prospect that it possibly didn't make any sense at all. i imagined chinese and japanese people passing these shirts in the stores and laughing or rolling their eyes at the horrible misuse of their language. and i hoped they felt amused by it, rather than annoyed.

now i find the situation reversed -- everywhere i go, i see english. well, engrish. or maybe even konglish.

often, the grammatical awkwardness comes from a literal translation of the korean. it technically makes sense the way it's phrased, but it isn't actually how we would say it as native speakers.

sometimes i see interesting misspellings, which comes i'm sure from the different languages having different sounds. a good example is the lack of 'z' in korean, meaning my name is spelled with a 'j' instead. or the oft joked about "rice" vs. "lice."

and then sometimes, i see a phrase or a paragraph that just doesn't make any sense whatsoever. someone just found a blurb from an article, the bible, wikipedia, the side of a cereal box... and then slapped it on their product or storefront.

so at this point, finding strange english has become a hobby when i'm out and about.

this will be a new series of photos, just a handful at a time, of the interesting english i've found here and there in korea. it will range from the slightly awkward to the nonsensical, and i hope you enjoy. :)

(sidenote: in no way am i trying to be disrespectful or mocking of koreans or their culture. there is nothing malicious about my intentions here, so do know that i'm not trying to offend.)

this is actually an accurate representation of how i feel about milk. 

the best part of this was it was a sign for a seminar for english teachers...


appropriately on the side of a love motel.

best. shirt. ever.

after diseases part?

just thinking about this sends me into fits of giggles. 

that's all for this round! i've got another batch of photos queued up for the next post, so expect that sometime soon! 

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