Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Touch of Konglish

... with apologies to Orson Welles.

Not too long ago, I promised a future post where I would show off the childish, Konglish, and otherwise weird pencil cases sported by the high school boys I teach.

I dunno why or how, but the school saw fit to award the boys with brand new pencil cases, and they are these boring, sort of window pane plaid things in a light tan. So, only a very few of them are still sporting their own--mostly Spongebob Squarepants or Sesame Street (yes, Tickle Me Elmo ... if you dare)--leaving me precious little to, uh, blog.

Finally, I did find one the other day which has an antique map look, but the decal, from our friends at Omnibus, is classic Konglish:

Life is Jourey
You would think that somewhere along the line, someone in the Omnibus corporation might say, "Hey, my cousin lives in Chicago; how about we send our text to him, and let someone over there proof it, so we don't look like total illiterates." (Of course, this would be said in Korean.)

Next up, I was taking a Facebook quiz in order to find out what muscle car I am (I don't remember which muscle car I turned out to be, but the muscle car I once owned was a metallic green 1974 Ford Gran Torino with the 351-Cleveland). By the time I got the question below, I realized the quiz had been written by Koreans. There's no other explanation (you may need to click and enlarge to fully appreciate):

FB muscle car quiz written in Konglish
Finally, I was looking around in a local chain called Daiso, a sort of Korean five-and-dime, when I saw this product, though to be fair, it appears to made in China with card from Japan:

Kitchen paper horder
It's a kitchen paper horder.


Foreigner Joy said...

Daiso is a Japanese company. That's too bad about the pencil cases.

What about their notebooks. English notebooks tend to have horrible English on them.

Adam said...

Japan is full of such English too (Engrish) and sometimes you'll even see it as part of a huge marketing campaign from a company like Coke, which should know better. But something to keep in mind is this English isn't for English speakers, but for people with a limited command of the language. Often (at least in Japan) the mistakes are consistent and keeping with the way Japanese functions. So for a target audience that may not speak English fluently, the message is understandable while still being cool because it's in English. That's my theory at least.

The bad English on the Japanese product here is due to the fact that there is no differentiation between the R and L sounds in Japanese. The Japanese script reads, phonetically, "Paper Holder."

Tuttle said...

@Joy: Oh, I know. Turrible. But often they are free, whereas someone specifically chooses the teddy bear with a zipper up its ass, or the gibberish-laden pencil case.

@Adam: Yeah, Japanese-Engrish, Chinese-Chinglish, Korea-Konglish. Korean has a character "ㄹ" that can be the ar or el sound depending on its place in the syllable, mainly.

There's a great bit in an old Britcom, Are You Being Served? where a Japanese man is in the store to buy pants. He keeps saying Mr Rukas instead of Lukas. Peacock points out that "Japanese have trouble getting their tongues round their 'r's."

Cut to the fey Mr Humphries: "I would have thought it was just a matter of practice."