Sunday, November 1, 2009

Konglish 102

Here are a few examples of Konglish (Korean English) collected recently. First is a football confiscated in class by art teacher Lee Chunggye, the 'Vesta Impect' model:

Just down the street from my school is this car remodeling shop, with the questionable/questioning motto: 'The Car, Whatever You Want?'

I just noticed this tag on the inside of the small, auxilliary backback of the backpack I bought for my China trip. It reads 'This label is issue to the only Genova product that proved it's best quality by 12 steps of test in the extreme':

Finally, found just inside the Men's Room at Seoul World Cup Stadium:

For more Konglish, just click on "konglish" in the Label Cloud in the right-hand sidebar.


Anonymous said...

I find a lot of these type of things funny as well, and there are entire websites devoted to these sorts of pictures. However, there is a difference between Konglish and plain old bad English, and I think most of what you are posting is not Konglish. Konglish adopts English words into the Korean language in a way that wouldn't be immediately recognizable to a native English speaker. Things like "Hand Phone", using "fighting" as a cheer, or refering to a mechanical pencil as a "sharp" are all examples of Konglish. These are things that every Korean understands and uses. Spelling impact with an "e" or using bad grammar, amusing as they may be, are not Konglish... they're just mistakes that could be made by anyone with a poor grasp of English, whether Korean or not. The football was definitely made in China (Vesta is a Chinese company) and the backpack also may have been.

Tuttle said...

Thanks for the comment, Anon, but I will have to differ with you. Certainly handu-pon is Konglish, but so is "The car, whatever you want?"

Wiktionary defines Konglish as "A disparaging term for various varieties of Korean English having distinctive lexis, syntax and phonology."

If Vesta is a Chinese co., then I'll grant you Impect is Chinglish. I don't think it was misspelled as much as I think someone, somewhere, thinks that's a word. Like, say, Greenpia.

Anyone else want to chime in?

Anonymous said...

What is it that makes "The car, whatever you want?" Konglish? Is this a common phrase or syntactical structure in Korea? I've never heard anything like this before, which makes it seem more like an isolated incident rather than Konglish. The sign wouldn't seem terribly out of place in any country where English is not widely spoken. There is nothing Korean about it other than the fact that you assume that a Korean wrote it. "Hand phone" is Konglish because it is widely used and understood among Koreans. It is uniquely Korean while "The car, whatever you want?" is not.

I don't think it was misspelled as much as I think someone, somewhere, thinks that's a word.

I think this is where we disagree. If someone, somewhere, thinks it's a word that means nothing. If a large number of Koreans use the word then it's Konglish. If it's one guy it's just bad English.

Anonymous said...

You write of how Konglish amuses you. Perhaps you could add some of what we in the US do to Korean language. I have seen US TV shows where Korean's are given Chinese names, where the surname is used as the given name. How about auto companies saying that Hyundai rhymes with Sunday. It goes both ways - don't push your luck on Korean attempts to communicate in English, we do much worse here in the US

Tuttle said...

But ... but ... Hyundai does rhyme with Sunday.