When we first arrived in Korea two years ago we were surprised to discover that there is English everywhere here. We were equally surprised to discover that the vast majority of it is grammatically incorrect, misspelled, or complete nonsense. The majority of store names, advertisements, and words on clothing are all written in English, though it’s clear that no one who actually speaks English was involved in their design or manufacture. To give you an analogy for what this is like, imagine if you went to the US (or England or another English-speaking country) and found that all of their stores had Chinese names and the people mostly wore clothes with Chinese characters on them, even though very few people spoke Chinese.
In our first few months we were constantly amused by this and tried to take pictures of especially funny examples when we found them, but if you live with anything for long enough it will start to seem normal. After a while we got used to all of the strange and bad English surrounding us and stopped noticing it as much.
On Sunday we met our friends downtown for lunch and decided to make a point to try to notice the ridiculous English we passed just on our way to the restaurant. Unfortunately some of the best examples are on people’s clothing and that’s much harder to get pictures of without being really rude, but we still found some gems without going out of our way.
In addition to these signs we spotted on the go, I went back through my phone pictures and pulled out some favorites we have collected along the way.
And my all-time favorite – this tissue box found by a fellow native English teacher.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s Adventures in Konglish. We are trying to remember to take more pictures of these things now that our time here is coming to an end. I know the photos will bring back memories and make us laugh for years to come.
If you have an adventure to share, add your link to the link-up by clicking the button below. You can participate in all of the adventures or you can just do a few – no pressure. If you missed last week’s adventure about our 5th anniversary trip to Busan you can find it here. And if you are new to my Fifty-Two Weeks of Adventure project you can find out more about it here.
haha, quite funny, here there are plenty of examples too, but like you say, after a while you stop noticing them!
Hahaha! These are hilarious. 😀 I love the coffee cup and the tissue box.
Also, that Little My shirt is great! I presume you know that Little My is a character from the Moomin books? Those books were childhood favourites of mine and my older brother always used to tease me about being like Little My (probably because I was small with red hair).
I figured it was a character of some sort, but is the biting thing random or part of her character? Still so strange and funny either way. 😉
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She has a habit of biting ankles, but she usually only bites when bad people are threatening her friends.
The Moomin books and the characters in them are very funny! 🙂 I think they can be enjoyed by adults as well as children. Here’s a great piece about them which mentions Little My: http://www.jeanettewinterson.com/journalism/moomins-are-65/
Haha love these!! If only they knew! https://onsundayafternoon.wordpress.com
I know! In some cases (like when a large chain company mass-produces a shirt for example) I just can’t believe they couldn’t hire one native English speaker who could proof-read things for them! But I guess they don’t really care. 🙂
love experiencing you adventures via your blog. thanks for taking us along on this journey
Thank you for coming along! 🙂