Korea loves English! Lot’s of people in Korea have studied English, but that doesn’t mean they really understand English. The difference in language, culture, and pronunciation can make them do and say some really funny things. You don’t have to be a native speaker of English to spot these things. I have Korean friends who speak English really well. They spot them. I have friends from other European countries where English isn’t the first language, and they see these things. I have a friend from Romania who has a file on her computer where she takes pictures of all the funny things she sees and calls her file, “Only in Korea.” When we were shopping the other day, I was waiting around because my son in law was looking for clothes, and I just happened to spot some of these funny things, and I took pictures of them to share with you.
Remember the storm troopers from Star Wars? Well, now, they are troppers.
Perhaps they are trying to say, “Cute aristocracy?” In Korean, they drive one another crazy too by making up words by taking part of one word and part of another and putting them together. I have heard them complaining bout one another when they do it in Korean, but they do it in English too.
In Korea, they like to put hearts everywhere. They like to put kisses everywhere. They like to write “I love you” both in Korean and English everywhere. They have a funny thing called “eigyo” that is catching on in the rest of the world. Have you seen someone in a picture making a heart above their heads with their arms? Or, perhaps you have seen them making hearts with their hands. These come from Korea. They are called “eigyo.” Now, they have put a heart in place of a skull in the skull and cross bones. They like being “Mr. Sweet” much better than they like being “Mr. Cool.” In fact, they actually try to talk in a way that makes them seem like a baby sometimes trying to be cute. If you see them doing it in English, you begin to wonder what is wrong. Even grown men try to seem cute by talking like a baby.
This is Korean “eigyo.”
If you bought a t-shirt and it had a Chinese character on it, you would think it was cool even if you didn’t understand what the Chinese character said. They are the same with English letters. They may not know what is written on their clothing, but it has English letters on it, so it is cool.
If you want a Chinese character to put on your clothes, try this one: 愛. It means “love.” In Korean, it is pronounced “sarang.” In Japanese, it is pronounced “ai.” I don’t know the Chinese pronunciation because I only speak Japanese and Korean of the three, but all three countries use the same Chinese character. It carries meaning,, but the pronunciation is according to which language you are using. Here is another good one: 神様. This one means “God.” In Japanese, it is pronounced “kami sama,” In Korean, it is pronounced “hananim.” In each, Korean and Japanese, they have another alphabet that tells you how to pronounce these words, but these are the Chinese characters. The Koreans have stopped using them so much, but you can still see them from time to time in Korea, and the Japanese are still using them. If you are an American, you me be trying to figure out how to say “I’m bad!” However, I have given you the kinds of things a Korean would write on their clothing. I really don’t want to write “I’m bad” on my clothing. Americans may also write, “It is all good.” This is “Its all good”: 全部はいいです。in Japanese. Now, I will give it to you in Korean: 모든은 초아요ㅣ
I saw a sign today and tried to take a picture of it for you, but it was so far away that I wasn’t sure I could get a good picture. In Korean, they don’t have the letter “z,” so when they say “pizza,” they actually say “pija.” This had someone confused because they decided to open up a restaurant and called it “Jeep Grill.” However, “Jeep” turned into “Zeep,” and they wrote “Zeep Grill” on the sign. One of the tree branches blocks it a little.
This kind of stuff is rampant in Korea. There are lots of signs, and they think writing it in English is cool, but English is hard for them. However, it doesn’t stop them. If you look around you at the shirts and such things that have a Chinese character on them in your country, they may be looking at us in the same way.