Adventures in Linguistics

Korean (한국어) differs from English in every way you can imagine.  It also differs in some ways you cannot imagine.  Because of this both Koreans and native speakers of English often end up with creative grammar, weirdness galore and unintentional humor when they stray from their mother tongues.

The Korean-speaking-English weirdness manifests in what I like to call Ingrish.  Some of my favorite Ingrishisms:

  • My barber, a fashionable but conservative woman in her 40’s, liked to wear a black shirt with chrome lettering on the front. It said “Do I look like I give a fuck?”
  • The local supermarket carried a product called “Placenta: Essence Masking.”
  • I could go shopping for popular clothing brands called “Teeny Weeny” and “Le Coq Sportif.”
  • One of my students mispronounced insect as incest. The resulting sentence was “I like incests. Incest is fun.”
  • A very attractive woman I saw wore a yellow shirt proclaiming “Pee all that you can pee.”
  • One of my Korean coworkers once asked me “am I making you hard?” She meant to say “am I making things too difficult for you?” 
  • The other foreign teacher at my institute once pointed out a shirt worn by his 8 year-old student that said “Chico State Jailbait.”

Have you encountered humorous misuses of the English language in foreign countries? Feel free to comment below.

–Ben Garrido


One comment

  1. gabbie20132013 · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Gabbie Blog.

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