Konglish is term used for explaining words that are part English and part Korean.
For example, Koreans use the term “air con” for the word air conditioner. Often times there is no Korean word for something, like an air conditioner, so they try to phonetically match the sound of the word using Hangul characters.
There is another side to Konglish as well, which is often hilarious. This is when the Korean-to-English translation has gone askew and you end up seeing sentences on t-shirts, hats, notebooks, even storefronts – that don’t make any sense at all.
It’s pretty awesome, hence this page. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.
This label was on a wastebasket I bought for my bathroom. It reads:
“Bathroom Dustbin. Proposal to an ecological life. Would you like to review what your life should be…?”
That’s some deep thoughts for a garbage can.
This one was from a restaurant in Everland, one of Korea’s famous amusement parks. To the left of the “Burger Cafe” logo it says, “World famous hamburger. Best food for fast time.”
Reminds me of the writing on washroom stalls back in the 80’s that would say “for a good time call…”
This one I saw one night in Hongdae. Just simply bad marketing. “Hotdog & Pie.” YUM.
There is also the classic notebook covers. Read on.
“Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach aches and chest pains. It is commonly used in the form of tea as a home remedy to help alleviate stomach pain. Mint tea is a strong diuretic and aids digestion.”
Wow. Too much information. All very true, yes, but appropriate for a notebook? Erm…..
This one is my favourite and it’s currently in my desk at school so I can see it every day and smile.
It sounds like it’s part Irish poetry and part Confucian parable.”Postkarte. Simple design. The year’s at the spring, and day’s at the morn. Morning’s at seven; The hill-side’s dew-pearled. To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee.”
This one is on a box of popcorn from the movie theatre. “Love, Happiness and Touching. Always with you.”
Creepy, but awesome. I love Korea!
This is my latest find. The package reads, “I feel like SMILE! Some snack!” “Have a Nice Day!” “I feel your heart so close to mind…”
Erm…I don’t get it.
The notebook enclosed in this cryptic packaging displays a injection needle greeting a pill and asking it to be friends. All around the pills it says “Power Up!”
But wait! There’s a matching needle-as-pencil and needle-as-highlighter set, complete with two pill erasers! What is going on here Korea? So wrong in so many ways but the needles have little doctor characters on them, insinuating a medical use in contrast to the assumed recreational use. I guess it’s a difference in culture? I’m grasping here, but I’m thinking that since drug abuse is pretty much non-existent in Korea, this is taken at face value as a doctor-themed stationery set.
We in the Western world would see this deviant, temptress of a needle enticing the pill to hook up and make fun time when in fact, they are promoting “Happy Friends!” Still…gotta wonder if some twisted creator is laughing maniacally somewhere while he counts his profits. Some of my fellow teachers have told me they see these erases around school so they seem to sell.