Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Funny English #2

For those of you who don't live in Korea, Konglish is the name given to the myriad of endearingly peculiar English occurrences that can be found throughout this country. Most Asian countries have their own take on it, but of particular mention is Singaporean 'Singlish', which was brought to my attention a number of years ago by our old Casuarina chef, Jimmy Lai. He had an old cassette tape that he used to play while driving me home after work, with a band that sang entirely in Singlish. They had such hit songs as "Why you so like dat?" and "Ice, Ice Kachang" (to the tune of Ice, Ice Baby).

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Konglish doesn't necessarily refer to the strange pronunciation of English words, but more of their amusing application.
While there's never any consumer backlash in this country, it's amusing to think about what would happen if an Australian pub were named Pretty Beer.

Hypothetical Australian mobile phone conversation (in heavy Australian dialect):
Steven: "G'day Bazza! Didja wanna getta schooner before hittin' the can mate?"
Barry: "Crikey Steve-O! Ah gee, well me sheila's at the footy, so where ya drinkin' mate?"
Steven: "A waterin' hole called, er...  Pretty Beer."

G'day: Colloquial Australian greeting
Schooner: 285 - 415ml of beer, depending on which state of Australia you're in
Hitting the can: Going to sleep
Mate: An associate or friend
Crikey: Exclamation of surprise 
Sheila: A female
Footy: Australian rules football (match)
Watering hole: A place to drink
*Also note the peculiar metamorphosis of names when referring to friends.

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The name of this product is 'Dainty Lamb'. It's a bag of deep frozen lamb chops imported from China. Dainty is a quaint little word that unfortunately appears to be disappearing from the teenage lexicon. It means delicately charming, or exquisite.

It won't be long before we have a brand called Delicately Charming Lamb in direct competition with our old Dainty friends.

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And if you don't need any Dainty Lamb, how about some Fine People? This is a convenience store in Suwon, and a great location for a group photo.

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I snapped this one while in a taxi. Above the exit to the carwash it says 'Wash and Joy'. Considering that they offer both for $10, could it be false advertising?

Well, you never know until you've tried.

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And one of the weirdest things I've seen is Mr Pizza's motto: Love for women.

Mr Pizza is a large franchise chain here in Korea. Can anyone fathom the logic behind this one? The general public here don't seem to notice.

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These "I'm Your Brownie" biscuits are better than my old favourites, called Binch. "I'm Your... ", is currently collecting consumer confidence as a preposterously popular product prefix. They even have "I'm Your Haemorrhoid Cream" at the local pharmacy.


Just kidding.

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On the back of the packet it has a convenient Korean transliteration of I'm Your Brownie into ah-eem-yu-oh-beu-ra-oh-knee. But more interestingly, what's that odd little boxed graphic down the bottom?

That, readers, is the newer form of bar code developed by GS-1, the international authority on bar code standards. You can often see them on airport boarding passes, but they're starting to appear in other places. Alphabets are inefficient methods of communicating numerical information, and while barcodes are better, they only allow single lines of information. GS-1 has developed this series to convey more information to a scanner using less space. As well as product information, they also contain the 'sell-by' date, and are supposed to alert the cashier if customers buy a product that has expired. Looking at the design, I guess that the three outer boxes are for orientation, while the remaining pattern consists of binary information running in two dimensions.

Pretty nifty eh?

7 comments:

bill said...

What an interesting column. You ought to be in newspapers. No joke I did especially enjoy this one. maybe the pizza place is suggesting you give the little woman a break from cooking by taking her out for Pizza or taking it in. Some interesting observations. Somebody said to me the other day, "Where've you been? I don't see you on line anymore." I told them I've been camped out west of Brisbane, learning Australian. (they didn't think it was funny either.) This is a good one Lee.

Lee Farrand said...

Thanks Bill. Actually I included the Australian dialogue with you in mind.

2tonone said...

It looks like the pizza franchise wanted to show that they were women-friendly. I have been to one of their local chains a couple of times when they offered special price and it was quite nice. As a part of women-friendly policy, they offered a big discount on women's day or women's week. Also, they run a panel of reviewers consisting of female college students. All in all, it looks like they target women as their major customer group.

Anonymous said...

In Japan, you can scan some of those barcodes using your mobile phone camera and it will access webpages. I remember some of the teachers at the school I worked at used to do it a lot. MacDonalds often used them.
I wonder if you can do it in Korea too.

ZenKimchi said...

Mr. Pizza's slogan used to be "Love for Woman."

xenok said...

I used to have that Singlish album too (on cassette tape no less)!

I believe Mr. Pizza is a pizza franchise that targets women as their main customer segment. Hence, their slogans being more female oriented.

Xweing said...

My labmate is doing research on this barcode technology... image processing and mobile applications for 3d barcode technology used in healthcare!