Archive for the ‘engrish’ Category

strange post to return with, I know

December 30, 2012






I don’t even want to look at how it has been since I last posted here.  In my half-hearted defense, I have posted somewhat more frequently at the Creativiti Project.


I do want to keep writing here and I have some big changes in my life coming up; changes which definitely fit with the title of this blog. Further, I need to plan for 2013 and set some goals and what better place to such a personal activity then on a blog read by …some.


First though, a short post today with some humourous photos.

My son and I were rollerblading in the apartment’s parking lot and we found a sign that I read at “Ee ba to hae 2000”.  If you have the Hangeul character set, it was “이바토해2000”.  My son says that doesn’t mean anything, but I have photographic evidence.












Just before Christmas, I found this sign.

funny2I read it as “Boo Santa Ol” or in English, “Boo, Santa’s coming.”

In other language humour, I texted a friend and offered to pick up his sons and bring them here to play with my son.  He offered to drive them himself.  Quote: “I will pick them down…”  If we assign real value to the phrase “Pick up” I think we have to accept “Pick down”.


This must be a plant

August 24, 2012

With one line of four words in which every word is mis-spelled,  I have to wonder if it is deliberate.

I tried to obscure the website URL, but if you want to see the sign, look near the McDonald’s at Naeng-jeong Station in Busan.

And if you need a Well-being Internet Zone, well give it a try.


Who wrote this? Who would write this?

May 25, 2012


I can understand the thrill of writing ‘bad’ words into the cement as it dried, but the number of people who would write the medical terms, in English, has to be limited… Although I am now thinking of doing something similar should opportunity arise. “excrement”, “Sexual intercourse”, “Female dog”…

‘Bo’s, not Bows, in the rivers

September 28, 2011

I sometimes worry that my voc…., my vocb.., my word-bank-in-head-thing is failing as I spend too much time in Korea.  At other times, such as this, possibly appropriate words that are very technical and arcane are used very nonchalantly in newspaper articles.


The Dong-A Ilbo has such an article with the offending term right in the title.  To my surprise, it’s term  that I want to know.

The article is about ‘Bo’s, or what I always thought were ‘low-head dams’. A google search for weir shows me images similar to low-head dams.  Bos, for which I can find no appropriate images, seem to consist of a weir plus a liftable-gate to control water levels.

I also finally investigated what a ‘barrage‘ was. Turns out it is not only an artillery term. The barrage in Busan looks like a series of mighty jaws that can close to reduce salt influx during high tide, but open to let the river water flow.

About Civil (engineering) offers a comparison:

The only difference between a weir and a barrage is of gates, that is the flow in barrage is regulated by gates and that in weirs, by its crest height.

Barrages are costlier than weirs.

Weirs and barrages are constructed mostly in plain areas. The heading up of water is affected by gates put across the river. The crest level in the barrage (top of solid obstruction) is kept at low level.

During flood, gates are raised to clear of the high flood level. As a result there is less silting and provide better regulation and control than the weir.

Alright, back to the original Dong-A article:

It is chiefly a defense of various bos that will be placed in the four rivers as part of President Lee’s Four Rivers Project.

I am torn about the project for idealogical and ecological reasons.

Ideologically, the Four Rivers Project feels too much like a revamping of the Great Korean Canal Project that would allow ships to travel upstream from Incheon and Seoul via the Han River to Taebaek and down the Nakdong River to Daegu and Busan.  I can see no benefit to such a project and am glad it has been scrapped.

Ecologically, I would prefer that rivers and natural areas be left alone, but humans rendered that option untenable when we reached a number of six billion.  As we are now at seven billion, and our presence is felt everywhere, no place is ‘natural’ so careful management is often the wisest course.

The bos – or low-head dams or weirs – do seem among the most environmentally-friendly of options. As with anything else that is new or strange, we won’t know how well they work until they are built and the Dong-A article ends somewhat ominously:

The bos in the four rivers are reportedly designed in a much more eco-friendly manner than traditional bos because they have the features of weirs. The people must now see the bos of the four major rivers and judge them.


Typos: not limited to my blog

August 19, 2011

On occasion, I’ve joined the ex-pat chorus in commenting on interesting English spelling on Korean signs.  Usually, at the same time, I would offer a disclaimer of sorts for the interesting spelling in this very blog.

Such typos have now been codified: Muphry’s Law

Muphry’s Law is the editorial application of the better-known Murphy’s Law. Muphry’s Law dictates that:

  1. if you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault in what you have written;
  2. if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book;
  3. the stronger the sentiment in (a) and (b), the greater the fault; and
  4. any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.
From Canberra Society via Boingboing

perhaps certain clothing choices are to blame

December 7, 2010

I saw the name for these stockings and the obvious joke came to mind.

I know no woman is ever asking for it, but did nobody in the marketing chain that lead to this name have enough English to understand the idiom?

Not just in Korea

July 3, 2010

Misspellings of English words in professional documents and signs are common here.  But, they do occur elsewhere; the photo below is meant to teach us (okay, me) some humility.

'lightening'?  Really?  Is it getting lighter?

I should say that the first two books of Larsson’s trilogy are fantastic.  I’ll be buying “The girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest” soon.

I recall a Simpsons episode where the swishy male hair stylists were spending a lot of money on “Loafer Lightener”.  Maybe that’s what Larsson has bottled.

Oh, I cannot find this error online anywhere (A screen capture from a google search):

“Move to Aussie”?

April 20, 2010

I have some friends at work from Australia.  I will have to ask them if they refer to their country as “Aussie”.  Certainly, they seem to refer to themselves as ‘Aussies’, but I hadn’t heard that term for the country. Added later: My Aussie coworkers do say their country is sometimes also called ‘Aussie’.  My mistake.

Well, until I read today’s Korea Times, which has an article about Olympic Gold Medalist Park Tae-hwan moving to “Aussie” to train for future events.  In that article you can read about the Beijing Olympic Gold medalist or “Park, the 400-meter freestyle golded boy in Beijing…”

There is s0me interesting information how intensive training is at his level. For me, as a struggling sort-of national level swimmer in Canada, there were only one or two competitions I would prepare to race in best condition for in a year.  Let me break that sentence down.  I competed at several small competitions, and, at those times, I focussed on technique and pacing and the like.  I swam as hard as I was able.  However, on the day before such a competition, I may have trained for six- or seven- thousand metres in the pool.  I was not rested, did not alter my diet, and skipped other preparation activities before race day.  It takes a long time to get to peak fitness, and you don’t actually race at peak fitness.  you reach peak fitness, then begin to rest.  The total metres per day drop and the content of those metres changes.  When I swam at Canadian University National Championships (CIAUs – I think one of those initials is for ‘union’, but can’t remember; no one ever used the full title), I had trained hard for four and a half months and rested for a month.  Around Christmas, I might have competed in a 10,000 metre race, but in February, I wouldn’t be swimming much more than that in a week.

In the week before the race, I followed a high-protein diet followed by a high-carbo diet.  The consensus was that it wouldn’t really help for the distances we would race, but it helped us focus.  The thoughts about the upcoming races followed me everywhere.  Even into my dreams.  On the Wednesday or Thursday before the competition I would have nightmares about the races.  Friday and through the competition, the nightmares would end and the dreams would be about swimming well and with laser-like focus.

On Friday or Saturday morning, I would shave -everywhere the bathing suit didn’t cover.  The suit itself was new, lycra, and six sizes too small.

Wow, I really went on about it, didn’t I?

Anyway, the point of all that is to help explain why Park will not compete in ‘real’ competitions for over a year before his next big one.

Park won three gold medals in the Doha Asian Games in 2006 and snatched one gold and one silver medal in Summer Games in 2008.

However, he collapsed in the Rome World Championships in 2009 in all events he swam in ― the 200- 400- and 1,500-meter freestyle.

However, while training in Australia he took part in the New South Wales State Open Championships and captured three gold medals in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyle.

This time he will not compete in any events during training.