Language Problems

If you’ve ever lived in Asia, you will have noticed that English is used there as a dressing or decoration. Nonsensical English is randomly inserted into pop songs, splattered on advertisements and can be found pressed onto sundry products from pencil cases to t-shirts to umbrellas. English is used, not to communicate something, but rather to draw attention to something, or in the case of music to sound cool or cute. These misuses of English can at times feel disrespectful, while at others display a stunning level of laziness.

Take this lyrical sample from a song by a Korean girl-group called Chocolat:

Oh yeah~

그 얼굴 닳아질라 널 자꾸 보게 돼 baby baby

너 귀가 따가울라 여기저기서 니 얘기뿐야

Woo~그 hair, fashion 모든 게 it style 닮고 싶은 hot style

Boo 떠오른 new icon uh huh

빠 빠 빠 빠 빠져 버린 걸 헤 헤 헤 헤 헤어날 수 없게

너땜에 앓고 있잖아 모두 다 la la la la like me

폐 폐 폐 폐 폐인이 된걸 너 너 너 너에게 중독돼

이순간 Shake me up Fill me up Heal me again

널 새겨 놓은 my eye eye eye eye 멋진 그 목소리 in my headset

어떡해 미쳤나봐 낮이나 밤이나 니 생각뿐야

Woo 그 ment, motion 모든 게 issue 폭풍눈물 tissue

Boo 빛나는 new idol uh huh

[Source: The Grand Narrative]

Now, to be fair, the Korean part of the lyrics are also inane gibberish, but the atrocious mixing in of English words is truly bewildering. This song is by no means alone in its stupidity; nearly every song produced in Korea has some English thrown into it, and it’s insulting and disrespectful to both languages. That being said, this is a phenomenon which is not limited to Asia, and it needs to stop. If you’re going to write a song, pick one language and stick to it.

As to the lazy side of things I’m going to share with you two visual examples, which I myself found:

First up we have a “rounge bar” by the name of MellowSoul (which, by the by, does nothing to assuage the stereotypical Asian mispronunciation of ‘r’s and ‘l’s).

There are two types of incorrect language use common to Asia. The first being purposefully mangled English used as a decoration. The second being an unintentional mistake, as is demonstrated in the sign pictured above. Now, I don’t have a problem with people making mistakes when speaking a language that is not their mother tongue, but I do have a problem with the outright laziness and carelessness involved in making a mistake in printed English. Think of it; not only did the owner(s) of the bar not bother to spellcheck their own sign, the people responsible for making the sign didn’t bother to check it either.

The second example I have to show is this Korean magazine ad for the “GrandDink125i”.

While the previous example showed a failure to spellcheck, this one shows a failure to culturecheck. If I was putting out a product that was going to use a name from a language that is not English, I would be damn sure to check with a native speaker of that language to make sure that there was not something strange or laughable about the name I chose when read by a person who regularly uses that language. Again this demonstrates astounding laziness; this time on the part of the bike’s design team.

What makes all this laziness so much more aggravating is that there are several sources that a would-be business owner, sign-maker or scooter designer could easily use to check their English before they make a final decision. Thanks to the internet it would take perhaps at most two minutes of their time in order to make themselves not look like idiots.

[To see a whole lot more terribly used English check out Engrish.com]

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