What Are Some Funny Konglish Signs in Korea?

What Are Some Funny Konglish Signs in Korea?

You're in Korea and you see a sign in English. But the grammar is wrong and the words make no sense. What is going on? Seoulmates, let us introduce you to Konglish!

What Is Konglish?

Konglish is the term used to describe English words and phrases that have been adapted to Korean culture. It's a unique language of its own, often mixing English and Korean together in ways that are both funny and confusing for native English speakers.

Confused Jungkook

Image Credits: Courtesy of Darcy via Pinterest

Konglish can be found everywhere in Korea, from shop signs and posters to slogans used in advertisement campaigns. If you take a walk around any city in Korea, you will likely come across Konglish signs that make you chuckle.

What Kinds of Konglish Are There?

English is one of the hardest languages to learn. So it's no surprise that translating it can be difficult.

First, there are specific rules for grammar and punctuation. Some Konglish sentences may be spelled right, but have a comma or period out of place.  

No Smoking sign with a twist

Image Credits: In My Korea via deMilked

Another reason for Konglish fails is that some English letters don't exist in the Korean alphabet ("R"), while others are hard to pronounce and can sound like an entirely different letter ("B" and "P"). So you'll get spelling errors like this one.

Hot cream crab salad with a twist

Image Credits: DC CopyPro via Instagram

And finally, there are signs where the words don't make sense at all. You end up with messages that are bewildering, awkward, or ridiculous, even if you can guess the original meaning.

Hostel sign Korea

Image Credits: Steve Mohundro via Flickr

The Funniest Konglish Signs and Posters!

Now that you know more about Konglish, we'd like to share some of our favorite posters and signs that made us laugh.  

Warning: Some rude language and innuendoes due to mistranslation.

Sign about taking off clothes to stop COVID spread

Image Credits: DC CopyPro via Instagram

Hand-washing? Masking? Apparently, one of the best ways to curb COVID-19 is to be naked. We wonder how long this translation stayed up before someone changed it. 

Orange sign with cute mascot

Image Credits: Journalist on the Run

We appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into this sign. We didn't know littering was such a threat to tourists. 

Red cabbage

Image Credits: Jimmy Kwon via Instagram

The Korean words for "red" and "enemy" are similar. Apparently, Google Translate confused the two. Another reason why you shouldn't let robots make your signs.

Painful toilet sign

Image Credits: Image via In My Korea

Go to Korea, and you'll find many hilarious bathroom signs. This one takes the cake: is it the toilet that's in pain, or the people? Either way, maybe it's better not to use the toilet here.

Coffee shop sign

Image Credits: Eillie Brown via Flickr

When you combine a love of coffee, poetry, and Konglish, you get this beautiful mess of a sign.

Picture from a dictionary with orange raincoat and cane

Image Credits: Bored Panda via Pinterest

While it's not entirely wrong, we don't think seniors will appreciate this translation for "cane"! We also don't know why it's paired with a raincoat.

Summer festival sign gone wrong

Image Credits: findingminwoo via Instagram

Like "red" and "enemy," "beach" and "b*tch" are very similar in Korean. We're as confused as BTS' V: where are we going?

Direction sign

Image Credits: fusion311intro via Flickr

We love signs that tell us exactly where we need to go.

Steak shop sign

Image Credits: Courtesy of In My Korea

What do you get when you cross a movie quote with Konglish? This food truck sign. The angry mascot makes the mistranslation even funnier.

Bathroom signs

Image Credits: DC CopyPro via deMilked

More bathroom signs! The second one should say "Don't flush except for toilet paper." We wish our troubles could be flushed away that easily. 

Suggestive sign for a cafe

Image Credits: Bored Panda via Pinterest

We're pretty sure the sign means "Delicious food made with love for you." There's no other cooking going on at this cafe.

Mistranslated book

Image Credits: Kimmo Raisanen via Flickr

The book has a good message. We can't say the same for its spelling.

English Termination Center sign

Image Credits: Image via In My Korea

Good English starts and ends here!

This Waegukin loves soju poster

Image Credits: Image via RedBubble

Our last sign is clearly a work in progress. Fully translated, this poster says, "This Waegukin loves soju." If you like soju and visiting pojangmachas (or pochas), then we've got something for you. 

ÔĽŅSeoulbox: Korean Snacks That Make Sense

Konglish is a fun way to explore the Korean culture and get a glimpse into how English and Korean interact. But why not pair it with a delicious, and less confusing, Seoulbox? 

March Seoulbox

Image Credits: Image via Seoulbox

Seoulbox is a monthly subscription box service that provides unique snacks from South Korea. Inside, you'll receive an array of sweet and savory Korean snacks that are sure to satisfy any taste buds. You'll also get Kpop merch, a drink, and a beautiful magazine. Sign up for Seoulbox today!

Open Seoulbox with person's hand holding Blackpink Oreos

 

Image Credits: Image via Seoulbox

Did any of these signs make you laugh or puzzled? What are some other funny Konglish signs you've seen? Take care, and happy Konglish-ing!

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2 comments

Best email ever! Lots of fun.

Lesley

My name is kellyann I m deaf full, I read get save it I will read often there. Thank you. I will plan to order this summer. Wait be patient ok

Kellyann

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