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Archive for the 'Humor in Korean' Category

Is your belly button bigger than your belly?

Hi everyone, did you all have a good start of the new year?

From reading the signboard, can you guess what this pub is emphasizing? ๐Ÿ™‚


If you can, you really understand a lot of Korean! But even if you don’t, don’t worry because it’s an old saying, and it’s only a part of the original saying. The saying goes “๋ฐฐ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋ฐฐ๊ผฝ์ด ํฌ๋‹ค.” which means “Your belly button(navel) is bigger than your stomach.”

Korean people say this when someone forgets what’s really important and ends up making or doing more of something that is extra. For example, when you see someone taking a taxi and paying 100 dollars in order to go shopping to a cheaper mall and save 50 dollars, or when you see someone cooking just for three people and buying the amount of ingredients for 30 people :-), you can say “๋ฐฐ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋ฐฐ๊ผฝ์ด ํฌ๋„ค!” or “๋ฐฐ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋ฐฐ๊ผฝ์ด ํฌ๊ตฐ์š”.”

And here, it only says ๋ฐฐ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋ฐฐ๊ผฝ, but not Korean people would be confused about what it means because it’s a very common saying that one gets to hear a lot at home or on TV ๐Ÿ™‚ (no one would think “๋ฐฐ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋ฐฐ๊ผฝ์ด ์ž‘๋‹ค” or “๋ฐฐ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋ฐฐ๊ผฝ์ด ๋ญ?”)

So this pub is saying that they provide with more than ten different free side dishes for ordering beer or soju ๐Ÿ™‚ as it’s written on another signboard right next to it. In Korea drinking often means a lot of soju or beer and even more ์•ˆ์ฃผ(side dishes), and how much ์•ˆ์ฃผ you’ll get served (along with how good they taste) is an important factor in deciding what pub you will frequently go with your friends! ๐Ÿ™‚

์กด = zone?

Walking around in Korea,ย amongย many otherย interesting shop names, you willย seeย a lot of names that have the letter “์กด” in it. But even if you look up the dictionary,ย you wouldn’t find just the right meaning for what you see in some of the store or product names, other than the meaning of ‘respect’ or ‘existence’, and of course they’re not what ์กด means in most sign boards.

Look at the name of this PC Bang.


It says ์กด์•ค์กด PC๋ฐฉ and in English it’s written Zone&Zone. But what does Zone&Zone mean and where does it come from?

And look at the beverage below.


What does ๋ชจ๋ฉ”์กด mean? What does ๋ชจ๋ฉ” mean and what’s the meaning of ์กด here? Of course you can’t find any of those words in the dictionary because this name is also a word play.

Do you know the word “์ข‹์€” or “์ข‹๋‹ค”?

“์ข‹๋‹ค” is the basic form of the adjective that means “to be good or nice”, right? And ์ข‹์€ is the form you use when you say it in front of a noun, like ์ข‹์€ ํ•™์ƒ, ์ข‹์€ ์‚ฌ๋žŒ, ์ข‹์€ ๋‚ ์”จ.

And if you pronounce ์ข‹์€ three times fast, it becomes ‘์กด’ ๐Ÿ™‚ย  and now you know where it comes from.

So, ์กด์•ค์กด could mean just ‘zones’ย ย (but possibly not) but most people would think of a good PC ‘zone’. And ๋ชจ๋ฉ”์กด is a simplified spelling of how ๋ชธ์— ์ข‹์€ sounds. ๋ชธ์— ์ข‹์€ means ‘good for your body’ therefore “๋ชจ๋ฉ”์กด ์•Œ๋กœ์—” means Aloe that is good for your body. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Some people are opposed to using too much simplified spelling in brand names like this because these word plays might ‘destory’ the rules of the Korean language, but even if they were to name everything correctly like ์ข‹์€ ์•ค ์ข‹์€ PC๋ฐฉ or ๋ชธ์— ์ข‹์€ ์•Œ๋กœ์—, even more words are being simplified on the Internet already! ๐Ÿ™‚

ํŠ€๋Š” ์•„์ด, t=i

This is a photo I took in ๊ด‘์ฃผ(Gwangju), the city I was born in, when I visited my parents the other day. I always love the humor found in these kinds of signboards and store names because they make it so much easier to remember the names and also show the effort that the store owner(or someone else) must have made to come up with such phrases or names.

What you see is [ t = i ], which means nothing in English. But if you pronounce it, it’s a different story ๐Ÿ˜€ The mathematical sign ” =(equal) ” is read as “๋Š”” in Korean, as in “์ €๋Š” ใ…‡ใ…‡ใ…‡์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค”


So if you read it in Korean, it’s “ํ‹ฐ(t)๋Š” ์•„์ด(i)”.

And as you can see in the bottom part of the signboard, the name is supposed to mean ‘ํŠ€๋Š” ์•„์ด’.

Of course there’s a clear distinction between ํ‹ฐ and ํŠ€ since ํ‹ฐ is [ TI ] and ํŠ€ is [ TWI ], but if you say them both just quickly, they sound similar.

And the expression ํŠ€๋Š” ์•„์ด is very interesting too, because ํŠ€๋Š” (or ํŠ€๋‹ค in its basic form) is not in the dictionary yet. If you look it up in your dictionary, it will say “to jump” “to run away” or “to spatter” but ํŠ€๋‹ค in daily conversations often means “to stand out” or “to be unique or peculiar in style”.

ํŠ€๋Š” ์˜ท = very unique clothes (it’s NOT some clothes running away)
ํŠ€๋Š” ํŒจ์…˜ = peculiar fashion (it’s NOT some fashion jumping up and down)
ํŠ€๋Š” ์–ผ๊ตด = a very unique face, a face that you won’t easily forget (it’s NOT a face that spatters)

So ํŠ€๋Š” ์•„์ด means “a kid that stands out or is noticeable” (because of his/her clothes – this is what the store name is supposed to mean), so you can guess that this store is a clothes shop for kids. ๐Ÿ˜€

I really loved this name, and wanted to share it with all of you.

Thank you for reading! ๐Ÿ˜€

์•„์›ƒ๋ท ํ•˜์šฐ์Šค

The OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE’s franchise restaurants are also found in Korea, and they are spelled “์•„์›ƒ๋ฐฑ ์Šคํ…Œ์ดํฌ ํ•˜์šฐ์Šค” and it’s very popular here, especially among young women (or maybe ONLY among young women and some young men who want to impress them.) ๐Ÿ™‚ Having a meal at ์•„์›ƒ๋ฐฑ ์Šคํ…Œ์ดํฌ ํ•˜์šฐ์Šค is quite expensive compared to cheaper and more regular meals, because an average lunch or dinner in Korea would cost about 3,000 won ~ 6,000 won (US$4~7) but a meal at ์•„์›ƒ๋ฐฑ ์Šคํ…Œ์ดํฌ ํ•˜์šฐ์Šค starts from 20,000 won (US$ 23). But the food is good, and the service is excellent, so the high price doesn’t stop people from going there.


And I saw this funny signboard of a steakhouse near my campus, called ์•„์›ƒ๋ท ํ•˜์šฐ์Šค.


๋ท is not just a funny and wrong spelling of the word ๋ฐฑ in ์•„์›ƒ๋ฐฑ, but it actually means something, and you will never find it in any Korean English dictionary you have. But it’s usued quite often in Korean chat rooms online.

The word ๋ท comes from this singer named ๋ฌธํฌ์ค€, who used to be a member of the male singing/dancing group H.O.T. until the team was broken, and he became a solo singer afterwards amist worries (because he’s not the most talented guy in singing, obviously).


In his last album he had a song that had the English word “BREAK” in the lyrics. And no one knew what he said before reading the lyrics and people thought it somehow sounded like “๋ท”, a word that doesn’t exist, and ever since then, the word ๋ท has been used to mean that you’re upset or not happy with something or you even think something is disgusting. ๐Ÿ˜€

So it’s used like this:

A: ์•ผ, ์‚ฌ์žฅ๋‹˜์ด ํฌ๋ฆฌ์Šค๋งˆ์Šค์—๋„ ์ถœ๊ทผํ•˜๋ž˜. (Hey the president wants us to work on the Christmas day too!)

B: ๋ท!!

So any Korean who knows this word would have a good laugh out of it, so I thought it would be good for you to know, too!


By the way, I haven’t been to this ์•„์›ƒ๋ท ํ•˜์šฐ์Šค yet, but my friends say the food is very good there. ๐Ÿ˜€


Look at the name written on this signboard of a (probably) fried chicken restaurant (์˜ค๋งˆ์ด์น˜ํ‚จ= Oh my chicken) . What do you think this is a parody of? It’s obviously not a literal translation of “์˜ค, ๋‚˜์˜ ์น˜ํ‚จ” or “์˜ค, ๋‚˜์˜ ๋‹ญ”, right?

Of course, you would often hear Korean people saying “์˜ค ๋งˆ์ด ๊ฐ“!(Oh my God!)” in a joking manner even if they don’t really speak English, but looking at this ์˜ค๋งˆ์ด์น˜ํ‚จ, I am sure 90% of all Korean people who use the Internet (which is … almost everybody) would think of the name “์˜ค๋งˆ์ด๋‰ด์Šค”.

์˜ค๋งˆ์ด๋‰ด์Šค( is an online newspaper that has the motto “Every Citizen is a Reporter(๋ชจ๋“  ์‹œ๋ฏผ์€ ๊ธฐ์ž๋‹ค)” and it was founded 7 years ago in 2000. It’s an interesting form of media because about 20% of all the articles from are written by 55 freelance reporters who are mostly ordinary citizens, yet this online newspaper has such a big influence that it even had some obvious influence in the result of the presidential elections in December 2002.

Not everybody likes this newspaper because it’s very progressive in its views, but it is gaining wider and wider readership because people feel that other major daily newspapers are influenced too much by pressure from outside and it often publishes articles that you cannot find in other newspapers or articles that talk about the same topics but in a different point of view.


So, it would be no surprise if EVERYONE told me that they thought of ์˜ค๋งˆ์ด๋‰ด์Šค when they saw ์˜ค๋งˆ์ด์น˜ํ‚จ – it’s THAT influential, or at least its name is widely known. Ohmynews also has an English site for global news and its content is 100% contributed by citizen reporters from all over the world. Take a look at ” ” if you are interested.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll try to introduce some more topics that would be helpful for you to know in understanding the Korean culture, including these kind of ‘parodies’ found in signboards, so if you have any questions or requests, please let me know.