Friday, April 22, 2011

My students' notebooks are cuter than yours.

No, seriously; they are.

Any foreign teacher in Korea will tell you that the school supplies here are off-the-charts adorable. Usually when I walk around my classroom, my students get all nervous because I peer at their desk. They think I'm thoroughly checking their work, but it only takes approximately 0.7 seconds to proof-read, "Go straight and turn right." Nay, I am desperately trying to memorize their Konglish-riddled pencil cases and notebooks.

For those of you just tuning in, I'll elaborate. Depending on who you ask, 'Konglish' is a term referring to either
a) The Korean words that sound exactly like English ones (although this linguistically would be referred to as a dipthong)
or b) The poetic, romantic and completely incorrect English sentences crafted by Korean manufacturers and put all over t-shirts, billboards, and-- of course-- school supplies.

I've been wanting to snap some photos of the rare and beautiful[ly silly] Konglish notebooks for some time now, but it looks a little suspicious to whip out a camera and start taking pictures of merhandise in a store. However, while grading notebooks the other day, I realized I had the perfect opportunity in front of me, stacked 18 inches high.

So without further adieu:

 It may or may not come as a surprise that the phrase, "Let's go together" is incredibly common here...
so much so that I find myself using it in everyday conversation now. Oh boy.

Pictured on this notebook is a shot of the London Eye. Notebooks here often show cityscapes of famous locations around the world, and come complete with a caption that either a) was lifted directly from Wikipedia and is incomprehensible to most Korean schoolchildren, or b) has a lot of advanced English words, but is not applicable to every day English (pictured above).

"Special day!"... "How are you?"... "Love is a splendid thing"... what do all of these phrases have in common? Nothing, but the smiling ice cream doesn't seem bothered by that.

This caption's intent is supposed to be romantic, but kind of comes off a little stalker-esque.

That's right. People have to be redeemed redeemed. 

 Not related but really cute: my student wrote "over" at the end of their homework. I gave them a smiley.

Even Snoopy is not free from the powers of Konglish.

This one is actually pretty cute. It's a stunning example of all the times mushy love quotes go right on Korean notebooks. I can't tell you how many times I've seen "I'll wait for you forever" on a book, pencil, eraser (okay, maybe not an eraser; that would be kind of an oximoron).


The thing that amuses me is that, no matter how many jokes I make about these damn school supplies, I know I will be returning to the States with a box full of them.
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