Friday, September 25, 2009

Engrean fail

Spotted at the Safeway yesterday: 특급현비

While the t'ŭkkŭp part makes sense (특급, special grade), I'm wondering what happened with hyŏnmi (현비, brown rice, unpolished rice).

Were they trying for a combination of 미 and 변 (constipation), since, um, brown rice sorta helps out with that?

Really, you'd think that with the million or so ethnic Koreans in the United States, how hard could it to run this by a proofreader? I mean, even if you don't have a lot of money to pay a proofreader (or just don't want to), there are like a quarter million Korean illegals running around the US. Just grab one!

Epic fail.


  1. Do you think that was deliberate? See...that's the thing that sucks about this "no more hanja" trend Korea went through under President Park (I think it was him). If we still used Chinese characters like the Japanese do, we wouldn't have this confusion and second guessing. Whenever I see stuff like this, I wonder if it has some other meaning, but you really can't tell unless they put the chinese character of it there. I think it's sad that we started to drop hanja more and more in public print, especially with a language that is now based on endless homonyms from Chinese loan words.

  2. I don't think it was deliberate at all. I think someone somewhere in the chain of command mistook the serif ㅁ for a serif ㅂ.

    If I were to show the entire package, with the Chinese writing on the other side (clearly showing 米 for 미) you'd see that the Korean is one featured language, but not the only one. I think the Korean was important to them, but not important enough to take completely seriously enough to verify they were doing it correctly in the end.

    And thus, the latter half of this post was meant to reflect the often indignant comments about how frequently non-native English-speaking Koreans screw up English because they don't have proofreaders.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.