Teachers Act Up!

Thoughts on Teaching, Language, and Social Change from Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor

What’s so funny? Konglish

Konglish and translingual jokes!

These Korean/Konglish jokes were shared with me by a brilliant UGA student, Ekaterina (Katya) Mushurueva 10/22. I am so grateful to work with such terrific, translingual minds in an asynchronous “e” class entitled LLED 6631e Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. The prompt to students was to read about translanguaging and post a translingual joke (or other creative transliteracy post). Reading student responses has been one of the most ecstatic moments as a professor. Thank you Katya and others for such a great day online!

Katya’s post title: Konglish and translingual jokes!

“The influence of English on Korean is quite substantial: there are many loan words and sometimes almost entire areas of content can be represented by them. Many people refer to this mixture of languages as Konglish, which I think can serve as an example of translanguaging.  Korean is also heavily influencing English due to the Korean waive – rapidly expanding popularity of Korean culture (music, cinema, fashion, etc.) in the west. So many Korean words are entering English, I think the word “skinship” (Kor. “스킨십”) is an interesting example, originally a loan word that found a new meaning in Korean culture and entered English referring to the concept of bonding between two individuals through non-sexual physical contact such as hugging.  So, with this mutual connection and influence of languages on one another, some translingual jokes are bound to appear. Below there are two of my favorite ones.  

Q: What do you call a 5-year-old onion?

A: 오년! (onyeon)

The number 5 in Korean is 오 (o), and “year” is년 . So, 오년 literally means 5 years and sounds like the word “onion” 🙂 

Q: Why did the pear go to the hospital?

A: 배아파서 (baeapaseo)

The word 배 (bae) means both pear and stomach. And, 아파 (apa) from the word 아프다 (apeuda) means pain or ache. So, the response to the question is because “pear/stomach/pear’s stomach :)” is hurting!

I think these types of jokes have a lot of educational potential. If implemented in the classroom, they may become a way for students to acquire new vocabulary by building strong associations with it.” 

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