[KS] Comedy in Translation

Matthew Benuska nuski at frontier.com
Sat Mar 12 23:53:31 EST 2011

This is a little late in coming, but there are two I'd like to add:

문: What does a vampire like to drink in the morning? 
답: 코피 

This next one I like because it's a direct English translation, so it isn't
funny unless you know the Korean.

A police officer pulled over a motorist for speeding.  The motorist said,
"Please look at me once."
The officer replied, "Not even soup."

Observation/Question: it seems to me that (at least partially) because of
the phonologic and morphemic qualities of the language, Korean (a) has a
high frequency of onomatopoeic words; (b) makes it easy to creat rap songs;
(c) facilitates the creation of new words/neologisms that enter the
everyday vernacular (eg, the use of 당근 instead of 당영), as well as words
that are based on the parts of other words (eg, 공주 = 공부하는주부).  Have
there been any works on this subject?  

With the widespread use of texting and chatting, I suspect there is an
increase in the words being created these days, particularly using the
latter method mentioned above among young adults.  In the US, since cell
phones don't support 한글, this takes the added turn of the words being
transliterated using the English alphabet.  Has there been any study of
this phenomenon?

Matthew Benuska
Secretary-Treasurer, Korean American Historical Society

-----Original Message-----
From: Tommy [mailto:tommychevorst at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 1:56 PM
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Subject: Re: [KS] Comedy in Translation

This is one I've always enjoyed for its cross-cultural qualities:

A 할머니 and a foreigner are waiting at the same bus stop in downtown Busan.
The elderly local spots the bus coming and says: "왔대."
Replies the foreigner: "Monday."
Answers the granny: "버스 대."
To which the foreigner says: "Happy birthday!"

The following Monty Python riddle works in Korean, given the similar sound
of the punchlines in the two languages:

What's brown and sounds like a bell?

A Google search for the Murakami joke ending in "I am 150." proved
fruitless. Would you be kind enough to repost it here?

Tommy Vorst
Ph.D. Researcher in TESOL, University of Auckland tommychevorst at gmail.com

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