Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Your Top 10, in some language

I might be completely missing something here, but isn’t the main market for K-Pop people from about 10 to about 30? And I might be completely stupid, but haven’t most of the people in this group had to study English at school? At the very least, should all these people not be able to read English, even if they don’t understand anything? Amazing what you can get for thousands of dollars and 10 years worth of study, isn’t it? Why am I thinking about this?

A student gave me the Korean Top 100, K-Pop, remember (wink), and I thought I would use it in class. With that is hand, so to speak, I’m keeping an eye on Soompi for the weekly charts. Now, Soompi is caters for people who might not know Korean, so everything is written with the Roman alphabet. Not so for the songs the student gave me.

Of the ten songs in the, urm, Top 10, only three groups/artists have actual Korean names. The others all have names that are supposed to be written using Roman, but of course, none were.

Three quick things about the Korean sounds.
“Ae” is like the “E” in End.
“Eu” is a bit like the sound you make when you are hit in the stomach, like “Uh!”.
“Eo” is like saying “Ah”, but with your mouth rounded

1. Kara, the arse dance girls, became 카라, not to big a problem, except that students shorten the Ah’s to almost nothing so that it almost sounds like Karra

2. 2AM stays the same. I’m still amazed it doesn’t change to 투에이엠 (Too Ae-ee Aem)

3. CNBlue becomes씨엔블루 and that sound exactly the same with Shi Aen Beulloo.

4. SNSD, is actually an abbreviation, in English, of their Korean name. They are also known as Girls Generation. Strange back and forth between the languages going on with them.

5. 민경훈 (Min Kyung-Hoon). Pure Korean here, mate.

6. T-Ara turnes to 티아라. Suposedly they want you to say the name as if it was written Tiara. Good idea in the air, bad idea when printed.

7. 4men is 포맨. This one made me Laugh Out Loud (LOL, for those who still don’t know what that means). The Korean sounds like “Poh Men” Poh? Really?

8. 김종국(Kim Jong Kook). Lay that Korean on me, baby.

9. U-Kiss becomes 유키스, sounding like Yoo Keeseuh

10. Untouchable is now 언터쳐블, Eonteochyabeul. Not too bad, but hands up, students, who knows what that means.


This happens all over the world and I can’t say I like it anywhere, in any language. I am always hearing about how proud Koreans are of their language and how hard they works at learning English, general life contradicts this idea all the time.

On the plus side, I have found a few nice songs in that Top 100, and a few snappy stick in your head songs as well. Demmit!

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