Cream cheese by any other name

I’m curious about how businesses decide which language to use on official signs. The main options are regular Korean, Chinese characters, English written in 한글 (Korean letters) or just regular English. Generally, its a mixture of those options. I always notice the Koreanized English words. For example 카 크리닉 = cah ke-lee-nic (car clinic) or 웨딩 컨벤션 we-deeng con-ben-shun (wedding convention) are just a couple examples that come to mind. I’m sure the Koreanized English or Konglish is a good business practice, I just don’t really understand why. Does the English simply have an allure or official ring to it that encourages customers? Does it ever obscure meaning?

Is the presence of a fancy foreign name more important than the actual product type you are choosing? Here is my example from Caffe Bene’s gelato choices.

The flavours are listed in English and Korean, as you can see in the pictures. The first flavour in Korean is 그린 티 (gud-een tee). (I’m using my own rough Romanizations, but if you say it fast you should get close to the English pronunciation). And this is very useful, because in English it is not written as Green Tea. The English is written as Te Verde (which I guess means Green Tea in Italian).

Similarly, the next flavour is 크림치즈 (cood-eem chee-ju). And in English it is written Formaggio Cremosa (the Italian version again). So now you have probably figured out what is meant by this flavour, but it just proves that gelato sales depend on a sense of foreignness or novelty. And seriously, cream cheese gelato does sound kind of gross. It will certainly taste much better by any other name. Or at least have less calories.


About mwitster

Blogged about teaching English and language learning in Korean and the Middle East. Now, as a Speech-Language Pathologist, hope to post some new info and possibly reflections from private practice.
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5 Responses to Cream cheese by any other name

  1. karen says: it! 🙂 I still think it’s funny that when I tried to help her out by ordering ‘cream cheese choo say oh’ in korea she gave me green tea instead! I should have just stuck with Italian!

  2. mwitster says:

    LOL, yes, its a good thing our barista was a nice person, because her service was rather questionable.

  3. Gail says:

    Wow…I couldn’t decipher any of your phonetic pronunciations! Kind of like trying to decipher a really strong accent.

  4. Phil says:

    Found ya! Started John today.^^

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