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Posted by on Jun 1, 2007

Automobiles in Korea

I was reading an article of one Robert Neff, a longtime resident of Korea, and a fascinating historian. Everytime one of his articles would appear in the press, there was always the expectation that the information would be accurate and altogether fascinating. So much of Korea felt at times like a secret that was kept by everyone; that the real treasures and histories of Korea were always distant, like a mirage. That might have had something to do with my atrocious Korean language skills. Regardless, Robert Neff demystifies the process, opening up some of these hidden treasures to English speakers. The following article is no exception.

Neff discusses the first appearances of automobiles in Korea. These were mostly owned by owners of foreign companies, most notably the mining concessions. Since Japan was the governing authority of Korea at the time time, to put it mildly, they were also responsible for creating the rules of the road and since the owners of these automobiles were primarily English speakers, the Japanese authorities took it upon themselves to translate these rules into English. This might be one of the earlier tangible examples of Janglish, that tantalizing hybrid of English and Japanese (perhaps even the precursor to the familiar Konglish). Regardless, here are the rules as they appear in history.

1. At the rise of hand of the policeman, stop rapidly. Do not pass him or otherwise disrespect him.

2. When a passenger of the foot hove in sight tootle the horn trumpet to him melodiously at first. If he still obstacles your passage tootle with vigor and express by word of mouth the warning “Hi! Hi!”

3. Beware of the wandering horse that he shall not take fright as you pass him. Do not explosion the exhaust pipe. Go soothingly by him, or stop by the roadside till he pass away.

4. Give big space to the festive dog that make sport in the roadway. Avoid entanglement with your wheel spoke.

5. Go soothingly on the grease mud as there lurk the skid demon.

6. Press the brake of the foot as you roll around the corner to save the collapse.

Number five is my favorite. I generally try to avoid the skid demon myself.

To see the article in its entirety, click on the following link. It is well worth a read.

The picture has been taken from the article itself.

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