When KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken] first translated its advertising slogan:
"finger lickin' good" into Chinese, it came out as "eat your fingers off".
Engrish is the name for the occidental writing which appears on Japanese signs. The companies, or their sign writers, wish to give a product cachet, but the result is a funny English phrase. To the Japanese readers, the Engrish words are meaningless since most
speak English about as well as most westerners speak Japanese. Little do they know that the English translation has a fatal flaw.
- Funny Engrish Signs in
- Menus Are a Great Source
of Funny Engrish
- Will's Suitcase
Is in There Somewhere
- Carefully Slip and Fall Down
- Please Do Not Smoke While Walking - Classic Engrish logic
- Shooting Yourself in Foot?
- No Dying? Chinglish Engrish
I first saw this Engrish dialect back in the 1960s; a company I worked for
imported goods from Japan. The written correspondence occasionally had
the sort of faux pas you see on this page; at that time I thought it was an
ex-Brit having a joke, but now I can see that the Japanese Engrish disease is rampant. Incidentally, you may have heard of Franglais, those
funny French ---> English translations, they probably pre-date Engrish.
Please get a punch at Window No. 2 - No thank you!
Some Japanese Engrish signs are also Spoonerisms, this is where they transpose the first letters of two
words to make funny phrase, for example: Soul of Ballad (Bowl of Salad).
One common brand of Engrish is where a word is spelt phonetically as in warter.
A variation is when an incorrect homonym is used, the spelling is correct, it
SOUNDS ok, but it's completely the wrong word. One of our favourite funny
Japanese phrases is on this sign seen on a barber's shop: 'Speciality Hair
'Luggage Disembowel' is a classic type of a Japanese Engrish sign where the writer has not quite
got the translation correct. Judging by the sign they probably meant 'Lost
Luggage' or 'Left-luggage Office'.
Is it oriental magic? This sign prevents foreign tourists from getting
The Origins of Engrish
One of the roots of Engrish lies in pronunciation; in spoken Japanese there
is no distinct L and R sounds. However, they do have a consonant that
is somewhere in between these two sounds, and the problem arises when they
translate an R or L into English if they get it wrong it results in a funny
Another source of Engrish is when the translator uses literal equivalents
instead of the correct context.
Gives you a healthy mouth and fresh
Gives you strong mouth and refreshing wind.
Bin there and got the tea shirt!
Carefully Fall to the River. (These funny Engrish pictures are so polite)
Another feature of funny Engrish signs is that while all the words are correct, the sequence does not make sense.
See also funny Chinese signs.
'Do not dangle any doll' conjures up amusing images.
The above amusing sign photographed at the entrance to Wat Arun Temple,
While Engrish is primarily associated with Japanese or Chinese mis-translations, the term is now used to encompass funny malapropisms from other languages.
Kids' Swear - They Sure Do
Surprisingly, most funny Japanese signs, and especially phrases on garments, are not an
attempt to communicate. Japanese designers merely use English as a vehicle
to give products a modern look and feel. Incidentally, you can see Engrish
in reverse, look out for Japanese or Chinese characters on hats, shirts and
tattoos found in English speaking countries.
Classic Engrish example - Con Shop
Engrish has distinct forms, here we have a Malapropism, 'drying --> 'dying'.
On close inspection I saw a second funny phrase in the above notice.
Not only is there 'Keep table cleaned after dying', but also there is: 'Thanks
for your corporation'. On the menu was: 'Hot Bowel of Soup'
Use No Hooks - Handle with Cake
Alternative to Japanese Engrish - Inglish Jokes
Dear sir, with reference to your above see my below - popular opening
line in official letters.
- Teachress - a female teacher.
- Timepass - a trivial activity that passes the time.
- She freaked out last night - she had a good time.
- Your lyrical missive has enveloped me in the sweet fragrance of our
love - from a book advising lovers on how to write to girlfriends.
- Premesh Patel has left for his heavenly above - a death notice.
- Hue and Cry notice - title of police missing person newspaper
See more Inglish jokes.
Engrish is our language. No exetions learn it.
Will and Guy Always Thought the Japanese Were so Courteous - Until we saw this
funny Engrish sign
When carrying a parasol please be careful to get in the way of other people
Funny Engrish - Color Loser. I cannot help wondering if the Korean
phrase is equally funny.
Please send us your pictures of funny Engrish signs