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More 바보 English in the Classroom

Not sure what 바보 (pronounced babo)  is? If you’ve been here only a short while, you may not know. 바보 is silly, crazy, stupid, dumbass, or any of several other similar epithets one might throw around.

I wrote an article a few months back about the 바보 English I was seeing in the classroom. It seemed like every pencil-case a student had was chock full of poorly spelled, ill-formed sentences in English. For whatever reason, English on a pencil-case, book, bag is a selling point, whether it’s crap English or perfectly formed.  It’s a little telling as to how effective teaching English is here when the parents who buy it and the students who use it typically have no idea the English is so horrible.

I’ve made it a point in my classrooms since to broadcast poorly selected classroom accoutrements to all the students. I read the sentence and explain the errors to the class, but I don’t forbid them from bringing them. These days, the number of 바보 English articles has dropped dramatically. Not because of my feeble efforts, but because of the marketing machines out there. I see a lot of the Simpsons, SpongeBob Squarepants, and classic Disney, and usually, the English is minimal, consisting only of the character’s name and perhaps a short phrase. Tie in an article with a popular animation and you’re guaranteed a sale.

Still. there are those companies that continue to pump out gear with 바보 English thinking they have the marketing genius to sell. Here’s is the latest installment of my classroom’s 바보 English gear.


This one, from, is typical. They can’t even be bothered to put the .kr on their web address (clipped from the far left in this image.) Maybe they are ashamed of their products and don’t want the kids trolling there.  They should be ashamed. Because English so good.


While the majority of this pencil case’s text of actually quite good, I really whish they had used a spell checker on the enormous title. They’d have learned that while whish is indeed a word, it is an onomatopoeia, a word created to suggest the sound it describes. But that was probably too big of a word for them to understand. But hey, it’s in the dictionary, and bigger is better, so they kept it.


When I read this I hear Smeagal muttering about his precious ring. “My precious! We knows! We knows! We knows we can use better grammar.”


I did a poor job of focusing my camera on this picture. But I think it makes a nice point about how poorly they focused their words towards a single theme. Nothing spelled incorrectly or grammatically in error, but I get the impression they simply scratched around for English phrases in some book, much like a chicken would scratch around for specks of grain or bugs in a barnyard. Just what a transparent man is in soccer I fail to grasp.


This gem was on a notebook. If the English doesn’t kill you, the butter milk and sugar recipe will. But how one shakes with shake escapes me. Ice tubes are an invention I have yet to come across. But what the tubes possess, as evidenced by the apostrophe, I haven’t a clue. I suppose that’s left for the reader’s imagination. And then one must enjoy too drink. This one seems a perfect example of the designer having used a spell checker, but has little English comprehension beyond that. I hope he choked on his recipe.


Now, who can resist a cute panda? Perhaps they thought the cuteness would overshadow the fact that neither sentence is correct or completes a theme. This designer is a idiot and has about as much English sense as a apple. I wold fire him  if he didn’t unchanges his mistakes.


I saved the best for last. You knew I would because it hopes that wait. Wait…what? This pencil case, made is China, is the absolute worst I have ever seen of any of the classroom 바보 English. I don’t have the faintest idea of what it means to say, if anything. I think the Chinese designer, having been told that English sells, took his English/Chinese dictionary outside. He let the pages flutter in the breeze while he snatched random words from the pages. Those words when phonetically spoken in Mandarin made a lovely poem that earned him both high praise from his overseers and an extra bowl of rice.

Got more? I’d love to see examples of 바보 English from your classrooms.