Magic Marker Meanings

April 22, 2009

About a month ago, I had bought these markers for the whiteboard, clearly labeled “magic markers.” Alright, where I’m from, I’m pretty sure a “magic marker” is one with ink that vanishes after being written, right?

Turns out that in Korea, “magic” means that it won’t go away, regardless of how much you scrub the board with your finger, even if that finger is wet with spit. “DIRTY!” my students said.

After I was rescued by some Korean 409, my co-worker told me, “Magic means forever. Don’t you know?”

I kind of like that idea, that the fact that something is permanent, the fact that something still is, is the thing that’s magic, not a thing’s inherent disposability. I think it’s kind of romantic that way (not to mention accurate, it is a kind of wonder when things don’t go away, isn’t it?).

Though not when you’re trying to erase a board during your five minute break while 6 year olds dancing around you.

Anyway, here are some other meanings in Korean that I’ve found interesting:

The verb for “to ask” and “to bite” are the same (but conjugated differently). I like the imagery of that one.

The word for “husband” translates to “man side.” I find this cute.

The word for “wife” translates to “house person.” This I find not so cute.


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