Well, most of the times, humor is not humorous any more once it has to be ‘translated’, but I think there can be a justifiable exception - which is, when you are studying a foreign language! It’s always good to know more about the culture, and understanding Korean humor can be another fascinating way to help yourself do that!
In Seoul, Korea, there’s a market place called 동대문, and this is where you can find a lot of ‘fake’ goods that look like the authentic ones, but really aren’t real. But what’s funny is, some of the fake goods have ‘proudly fake’ logos that anyone can see that this is a humor, so a lot of people end up buying those T-shirts, bags, caps, or whatever because they like the humor, even if the quality of the goods isn’t guaranteed.
One perfect example of this is the parodies of PUMA.
This is the original logo of PUMA, as you know, the sportswear brand.
And as you know, PUMA can be written as “푸마” in Korean, and there happen to be lots of everyday words that end with “-마”. So, naturally, there are lots of hilarious parody versions of “ㅇㅇ마” or some other words that have the “마” or “아” sound near the end.
Check these out.
PUMA –> PAMA
(파마 means a perm that you have on your hair)
PUMA –> TUNA
(Tuna 튜나 has similar vowel sets to 푸마)
푸마 –> 비만
( 비만 means obesity. Haha. Look at the picture)
푸마 –> 치마
(치마 means a skirt )
푸마 –> 피마
( the verb 피우다 or 피다 means ‘to smoke’ and the verb ending form ‘~마’ shows a will for an action and is often used toward younger people than oneself. So 피마 means “I’ll smoke.̶
PUMA –> PUNCH
( no explanation neeeded, right? Haha)
푸마 –> 피나
( 피가 나다 or 피 나다 means ‘to bleed’, so 피 나 means “I’m bleeding” in informal speech. )
푸마 –> 하마
(하마 means a hippo in Korean.)
푸마 –> 푸하
“푸하” is one of many ways to ‘write’ laughing sounds in Korean.
하하하, 아하하, and 푸하하.
Look at the laughing face of the PUMA.
PUMA –> PUMP
(This one is self-explanatory, too. Haha)
푸마 –> 자나
(The verb “자다” means “to sleep” and “-나?” is a way of asking questions often used by males in informal speech)
So 자나? means something like “Hey, you asleep?” or “Are you sleeping?”
This one is my personal favorite . Haha.
푸마 –> 푸#
# (sharp) is written in Korean as “샵” and a lot of Korean people like to shorten the word PUSH-UP(푸쉬업) to “푸샵”, so PU# means PUSHUP.
Look at the delicate single-handed push-up(PU#) that this PUMA is doing!
What was your favorite? Any quesions welcome!