Saturday, February 5, 2011

영어 Slang of the Day #15: "Big ups" to @IAmNorthKorea on Twitter. What's "Big ups?"

Now, This is Funny and Instructive
I just saw this on Twitter, from a user called @IAmNorthKorea, who posts ironic tweets about North Korea.

North Korea
North Korea delighted the troubled people of Egypt today with its kind donation of SEVERAL EXTRA PYRAMIDS.

As many people know, humor in a foreign language is difficult to understand.  Native speakers, and especially those that know anything about Korea and Egypt separately, will find this especially funny.  

Why is this funny?
There is still debate about the origin of the pyramids in the first place.  The question has been raised:  did Egyptians even build the great pyramids?  If you want to really create a riot, just go to Egypt and yell this through a megaphone somewhere in a crowded place.  This will offend almost all Egyptians.  It would be like asking whether there were really Korean "comfort women" held captive by Japanese during WWII.  Maybe, you would get a more violent reaction from the Egyptians.

Kim Jong-Il has achieved a great many things, impossible to conceive.  Here is a funny list.  Michelle Wie (my favorite) better look out:  apparently, Kim Jong-Il can beat her very easily in golf.
When you add the two together, you get an answer to both:  Kim Jong-Il was the creator of the pyramids, and due to the current unrest in Egypt, the Great Leader may graciously add some more.  

What does "Big ups" mean?
"Big ups" is a relatively new phrase which basically means that you support, compliment, or think positively about something or someone.   When someone accomplishes something great, or something of which you approve, then you can use the phrase "big ups."

(o)  Big ups to Kim Yuna for winning the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
(o)  Big ups to my 누나 for gaining entry into 서울대학교 (Seoul National University).

This is almost "street talk."  It is definitely not appropriate for formal speeches and/or writing academic journals or presentations of any sort.  It is the language that you may hear on something like Korean MTV or Ingki-kayo (인기가요).

Other words can also be used instead of "big ups."   The most popular of these is "props."  That would directly replace "big ups" in both examples.

Please "Like" this post and/or follow me on Twitter.  Comments always welcome....


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