I saw a business named I ❤️ DOG, which I thought could be unfortunate given (some) Koreans’ well-known but diminishing consumption of boshintang. My guess was that it was either a pet-friendly cafe or accessories shop (or both). Looking more carefully the next time I passed, I saw that it was an accessories shop and grooming service. In standard English, I love dog can only mean as food.

I also saw a woman’s handbag with various texts, including I love a dog. This is grammatical, but sounds strange to me. One would usually specify which dog one loved (I love my dog) or state a love for dogs in general (I love dogs). Saying I love the dog would be even more confusing. I really would want to know which dog in particular you  love.

Koreans take their dogs very seriously. I have seen several dogs being wheeled along in what otherwise look like baby’s prams. There is an old saying “Dogs have owners, cat have staff”. Maybe not here in Korea.

(I’ve had students say “I love dog”. Also, from a post in 2015, about a class in 2006-8:

One of my classes was focusing on animals. I`ll mention that dogs are (occasionally) on the menu in Korea. One of the questions was “what characteristics are associated with each of these animals” eg industrious ants, busy bees, wise owls. We got to dogs, and several people said “loyal”, “companions” before one stopped the class by saying “delicious”.)


4 thoughts on “Dog

  1. I remember when I was in Korea seeing someone wearing a T-shirt that said “I’m the good kid.” That can only mean, in English, that one is contrasting oneself with some other presumably bad kid. But I doubt that’s what the wearer had in mind.

    Also consider these 3 English sentences:

    I love chickens.
    I love chicken.
    I love a chicken.

    Three very different ways of interacting with your favorite fowl.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was quick!
      Maybe the wearer was one of twins and the other had “I’m the good kid”. Also, possibly s/he was comparing her/himself to every other child in the world.
      I would also add “I love the chicken”.


  2. Each of the 3 chicken sentences has a plausible interpretation on its own with no preceding context; “I love the chicken” might work if you are in a barnyard with various animals and in the midst a discussion of which one(s) strike your fancy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Within a few hours I saw examples relevant to both recent posts. The fire hydrant in the basement of my wife’s friend’s apartment complex has the instructions:
    The relevant part is ‘A’. Just any fire … English as used in instructions allows dropping articles: Take out hose etc
    Yes, I read instructions for fire hydrants. The Korean is phrased in terms of V-기, eg 호스 빼내기, which I understand is the equivalent of English -ing.


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