No, ‘No’ Does Not Mean ‘Neh’

Don't Do That!
Don't Do That!

A few years back, when I was working at a newspaper for children learning English, we had an exchange program on the side that we operated. Well, one day, some of our students got in trouble when one of them mysteriously ended up with a broken arm and their trip to America had to be cut short.

I thought of that when I read this post on the Marmot’s Hole. Apparently, some poor English abilities on the part of  some young Koreans ended up getting them slapped with a $300,000 fine because they didn’t understand a “No Graffiti” sign on a national landmark.

The Chosun Ilbo report says the couple claimed in court that because to their poor English, they misread the “no graffiti” sign as meaning they may, in fact, carve into the rock.

Hey, could happen to anyone.

The Chosun also noted that not only was the story receiving interest in America, but also in Japan. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t have heard of it if it weren’t the fourth-most looked-at story on the Chosun Ilbo’s website.

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Migukin has been in the newspaper business off and on for about 15 years. He lived in South Korea for about 5 years total. He co-founded ROKon Magazine in Seoul, South Korea several years ago. He currently is a freelance writer and photographer living in the Richmond, Virginia area. You can read his personal Website at


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