One of the more interesting things I’ve come across here in Korea is the use of English by emerging speakers. The one that often makes me chortle is the use of the word funny.
Often in conversations, I’ll hear something along the lines of, “That movie was very funny,” or, “That book is very funny.” While this may be appropriate if one was speaking about a comedy, but this is often used to describe an action movie or drama. What I’ve surmised is that the use funny to mean good stems from how English is taught in Korean Public Schools.
More often than not, an English word is only given with its Korean definition. Only in advanced studies are English Words paired with English definitions. So since people tend to associate good things with things that are also funny, the relationship sticks. Therefore, students only learning English in their youth may develop an improper use of the word. You’ll also hear people describe something as funny-good as a result. It’s something that I’m trying to correct by insisting in my classes that only English-English dictionaries be used and all vocabulary lists I provide will only definitions in English.