Some Korean Words to Know

Every language has its own slang. Maybe if someone who learn another language by standard procedure (of course, they should) listen talks between native speakers who use slangs a lot, He can’t understand what they are talking about. In Korean, there are many slangs. In addition, there are some words that means different by condition. I heard Hanyang university has a program which foreigners can learn basic Korean. Therefore today, I will introduce some slangs and words that can you use in daily life without confused.

First word is “헐”. It is slang This pronunciation is similar to “Hull” or “Hurl”. Many Koreans use this word. This is such an exclamation. You can use this word in many conditions. When you are surprised, you can say “헐!” like “Wow”. Also, you can say “헐…”,when you heard bad news or are disappointed similar to “Oh my god”. It is not obvious where this slang came but maybe it would have been the internet word that used when young people chat by internet. Here is one more tip when you use this slang in happy or surprised condition (I mean ‘not in bad condition’). Add “대박” which pronunciation is “Dae Bak” after “헐”. When Koreans heard very surprising news, they say “헐 대박”

Second word is “쩐다”. It is also slang. This pronunciation is “Zzeon-Da”. It is an adjective. It is very similar to “Cool”. Like cool, gorgeous, awesome or something means “cool”. Although it means cool, it can use to be sarcastic. For example, if you want to say something to your friend who did a stupid thing, you can say “너 쩐다”(Noe, Zzeon-da) which means “ you are cool” with a pathetic expression on your face. ;-)

Third one is about a situation that you call servers in the restaurant. When you are in restaurant and want to call servers, just say “여기요” (yeo-gi-yo). It means “Here, this table!” There are more tips. Those words I will introduce continually are limited to use. I recommend the words use in restaurants which atmospheres are not formal. Actually, I have no idea how to explain that atmosphere but for example, not in a restaurant which sells steak, wine and there are some waiters who wear suits. I mean, a restaurant which you can go with your casual clothes and not luxury. Anyway, in the restaurant I explain, you can see old man or woman who looks like boss of restaurant (maybe they could be young). In that situation, you can say “사장님” (Sa-jang-nim) instead of “여기요”. “사장님” means the boss. Especially, if the boss is woman, you can replace it to “이모”(e-mo). Actually, “이모” means aunt, but Koreans use that words to old woman boss or old woman server.

I think these three things can be used easily by foreigners. Especially, last one will be very useful when you go to some restaurants which are old and traditional. Koreans are funny when foreigners use Korean. Don’t worry about your immature Korean. Most Koreans will try to understand what you are talking about. While you are in Korea for 5 months at least, try to use some Korean words that you cannot learn in regular courses. It will be interesting experience.


Article by Yujin from Korea

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