Hay guise! Simon and Martina here. We just wanted to give a small intro to this segment and blog post, before Leigh and Soo Zee take over. Basically, they’re Discussing Interesting Contemporary Korean Slang. Yep. There’s the intro. Hope you like the segments!

As you folks well know, Soo Zee is a pretty awesome human being. She’s never even been to America, but she makes Lil’ Jon jokes and knows who Flight of the Conchords is. She’s all DON’ WORRY ‘BOUT IT, GIRRRRL, I GOT THIS. Wanna argue about who’s a better producer — Primary or Penny — in Korean? Sure. In English? No biggie.

But me? I get the panic sweats whenever I have to talk to anyone in Korean. Soo Zee likes to make fun of my awkward Korean; because I learned in a stuffy classroom, my sentences are all polite and suuuuuper uptight. I only know the kind of don’t-get-your-외국인-butt-kicked Korean that impresses ajummas who catch you reading a book, but makes the young and hip (i.e., Soo Zee) snort in your face. If Soo Zee had a catch phrase, it would be “Leigh, nobody says that. You sound ridiculous.”

So we figured there might be some other people out there like me, who need a good dose of Nasty injected into their Korean. And there might be a few of you out there like Soo Zee, non-native speakers with super kick-ass English skillz who are confused about whether crunk is a Saturday night activity or a style of dance. I leave you in her highly capable hands. Take it away, Soo Zee.

Leigh does this thing that Korean people do; deny their talent, say “No, I’m not really good at it,” but are secretly really GREAT at whatever. I’ve never had a problem understanding Leigh’s Korean.

BUT I do have a problem with her formal way of saying things, as if we are not friends. (Leigh, we are friends….right?) So I’ve been trying to drag her down to the dark side of Korean slang, teaching her words I use, my friends use, and actual young Korean hipsters use! Case in point:

깡 / 깡다구 / 강단

It means several things:

A) Someone who has the nerve to say or do something,
B) Someone who has a bold and strong character, or
C) Someone who is pigheaded. Having a backbone is good, but this word also contains the nuance of being stubborn and rebellious. When someone says “저 새끼 깡 좀 봐라?”, this is definitely NOT GOOD. They are saying this because they feel offended and disrespected.

Also, as much as I want to find an English word with the exact same meaning, sometimes THERE JUST ISN’T ONE!!!! I’m not secretly hiding the meaning from you, that’s just how it is. I’m going to give you some example sentences of how to use 깡, but they don’t have equivalent English meanings, so instead I’ll tell you when you’ll hear them, or when to use them.

(to use when someone does something gutsy and impressive)
저 놈 깡 좀 있네?
깡다구가 세다.
깡으로 버티다.
저 사람 강단있이 일을 밀어붙인다.

(If you hear this, you have gone too far)
저 새끼 깡 좀 봐라??!


Crunk’s meaning is pretty easy to remember since it sounds like (and means) to be drunk. However, there is some debate on whether getting crunk is used in the present or past tense. I polled a bunch of mates and it seems the correct answer depends on where you live. All you crunked Nasties out there, let me know! Set the record straight!

Anyway, crunk(ed?) has a definite party feel to it, and you’ll only ever hear to GET crunk or to BE crunk. There’s no crunked out, or crunking off, or crunk-a-licious. Thus, acceptable ways of using crunk include:

(to your friends, in regards to going out and partying)
Tonight let’s get crunk!
Awww man, I’m so crunked.
I wanna get crunk this weekend.

In the video we poked fun at the Korean phrase, “놀자!” but we didn’t get to talk about “오늘 미친듯이 달리자!!” which is the Korean slang for pretty much the same thing. You might be wondering, “Isn’t 달리자 running? Yes it is, and no, it doesn’t mean, “Let’s get together and run like crazy.” It means “Let’s get crunk!” I don’t know how and why, but this is what we say!

Bonus Round!

Lastly, a note on Korean taxis. 승차 거부, or refusing passengers transport, has become a big problem in Seoul. Getting refused by a taxi at 2AM when you are tired, cranky, and a little bit drunk SUCKS!! It’s not only foreigners who are kicked out of the taxi, it happens to Koreans a lot, too.

Taxi drivers are pretty scary in Seoul, so whenever this happens I tend to just shut up, don’t argue, and get out. They refuse customers mainly because the area you are heading to is not a busy place where they could pick up another customer on the way back, or the distance isn’t far enough for them to make a profit. BUT IT’S TOTALLY ILLEGAL!!!

It’s gotten to be a big enough problem that Seoul city has a public center for reporting 승차 거부! If the spirit moves you, you can definitely file a report. Repeat offenders get in big trouble with the po-po. If you call 02-120 to complain, they’ll ask you for your location, the time of the incident, and the license number (found on display inside the car), license plate number, and name of the taxi driver that brushed you off.

Here’s what counts as 승차 거부:
1. Refusing to take you to the destination you requested, either before or after you’re in the taxi
2. Ignoring passengers trying to flag down a taxi, even though the empty taxi light is on
3. Kicking you out of the taxi, citing fake reasons such as, “You have to go to the other side of the street,” or “this is the wrong direction,” and other such poppycock.
4. Locking the doors and gesturing so you can’t get in the taxi before you state your destination
5. A reserved call-ahead-taxi that refuses once assigned to you.

So, yeah! That’s it for this week’s segment. It’s not going to be a weekly thing, but hopefully every two weeks or so? We’ll see. Let us know what you think, if there’s anything we should change or add, or if there’s anything you want us to talk about or try to explain. We’ve got a few ideas lined up already, but any and all suggestions are more than welcome!

And, if you like it, make sure you’re subscribed, so you can see more of them in the future!

  1. But…leigh no one use crunked. If you go out with friends and that one guy friend says “we’re gunna get totally crunked.” YOU LEAVE HIM. IMMEDIATELY. The entire group will do ninja antics to try to run away from the lamness of that one guy who said the word: crunked. its like saying “broski” and not doing it to be ironic.

  2. In songs i always hear they use the word eobseo(if that how you spell it). What does that mean?

  3. Haha I rmb the first time I took a taxi in Korea with my friend the driver was scolding us………..

  4. Soo Zee, can you please talk about what “aigoo” means? It has different translations on Korean dramas, or they just put “aigoo”. Thanks!! :-)


  6. Hmmm I cant read korean so its hard to understand how to say those thigs. Is it possible that you could like, but the korean words also in alphabets so we can learn them better? Still liked this vid very much. Leigh and Soo Zee are so cute :)

  7. What about when Korean people started using the word “fighting” ? they use it ALOT and I alweys wonderd where that came from?

  8. Will Soo Zee be doing DICKS when you guiz come to Australia by any chance?

  9. Please type the romanization of these words so foreigners like me can see how to pronounce it

  10. I have a question for Soo Zee…what does it mean when you hear “bul gum”? O_o I have a friend and she tells me this sometimes and I don’t understand what it means…maybe TGIF? Or maybe I need to just study my Korean more ^^

  11. Man, I love this segment already! You guys have an amazing chemistry.
    “Party shijak!” That was adorable! Thanks for the tips guys!

  12. Hey… there is no (ED) on the past tense of Crunk… its just Crunk…..as an adjective… “That party was super live, we were crunk!” (ok, I admit, the convo would not be as proper with someone who would actually USE this word… it would be more like this… “Man, Damn that &()&&T&% was CRUNK”…yeah… something like that) lol…

  13. Crunk (n.) – The worst abomination from the depth of the southern U.S. ever to hit the hip-hop scene. Words alone cannot describe how horribly base it is. ex. “YEEEAHHHH!!! N****Z WE ‘BOUT TA GIT CRUNK!!! OKAYYYYY!!!” see also: reggaeton, dubstep

  14. More of this! Love this new addition. How else do you learn a new language? The bad words!!! YES!

  15. OMG I DIDN’T KNOW THAT 승차 거부 WAS ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!! Omg this was totally useful thank you Leigh and Soo Zee!!! If only I knew this when I was still in Korea. I was refused transport a couple of times just because my place was too near for the ahjussis to make a profit! I was so lost and tired and I was carrying a lot of things rawr. T.T Had to walk three bus-stops home (alone and in the dark, I might add). Was really glad nothing happened to me.

    In other news, crunk and kkang was really ICK! Looking forward to future DICKS ;)

  16. if you guys can explain the meaning of the different stuff that happens on Kpop music videos that will be great, like for example for a long time i didn’t know why PSY said in recent video “wet psy” during the pool scene and then found out that it was because he was in a variety show and he was doing something and his armpits got wet with sweat and being the funny person the he is he show them to everybody. If you do like the idea you can start to explain -T.O.P – TURN IT UP-, cause i really like it but i could not under stand the video but i keep thinking “that’s got to mean something”.

    Any ways love guys and all you do, and much love from your Nasty of Colombia.

  17. Hahahaha, I like this segment ^v^ although I always thought that whoever started the word ‘crunk’ was actually crazy drunk hence just combined the two words and got ‘crunk’ ^U^

  18. If one of my friends used the word “crunk,” I would look at them like they are weird and using outdated words… Kinda like if they were to use the word “gnarly.”

  19. Is there a word in Korean that sounds like the Italian word for thank you which is Grazie? In Brown Eyed Girls Sixth Sense right before she says Gracias (Spanish for thank you) she says a work that sounds like Grazie and I believe I saw in the comments (sometime ago) for the music video that the singer wasn’t actually saying Grazie but a similar sounding word in Korean. Now I haven’t looked up the Korean lyrics or translation for this so I do not know if this comment is true or not.

  20. Could you maybe put translations next to the words your talking about. When I get to the korean in the sentences “____ such and such ___ .”

  21. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the language warning. It is much appreciated.

  22. I’m American and i have never heard Crunk… wow… i learn something new everyday

    • Lol where have you been? JK

      “Crunk” is mostly a Southern thing (it started in Atlanta). I hear it all the time since I live in Memphis, TN. But now, people say “turned up” instead of crunk, so “turned up” has replaced “crunk”. May “crunk” RIP lol

  23. I lived in Daegu SK for 3 years and never once did a taxi ajhussi kick me out of the car or refuse to take me where I wanted to go. Of course it was probably because Seoul is about 3-4 times the size of Daegu. Interesting phrases though, like Leigh I studied Korean in classroom setting and didn’t learn much slang.

    • I lived in Korea, and i was kicked out of one with my mom and sis because he didn’t want to make a U-turn..lol

      • Omg yes! “—>Kicking you out of the taxi, citing fake reasons such as, “You have to go to the other side of the street”
        I wonder why they hate u-turns so much. I was refused a ride because he said a u-turn was necessary. Like WHAT?!

        • I also remember that we weren’t exactly “kicked out”…lol… he wouldn’t take the u-turn and wanted to take a longer way to get paid more, so my mom jumped out with us and we ran away… haha

  24. Wow. I think that this segment is an awesome idea and the format was great and will be even greater with a few tweaks but…….. I just couldn’t sit through more than half of it. I love SooZee and Leigh but somehow……it was going so fast and furious it was hard to keep up with, like when 2 old friends discuss funny past events and forget to fill in the details for someone who wasn’t there? I will try again but I just wanted to mention it as something to think about.

  25. It’s better if you learn without the romanizations. The hangul vocabulary is so much easier than chinese letters or characters. It just took me 2 minutes to memorize all the letters with g-

    • I learned reading hangul without romanizations. MANY people mispronounce the roms. so 가 gets mispronounced as the “ga” in “gag” when it’s like “ga” in “gaga” xD it’s easier to learn by listening..

  26. SooZee so sexy oooh…

  27. I am wondering if you guess can talk about play word 말장난 The hardest part of learning a language usually lies in getting its joke. so many of my korean friends have inside jokes because of the language and it’s hard to understand. i sort of just learned how to laugh on que but i don’t know what i am laughing about have the time.

    • I think part of it is because most of those jokes depend on certain cultural context, and often very contemporary one at that. Stuffs NOT written in any text books. To get those humor, you need at least intermediate understanding of the language, and live there significant amount of time.

  28. I love this i can’t wait to see more of this. My new word is 놀자. haha the way soozee said it was priceless its something you clip out and randomly put it in a video

  29. Boy, I always thought Soo Zee was a Korean American.

  30. I’m a thirty-something from the Midwest; I’ve only heard crunk (never with an -ed on the end) and only used in a mocking or satirical tone.

  31. This segment was really fun! *hello Leigh and Soo Zee 선배님! :) * Great work! :D

    I find it very useful that you write the expressions in the blog post. It would be helpful, though, if you could break down the sentence in the blog post as well…for example what would be the stem word of “봐라”… I hope that’s not too much to ask since you’ve got such busy schedules. If it isn’t possible, it’s ok :)

    For the next segment I was wondering if you could talk about the expression “멋져부려 하벌라게”? Thank you!


    • 봐라 comes from 보다 “to see” or “to look”. 저 새끼 깡 좀 봐라 means, basically, “Just look at the nerve of that guy!” Another useful word here, from Yiddish: chutzpah.

        • 보다 is also the origin of the mild imperative ending -봐, as in “see if you could…”. So, literally, 소원을 말해봐 means, “Could you see about telling me your wish?”.

          By the way, have you used Naver’s English dictionary (endic.naver.com)?

        • Oh I didn’t know about this dictionary. I’ve been using the Daum one(dic.daum.net) and weeklykorean.com/dictionary/. Thank you for the detailed explanation and for the dictionary link. It does look useful. :)

  32. wahaha i just loved Soozee’s “I’m so prettaay!”

  33. is it possible to include the eng meaning of the korean words on screen so it’s easier to pick it up visually?

  34. How does Soo Zee manage to speak English almost without an accent? I’ve been learning English for years but still awkward when I try to speak it :O I was kinda lost with the hangul since I couldn’t read it at all and Korean romanization has a lot of versions, unlike Japanese romaji.

  35. Not sure if anyone else has already mentioned it. But I know a little Korean and I can read it but I feel that this segment would be better if you put the Korean word and phrases also Romanized for those that need it. And then put at least a loose English translation beside it too.

    Anyways good job guys!

  36. omg its D.I.C.K.S!! that is just amazingly fantastic, baby!

  37. what? I never thought that korean taxi drivers are such ass*oles!

  38. This is completely like Korean Like a Pro segment that you had!–Oh wait, the end of the video just showed it. I suck at speaking languages other than the few I already know, so I think I better leave some of there words for other people to try.

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