Go Premium
Facebook Twitter Google Plus

Discussing Interesting Contemporary Korean Slang

August 4, 2013


Share Post

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!



Share Post

Korean Slang


Discussing Interesting Contemporary Korean Slang


Leave a Reply

  1. 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

    2 years ago
    • 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

      2 years ago
  2. 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..

    2 years ago
  3. 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 :)

    2 years ago
    • I think a more effective way to learn to pronounce is to look up videos on hangul writing and reading…

      2 years ago
  4. 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 ^^

    2 years ago
  5. Same here. Then again, I’ve also never heard anyone say “crunked.” I believe here the word is “wasted”.

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

    2 years ago
  7. 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…

    2 years ago
  8. AH, that sounds awesome! =D

    2 years ago
  9. 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^

    2 years ago
  10. That’s what I thought it was this whole time. I never knew people used the word in the manner that Leigh explained. I was soooo confused. >.<

    2 years ago
  11. 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.”

    2 years ago
  12. 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.

    2 years ago
  13. 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.

    2 years ago
  14. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
  15. 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

    2 years ago
  16. 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!


    2 years ago
  17. Never tell your mom…Awkward…

    2 years ago
  18. 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!

    2 years ago
  19. love this new segment. finally soo zee and leigh have their own series, which is pretty cool. i like the ending where you had 1 person disappearing. i would like to make a suggestion: instead of having a jump cut, you can try to overlay a frame of just the background (split screen), just make sure the camera is fixed and the lighting didnt change. it’ll look much more convincing =)

    2 years ago
  20. Thank you so much for doing a language section! It would be awesome if the words also appeared in romanji and there was a focus more on particular words than entire phrases :) Maybe have Leigh and Suzee say them, then act them out / use them in different contexts. They’d be easier to remember that way.

    Question: What can you say in Korean to politely refuse a drink? I can’t drink due to medical reasons and I’m afraid while I’m over there people will take my refusal as ‘shyness’ or just plain rudeness.

    2 years ago
  21. So excited for this new segment. Would you be able to put the English pronunciation in the blog post? I can’t read Korean~

    2 years ago
  22. Not sure if I should say this or not . . . OK I will.

    Best D.I.C.K.S. on the internet ever!

    2 years ago
  23. …I’ve never actually heard the word crunk used irl and I’ve lived in america my entire life. is that really a thing?

    …ps…lol dicks XP

    2 years ago
  24. Pretty sure I can’t be friends with someone who uses the word ‘crunk’ seriously lol

    2 years ago
  25. This was really cool and interesting, you should definitely do more. My only suggestion would be the addition of romanized subtitles of the korean phrases along side the hangul.

    2 years ago
  26. This was awesome! Good work. But one tiny suggestion would be to maybe subtitle the korean with english characters (still spelling the korean words) so I can understand whats being said without too much research. I’m trying to learn but I can’t read or listen at video speed.

    2 years ago
    • but then it may as well not be a video for me just a blog post. I like seeing Soo Zee and Leigh interact and pausing every time some characters come up kind of ruins that. I’m just saying it would be more enjoyable for a wider audience if they did this.

      2 years ago
      • I can read it and this video was just too fast for me to understand (even the speech) without pausing the whole way through… its kind of like being told “wah you’re korean is really good but why don’t you know more?” I am learning for fun and to me roman characters help me hear and understand how the word works. I know it can’t be spelled “correctly” I just felt a little left behind on this. But i really enjoyed it and did learn alot.

        2 years ago
        • People have different aims when learning languages. I respect your opinion but still wish it was more open for a wider audience.

          2 years ago
  27. I’m so envious of everyone who is able to find Korean classes in their area. There are just none where I live so the internet is my teacher and at times is no fun at all. However, despite hearing about Talk To Me In Korean from S&M, I never looked them up. After seeing you mention it right now I went over to look at their page and feel like such a dunce for not going there before. They have great comprehensive set up that I know works for my way of learning, especially for an online setting. Hopefully I can finally learn to master the double vowels, I struggle with those so badly.

    Agree with the suggestion you make for more screen time with the word. I’m super slow at reading Hangul, especially when it’s a new word. And I agree with a few others on here who ask for a slower pronunciation of the words at least once to hear it clearer.

    2 years ago
  28. Speaking of “놀자!”, I just noticed that Eric Nam used it today in his tweet to Henry ;]

    2 years ago
  29. Ahhhh if only I knew the taxi thing BEFORE I went on vacation to Korea! @,@

    2 years ago
  30. 매일은 수지 점점 더 예뻐요.
    Yeah, I said it, 깡다구 좀 있는데? 응?

    2 years ago
  31. THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED IN MY LIFE!!!! I’m so glad to see Suzy and Leigh get their own segment! Also, I have the exact same problem as you Leigh. Even though I self-study, I’m terrible at speaking 반말. I try to steal phrases from dramas or tone down more formal words but I also feel like I’m offending someone so I just give up. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else you guy will teach in these segments!

    2 years ago
  32. wow I found this super informative :) thanks Soo Zee and Leigh. It’s these little korean phrases that you can’t really learn in proper books and the taxi tip was great *thumbs up*

    2 years ago
  33. I am from the Midwest, in the US and have never heard anyone use the word ‘crunk’, other than Kesha in her song. It’s usually sloshed, wasted, or just getting drunk.

    Is there any way that you guys can post transliterations of the Korean phrases?

    2 years ago
  34. We used the taxi a lot of times and never got refused.. We just went into the taxi and showed on a map where we wanted to go.. whenever. :’D

    2 years ago
    (sorry for the caps, I’m just so excited *imagine crazy person* :P )
    I’m not cursing (often Hehehe~) but knowing some slang in other language is a must (like not to have dumb smiley face when you’re been cursed and say something in your defense!)

    It was bugging me since I watched Oh My School show (a very while ago) lol
    The word that sounds similar to [SPASIBA] in Korean, what does it mean and how does it spelled in hangul??
    [Coz you know it’s just “thank you” in Russian and well… I even dunno how to say “I’m Russian” not to get a look for “russian saram” – besides WHY it’s “RUSSIAN saram” and not other O.o ??? – and with “spasiba” too… awkwaaaard (-__-‘) ]

    2 years ago
    • Yeah, I know it was supposed to be funny, but the MC was like “Are you cursing at me?!”
      So I thought it IS a Korean curse word… maybe I’m wrong? Korean speakers correct me pls! ;)

      Lol is it like in Turkey every easy woman’s called “Natasha”? (especially if she’s blond – I dunno why most foreigners assume majority of russians are naturally blond lol it’s actually the opposite! :P )

      2 years ago
      • You mean 씨발 ? (thanks to google translate lol)
        Is it used in Korean same as in English? I mean the phrase “f*** off” will use ssibal or not? :P

        2 years ago
  36. I think Soo Zee looks better brunette :)

    2 years ago
  37. One problem I have is the level of words.
    Like when its mild, strong and then plain rude or swearing
    like in what order would words like 놈, 나쁜놈, 새끼, 백치, 바보
    or 암캐, 계집, 기집애 and 말괄량이 go?
    (I heard this last one in a drama from an older lady and had to look the spelling up)

    sometimes I hear words being used in negative and casual ways between friends
    and its hard to tell at what point in the scale the words are rude and only used when you’re mad or trying to be offensive
    so maybe SooZee could give us examples of different levels
    like words you would use when joking around vs words used more in a negative context when you’re cussing someone out

    2 years ago
    • Yes! I want to know about that too (:

      2 years ago
      • 기집애! it actually changes being on how you us it but in the case of CL’s new song 나쁜 기집애 it can be translated to “bad girl” but most likely CL is actually saying i am a “bad bitch.”. 기집애 is actually a non-standard colloquial form of 계집애. Back when Korea was still under rule of the Chosun Dynasty people used 계집애 it was a pretty degradetory term and still is. The word would be used to alluding to the lower status of women back then. in morden days people say 여자 because it’s more polite.

        기집애 how ever is commonly used on it’s own but can be used like this
        나쁜 기집애
        여우 같은 기집애 – 여우 같은 means Foxy translated Foxy B****
        독한 기집애. = 독한 means Stiff so translated Stiff B****

        you wouldn’t ever use this word in a good way because it’s most negative so i wouldn’t used stuff like this it’s just akward “좋은 기집애”, “똑똑한 기집애 .”

        the only friendly us for the word that you will here is if you are with your close girlfriends “some girl friends or will say these are my B****” Mom’s will sometimes use it when there annoyed with there daughter and you will also her it when guys are upset because the girl is breaking there heart.

        Other then that it’s a pretty bad word out side of those.

        2 years ago
  38. Did anyone else immediately put the Korean phrases into Google Translate to see what would pop up as the English translation? It’s pretty funny.

    2 years ago
  39. I love this new segment so much so I REALLY hope it continues! I loved it and especially the taxi thing. I feel that is SO useful so if I were to ever need that 2AM taxi, I would know what to do.

    2 years ago
  40. I am loving this new segment! I am glad SooZee and Leigh have their own segment now.

    2 years ago