korean slang

Korean Slang: The Good, The Bad, & The Strange

If you want to talk like a native, then you are going to need to learn some Korean slang. Of course, there is so much slang in any language that it is almost impossible to keep pace with it, and it certainly isn’t possible to write an article containing every piece of slang ever, especially when some slang is only used on a particular television show or by a small group of people.

Instead, this article aims to teach you the most common and useful Korean slang, the stuff that you need to know. It will teach you the good, the bad, and the weird, which incidentally the name of a Korean movie that will teach you the first slang word of the article. ‘The Good, The Bad, The Strange’ is a Korean ‘western’ (no prizes for guessing which western film the title is based on) starring Lee Byeong Hun (이병헌) of G.I. Joe fame.

Expat slang, part 3

Why a part 3? Because slang is always being created. Check out part 1 and part 2 if you need a few more.

bus ballet (n.) – that delicate dance people do when standing on the bus and hanging onto the handles, all the while hanging onto 2 bags of groceries or a manbag.

A: Dude, are you OK standing up on the bus?

B: Sure, no problem – I got this bus ballet down.

Expat slang, part 2

Since the first expat slang post, a few new phrases of expat slang have been overheard. Add what you know and enjoy!

Keyboard condom (n.) – the thin, plastic-film-like plastic cover found on Korean keyboards. Often taken off the keyboard by Westerns more interested in typing than fighting with a piece of plastic.

I can’t type nearly as fast with the keyboard condom on.

Typing with a keyboard condom is like typing with rubber gloves on.

Hongdae Standard Time (n.) – the hour to hour-and-a-half difference between the scheduled start time and actual start time of a Hongdae concert. See also Itaewon Standard Time; other versions are heard around the world.

Current Korean slang amongst expats

UPDATED x2 21 Dec 2010 with another big one.

UPDATED 10 Dec 2010 - a hat tip to the commenters for remembering some I forgot!

So what if the Korean language is not your first language? You can still use it in a way that's probably not used by the locals. These are the examples I've heard - or used - of recent:

chunner: referring to a 1,000 (cheon) won bill.

Do you have a chunner?

Give me a chunner and I'll buy you a Coke.

manner: referring to a 10,000 (man) won bill. Pronounced 'mahn-ner'.

Give me a manner and we'll call it even.

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