The 20 Korean Words That Your Friends Will Love

Often times, people who learn Korean have spurts of motivation, and then lose momentum at one point or another. One of the most critical pieces to successfully learn Korean is to make sure that you make it fun! This is true whether you are just starting to read Hangeul (Korean characters) or you’re approaching fluency.

If you want to spice things up when you learn Korean, impress your Korean friends, and have a lively conversation topic for most occasions, then read on!

Perhaps you are familiar with the term “onomatopoeia” in English. This simply means a word that imitates a sound. For example, “beep-beep” for a car horn, “woof-woof” for a dog, and “bang” for the firing of a gun.

The words below are onomatopoeia (의성어in Korean) commonly used in Korea. Some are animal noises, and some are everyday noises you hear. These can be used as fun conversation starters if you’re first meeting Koreans or visitors from other countries. It’s a great laugh to hear how other cultures represent animal noises. You can also surprise your Korean friends by telling them how you “pigged out” yesterday at the buffet, and then making the 꿀꿀(ggul-ggul) noise afterwards!

(Note: These words are written in both Hangeul and Romanized English. If you haven’t learned the Korean characters yet, you can learn them in about an hour for free here.)

1. 멍멍 (mung-mung) - Bark of a dog.
2. 야옹 (ya-ong) – Meow of a cat.
3. 꼬끼오 (ggo-ggi-oh) – Crow of a rooster.
4. 꿀꿀 (ggul-ggul) – Oink of a pig.
5. 음메 (eum-meh) – Moo of a cow.
6. 개굴개굴 (gae-gul-gae-gul) – Ribbit of a frog.
7. 부엉부엉 (bu-ung-bu-ung) – Hoot of an owl.
8. 구구 (goo-goo) – Coo of a pigeon.
9. 찍찍 (jjik-jjik) – Squeak of a mouse.
10. 까악까악 (kka-ak-kka-ak) – Cackle of a crow.
11. 따르릉 (dda-leu-leung) – Ring of a telephone.
12. 똑똑 (ddok-ddok) – Knock on a door.
13. 빵빵 (bbaang-bbaang) – Honk of a horn.
14. 쾅(kwang) - Thump of something dropping.
15. 쪽 (jjok) - Smooch of a kiss.
16. 딩동 (ding-dong) - Ring of a doorbell.
17. 콜록콜록 (kol-lok-kol-lok) - Sound of a cough.
18. 엉엉 (ung-ung) - Cry of a baby.
19. 칙칙폭폭  (chik-chik-pok-pok) – Choo Choo of a train.
20. 쨍그랑 (jjaeng-keu-lang) - Clink of wine glasses.


If you feel the need to mix things up when you learn Korean, try incorporating these words into your everyday conversations for added fun. Also great anytime you need to communicate with animals!

What are the words for these sounds in your native language? Do you have a favorite onomatopoeia word in Korean? We will look for your comments below!

Photo Credit: bittegitte

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