Life in Korea: 100 Korean words to sound more like a local (part 2 of 3)

To my wonderful veteran expat readers - 'Life in Korea' posts are aimed at the newer expats among us. Think of these as the Idiot's Guide to Life in Korea - helpful for some, and a review for others. Please feel free to contribute what you know in the comments!

UPDATED 4 September 2009 9:32am: Some more updates / corrections / improvements from the comments - hat tips to Gomushin Girl, The Sanity Inspector, and asadalthought. While this post was not meant to be encyclopedic, I'm humbly accepting further suggestions :)

UPDATED 3 September 2009 10:29am: Some minor updates and corrections, as noted in the comments - hat tips to Paul Ajosshi and Alex for their help.

Presenting some more Korean words to add to your Korean vocabulary. Check out part 1 here.

The directions
  1. 왼쪽 - Win-jjok - left
  2. 오른쪽 - O-reun-jjok - right (HT to asadalthought for catching the typo)
  3. 직진 - Jik-jin - straight. Just 쭉, or jjuk, also counts. (HT to asadalthought for catching the typo)
  4. 북 - buk - north
  5. 동 - dong - east (HT to Alex for catching the typo)
  6. 서 - seo - west
  7. 남 - nam - south
The periods of time
Important: just like in English, one needs to add a number before the unit of measurement. Also remember that in Korean, there are two different kinds of numbers - the 'Korean' numbers (hana, dul, set) and the 'Chinese' or 'sino' numbers (il, i or ee, sam). (HT to Gomunshin Girl for pointing that out).
  1. 년 - nyeon - year (when referring to a date)
  2. 세 - se - year (when referring to age)
  3. 월 - wol = month, as in which month it is (1월 = January, 2월 = Feburary, and so on). For counting months, 개월, preceded by a number, is used - for example 3개월 means 3 months (HT to asadalthought for the clarification)
  4. 일 - il - day
  5. 시 - shi - hour as in the time (use Korean numbers) or 시간 as in 'how long' or when counting time (HT to asadalthought for pointing that out)
  6. 분 - bun - minute (use Chinese numbers)
  7. 초 - cho - second (HT to asadalthought for catching the typo)

The terms of endearment

Some disagreements over terms of endearment in the comment - if your significant other happens to be Korean, feel free to clarify for the rest of us!

  1. 애기 - ae-gi - 'baby' or 'honey', said by a guy to a girl (Gomushin Girl suggests it's "not a very common endearment, and is more often used as an atypical pronuciation of 아기 which means the kind of baby that is a child, not your girlfriend.")
  2. 자기 - ja-gi - 'darling', said by a girl to a guy (HT to Alex for suggesting 자기 literally means 'self' - I can't speak for the dictionary, but Google Translate shows 'darling' as 사랑스러운 사람, which when translated back means 'lovely people'. My head's beginning to hurt...
  3. 여보 - yeo-bo - 'darling', from one spouse to another
The common words

  1. 있어요 iss-eo-yo - to exist; when asking if someone has something. For example, asking 방 있어요? (bang isseoyo) asks 'Do you have a room?' (literally, 'room exist') (HT to Alex for catching the typo)
  2. 없어요 - eob - seo - yo - doesn't exist, usually a response to the previous word.
  3. 거의 - geo-ui - almost, more or less
  4. 아차 - a-cha - 'oops'
  5. 아이고 - a-i-go - 'geez' or 'come on' - (perhaps "its nearest equivalent is the Yiddish "Oy!" - HT to The Sanity Inspector)
  6. 마트 - ma-teu - mart (Konglish) - a store to most of us. Try to pronounce more like 'mat' than 'mart'.
  7. 사거리 - sa-geo-ri - 4 way intersection (note the first syllable determines how many roads meet, thus 사, or 4 roads)
  8. 할인 - har-in - discount
  9. 입구 - ib-gu - entrance
  10. 출구 - chul-gu - exit

The curses (use with caution and only when absolutely necessary!)

  1. 바보 - ba-bo - stupid / a fool
  2. 냅둬 - naep-dwo - leave me alone / bug off (might also be pronounced 맵도 - I think the person you're speaking to will get the idea either way - HT to asadalthought)
  3. 뻐꾸기 - bbeo-ggu-gi - literally 'c***sucker'
  4. 새끼 - sae-ggi - similar to 'motherf***er' or 'bastard'
  5. 씨발놈 - pronounced sshi-bal-lum - 'f*** you' or 'f***ing bastard' (HT to Paul Ajosshi and asadalthought for the correction)
  6. 미친놈 - mi-chin-nom - 'crazy guy / bastard'
  7. 입닥쳐 - ib-dak-chyeo - 'shut the f*** up'

Perhaps best saved for a bar or the times a local really pisses you off.

33 last time, 34 this time, and 34 to go in part three - stay tuned!

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe - 2009