Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Colloquial Korean

Kim Tae-hee, my first wife.
Hey all.

No MHIB release today unfortunately, but you get a short thing I'm writing up on interesting Korean words you may not have known (and a picture of the best Korean actress ever).

While I translate Korean manhwa, I've encountered some interesting phrases or words that don't tend to show up in dictionaries. Here's a few:

1. 대박 (dae-bak)
Meat dae-bak!!
It has the meaning of "awesome." This is often used by Koreans whenever they encounter something that's a bit more extraordinary than usual. It's used as a reaction word, or indication of something that will promise to be amazing/great. I've heard it used both positively and negatively.

Person 1: 야,나 오디션 통과했다!! (Ya, na odee-shun tong-gwa-hett-da!!)
Hey, I passed the audition!!
Person 2: 오!!! 대박!!!!! (Oh!!! dae-bak!!!!!)
Oh, dae-bak!!!!

Just spam it in response to anything exciting, and you'll fit right in.

2. 얼짱 (ulzzang / uhl-jjang)
Who can say no to this face?
You might have seen photos around of these "ulzzang" which I've seen translated as "best face." That's its literal meaning - it basically means someone who looks very very pretty (both male and female). It's combined two words: 얼굴 (uhl-goohl) which means "face" and 짱 (jjang) which means "best."

In Korea, there's a lot of emphasis on your physical features and people look down on you if you don't look yeah. But "ulzzang" are the best of the best, the cream of the crop - those people who look so damn pretty they make money for posing in front of their cameras.

If you haven't heard of the term before, you might recognize the Japanese version - イケメン (ikemen)

Person 1:누나, 내 새로운 여자친구 사진 봤어? 여기, 봐봐.. (nuna, nae seh-roh-oon yuhja chingu sajin bwassuh? yuh-gee, bwa-bwa...)
Hey, have you seen a photo of my new girlfriend? Here check it out...
Person 2: 완전 얼짱이잖아!!야, 거짓말하지마!! (wan-jun ulzzang ee-jana!! ya, guhjit-mahl hajima!!)
Hey, she's a total ulzzang!! Don't lie to me!!
Person 1: 진짜라고!! 내일 대려올께. (jinjja ragoh!! nae-il dae-ryuh-ohl-ggeh)
I'm serious!! I'll bring her over tomorrow.
Person 2: 헐... (huhl...)

3. 초고수 (cho-goh-su)
Every Korean male has played this
So I actually had to ask on chiebukuro what this meant once. And it turns out, it means someone who's pro as hell (in anything). I think it can be used with a lot of things, but I've seen it used a lot in martial arts/sports/games.

Person 1: 야, 나랑 스타크래프트 좀 놀아줘! (ya, narang starcraft jjom nohl-ah-jwuh!)
Hey, play some starcraft with me!
Person 2: 싫어요...형 너무 잘해요! 완전 초고수잖아요...(shil-uh-yo...hyung nuh-moo jahl-hae-yo! wan-jun cho-goh-su janayo...)
I don't want're too good! You're a total cho-goh-su.
Person 3: 그르니까 실력을 좀 키워라고 (geuh-reuh-nikka shil-lyuk eul jjom kiwuh-rahgo...)
That's why I'm saying you should work on your skills

That's about it. Hope you found it interesting.


  1. Thanks for the cute lesson:)

    funny post & thanks for mhib <3 please update faster <3

  3. For the longest time I thought that that picture was you, I'm so slow OTL

    1. Interesting...not only am I taken as a woman, but as a beautiful woman...wahaha

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hmmph... brainfarts ruin comments D:

      What I was saying:
      Honestly, I thought YOU were that pretty lady on the picture, too... at first, haha.

      Thanks for the interesting Korean lesson. If it isn't too much work, I think I'd like more of them in the future (it's up to you, of course :D).

      And thank you for all your work on MHIB~

    2. Interesting.........HAHA
      I'm glad you found it interesting. I might alternate between short Korean and Japanese pieces, if I do write more in the future
      Thanks for commenting :)


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