Korean words I accidentally use when talking to friends

Inspired by korean words I accidentally use when talking to friends ㅋㅋ post of hanmiso. ^^

Just like hanmiso, I’m prone to using Korean expressions when I’m with friends, classmates or my co-workers especially these days because I just got back from Korea. It was even mentioned to me by one office mate a few days ago. She asked me if I’ve ever accidentally used Korean expressions when talking to our American clients. Luckily, I haven’t. However when with friends, or sometimes even strangers, Korean expressions would simply come out of my mouth accidentally.

Here’s my list for now:




아~ 진짜!



괜찮아 / 아냐, 괜찮아




몰라 / 아 몰라

말도 안돼!





어디 보자?

가자! / 갑시다!

미치겠다! / 미치겠다 정말

자쯩나! / 짱나!

좋아 / 좋았





How about you? What’s on your list?


비몽사몽 非夢似夢 – [명사] 완전히 잠이 들지도 잠에서 깨어나지도 않은 어렴풋한 상태.
[noun] the state between being asleep and awake; half awake; half dreaming.

If there’s a word that can best describe what I am feeling right now it will be 비몽사몽.

Ever since I came back from Korea, more than a month ago, and up until now I am still in a 비몽사몽 state. I don’t know where I’ve been, where I currently am and have no idea where I should go. I don’t have the slightest idea of what I just did, what I am doing and what I should be doing next.

I’ve started working. I’ve meet new people and have made new friends. I wake up early every day and go to work. I hit the gym. I have a routine everyday…


I still feel that one morning I’ll wake up in my sweet little room in our goshiwon at Sinchon and will have a bowl of Korean sticky rice and kimchi for breakfast. That I will stuff whatever food I can get my hands on inside my backpack and grab my one and only jacket and ran towards Exit 8 of Sinchon station Line 2. That I will check my itinerary and head to the next place on my list that is still unchecked. That I will walk and walk and walk to my heart’s content and take lots and lots and lots of photos. That an 어르신 or two will talk to me in the middle of my walks and will keep asking me how come I am travelling alone and that I should travel with my non-existent boyfriend or friends. That I will head back to Sinchon when night comes. That I will walk lazily around Sinchon memorizing the different shops, restaurant and food stalls in the area. That I will sit for a few minutes in the Children’s park right in front of our goshiwon before going up to my room. That I will have a nice little chat with the goshiwon ahjussi (and if I’m lucky will get invited for a drink). That I will turn on the small television and channel surf until I see a re-run of Dad, Where Are We Going? in my room. That I will take a shower in the shared bathroom on our floor. That I will sleep comfortably under my warm comforter.

Yes. We have another bad case of withdrawal syndrome here.


If only I can bring spring back.

If only I can go back…

No matter how many problems I encountered. No matter how gruesome and painful the heartache I have experienced. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. Those 51 days of spring, good or bad, were the best 51 days of my life.

If only those days can last forever… ㅠㅠ

But I know that sooner or later I need to wake up – completely.

I miss my room! ㅠㅠ

I miss my room! ㅠㅠ

Korean Modifiers!

I’m often overwhelmed (and simply stunned) when reading Korean sentences that can get as long as… forever.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to read a simple article about 씨름, for intermediate learners and I just can’t move on with this one simple sentence:

승자 진출 방식으로 진행되는 씨름 경기에서 최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다.

After looking up new words in the dictionary I do get that this sentence means “The winner gets a cow.” Period. I know I can move on and proceed with my reading. But the obsessive-compulsive me doesn’t want to let go and I spent all my breaks today to figure, not just the meaning, but how this sentence was structured.

I almost gave up and was about to ask a friend to translate it for me in English, once and for all. But after typing the sentence in kakao, I gave it one more try and this time I attempted to break the sentence into parts or “blocks” and I think it did work for me.

I started with 황소.

An ox (황소를) was given (주었다).

Given as a what? As a prize (상으로).

상으로 황소를 주었다 – an ox was given as a prize.

To whom? To the strong man (aka contestant/participant that has to be a strong man) (장사에게(는)).

What about the participant / What kind of participant? What participant?

A participant that won (이긴 장사).

So an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won (이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다).

Won what? What kind of win? An ultimate win (최종적으로) aka grand prize aka grand champion (after playoffs/elimination games).

So, an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won as the champion. (최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다)

Where? Champion where?

In a Ssireum match (씨름 경기에서).

So, one more time, an ox was given as a prize to the participant who won as the champion in a ssireum match (씨름 경기에서 최종적으로 이긴 장사에게는 상으로 황소를 주었다).

But… what kind of ssireum match / what kind of match/game is a ssireum / what is ssireum? Aka how does the game proceeds?

A ssireum game that proceeds by the method of knock-out rounds (승자 진출 방식으로 진행되는 씨름 경기).

I want to interpret it like this:


The above pseudo tree structure may not be linguistically correct, but it’s how I can easily see how I interpreted this long sentence. The simplest sentence I can form here is:

[   [씨름 경기에서]    [이긴 장사에게는]    [황소를 주었다]   ]

And the rest of the words that goes in between modifies each “block”.

[  [((승자 진출 방식으로) 진행되는) 씨름 경기에서]   [(최종적으로0 인긴 장사에게는]    [(상으로) 황소를 주었다] ]

So, one last time:

The ultimate champion in a ssireum match, that (usually) proceeds in (a series of) knock-out rounds, was given an ox as a prize.

Not a good translation. But I don’t really want to translate the sentence. I want to understand what are the functions of each of the elements of this sentence.

Now this is actually one of the shortest “long Korean sentences” (shortest long? Go figure!). It can go on and on and on and on… as they add more and more modifiers to describe each “block”.

It took me hours to analyze a sentence as short as this one! Must practice reading more (because these types of sentences doesn’t usually appear on my dramas XD) so that I can analyze faster and eventually, hopefully, can analyze long sentences in real time (without having to draw tree structures! OTL).

What is your number 18?

I was googling some Korean song lyrics yesterday when I first encountered “This song is my # 18”. Does it mean my 18th favorite song on my top 20 fave list? And what’s the big deal if it’s the 18th? It’s not like your number 3 or 2 or 1. I later learned that “My # 18” means the song that I can sing the best.

And this morning, as I was watching Episode 5 of Ohlala Couple, I encountered that expression again. Soo Nam (on Yeo Ok’s body) was blurting some classical song when his mother (Yeo Ok’s mother-in-law) asked him (thinking it was her daughter-in-law) to turn the radio off.

니 18번이 ‘밤 비 내린 영동교’잖니!

Isn’t your # 18 “Night Rain Falling on Yeong-dong Bridge”? How come you are suddenly on classical music?

But why 18? What’s with the number 18?

A Korean friend briefly told me the expressin originated from Japan and later on spread in Korea as well with a slight modification on the original meaning (and he didn’t elaborate further! :p).

I found THIS on Daum 지식. And according to the answers, it has something to do with Japanese culture. One explained it further saying it has something to do with Kabuki – a classical Japanese dance-drama. Though # 18 means one’s favorite song, usually it also has the meaning of the best and most interesting thing. And the latter meaning is the one that originated from Japan. Anyway, in Kabuki theaters there is usually an intermission in between scenes. The intermission is a popular one-act play that are separated into 18 parts distributed all throughout the kabuki performance. And usually the last part of these one-act plays, the 18th, is the best, most interesting and most popular. Therefore these meanings (best, most interesting) is attached to the number 18. And probably where the expression “What’s your number 18?”, which is frequently used in noraebangs, originated from.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of this information though. I don’t know much about Kabuki either. I just relied on the answer I found on Daum. I am not even sure whether my understanding is 100% correct or not. If you know more about this expression and why and how it started, leave a comment below. 🙂

Sadly I don’t think I have a # 18. I don’t sing very well. 😦

How about you guys? What’s your # 18?

[Learning Korean With Kim Sun Ah] I Don’t Care! 사관 없다, 신경 안 쓰다, 관심 없다

I was originally interested with the word 감정 since I encountered it on a previous TOPIK paper and I found that word used on a scene in Scent Of A Woman. But I actually found the dialogue on the scene interesting because of 사관 없다, 신경  안 쓰다 and 관심 없다.

세경: 그 남자가 너 같은 애랑 얼마나 만날 수 있을 것 같아? 어차피 결혼은 끼리끼리 하게 돼 있어. 그럼 너는 버려질 거고.

연재: 상관없어.

세경: 뭐?

연재: 일어나지도 않은 일, 신경 안 써.몇 달 뒤에 무슨 일이 벌어질지 관심 없어.나한테는 오늘, 지금, 내 감정이 제일 중요해. 강지욱 씨가 나 만나고 싶어하면 만날 거야. 왜냐 하면 나도 그 사람이 보고 싶거든.

사관 없다, 신경  안 쓰다 and 관심 없다  all means “I don’t care” in general, but I like how the writer used all 3 in a short exchange of dialogue, emphasizing the little differences of the 3.

I made a research and submitted a post, Drama Dialogue #2: 여인의 향기 “I don’t care!” in with a more in depth discussion of 사관 없다, 신경  안 쓰다 and 관심 없다.

[Learning Korean With Kim Sun Ah] 산딸기 무스 케이크

I’ve always been curious regarding the cakes used in the drama My Name Is Kim Sam Soon and we basically have information about most of them, except for one used, not on the drama, but on the photo shoot.

I want to get some photos of the exact cake that Sam Soon was holding in the poster of My Name Is Kim Sam Soon but I don’t know what’s it called even in English. So I googled some Korean keywords until I came across some Korean blogs and I found out what kind of cake it is.

It’s called 산딸기 무스 케이크 (Raspberry mousse cake). It’s fun being able to get the information I needed by using Korean keywords. Today I learned what raspberry is and probably will never forget it (because at first I thought it was some sort of a strawberry 달기 that grows in the mountains 산 O.o)

I miss Kim Sam Soon. 😦 I want to eat this cake now!!!

[Learning Korean With Kim Sun Ah] [단어] 대충

Recently I’ve been studying previous TOPIK Intermediate papers. It’s still very difficult for me because of the overload of new words and grammar points. I barely have time for studying Korean these days (especially that the semester is ending), so I deviced a plan where I could sneak in Korean studying in between completing my requirements for this semester.

Finding the Korean transcript of Scent Of A Woman makes things easier for me. I can now search for new words/grammar from both My Name Is Kim Sam Soon and Scent Of A Woman. Once I find the word/grammar I’m looking for, I wrote down the sentence/s where it was used and clip the audio. I compile them all together and I listen to it whenever possible – actively (like really listening and figuring out the other words and the meaning) or not (just playing in the background while I’m doing other stuff, just like now!).

Anyway, when I searched for 대충 (which can roughly be translated as approximately, roughly) I found that that word was interestingly used in Scent Of A Woman.


지우: 이만 돌아가죠.

연재: 네? 벌써요?

지욱: 대충 다 본 것 같은데요?



연재: 저, 주제 넘지만요.내일은 오늘처럼 다니지 마세요.여행 상품 만드려고 사전답사 왔다면서 대충 보고 어떻게 알겠어요.사소한 거 하나하나 좀 보고 느끼고 만져보고 먹어보고 직접 겪어봐야 알죠.해 보지도 않고.즐겁지도 않고.어떻게 좋은 여행이라고 얘기하면서 모객을 할 수 있겠어요?일한다 생각하지 말고 그냥 좀 즐기세요.그래야 더 좋은 여행 상품을만들죠.본부장님이 이번 출장에서 만드실 여행상품이요.누군가에게는 태어나서 처음으로 해 보는 여행일 수도 있고, 또 누군가에게는 죽기 전에 마지막으로 해 보는 여행이 될수도 있잖아요.


지욱: 그런데 참 별일이네요.

연재: 뭐가요? 는 뭐든 대충이셨잖아요.대충 봅시다.대충 가죠.그런데 뭐, 이 일은 왜 이렇게 발 벗고 나서세요?아!이 일 안 하면 아버지가 회사 안 물려주신대요?


연재: 아, 역시.쉽게 버니까 쉽게 쓰는구나.

지욱: 네. 대충 전철역 근처에 세워주면 되죠?

연재: 만날 대충이래.그냥 가는 김에 좀 데려다 주시면 안 돼요?


지욱: 내가 그 기획안을 본 기억이 없는데.

상우: 지난번에 대충.제 선에서 알아서 하라고 하셔서.

지욱: 뭐? 대충?그 기획안 당장 가지고 와.오늘부터 대충 일할 생각 없으니까.


지욱: 여기까지 어쩐 일이에요?

연재: 걱정이 돼서요 이번에도 대~충 보실까 봐.제가 만든 기획안이잖아요.본부장님이 상품 대충 만들어서 히트 안 되면 억울할 것 같아서.감수 좀 하려고요.가실까요?

These scenes suddenly became funnier for me after knowing 대충. English translations/subtitles in this case, can definitely give you an understanding of this word but I think the nuance of the word is somehow lost if I were to rely merely on subtitles.

Palace Language 2

I talked about palace language before when we were doing a play in  Korean. It was necessary to use, what my classmates fondly call palace language, in our play because our story is set in old Philippines. So, to match the era, we also used the old Korean language.

After watching Tree With Deep Roots and now watching The Moon That Embraces The Sun, I’m getting more and more interested in old Korean. I’m actually liking it more now. I first thought it’s difficult, but it turns out that once you are more familiar with the different endings, it’s actually more easier (well, disregarding political and old cultural stuff) because 사극 characters mostly speak slowly and enunciate every word well. I find it easier to understand The Moon That Embraces The Sun than say, Running Man. 🙂

[Learning Korean With Kim Sun Ah] 답 없는 수수께끼 – a puzzle without a solution

Kim Sun Ah posted this on her me2day:

ㄱ ㄹ ㄴ ㄴ ㅈ ㅁ ㅇ ㄱ ㅇㅎ ㄴ ㄴ ㄱ ㄷ ㄹ ㅈ ㅁ ㄹ ㅁ ㅇ ㄷ ㄴ ㄴ ㅈ ㅎ ㄹ ㄱ ㅎ ㅈ ㅅ ㅆ ㅇ ㅈ ㄴ ㅌ ㅇ ㄴ ㅎ ㅈ ㅁ ㄱ ㅁ ㄷ ㄱ ㄷ ㄷ ㅇㅇ ㄱ ㄷ ㅇ ㄷ ㅇ ㄴ ㄴ ? 
ㄴ ㄱ ㅎ ㅁ ㅋ ㄷ ㄱ ㅂ ㄱ ㅇ ㄴ ㄱ ㄷ ㄱ ㄹ ㄴ ㄴ ㄱ ㅇ ㅅ ㄷ ㄱ ㅇ ㅎ ㄷ ㅇ ㄴ ㄹ ㄴ ㄱ ㅇ !

She said “It’s possible to write this way, huh!”. And later on added, “Don’t try knowing and solving this. This is a puzzle that doesn’t have an answer. (How can this be solved? I even included the 받침 patchim).”

Well, aside from the fact that she included the patchim, there are no spaces (nor clues as to where the spaces should be). And no one has any idea what she is talking about. Plus who knows if she’s using slang or aegyo again?

But I wonder, is this really a puzzle without a solution? Yes, a part of me wants to solve it and I know it’s a crazy idea. 🙂