I’ve started to become a regular guest at the Playground café in Hongdae. (If you look through their facebook pics, you’ll see proof that I was there.) This café is an awesome place where Koreans and foreigners can get together and exchange languages. This week, I went there on Tuesday and met a couple of girls who thought my Korean skills needed to be lifted by learning some more Korean slang.
As most Korean learners/speakers know, Korean slang is usually constructed by shortening other words and putting them together such as saying 남친 as slang for 남자 친구 meaning boyfriend, much like we can also just use the term BF in English.
Slang is usually used in casual/intimate speech except for the more widely used words such as 비번 (비밀 번호 meaning password) 자소서 (자기소개서 meaning application or cover letter).
So, which slang expressions did I learn on Tuesday? One of the girls complemented my skin tone and asked me if I was going 생얼 (slang for not wearing makeup), to which I laughingly said no – I was wearing makeup. They thought it hilarious that I knew that term and made a point of adding a few more to my vocabulary. One of them was 낄끼빠빠 which is an expression made of 낄 때 끼고 빠질 때 빠져, meaning something similar to the line from The Gambler “know when to walk away and know when to run”. Another expression I learned was 창렬, which is used about food that is over-priced and not very good. Usually Koreans will use the word as in “헐, 이게 진짜 창렬이다”. 창렬 is actually the name of a Korean singer 김창럴, who was once promoting food sold in convenience stores across Korea. Apparently the food got such a bad reputation that his name is now used as a slang expression. Hilarious!
I’ve also realized that as my Korean skills expand every day, I can more easily guess the meaning of slang I haven’t heard before. Last week my Korean best friend sent me a text around lunchtime simply saying “맛점해~!” I had never seen that word before, but I could easily decompose it into 맛있게 점심해 (enjoy your lunch). On a different occasion I also recently received one where he asked me “왜 읽씹해?!” which is a slang way of asking why I didn’t respond to his text message. This term is a super-slang term in the sense that it’s constructed of the regular word 읽다 (to read), 씹다 (literal meaning: to chew, slang meaning: to ignore someone’s words), and 하다 (meaning to do). In other words, this slang expression means “why did you read my message without replying”.
Do you know any cool Korean slang? Please share in the comments!