Wednesday, August 21, 2013


우리말 is a way of saying ‘Korean language’.  The interesting part is if you break this word down 우리 means ‘our’ and means ‘words’ or ‘speaking’, so it literally translates into ‘our words’.

The reason I start off with this is because I’ve been picking up all sorts of random words and phrases (though I will freely admit I don’t remember them all).  Some of these words are just Konglish in random places like on the elevator (엘리베이, ‘el-li-be-i-teo’) or on cans in the vending machine (which is great because I can actually know what I'm getting... kind of).

Literally "Maek-seu-wel Ha-u-seu, Sing-geul Ka-pe, Ka-pu-chi-no"

 "Maek-seu Keo-pi" (Max Coffee) / "Re-sseu-pi, Ma-il-deu Keo-pi" (Recipe, Mild Coffee)

"E-seu-peu-le-seu, Mil-teu Ti" (Expresso, Mild Tea... I think)

Some Korean-isms I’m picking up are in classes: for example, “Did you eat lunch/dinner?” is like a Korean “How are you?”  We learned this today (even watched an EPIK teacher’s video on it) and then one of the EPIK team leaders actually asked me this after lunch and I said, “Yes.”  She asked me again, I got weird stares, and I finally realized, “Ah!  I’m answering on autopilot like a dumb foreigner!”  Oh well.  Better to make the mistakes now…

Another wonderful place I’m picking up Korean is in the survival Korean class.  Now, as I mentioned before, I totally should not be in the advanced class, but today Heesu taught us some Korean slang and while it probably won’t be very helpful beyond maybe making it a little easier to interact with my students, it sure was a ton of fun!

Some fun examples:
  • 루자 (lu-ja) = loser, or rather specifically a male under 180cm tall
  • 금사빠 (geum-sa-bba) = a person that falls in love easily, as in, “Oh, we brushed shoulders! I love them!”
  • 살아있다 (sa-ra-itt-da) = said in a movie and essentially meaning, “You’re alive,” but a way of saying, “It’s (real) cool.”  Apparently this is only awesome if said with a strong Busan dialect (which Heesu has).
  • 버로우 (beo-ro-u) = basically a “burrower”, meaning someone that tends to not be around when they should because they’re purposely being evasive.  This one was great because it had a screenshot of Lurkers from Starcraft burrowed in the ground.  This is what you might call someone who borrows money but then isn’t around to pay you back.
  • 밀당 (mil-dang) = the name for the ‘hot and cold’ game that a couple/potential couple plays to keep each other interested.
  • 어장관리 (eo-jang-gwan-ri) = This is honestly my favorite.  The basic idea is a girl/guy managing their harem.  If we break it down, 어장 is a fish farm and the second part means someone is managing.  So, literally, a guy is managing his fish farm.  He catches several girls’ interest but is never serious with any of them and he doesn’t really have to do much once he has that interest.  Great stuff.
Other random things from today:
  • We had lectures on Secondary English Education in Korea, Lesson Planning, How to Make Our English More Comprehensible, and After School Camps/Classes from 9 AM to 5:30 PM… the days are long, my friends.
  • I think I ate too much rice today.  Aisshh… I’ve been full all day and totally did not need to eat dinner.
  • I had fish cakes at dinner and was not sick afterwards.  They did not taste like fish, but rather more like tofu which is what we actually thought they were until we were informed otherwise.
  • I did not eat any spiced kimchi all day.  I just couldn’t do it.
  • I had a can of coffee from a vending machine before lunch and it was sweet, cold, and absolutely wonderful.  The pick-me-up was welcomed since classes were so long.  Afterward I got a 나랑드 사이다, or a Narangd(eu) Cider which was exactly like Sprite Zero.  I have not managed to work up the courage to buy a Pocari Sweat drink (a brand here) because I’m not sure exactly what it is.  Maybe tomorrow.  They aren’t too expensive.
  • I ate a KicKer (키커) which is basically a Kit-Kat.  There were actual Kit-Kats at the convenience store, but the KicKer was only 400 and I wanted something else.  I ended up getting a 자유시갇 쿠키 bar.  I can tell you from the characters of the last word and the fact that it says cookie (and has a picture of a cookie on the front) that the last part is ‘cookie’.  That first half I don’t actually know, though Google translate says ‘stuck at liberty’ or ‘free time’.  I feel like neither of those is right, though the second seems a little better (I’m guessing a ‘break’?)   If I had to describe it, I would say it is like a chocolate rice krispies cereal bar that has been dipped in chocolate.
  • I watched a video made by Korean middle school children and several wrote that not all Koreans like kimchi (or even spicy food) and some find it very offensive when people ask if they eat dog. 
  • I think many people many have skinnier behinds here because of all the uphill walking.  I’m going to try to record the walk from the girls’ dormitory to the convenience store at the guys’ dormitory… it’s ridiculous.  And very much uphill.
  • Tomorrow is our Seoul field trip!  I’m part of a special group that is leaving early to visit the Dokdo Museum in Seoul, but then we’ll meet up with the rest of EPIK at Korea House and see tons of awesome things like traditional dances, a palace, eat bibimbap, and maybe even try on hanbok?  I hope so!

1 comment:

  1.'s "Milk Tea" and "Milk Coffee". Your Korean is much more advanced than mine was when i first arrived!