While it may not seem like it, slang is something that nearly everyone uses when communicating with strangers online or even their loved ones. With the internet now being deeply ingrained in our daily life, so did the use of slang. This is hardly surprising since it is a way to express oneself in a shorter and thus quicker manner. Hence, slang lets one get their message across without numerous keystrokes or screen clicks, which can get tiring fast.
As the country with the fastest internet speeds and highest internet coverage country-wide, South Korea and its residents are no stranger to this type of language. If you are keen on becoming fluent in the language with the help of a Korean language school in Singapore or are looking to dive deeper into the culture by trying out the Korean dating scene, for instance, learning its slang is undoubtedly a must to achieve your goal. Let’s get you up to speed with the inner workings of Korean slang and some examples to get you started!
How the Korean text slang works
Just like slang from any other language, slang in Korean is based on abbreviating existing words. Korean text slang is, more often than not, simply the shortened versions of complete phrases. The ‘shortened’ here typically translates to only using the initial characters of every syllable.
Your knowledge of Hangeul will come in handy here since all you’ll need are singular consonants or vowels for the most part. Moreover, some Korean text slang is also based on English words, specifically Konglish, which are English loanwords used in a Korean context. Therefore, it’s best to familiarise yourself with this aspect of the language if you want to master Korean slang.
Special features of Korean texting
There are plenty of little gimmicks when it comes to Korean texting, a couple of which are:
Intentional typos are not a foreign concept, as is evident of the English slang such as “wut” and “chu” that mean “what” and “you”, respectively. Unlike other types that usually express a certain mood, typos in Korean slang are more of a time-saving measure. Misspellings occur depending on how the word sounds, with correct characters substituted with similar-sounding ones instead.
An example is mwo-heh (뭐해), meaning “What are you doing?”. Its misspelt yet still understandable typo is meo-heh (머해). In this instance, the typo does away with having to type the ㅜ character. Whenever you encounter typos such as these, sounding out the phrase aloud will probably be the only thing you need to understand its meaning!
Ways to sound cuter
If you want to sound cuter than usual, Korean text slang has a way of letting you accomplish this. Defined as ae-gyo (애교), this manner of coming off as cute by being affectionate and childlike can be done through texting in several ways. One is to include the ㅇ letter at the end of your words, despite not existing there.
This simple addition instantly creates a more amusing and cute-sounding speech. An example is beh-go-pa (배고파), meaning “I’m hungry” which now becomes beh-go-pang (배고팡).
A few examples of Korean text slang used today
Coming from the phrase kuh-kuh (크크), it is the closest equivalent to the “LOL” that denotes the sound of laughter in English. The more ㅋ strung together, the more you are laughing. If your conversation partner hits you with many of these characters, you’ve tickled their funny bone for sure.
This simple combination of characters, derived from 응, is an informal way of saying “yes” in Korean instead of the more proper ne (네).
This slang means saying thanks informally and comes from gahm-sa (감사), which is a further cut-down from gahm-sa-hap-ni-da (감사합니다), its more formal version.
If someone wants to convey that they don’t know much about something, they’d typically say “IDK” in English. If you wish to do the same in Korean, this slang is its literal translation since it comes from mol-la (몰라), translating to “I don’t know”.
With South Korea being a digitally connected country, it’s not hard to imagine just how big of a role Korean slang plays in the locals’ daily interactions online. Therefore, if you’re interested in connecting with native South Koreans in the real world and on the internet, getting familiar with their slang is crucial to communication.
If you want to understand the hows and whys of modern Korean slang better, enrolling in a Korean language school in Singapore is the best way to do it. At Sejong, our range of exciting and comprehensive courses taught through effective teaching methods will surely equip you with the know-how to understand Korean text slang and greatly improve your Korean fluency in the process.