Month: June 2012


I get the sense that words in Korea come and go like fashion statements.  Obviously, since I don’t live in Korea and I don’t hear Korean around me all the time, it’s hard to pick up on current slang; when I do encounter one inadvertently in a variety show or drama, it usually requires a bit of sleuthing before I can piece together its meaning. Let me tell you about this word though.  멘붕. So graduate school and life has kept me really busy, but I do try to squeeze in a little bit of Korean exposure everyday.  Granted, I don’t read or listen to nearly as much Korean as  I used to a year ago, and yet – and yet – I managed to encounter this word about five times in the course of three days and twice in the same drama. 멘붕 is a 신조어 (newly-coined word) or, as my friend Yekyung likes to call it, a 외계어 (a meaningless, made-up word) which stands for 멘탈 붕괴.  Let’s break it down. 멘탈:  mental 붕괴:  무너짐 (collapse, …

Nine Korean words I wish existed in English

I’m in constant danger of using these words in the middle of an English conversation. 역시:  The best English equivalents I can come up with for this word are “naturally,” “obviously,” “as expected,” and “of course” but I still find that situations where that sounds odd in English.  역시 is such a pithy answer to a variety of different scenarios; I do wish there was a single, direct English equivalent.  For example, suppose your friend says something like, “콘서트 최고였어!  지드래곤은 진짜 멋있더라!”  To which you could very simply reply, “역시” to mean “naturally” or “of course.”  But say 지드래곤 was at an interview and said, “이번 생일부터 저의 선물로 돈을 기부하겠습니다.”   If you were the interviewer, you could say, “와~~ 역시 지드래곤 씨네요!” which uses 역시 to mean more like, “that’s what I would’ve expected from you.” 글쎄:  Such a delightfully noncommittal word.  It can mean “I guess,” “I dunno,” “maybe,” “not sure” or simply “hmmm.”  Just leave it to the listener to figure out what you really mean. 헐:  Oh yes, the word that perfectly …

Big (first impressions)

I prefer not to write too much about dramas here, unless it’s in the context of something culturally unique and/or language-related, but seeing as my wordpress is going through a bit of a dry spell… I’ve done a couple of these “First Impression” posts on tumblr (which you should steer clear from unless you want to experience every disgusting detail of my fangirl maladies) but I thought I’d stick one here just to fill up space.  Heh.  Anyway, I watched the first episode of Big this morning (sans subtitles, go me!) and, yeah, here are my first impressions.