Korean is a polysyllabic, highly inflected language but is not a tonal language like Chinese, with words that change meaning depending on the tone or pitch in which it is spoken. Korean is grouped in the Ural-Altaic group of languages which includes Korean, Mongolian, Turkish and sometimes Japanese but is not related to Chinese although the Chinese written and spoken languages have had a profound influence on Korean. Big Korean words are often similar to words in Chinese and Japanese the same way that some big English words are similar to Latin-based words in French and Spanish.

Korean is the national language and is spoken in a variety of local dialects generally coinciding with provincial boundaries. The Seoul dialect is the basis for modern standard Korean. Written Korean uses Hangul, the Korean phonetic alphabet developed in the fifteenth century. The McCune-Reischauer System of romanization for Korean has been used widely since its development in 1939. However, in 2000 the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, in an effort to make the language more compatible with computer and Internet usage, promulgated the Revised Romanization System of Korean, which is used widely in South Korea today. Chinese characters (Hanja), once used exclusively by the literati, occasionally still are used. English is widely taught in junior and high schools. Many kids study English outside of school. [Source: Library of Congress, May 2005 **]

The Korean language is spoken by more than 73 million people in Korea (50 million in South Korea and 23 million in North Korea) and several million more in Japan, China, and elsewhere. Korean is considered part of the Tungusic branch of the Altaic group of the Ural-Altaic language family. It is closely related to Japanese in terms of general structure, grammar, and vocabulary. Major dialects differ mainly in accent and intonation. Except for old Cheju dialect, all are mutually intelligible. [Source: Chunghee Sarah Soh, “Countries and Their Cultures”, The Gale Group Inc., 2001]

The Department of State classifies Korean as a "super-hard language." Hangul — the phonetic alphabet — is used almost exclusively in daily life, with occasional Chinese characters and English words showing up in publications. The Korean language incorporates the Confucian concept of rank and status within society, using various forms of address, expressions, and grammatical forms to express those concepts. As with any language, basic knowledge of written Korean script and familiarity with some simple phrases will go a long way to making friends and getting by on a survival level. [Source: “Cities of the World”, 2002]

Languages: Ethnologue Web: www.sil.org/ethnologue/

Origin and History of the Korean Language

Korean is language of uncertain ancestry. It is thought by some scholars to be akin to Japanese, by others to be a member of the Altaic subfamily of the Ural-Altaic family of languages and by still others to be unrelated to any known language. Many consider Korean to be part of the Tungusic branch of the Altaic group of the Ural-Altaic language family, which includes Turkic, Mongol, Hungarian, Finnish, Tungusic (Manchu), and possibly Japanese. Ural-Altaic languages are unrelated to any of the world's other major language groups and they originated from the Altaic region, where modern-day Mongolia, Kazakhstan, China and Russia all come together. Some linguists believe Ural-Altaic languages are related. Others believe they share similarities because of the borrowing of words by traditionally nomadic peoples.

Modern Korean language is descended from the language of the Silla Kingdom, which unified the Korean peninsula in the seventh century. As Korean linguist Yi Ki-mun notes, the more remote origins of the Korean language are disputed, although many Korean linguists together with a few western scholars, continue to favor the now widely-contested nineteenth-century theory of an Altaic family of languages supposed to include Korean, Japanese, and Mongolian, among other languages. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990, 1993]

Although a historical relationship between Korean and Japanese has not been established, the two languages have strikingly similar grammatical structures no doubt in part due to close contacts between the two during the past century. Both languages, for example, employ particles after nouns to indicate case (the particle used to indicate "of" as in "the wife of Mr. Li" is no in Japanese and ui in Korean). These similarities have given rise to considerable speculation in the popular press. The linguist Kim Chin-wu, for example, has hypothesized that Korea and Japan stood at the end of two routes of large-scale migration in ancient times: a northern route from Inner Asia and southern route from southern China or Southeast Asia. In a variant on the "southern origins" theory of some Japanese scholars, he views the two languages as reflecting disparate "northern" and "southern" influences, with Korean showing more influence from the northern, Inner Asian strain. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990 *]

Korean: A Lovely But Difficult-to-Learn Language

K. Connie Kang wrote in the Los Angeles Times: Korean “is one of the world's most complicated and nuanced languages, laden with honorifics...To be sure, Korean is a wonderfully poetic language, full of alliteration and onomatopoeia. And I love listening to well-spoken Korean. But navigating it is another story. Korean has no fewer than six speech levels — each with a unique set of verb endings to indicate the degree of formality, ranging from extremely polite to actively impolite — and many gradations in between. [Source: K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2006]

“Other languages employ varying degrees of address. For two of the world's more popular languages, two levels suffice — vous and tu in French, usted and tu in Spanish. But Korean has four words for you. The irony is we go out of our way to find substitutes so we won't have to use them. This formality — and the impulses to maintain or reject it — colors not just how many Korean Americans speak Korean, but our English. It's a spin on the classic tale of assimilation, when two cultures meet and create something uniquely American.

“Sometimes it's an odd blend. Koreans are a communal people who prefer an unassuming "we" over a bold, American "I." A Korean woman always refers to her husband as "our husband" — oori nampyon. And we say, "our mother, our father." "In English, you can't imagine saying, 'our husband,' " said Kichung Kim of San Jose, a Korean American scholar and writer. To the Korean ear, "our mother" creates a "connection to home, family and all that. That feeling is absent in English," Kim said. "The only time we say 'our father' in English is in the Lord's Prayer."”

Koreans “love titles. Sonsaeng-nim (honorable teacher) is a respectable title for all professionals over 40. Even journalists get titles. Koreans call me Kang kija-nim ("Honorable reporter Kang"). It gets more complicated speaking to people of high rank. A subordinate would not address his company's president in the second person, even the formal version. Professor Sohn explains that when the subordinate wants to tell his boss, "It's time for you to go," he'll switch to the third person: "The honorable president should go."

“In English, birds sing. In Korean, birds cry. Traditional Korean songs are plaintive — played in minor keys. In English, nouns and verbs rule. In Korean, adjectives and adverbs do. "Korean is so expressive and emotional," said Los Angeles-born Aram Kim, an honor student at Van Nuys High School who is studying at one of the many Korean-language schools in the region. David Mo, a fellow student, agrees and says he'll take the Korean Ahn-young-ha-sae-yo (Are you well?) to "Hi" any day. "'Hi' is so simple," he said, explaining that the Korean greeting has depth.

“Still, experts say that Korean is one of the most difficult languages to learn. Aram Kim acknowledges that even a routine query, such as "Have you eaten?" can get complicated in Korean. To navigate this linguistic maze, we use our well-honed sixth sense called nunchi — literally, "measure of the eye" — to size up age, education and social and professional position. Then, we choose from two types of language within the language: a "respectable" form known as jondae-mal, and informal talk called ban-mal, literally meaning "half-talk."

Korean Grammar and Numbers

The word order and sentence structure of Korean is similar to Japan but is very different from English and other European languages. Information is often is exchanged in indirect ways rather than direct ways; and separate sets of words are used when speaking to friends, and people who are older or younger.

According to the “Columbia Encyclopedia”: “Unlike Chinese, Korean does not use tones to make semantic distinctions. Its syntax, however, is similar to that of Chinese, while its morphology resembles that of Japanese. Korean is an agglutinative language in which different linguistic elements, each of which exists separately and has a fixed meaning, are often joined to form one word. A distinctive feature of Korean is the use of a number of different forms to indicate the respective social positions of the speaker, the individual spoken to, and the individual spoken about. [Source: “Columbia Encyclopedia”, 6th ed., The Columbia University Press]

Koreans use one set of words when speaking to an older person and another set of words when speaking to a younger person. The same is true when a person of high status converses with a person of low status. Korean also use one set of words when speaking to members of their family members and a different set when speaking to outsiders. There is even a whole set of words reserved for speaking to Korean royalty.

Koreans have something like 30 different words for uncle and there are five different languages depending on the status of the people talking. Terms of kinship are also for close non-relatives. A younger man often calls a man who is five years older than him his "big brother" and someone who is considerably old as "uncle." There are more complex systems of honorifics used for addressing strangers and acquaintance that are difficult for Westerners to master.

The Korean number system is based on hundreds not thousands. Koreans often have difficulty working with large American and European numbers such as hundred thousands, millions and billions and sometimes have to write the number down and count the zeros and insert the commas to get the numbers straight. Traditional measurements include the pyong (about 3.3 square meters) and li (about 400 meters).

Korean Equivalent of “You” and Its Constrictions

K. Connie Kang wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “It's all about you. I fell in love with this English pronoun when I first met it on my father's knees more than half a century ago in Seoul. Initially, it was the sound that captivated me. Later, as I continued to study English under my father's tutelage — he was a pioneering scholar of English and German at South Korea's Seoul National University — I began to love this three-letter word for the way it made me feel. [Source: K. Connie Kang, Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2006]

“For me, you helped...me enjoy conversations with people older than me — a rare thing in my culture, where older people talk and younger ones listen unless asked to speak. "You represents the essence of democracy," said attorney Tong S. Suhr, a community leader. "You liberates us from that [Korean] caste system, and it makes life so much easier."

“Korean-born Kay S. Duncan, director of production with Jarrow Formulas in West Hollywood, says you helped transform her from a shy Asian woman who preferred to sit in the back of the room to an assertive executive equal to those around her. "You can say, 'You did this, or you did that,' even if you're addressing the CEO of your company," Duncan said.

By contrast, Ho-min Sohn, professor of Korean linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, says he has never felt at home with this three-letter word. Sohn, who came to the U.S. in 1965 from South Korea to work on a doctorate in linguistics, managed to get his degree without once using you when addressing his professors. It seemed so out of place for a student to claim equality with his professor. Kim, the writer from San Jose, finds you more comfortable in writing than in speech. Even in English, he said, "you seems a little abrupt. Koreans are careful with you because of our tradition. We are much more culturally and interpersonally civilized in discourses. We may be brutal in real life, but we, at least, have that pretense."

“In Korean, you comes in at least four forms: gwiha, dangshin, jahnae and nuh. And yet none is quite like you. Gwiha is "your excellency" and your honor" rolled into one, used to address a person in a high position. Dangshin is the formal you, but it can be misconstrued if used carelessly. When a smiling wife calls her husband dangshin and snuggles up to him, it is a term of endearment. "But use it with a stranger," Suhr said, "and it becomes a 'fighting word.' " (Think of the classic New Yorkism, "What are you looking at?") Jahnae is used among school chums or by older people addressing young adults, like a man talking to his son-in-law. Nuh is for children and younger siblings. But even with youths, if they're in high school, Koreans prefer to address them with the generic title haksaeng, meaning "student," over nuh.

Korean Dialects

Different regions of Korea have different dialects with distinct pronunciation and vocabulary. Koreans have little difficulty understanding people from other regions, with the exception of Jeju (Cheju) Island which has a very strong dialect. The Korean peninsula is very mountainous and the "territory" of dialect often corresponds closely to areas separated from other areas by natural boundaries. Most of the dialects are named for one of the traditional Eight Provinces of Korea. The dialect spoken in Jeju is considered distinct enough to qualify as a separate language. [Source: Wikipedia]

There are six main dialect areas: 1) Hamgyŏng (Northeastern), spoken in northeastern Pyongan Province, and the Ryanggang Province of North Korea as well as the Jilin and Heilongjiang of Northeast China, with nine vowels, one more than the standard language: 2) Pyongan (Northwestern), spoken in Pyongyang, Pyongan Province, Chagang Province, and neighboring Liaoning, of China, serving as basis of the standard language for North Korea; 3) 3)Central dialects (Sea Below); 4) Gyeongsang (Southeastern), spoken Busan, Daegu and Ulsan and easily distinguished from the Seoul dialect because its pitch is more varied and it uses only six vowels; 4) Jeolla (Southwestern), spoken in Jeolla Province (Honam), including the city of Gwangju, with ten vowels; 5) Ryukchin (Yukchin), spoken in the historical Yukchin region in North Korea, isolated from the major changes of Korean language, preserved distinct features of Middle Korean, and is the only known tonal Korean language.

The Central dialects are commonly divided along provincial boundaries: A) Gyeonggi dialect ("Seoul dialect"), spoken in the Gyeonggi Province, Seoul and Incheon cities, as well as southeastern Kaesong (North Korea) and the basis of the standard language for South Korea; B) Chungcheong dialects: spoken in the Chungcheong Province (Hoseo) region of South Korea, including the city of Daejeon; C) Yeongseo dialects: spoken in Yeongseo, Gangwon Province (South Korea) and neighbouring Kangwon Province (North Korea); D) Yeongdong dialects: spoken in Yeongdong, Gangwon Province (South Korea) and neighbouring Kangwon Province (North Korea), and quite distinct from other Central Korean dialects; E) Hwanghae dialect: spoken in Hwanghae Province of North Korea.

Some researchers classify the Korean dialects in Western and Eastern dialects. Compared with Middle Korean, the Western dialects have preserved long vowels, while the Eastern dialects have preserved tones or pitch accent. The Jeju language and some dialects in North Korean make no distinction between vowel length or tone. But the Southeastern dialect and the Northeastern dialect may not be closely related to each other genealogically.

In South Korea, Standard Korean is defined by the National Institute of the Korean Language as "the modern speech of Seoul widely used by the well-cultivated". In practice, it tends not to include features that are found exclusively in Seoul. In North Korea, the adopting proclamation stated that the Pyongan dialect spoken in the capital of Pyongyang and its surroundings should be the basis for the North Korean standard language (Munhwaŏ); however, in practice, it remains "firmly rooted" in the Gyeonggi dialect, which had been the national standard for centuries.

North and South Korean Languages

The division of Korea into North and South after World War II has led to differences in the language in the two nations, most prominently the addition of many new words to the South Korean dialect. Despite North–South differences in the Korean language, the two standards are still broadly intelligible. One notable feature within the divergence is the North's lack of anglicisms and other foreign borrowings due to isolationism and self-reliance—pure/invented Korean words are used in replacement. [Source: “Columbia Encyclopedia”, 6th ed., The Columbia University Press]

According to “Countries and Their Cultures”: “ Technically, North Korea uses the same Korean language as the one spoken in South Korea. The cultural and sociopolitical division of more than half a century, however, pushed the languages in the peninsula far apart, if not in syntax, at least in semantics. When North Korea faced the task of building a new national culture, it faced a serious problem of illiteracy. For example, over 90 percent of women in northern Korea in 1945 were illiterate; they in turn made up 65 percent of the total illiterate population. In order to overcome illiteracy, North Korea adopted the all-Korean script, eliminating the use of Chinese characters. [Source: “Countries and Their Cultures”, The Gale Group Inc., 2001]

On the differences between the North and South Korean languages, Reuters reported: “In North Korea, they ask whether you speak “chosun-mal”. In South Korea, they want to know whether you can converse in “hanguk-mal”. A different name for their ostensibly common language is a measure of how far North and South Koreans have grown apart. And it does not stop there. If South Koreans ask North Koreans how they are, the instinctive answer sounds polite to Northerners but conveys a different message to Southern ears — “Mind your own business”. With such divergence, there have been fears among linguists that more decades of separation would result in two different languages or that unification would be an improbable merger of vocabularies reflecting a communist and capitalist past. [Source: Reuters, Oct 23, 2005]

“Inter-Korean communication in commerce invariably creates confusion — often resulting in the use of fingers — because monetary figures are quoted by South and North Koreans in the two different ways of counting in the Korean language.” To improve communication, “North and South Korea have agreed to compile a joint dictionary of the Korean language and North Korea is also trying to expand studies of English and technology terms that have shaped the language in the South.

“In the years following the 1950-1953 Korean War, North Korea tried to purge foreign words, especially English and Japanese expressions, from its language. Political expressions in the isolated communist country have also become alien and incomprehensible to those in the more outward-looking South. The South Korean language has borrowed heavily from foreign languages, especially English. It evolved with twists and turns beyond the imagination of those in the North, not least because the South has developed and adapted technology that does not exist on the other side of the peninsula.

“South Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world. Email and SMS text messaging create new words with dizzying speed. Words from another language such as English can be swallowed whole and then regurgitated in an abbreviated, unrecognisable form. For example, the English term “digital camera” is called “dika” (pronounced dee-ka) in South Korea. North Korea, by contrast, is decidedly low-tech and highly impoverished. There are no digital cameras and personal computers are hardly for the masses. If a South Korean said “dika”, a North Korean would be more likely to mistake it for a similar-sounding curse than for a device that transfers images into a digital form where they are stored on a memory card that can be downloaded on a computer.

“A South Korean professor who is working on the joint North-South dictionary project said he did not have any difficulty communicating with North Koreans his own age because daily expressions were the same. Hong Yoon-pyo, a professor of linguistics at Yonsei University, said the linguistic roots of the Korean language were long and deep so there was almost no divide in the structure of the language on both sides of the peninsula. “There is a vocabulary gap, however,” Hong said. “Vocabulary can be changed by the outside world and in South Korea that mostly means the Western world and in North Korea that has mostly meant China and Russia.”

Korean, Japanese and Chinese Languages

Korean has a sentence structure similar to that of Japanese. Both Korean and Japanese possess what is sometimes called "polite" or "honorific" language, the use of different levels of speech in addressing persons of superior, inferior, or equal rank. These distinctions depend both on the use of different vocabulary and upon basic structural differences in the words employed. For example, in Korean the imperative "go" can be rendered kara when speaking to an inferior or a child, kage when speaking to an adult inferior, kaseyo when speaking to a superior, and kasipsio when speaking to a person of still higher rank. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990 *]

The proper use of polite language, or levels of polite speech, is an extremely complex and subtle matter. The Korean language, like Japanese, is extremely sensitive to the nuances of hierarchical human relationships. Two persons who meet for the first time are expected to use the more distant or formal terms, but they will shift to more informal or "equal" terms if they become friends. Younger people invariably use formal language in addressing elders; the latter will use "inferior" terms in "talking down" to those who are younger.

Large numbers of Chinese character compounds coined in Japan in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries to translate modern Western scientific, technical, and political vocabulary came into use in Korea during the colonial period. Post-1945 United States influence has been reflected in a number of English words that have been absorbed into Korean.

Although the Korean and Chinese languages are not related in terms of grammatical structure, more than 50 percent of all Korean vocabulary is derived from Chinese loanwords, a reflection of the cultural dominance of China over two millennia. In many cases there are two words — a Chinese loanword and an indigenous Korean word — meaning the same thing. The Chinese-based word in Korean sometimes has a bookish or formal flavor. Koreans select one or the other variant to achieve the proper register in speech or in writing, and to make subtle distinctions of meaning in accordance with established usage. [Source: Andrea Matles Savada and William Shaw, Library of Congress, 1990 *]

Unlike Chinese, Korean does not encompass dialects that are mutually unintelligible, with the possible exception of the variant spoken on Cheju Island. There are, however, regional variations both in vocabulary and pronunciation, the range being comparable to the differences that might be found between Maine and Alabama in the United States. Despite several decades of universal education, similar variations also have been heard between highly educated and professional speakers and Koreans of working class or rural backgrounds. Standard Korean is derived from the language spoken in and around Seoul. More than forty years of division has meant that there are also some divergences in the development of the Korean language north and south of the DMZ.

Common Korean Expressions and Sayings

Instead of saying "hello" or "good afternoon" Koreans often greet one another by asking "where are you going?" and "have you had lunch?." Koreans also say "thank you" and "excuse me" much less than Westerners. They have other expression that convey the same meaning. Koreans often think Westerners and Japanese say "thank you" and "excuse me" too often.

The Korean equivalent of "when hell freezes over" is "when the chicken draws on the folding screen and flaps it wings." A useless thing is called "a mirror in a blind man's house" or "a cat that won't catch rats." A person with a string of band luck mutters "even eggs have bones."

“Minding your own rice bowl” refers to protecting your livelihood. "When the whale sneezes the shrimps get hurt” is an expression that described the America’s influence on South Korea.

Livers have found their way into many Korean expressions. Daring people have "big livers" and timid people have "small livers." If a person is startled he says, "My liver almost dropped." If someone says something over-the-top people say, "Is you liver swollen?"

Korean Swear Words

Korean swear words — English Translation: Geseki — Son of a bitch; Shibseki — Whore; Chang Nhyu — Whore; Ko-chu-pal-uh — Suck my dick; Kochu — Dick; Dong-muk-uh — Eat shit; Shibbal nom — Fuck him; Shibbal — Fuck; Toejora — Go to hell; Hop'ung — Bull shit; Shibal nom, Geseki — Fuck you, you son of a bitch; Shibal — Fuck; Shibal nom — Fuck you; Seki — Bastard; Dang sin eun jook eul got ee dah — You will die; Na nun boji jo ah han dah — I like Pussy; Na nun jaji jo ah han dah — I like dick; No nun boji eul jo ah ha dah? — Do you like pussy?; No nun jaji eul jo ah ha dah? — Do you like dick?; Dol dae ga ri — Stone head (stupid person); Ap'un mee chin nyun — Silly bitch; Shikoro — Shut up!; Um chang se kki — Bastard, motherfucker; Mi chin nom — Crazy guy [Source: myinsults.com]

Ni jot i da — Kiss your dick; Ne jot i na bbal a ra — Kiss my dick; KIN du sem — Fuck you; Um chang se kki — Your mom is whore; Mee chin nyun — Bitch; Byung Shin — Psycho or Deformed Person; Jot de-ga-ri — Dickhead; Horo ga shik — Person without a father; Ji ral yhun byung — Bullshit; Ge ji ral — Acting like a bitch; Babo — Stupid; Myung chung yi — Silly; Shib seki — Piece of shit; Je-su up nuen nom — A pitiable unfortunate; Pabajay — Loser; Ap'un mee chin nyun — Silly bitch; Jot dae ga ri — Dick head; Chang nuh — Slag; Hu le ja sik — Mother fucker; Yoos mik uh — Fuck you; Jo nyun eun nuh kub ni kka? — Who is that bitch?; Dak Chuh Ra — Shut up; Ano shipal — Fuck off; Yumago — Fuck you; Dong mogo — Eat shit; Jiralhanae — Retarded lunatic; Yut-Gat-toon-nom — Stupid fucker;

Go-ja — A man without a cock; Knee Be She Be Peck Pojie Da — Your mother has a bald headed pussy; Ner nun shiba geseki — You are a fucking bitch; Geseki — Son of a bitch; Bbasooni — Brainless bitch; Bbadori — Brainless guy; Gejashik — Son of a bitch; Ggujo — Go away!; Dakcho — Shut up; Jungshinbyungja — Psycho; Horo — Guy with no parents; Nimiral — Shit!; Shipcenchi — Whore; Shipjangseng — Whore; Byuntae — Pervert; Choding — Elementary school student (gaeseki); Babariman — Pervert; Jjockbari — Jap; Yangnom — American; Ilbonnom — Japanese; Mejo — Masochist; Net mejo — Internet masochist; Comiday su su — Suck my dick; Shibal nyon — Whore, bitch, slut; Ssang nyon — Whore, slut; Tong kumong — Asshole; Ay shibal! — Oh fuck!; Jokkah — Dip shit; Nigimi ship e dah — You're a motherfucker; Jokkah ji mah — Bull shit;

Gaesaekki dul jokka ra kuh hae — Fuck the fucking fuckers!; Bul ssang han nyun — You shady bitch; Jot gaht eun hyun — You fucking bitch; Ko jo ra — Get the fuck out of here; Jee guru jer it a ra — Go away, shut up; Nimiral — Fucking; Mun di sekki — Jerk; Judi — Mouth; Ddorang — Gay; Sekki — Stupid person; Di jin da — You will die; Di jillae? — Do you wanna die?; Ju di jaap a jjae bbun da! — I will tear your mouth!; Hu jup — Stupid beginner; Jjin dda — Silly person; Ssibural — Fucking; Ne jaji na bbal a ra — Suck up my dick; Ne boji na hal ta ra — Suck up my vulva; Gal bo — Bitch; Sakasi — Blew jobs; Cho da — Foolish guy; Huzang sex — Anal sex; Byungshin — Deformed person or maimed person; Jo ka eun — Fucking; Ae-ja — A mentally handicapped person; Go-ja — A man with underdeveloped genital organs; Ssip nyun — Bitch; Chang nyur — Hooker; Gum eun jot dae ga ri — Penis head black; Gger jer — Fuck off; Torai — Insane; Hungmunuro — Rimming; Nambi Palyon — A spread vagina; Tatari — Masturbation; Mul — Orgasm; Hormone — Orgasm; Emu — Blow Job; Panta — Blow job; Duk-cho shibaalnom — Shut up, motherfucker!; Mosenginom — Ugly person;

Shibural jot kat'un nigimi jot manhan ddong mul eh t'wigyo jukil ship sekia — You are a dick like your mum's dick and the only way you should die is by frying you in diarrhea. Ni me shi me nuhn il bon chon haam ey soo yong het nuhn dae — Your mother (grandmother) swam out to meet the Japanese battleships.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons.

Text Sources: South Korean government websites, Korea Tourism Organization, Cultural Heritage Administration, Republic of Korea, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, World Bank, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, “Culture and Customs of Korea” by Donald N. Clark, Chunghee Sarah Soh in “Countries and Their Cultures”, “Columbia Encyclopedia”, Korea Times, Korea Herald, The Hankyoreh, JoongAng Daily, Radio Free Asia, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, AFP, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2021

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