Korean for English-Speaking Dummies

A lovely thing happens when you live overseas: you start to learn a new language.  While some new words stick because of their funny sound, other words remain baffling.

While living in Korea, I’ve noticed that sometimes I can Konglish up my English and people understand me.  Part of this is because a remarkable amount of Korean words are English, or a variation of English.  Sometimes I’ll have to add a syllable at the end of a word, or omit an ‘r’ from a word, but there are ways to get my point across.

Below is a list of words that are the same in both English and Korean.  I’ll include Korean pronunciation for the words that aren’t exactly the same.  If you read this list aloud, you will have just spoken over 100 Korean words.

Button

Belly Dance

Ballet

Pool

Tambourine

Guitar (“guitah”)

Piano

Viola

Violin

Drums

Cello

Gum

Cake (“cake-uh”)

Candy

Banana

Mango

Kiwi

Orange (“orangee”)

Roller Coaster (“rolla coasta”)

Corner (“coa-nuh”)

U-turn (“u- tuhn”)

Car Center (“cah- centah”)

Campaign

Cup

Coffee (“coh-pee”)

Internet (“intahnet”)

Computer (“computah”)

Mouse (for a computer, not the animal)

Keyboard (“keyboad-uh”)

DVD

Television

Crayon

Camera

Memory Card (“memory cah-duh”)

Card (“cah-duh”)

Oven (“oben”)

Bus (“bus-uh”)

Chocolate

Vanilla (“banilla”)

Taxi (“tak-she”)

Instant (as in food)

Robot

Tape

Accessory

See saw (“she saw”)

Recipe (“reshipee”)

Pizza (“pijah”)

Cheese (“cheejah”)

Chicken

BBQ

Restaurant (“restauran”)

Waiter (“waitah”)

Sandwich

Hamburger (“ham bug ah”)

Hot sauce (“hot sau-suh”)

Ice cream (“ice-uh cream”)

Cola

Tsunami

Boomerang

Spoiler (for movies, not a car part.  “spoilah”)

Trunk

Bumper (“bumpah”)

Key

Ski resort

Building

Jumper (as in sweater)

Idol

Sex

Consent

Clutch (as in a small purse)

Handbag

High heel

Skinny Jean

Lotion

Shampoo

Pamphlet (“pampuhlet”)

Sign

Menu

Elevator

Escalator

Radio

Album

Counter (“countah”)

Motel

Original

Wine

Bar (“bah”)

Sliding

Goal (as in soccer)

MC/DJ

Phone (“pone” or “hand pone”)

Game

Vitamin (“bitamin”)

Kiss

Spring (like a coil, not the season)

Spray  (“suh-pray”)

Random

Survival (“suh-vival”

Bus terminal (“bus-uh te-mee-nal”)

Also, there are some words that are a variety of English but mean something else.

What Koreans say:                                        What Koreans mean:

Circle                                                                  Club

Notebook                                                         Laptop

Loto                                                                    Lottery

Lotori                                                                 Off ramp/ street exit

Maggie                                                               A specific type of river fish

Synchronize                                                    Synochronized swimming

Sharp                                                                 Mechanical Pencil

Air con                                                              Air conditioning

Remote con                                                     Remote control

Punch                                                                 Hole puncher

Cheetah                                                             Punch

Apaht-uh                                                          Apartment

Jew Money                                                      Pocket

Naiggah (sounds racist…)                         I am

Now you can speak Korean too!

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2 Comments

Filed under Asia, South Korea

2 responses to “Korean for English-Speaking Dummies

  1. Jew Money…by far my favorite word in the Korean language! I sincerely hope you included it because I talk about it so often!

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