Learning Korean Can Be Laugh Out Loud Funny
Learning a new language is a difficult task for anyone. Some of my favorite words or phrases are the ones that are just so literal in my own language that they are hilarious. Here have been some of my favorites that I still try to splice into conversation even if it’s just to make myself chuckle a little.
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I should admit that what I find funny, may not be your sort of humor. I like pretty straightforward humor, slapstick and duh stuff so, read with that awareness.
Also, the ducks have nothing to do with this post. They just add the cute factor.
손목 (Son-mok): Literally translated as “hand neck”. Can you guess what it is? Picture your hand… and the neck would be… yep, it’s your wrist! I learned this my first year in Korea while sitting in a classroom with a group of kindergartners. They were a bright lot and we were learning body parts. When I pointed to my wrist to illicit the correct answer from the group, a student yelled out, “hand neck!” I couldn’t help but giggle and I was so taken aback with what a genius this student was to have taken the idea of the neck under the head and put it with the hand that it wasn’t until I told the story to a Korean co-teacher later and she told me that was literally the Korean for the wrist that I realized why that was the response I’d gotten. I still think that student was brilliant. But seriously, why don’t we call the wrist the hand-neck? Additionally, your ankle would be your foot-neck or bal-mok (발목) in Korean.
입이 심심해 (Eeb-ee shim-shim-hae): Recently my husband was telling me that he wasn’t hungry and he wasn’t full, he was somewhere in between. He let this one slip and I thought it was right on the money. After living with a British woman for a couple of years, I said he must be peckish, as she would say and no American I know would ever say. What he said in Korean though was that his mouth was bored. Yes! That is indeed the feeling sometimes and I totally understood. When your mouth gets bored, what do you munch on? Along with this, you can also say 손이 심심해 (son-ee shim-shim-hae) meaning your hands are bored and you want to do something like a craft.
엉덩이가 바지를 먹었어 (Ungdungee-ga paji-leul mugussuh): Who doesn’t find themselves walking down the road and suddenly you’ve got a wedgie and you can’t do a think about it because there are too many people around at least once in their life? Being in a multilingual relationship means that at times words don’t translate and I have to explain something a bit further than I’d want or am comfortable doing. I got a wedgie, my husband asked why I was walking funny and I told him, though he didn’t understand the word. When I explained what it was, he told me what it was in Korean and it was an entire sentence for our one very simple word. What they say in Korean though is absolutely hilarious and so perfect. Wedgie translated into Korean literally means “my butt ate my pants”. I laughed out loud when I heard this and I continue to insert it into conversations randomly because I still find it so funny. Her butt is eating her pants!!