Also check out my 2016 version of Korean slang!
Do you text? Use social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter? If so, you would most likely have used abbreviations or slang such as “lol,” “brb,” and “ttyl.” These mean “laugh out loud,” “be right back,” and “talk to you later” respectively. These abbreviations are convenient, as they require less typing. Most of us are lazy, and so are Koreans! Korea also has many abbreviations, emoticons and internet slang as well. The Korean digital language has evolved quite a lot, as many people found ways of Here are some of them, in no particular order:
“ㅋㅋ” If you recognize anything in this post, it will most likely be this one. Pronounced either as “kiki” or “keke” it is used to show laughter, like “lol.” The number of “ㅋ”s do not matter, the more the better! This is used widely-used, and arguably the most-widely used, so even if you learn nothing in this post, remember this one!
“ㅎㅎ” This is also used to show laughter, similar to ㅋㅋ.
Difference between “ㅋ” and “ㅎ”
As a native speaker of Korean, I would argue that “ㅋㅋ” and “ㅎㅎ,” although they are both used to show laughter, are used differently. “ㅋㅋ” implies a harsher sound, and is used to show real laughter. For example, in cases where something is really funny, such as funny videos, you will see Korean comments with just lots of “ㅋ.” However, you will not see comments of just “ㅎ.” ㅎㅎㅎㅎ implies a soft laughter. This is not laughing based on something being hilariously funny, rather it may be seen more as a friendly chuckle or even as a smile.
“ㄱㄷ” from “기다려주세요.” This means “wait.”
“ㅠㅠ” or “ㅜㅜ” These are Korean emoticons that look like crying eyes, similar to emoticons like “T-T.”
“ㅇ” or “ㅇㅇ” This is an abbreviated form of “응,”which means “yes.”
“ㄴ” or “ㄴㄴ” Means “no.” This is completely derived from the English “no.”
“ㅇㅋ” This is also from the English, and means “okay.” Usage of this in Korea is the same as “okay” is used in English.
“ㅎㅇ” Means “hi.” Fully in Korean: “하이”
“ㅇㄷ” Is used to ask “where?” It is “어디?” shortened.
“ㅃ/ㅃㅃ/ㅃㅇ/ㅂㅂ/ㅂㅇ” There are many variants on how this is used, as shown, but they all mean “bye.”
“ㄱㅊ” Abbreviation of “괜찮아,” which means that “it’s ok.”
“ㅈㅅ” Derived from “죄송합니다,” which means sorry.
“ㅉㅉ” Equivalent to the “tsk tsk” sound in English.
“ㅊㅋ” Means “congratulations” and is shortened from “축하합니다.”
“ㅅㄱ” From “수고해라” or “수고,” and usually used to say good bye. An English equivalent is the informal usage of “peace!”
“ㄳ”or “ㄱㅅ” A shortened from of “감사합니다.” This means “thank you” or “thanks” in Korean.
“ㄷㄷ” Denotes a shivering action, this is usually used to express amazement or fear.
“^^” A emoticon that represent smiling eyes. This is usually used to show friendliness.
“ㅗ” This is an emoticon for the middle finger.
“ㄱㄱ” Short form for “go go” this is used to say “let’s go!”
“OTL or OTZ” This represents a picture of a man kneeling down. Used to express disappointment or defeat.
“ㅡㅡ” Once again, this is an emoticon that is derived from the shape of the eyes (seems like squinting). It is used to express displeasure.
“ㄷㅊ” From “닥쳐” It means “shut up!”
Although these are convenient ways to communicate, especially when typing, it is still important to observe basic etiquette. Sometimes, there will be situations where merely answering yes with a “ㅇ” may be impolite, and people may be offended by this. Use these appropriately! Otherwise, utilize these abbreviations/emoticons to make your Korean communication much more interesting!
Check out my 2016 version of Korean slang!