- Paperback: 254 pages
- Publisher: Exile Press; Revised edition (May 1, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1936342502
- ISBN-13: 978-1936342501
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Korean Slang: As much as a Rat's Tail: Learn Korean Language and Culture through Slang, Invective and Euphemism Revised Edition
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A Rat's Tail is loaded with the latest lowbrow lyricism Hangul has to offer, with readable ruminations regarding radical roots revealing the underbelly of contemporary Korean from the foul to the sublime.
--Groove Magazine, Seoul
In his new and 3rd book `As much as a Rat's Tail,' author Peter Liptak along with Korean coauthor Siwoo Lee take the reader on a humorous journey through Korean slang and common daily expressions. 192 pages of amusing Korean phrases, their meanings, and how to properly use them provide a satiric and sassy glance at the local lingo and culture.Being entirely bilingual makes the book fun and easy reading for Koreans as well as foreigners living in Korea who probably find themselves in such typical situations as the one below:
look cool or be cool; off the hook
Ganji (간지), Cheju dialectic for hoidae (횃대), which means a coat hanger or clothes rack, is used here to represent a person with a good sense of style as if an example of good style on a clothes rack or mannequin. Literally "off the rack," but closer to the English slang expression "off the hook." (Ganji may also come from the Japanese for feeling, as in to make a favorable impression.)
Off the Hook
소윤 Wow, you look ganjinanda. You going somewhere today?
지윤 Ha, ha, my interview's today so I put some effort into it.
소윤 Wait a minute! Where did you get those clothes?
지윤 Off the hook in your bedroom. Why? You weren't using it.
소윤 Off my hook? Well, I guess that makes me ganjinanda too.
지윤 That's "off the hook!"
SoYoon 너 간지난다! 오늘 어디 가?
JiYoon 하하 오늘 입사면접이 있어서 신경 좀 썼어.
SoYoon 잠깐만! 그 옷들 어디서 났어?
JiYoon 네 침실 안 옷걸이에 걸려 있었어. 왜, 너 이거 안 입잖아?
SoYoon 내 옷걸이에? 음, 그럼 나도 그 옷 입으면 간지나겠다.
JiYoon 그거는 "off the hook!"이다. --PR Magazine, Seoul, October 2009
From the Author
ㄱ THE AMAZINGLY MUTABLE TRANSGENDER GIUK
간지난다; 갈구다; 갑이다; 강추; 강남스타일; 개기다; 개드립; 겁나게; 고고씽; 고딩(초딩, 중딩, 대딩, 직딩); 고춧가루 뿌리다; 골때린다; 골초 or 꼴초; 공주병; 구라까다; 구리다; 귀차니즘; 까리하다; 까다; 깔(따구); 꺄 or 꺅; 깝치다; 깡(다구); (확)깬다; 꺼져; 꽝이다; 꼬라지; 꼬라지 나다; 꼬붕; 꼬지다; 꼴았다; 꼴통; 꼽사리 끼다; 꿀벅지; 꼽살리다
ㄴ THE ANNOYINGLY NASAL NIUN
나발불다; 나비; 나이롱 환자; 나와바리; 낙동강 오리알; 낙하산; 낚다; 네똥 굵다; 날라리; 넨장맞을; 노가다; 노가리 까다; 눈깔이 삐었다; 눈탱이가 밤탱이 되다; 농땡이
ㄷ DIGUT'S DEPTH REVEALED
대가리; 대략난감; 대박이다; 돌아가시겠다; 돌싱; 돌직구; 돗대; 됐거든(요); 된장녀; 뒤땅까다; 뒷북치다; 따 (왕따, 은따, 전따); 따가리; 따먹다; 딱지 떼다; 땡땡이 치다; 땡잡다; 띠껍다
ㄹ RIUL'S ABSENCE IS A MYSTERY
ㅁ TWO LIPS MEET TO MERGE COMPLETE
만먹다; 말리다; 말 까다; 맛이 갔다; 맞장뜨다; 몰카(지); 물이 좋다; 몽땅
ㅂ BABBLING BIUP, BUZZING FREE
바가지 긁다; 밤새 달려; 바가지 쓰다; 반사; 방콕; 배째라; 100m 미인; 볼매; 불금; 벼락치기; 불알친구; 불타는 고구마; 불어; 빈대붙다; ~빠; 빡세다; 빡돌다; 뽀대난다; 뽀록; 뽀리다; 뽕브라; 뽕빼다; 삐끼; 삥뜯다
ㅅ SLICK, SCALY AND SEPARATE OF LIP
사오정; 삽질하다; 새대가리; 시원하다; 새되다; 섹끈하다; 식후땡; 싸가지없다; 쌍수; 싸이숨 (P'sigh); 쌩까다; 쌩얼; 썰렁하다; 썸(타다)
ㅇ THE YIN AND YANG OF IUNG'S LYRIC
아다; 안물; 왜 씹어?; 안습; 야리다; 양다리; 양아치; 엄창 (엠창); 일잠; 여병추; 영계; 이빠이; 입이 싸다; 잉여; 임마
ㅈ JAMMIN' TO A JIUT JINGLE
작업; 잘 나가; 쥐뿔; 쥐꼬리만큼; 지못미; 진도 어디까지나갔어?; 짝퉁; 짱이다; 짬뽕; 짭새; 쩐다; 쪽팔리다; 쭉쭉빵빵
ㅊ GET YOUR CHI CHARGED
착하다; 철판깔다; 찬밥; 출튀
ㅋ MOCKINGLY CLEAR AND COLD
ㅌ TRIED AND TRUE, TIUT WITHDREW
태클걸다; 토끼다; 토나오다; 튕기다
ㅍ THE POWER OF PIUP
88만원 세대; 퍼뜩; 폭탄이다; 품절(남/녀); 피봤어
ㅎ AN END OF ALPHABET COMES
허접; 하의실종; 헐; 환장하다; 후까시 잡다; 흑역사
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This is not for the absolute beginner - for that, I humbly recommend my own book, Korean Made Easy (where no previous knowledge is assumed). If you're comfortable with throwing out basic requests like '' '' '''! or understand there's a difference between using ''' and ''', this will cement the basics, add on more vocabulary, and offer lots of slang to boot.
Once you get started, it's fairly clear that the slang is the focus here, displayed in big red letters. They're organized according to Korean alphabetical order (', ', ', ', and so on) - another thing to assist the beginners and more natural feeling for more advanced students.
Each vocabulary word gets a dialogue, written in Korean and translated into English, although there's little to help someone still struggling with grammar points and rules. There are, however, ample translations of a given Korean phrase, especially the meanings that are intended. While quite a few of these are inappropriate in polite company, they're worth keeping your ear open as you're out and about. Almost all the phrases have a literal meaning and the intended meaning, and it's often interesting learning about the connection between the two.
A few difficulties mar the book. A couple of warnings for graphic or sexual language are either misplaced or missing altogether. It's not something you'd want your kids to see you reading, unless you like answering awkward questions. Also, the dialogues tend to transliterate - not translate - the vocabulary word. I'm not sure if that's more helpful to a serious learner, but it makes it a bit more difficult to read for this casual reader. While the book offers synonyms for most of the vocabulary words, less than half are translated.
Perhaps one way to use the book is as a quick one-a-day lesson - perhaps as a morning thing, or even a bathroom reader - that might help you learn something.
The occasional tongue-in-cheek references to Korean political figures are funny to laugh at if you've been around the country for awhile, but aren't necessary to get a lot out of the book. The dialogues between other characters (Batman and Robin, for example) created more than a few chuckles along the way. The appendix and index are helpful in their own ways, the former being an excellent place to bone up on your dirty Korean and the latter being the Cliffs Notes with basic meanings.
Recommended, if you're ready to go beyond basic or polite Korean.
So why was I so drawn to this book? Because the author came right out and declared that you really can't get a handle of Korean life from those stiff old textbooks, that the answers I was looking for are not found through repetition of grammatical structures, but that the culture was a wildly different thing from anything in the West, and would have to be paced through gradually. In other words, slang was part of the education, it was not an optional aspect of language, but integral, and require learning for anyone with even a passing interest in the Korean language. Basically, this book, ostensibly a dictionary of racy, zany, hilarious Korean slang (with mini dialogues for each word, many of which are incredibly funny) was going to be my next step in further understanding Korean pop culture.
I insist on using the term `pop culture' here, because it does a great disservice to thousands of years of Korean history to say that you will more deeply understand it by watching Gangster movies. I wouldn't dare. That is a very distant mountain I have yet to set foot upon. I want to be very careful here in any `wisdom' I glean from such a book. To be clear, any book about slang, is obviously going to be geared towards a younger set. Much of the slang is inappropriate, especially in an austere Korean business environment (and yet, ironically, totally perfect, in a 3 hour drunken Korean Karaoke session, also integral to Business life). There is a time and a place for such language. And that is, casual conversation. Very casual. You can actually get into trouble for being too stiff and boring (eg. talking like they do in my textbooks), and that is, people won't really like you, they'll think of you as a robot, with no personality. And there's a risk of getting too `colourful' with this language and being the life of a party (and summarily fired for being inappropriate at the office). Use your common sense.
So what's in here? Well for start, I have to apologize at how incredibly long it took me to get through this book. I've basically flashcarded (via iPhone app) most of the words in here (between 200-300 slang expressions) for my own study. It doesn't have to be studied like that, of course; if you were an English teacher in Korea, you could throw this in your backpack, and practice a few words throughout the day (ahem, the polite ones, of course), and that alone would get you massive brownie points with colleagues, students and friends (and members of the opposite sex).
So here's a few Cultural Points that I've tried to extract from reading this book. Apologies to any Koreans if I've gone off track. Please correct me in the comments!
* Age is huge in Korea, determining (akin to Japan) the way you talk to someone, the kind of language you use. Not surprising for anyone familiar with Korean `politeness levels', but I found it very interesting, that if two people meet, and they discover they are born in the same year, there is no obligation to be exceedingly polite (as they are neither senior nor junior to each other), and upon realizing this, get to speak Casual Korean. It's a delight and worthy of celebration. This is considered a good sign, and basically, let the good times roll! Geom-bei!
* Speaking of Korean Drinking, my own trips to Korea (purely business) have all followed this script. After work, the group will go out for dinner. There is a phenomenon known as 1 cha, 2 cha, 3 cha (basically first round, second round, third round) where the party will move from the restaurant (drinking) to a drinking establishment, and later a Karaoke bar. By the time you get to the Karaoke bar, you should be very loose, and showing your true self. This is how you form a strong bond or warm connection with someone (especially your colleagues), by drinking together and having a blast.
* Three Keys in Korea. This is pretty big, because anyone who's watched 5 minutes of a Korean drama series, or a Korean movie will note, "Hm.. Lots of rich people." There is a strong sense of pressure that hangs over Korean life, I believe, to get married, start a family, and have these three keys: the car keys, the home keys, and the keys to the office. In other words, to have your life in order, and have some property. WIthout these, men are considered marriage material. Hence all the pressure, starting from the womb, to do well in school and get a good job. On the other hand, much of this is common throughout the world, who doesn't want their children to be successful? I think the key in Korea, is that is seems to be constant reminder, and hence the pressure is suffocating at times. The drive for money and wealth, and a good reputation pervades much of Korean life. So shape up!
* When it comes to Korean Comedy, everyone loves a play on words, and some of the skits, and dialogues in this book are laugh out loud funny. There's something distinctly Korean, the silly goofball personality, that you see throughout funny movies and TV shows. My Korean friends will kill me if I don't insert this disclaimer: this is exaggerated for effect. Please, please, please remember, all comedy (and drama, and theatre of any kind) is exaggerated for effect. That's why girls in Korean shows are often over the top in their emotional outbursts, and Korean men totally snap and fly into a rage at the smallest offense, and a huge brawl breaks out. This is meant to be funny, and Korean comedy does this very well. Normal life, and normal people, are just that, very moderated, and very reasonable people. But that wouldn't be any fun to watch on TV, now would it?
I know my Korean teacher doesn't approve of this book, but I don't care. Eventually, we have to bring our personalities out in our language study, and with this book, you have all the tools to do so. Whether you choose to be playboy, a computer geek, a princess, a gangster, a cranky ajumma, or a salaryman, is up to you ;)
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