Are you feeling Surprised? Excited? Happy? Sad? Annoyed? Whatever it is, there are Korean exclamations that suit how you feel. Today, we will unlock these valuable words!
“Whoa, Whoa.” This might be one of the most popular conversations in Korea right now. If you know what this Korean exclamation means, you’re watching the hit K-drama Extraordinary Attorney Woo. If you have watched more, pretty sure that you already know how important Korean exclamations are to Koreans.
Korean exclamations are any modern or traditional Korean sound or words used to express emotions. It is essential to learn these Korean exclamations because with this, and you can express different feelings just like how native Koreans do. You can also impress your Korean friends and other acquaintances. It is also valuable to survive when having daily conversations. Most of all, learning Korean exclamations is important to know more about Korean culture.
So, in this blog, we will learn the different Korean exclamations used in daily conversations. Sit back and enjoy reading!
Common Exclamations In The Korean Language
Like most other languages, Korean has exclamations or basic interjections used to express feelings and emotions. By learning this, you’ll quickly get by with the locals because you speak how they do. So, here are some Korean exclamations to learn:
1. 아이구 (Aigu) – Oh my!
This Korean exclamation is probably one of the most popular ones. This is very similar to “Oh my!”, “Oh my God,” or “Geez” in English. You can hear it in literally every Korean drama. You might have remembered it well in Deok-sun’s “Aigoo Lee Sajang” scenes in Reply 1988 whenever she sees Jung-hwan’s father. You can also hear Lee Gon from The King: Eternal Monarch shouting it repeatedly when his father, the King, died.
The ones who use this Korean exclamation are usually middle-aged women or older ladies who express mild dismay. But now, it is commonly used by most of them. It can also be used to express mild surprise or shock, social blunder, or a clumsy act.
2. 진짜 (Jinjja) – Really?
Remember when Deok-sun from Reply 1988 received a new pair of shoes from his mom because she was already a senior student? Well, this is the Korean exclamation she said. Undoubtedly,진짜 (Jinjja) is also one of the most commonly used Korean exclamations by Koreans.
This is another Korean exclamation that you can use when you are surprised. This means “Really?” or “For real?”. Suppose you might have also heard the Korean exclamation 정말 (jeongmal), which also means the same. You can use the Korean exclamations 진짜 (Jinjja) in most situations. But, if you’re planning to use it with other people besides your Korean friends, you might wanna add 요 (yo) like “진짜요? (jinjjayo)?” and “정말요 (jeongmalyo)?” to express politeness.
3. 야! (Ya!) – Hey!
One of the most unforgettable scenes in K-drama history is when Ko Dong-man saw that Choi Ae-ra was about to be hit by a guy. He shouted “야! (Ya!)” at the top of his lungs and then hit the guy.
Well, if you have been a fan of K-dramas and K-pop, you might have heard 야! (Ya!) multiple times. It’s a slang word used to say “Hey!” in Korean. But, there’s no specific way to use it because it can convey anger or affection.
4. 참 (Cham) – Aha!
Are you familiar with the Cham-cham-cham game? If you’re a fan of BTS, this is one of the games they usually play on TV shows. The Korean exclamation 참 (Cham) can be translated to “Aha!” in English.
Use it when you’ve just realized something new, are perplexed by something you’ve just learned, or are amazed by something you’ve just learned. It can also be used as a synonym for “by the way.”
5. 아싸! (Assa!) Yay!/ Hurray!
In reply 1988, there’s a scene there when Choi Taek gave Jinju a lollipop, and she replied, “아싸! (Assa!)”. This Korean exclamation can be used when you’re happy or excited.
6. 대박 (Daebak) – Epic!/ Awesome!
Won’t be needing any more explanations for this because you have heard it for sure in K-dramas and other Korean shows. You can use it in any situation in which you are amazed, as well as in situations in which you are thinking anything along the lines of “That’s unbelievable!” because of how amazing something is. Like when Se-ri tasted the freshly brewed coffee made by Jeong Hyeok.
It is also possible to use even if you are hearing or experiencing something that you do not enjoy, but in most cases, people use it when they are in a good mood or experiencing something nice.
7. 우와 (U wa) – Wow!
Atty. Woo, in the legal drama Extraordinary Atty. Woo definitely has the most iconic way of saying “Wow!”. In Korean, they use “우와 (U wa)!” It is used the same way as in English.
8. 짱 (Jjang) – Cool!
Suppose you have witnessed something or someone doing an awesome or cool thing like Atty. Woo with autism winning case, you can say “짱 (Jjang).” This Korean exclamation is used to say “Awesome” or “Cool” in Korean.
9. 아이씨 (Aissi) – Oh damn!
Remember when Dong-ryong, in Reply 1988, ran away from their home? Her friends picked him up, and he heard some sorts of curse words like 아이씨 (Aissi) from Bo-ra. Well, 아이씨 (Aissi) is one of the Korean swear words that Bo-ra told him.
This is one of the most often used slang words in Korean, despite the fact that it is not used very often outside of the context of spoken speech. When you are experiencing feelings of frustration, you can use it.
10. 에이 (Ei) – Don’t be silly/ Are You Kidding Me?
This also might sound familiar to you because it’s a very short word that is often used in conversations among close friends. It can be used if you don’t want to believe someone or if you want someone to stop acting stupid. Remember, only use this with your close friends.
11. 어 (Eo) – Yes/ Huh?
This one can be used in two ways: the affirmative way or in saying “huh?”. Of course, there’s a way of saying “yes” that we know which is 네 (ne), but 어 (Eo) is a bit of a slang word used in a casual way. However, 네? (ne?) can also mean “What?”
12. 뭐? (Mwo?) – What?
The Korean expression used to say “What?” is 뭐? (Mwo?). It’s always one of the most common expressions you usually hear in K-dramas because it is often used when someone is saying something and want to hear it again to make sure they hear it right. You can also say “뭐라고? (mworago?),” which means “What did you say?”
13. 헉 (Heok) – OMG And 헐 (Heol) – OMG/ What the..
The phrase “OMG!” can also be expressed by the character. “(heok). One of the many expressions in the Korean language that may be translated as “OMG” in English and the vast majority of other languages is this particular one. This Korean exclamation is often used on times when you’d let out a breathless sigh.
The exclamation 헐 (heol) can also be used to convey surprise, astonishment, or even wonder. It is effective in both favorable and unfavorable circumstances. It is possible that “what the…” and “OMG” would be the most accurate translations of their meaning into English.
To provide a further explanation, it is a specific expression that can be used to show that you are amazed or shocked by something that has occurred.
The following expressions are also used to say “OMG” in Korean
- 어머/ 어머나 (Eomeo, Eomeona) – Oops!/OMG
- 엄마 / 엄마야 (Eomma, Eommaya)
14. 그래요(Geu rae yo) – Is that so?
The next common Korean exclamation is 그래요(Geu rae yo). It is a statement that is frequently used in conversation, and the listener will typically state it as a confirmation that they have heard what you have been speaking about. Sometimes, it is also used to convey to another person that you are unaffected by their acts or threats.
15. 그렇구나 (Geureokuna) / 그렇군요 (Geureokunyo) – I see
Both 그렇구나 (Geureokuna) and 그렇군요 (Geureokunyo) can be used to say “I see” in Korean. This exclamation is usually used to indicate that you’ve understood what someone is telling you.
16. 아 (Ah!) – Ouch
To say “ouch” in case you were hurt, you can say 아 (Ah!). Remember when Bo-ra hit Deok-sun in the head when she spoke casually to Bo-ra? That’s how you use it.
Other Korean exclamations are not mentioned, like 헤헤 (hehe), which is a kind of more innocent laughter. This is discussed in another blog called Korean abbreviations. You can learn other expressions as you go deeper in learning Korean, but the list above are just the common ones used in a casual conversation.
진짜 (Jinjja)? You Can Learn Korean Using An App?
Yes! You can definitely learn Korean using just an app. Ling App can make language learning fun and exciting. It can help you improve your language skills with many well-developed features. You can learn the right pronunciation of the words; you can learn many vocabulary words and phrases; you’ll learn how to write sentences and more.
So, no need to worry about how the struggles of learning Korean because we’ve got you covered. After every session with Ling App, the only Korean expression you can say is “Wow (우와 Uwa).”