Shortened forms of words in Korean are called 줄임말 (Jul-im-mal). As soon as you are able to start using some of these, your Korean is going to sound a lot more fluent!

알바 (al-ba)
Origin: 아르바이트 (a-reu-ba-i-teu)
Use: This word comes from the German word Arbeit, meaning work. 알바 normally refers to a part-time job.

디카 (di-ka)
Origin: 디지털 카메라 (Di-ji-teol Ka-me-ra)
Use: This refers to a digital camera. There are lots of types of cameras these days, but these specifically refer to point-and-shoots.

-돌 (-dol)
Origin: -아이돌 (a-i-dol)
Use: 돌 comes from idol. When describing the characters or personalities of different celebrities, sometimes they are referred to terms like 예능돌 (ye-neung-dol) variety idol, 짐승돌 (jim-seung-dol) beast idol, or 연기돌 (yeon-gi-dol) acting idol. Listen out for these words when you watch Korean TV!

카톡 (ka-tok)
Origin: 카카오 톡 (Ka-ka-o Tok)
Use: Kakao Talk is the main messaging service used by Koreans. It’s basically similar to Whatsapp, but if you have Korean friends and want to practise Korean them, try using Kakao. If you have a smartphone, download it now!

페북 (pe-buk)
Origin: 페이스북 (pe-i-seu-buk)
Use: Facebook. The number of Koreans on facebook has increased enough that they already use an abbreviation for it.

카스 (ca-su)
Origin: 카카오 스토리 (Ka-ka-o seu-to-ri)
Use: 카스 is short for Kakao Story, which is an app where you can update your statuses, upload photos and other media. Cass is also the name for a cheap Korean beer!

친추 (chin-chu)
Origin: 친구 추가 (chin-gu chu-ga)
Use: It literally means friend-add, so it is used when adding friends on all the social media channels I just mentioned: 페북, 카톡, 카스, etc.

치맥 (chi-maek)
Origin: 치킨 + 맥주 (Chi-kin + Maek-ju)
Use: Chicken + Beer. I would say this is one of every Korean’s favourite combinations. Korea has so many fried chicken restaurants, but unlike KFC, they all sell beer. You will not regret trying this combo! Also try 양념 치킨 (yang-nyeom chicken). This is one of the standard Korean flavours for chicken, similar to sweet and sour, but you’d have to try it to understand!

소맥 (so-maek)
Origin: 소주 + 맥주
Use: Soju + Beer. When you enter university or ever end up with some alcohol at a dinner, you are likely to come across this basic cocktail. It is simply a shot of Korea’s popular rice wine, topped up with beer. If you want something cheap and effective, this is the way to go ㅋㅋ

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짬짜면 (jjam-jja-myeon)
Origin: 짬뽕 + 짜장면
Use: When you visit a Korean style Chinese restaurant, you are normally faced with a difficult choice. Do you choose Jjampong, a hot, spicy, seafood noodle soup? Or do you go for Jajangmyun, a tasty black bean sauce-covered noodle dish? Sometimes you just want both which is when you can use 짬짜면! You get half of both, in a specially made bowl divided into two. It’s just the perfect combo!

조폭 (jo-pok)
Origin: 조직 폭력배 (Jo-jik pok-ryeok-bae)
Use: 조직 means an organisation and 폭력배 refers to a violent gang. This is shortened to 조폭 to simply mean gangster. If you’re ever in Korea, you have to try 조폭 떡볶이 (tteok-bok-gi), Gangster spicy rice cakes!

썸남/녀 (ssum-nam/nyeo)
Origin: 썸 (있는) 남자/여자
Use: 썸 is short for something. 남 and 녀 are short for boy/girl. So you use this when you describe a boy or girl who seems to have something going on with another person.

돌싱 (dol-sing)
Origin: 돌아온 싱글 (dol-a-on sing-geul)
Use: 돌아오다 means to go back. Combine that with the English word, single, you get the meaning back to being single. This is a cute word to refer to anyone who has just come out of a relationship. Although I hope you don’t have to use this to describe yourself!

엄친아 (eom-chin-a)
Origin: 엄마 친구 아들 (eom-ma chin-gu a-deul)
Use: Mum’s friend’s son. Have you ever been compared to you mum’s friend’s children? Well this is a funny term people use to describe just that.

스벅 (su-beok)
Origin: 스타벅스 (seu-ta-beok-seu)
Use: Commonly used when referring to Starbucks.

맥날 (maek-nal)
Origin: 맥도날드 (maek-do-nal-deu)
Use: Short way to say McDonalds! You must try the Shanghai Burger!

Well that’s a short list of some of the common short forms. Hope you enjoyed it and have fun using them in you own conversations! 다음주에 봐요 🙂

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