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However, it is now used in Korean to describe a person who has an obsessive interest in almost anything — celebrities, studying, movies, characters — you name it! It has a slightly negative connotation so be careful how you use it! Just say this word and it reflects their insult back to them like a mirror! It is a slightly childish and cheesy term. For example, you can use this phrase to say you are not amazing at something, but you did average or as much as reasonably can be expected!

Everyone has that friend. You can say this when something looks stupid but funny. K-pop and Korean pop culture have really taken off around the world in recent years, and this term is used to describe the dancing aspect of performances. Use it to really emphasize how awesome something is! Ever see Star Wars? This is a person who is just filled up to the brink with love the romantic kind or not! This is a girl who has a baby face that is cute an innocent, but an attractive, overly sexy or glamorous body. These terms have negative connotations so use them sparingly! You might hear it while studying, while working or while chilling out in the cafe!

Most people use the bus or subway daily. Speaking of Facebook, everyone needs a profile picture for their favorite social media page! Want to describe a girl in a similar way? This is another Korean slang term used to describe a certain type of guy! While the previous referred to a handsome and kind guy, this one will emphasize the intelligence aspect!

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Here are the cool Korean slang expressions and words that have stood the test of time and are still in use today. You can say this at the end of a date if you want to impress your companion and take care of the check.


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You could also use it at a bar with your friends. Although what each particular stage of the night consists of will depend on the particular people who are out that night. You can just say it on its own, without putting it into a sentence. It is also sometimes used in order to make other slang words. This word can be used to describe someone with a great body, like a guy who is quite fit and muscular or a girl who has a great figure!

This phrase can be used to describe fashion, food, appearance, architecture, or even a skillful football move. It is used to describe something that is terrible, such as a piece of work that you have really messed up. It can also be used to describe a really really ugly person. This is basically a cocktail of whatever random alcohol your friend managed to find and mix together. It is often a mix of beer, soju, whisky, maybe some vodka, and some other things. This is a person who has no friends and is bullied by everybody at school.

They have to sit on their own because nobody wants to sit near them or be associated with them in any way at all. Best served poured over a two-handed handshake.

This is probably the bare minimum for making any attempt at Korean. Use it exactly as you would its English equivalent. You can also use it to find stuff in the supermarket, or in the early hours locate somewhere to sleep off all that soju and galbi.


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  4. It should be in the front cover of every phrasebook, and visas across the world should show it in all the local dialects. When you see a double-consonant in a Romanized Korean word, it indicates an extra-strong consonant that you almost spit out. Soju is a clear spirit a little stronger than wine, which tastes a little like vodka. It is drunk either in sipping shots or mixed in with beer or cider a local soft drink, similar to Sprite , but always in vast, headache-inducing quantities.

    When mixed with beer it is called so-maek, and will sneak up behind you and beat you repeatedly about the head. Your experience may vary. Addresses in Korea are as confusing as a clown at a funeral, and giving one to a taxi driver can be tricky since you need to get your pronunciation just right. Too many foreigners have found themselves with a W40, taxi fare after mistakenly sending the driver to Sincheon instead of Sinchon. This and ju-se-yo are pretty much your go-to shopping phrases. Fortunately, in Korea, you can probably get by with just this and very few numbers, since most store owners keep calculators behind the till.

    A traditional market is an even better place to get discounts. This verb is one of the most powerful in Korean. Remember though to end your sentence with the verb, i.

    Open rebellions broke out in and CE which were ultimately quashed, but matters came to a head in the reign of king Uijong who was much criticised for building lavish palaces and water parks. The military, with not much else to do and no status in higher society, staged a coup in CE. Uijong was replaced by his brother Myeongjong but he only remained as a puppet sovereign. Decades of turbulent in-fighting between all levels of Goryeo society ensued with more coups, assassinations, and slave rebellions.

    Worse was to come, though. Goryeo was forced to move its capital to Kanghwa Island the following year. While the ruling elite was safely ensconced on their island, the rest of the Goryeo population had to face six Mongol invasions over the next three decades. By CE, the people had had enough and the military ruler was assassinated, the king reinstalled with full powers, and peace made with the Mongols. Korea would not be independent again until the general Yi Song-gye formed the new state of Joseon in CE.

    Relations between Korea and China go back to mythology when the sage Kija Jizi and 5, followers left China and settled in Dangun's kingdom. When the latter decided to retreat to meditation on a mountaintop, Kiji was made king of Gojoseon in BCE. This myth may represent the arrival of Iron Age culture to Korea. Trade between the two areas went on throughout this period.

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    Iron, gold, silver, copper, ginseng, hemp goods, pine nuts, furniture, paper, and horses were exported to China, and silk , tea, spices, medicine , ceramics, books, and writing materials came in the other direction. Chinese culture was likely brought to Korea by refugees fleeing the 4th-century BCE conflicts of the Warring States period. Archaeological evidence of this early cultural influence is perhaps best seen in the use of pit burial tombs in the Daedong River area and the frequent presence of horse trappings therein.

    Later cultural ties are more clearly defined with Korea adopting the Chinese writing system, the kingly title of wang , coinage, literature , and elements of art. Students and scholars frequently went to study in China. Similarly, diplomatic and cultural relations with Japan were ongoing from the Bronze age onwards. The Wa Wae of Japan had particularly strong ties with the Gaya confederation. The latter was the more advanced culture and exported large quantities of iron, but just how much one state influenced or even controlled the other is still debated by scholars.

    Baekje culture was exported to Japan, especially via teachers, scholars, and artists, who also spread there Chinese culture such as the classic texts of Confucius. Relations were maintained with southern Japan by the Unified Silla kingdom, especially in the Nara and Heian periods. Goryeo, too, continued trade relations and imported Japanese goods, especially swords and paper folding fans.

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    The Korean states, traditionally practitioners of shamanism, adopted first Confucianism , then Taoism and Buddhism from China, with Korea making the latter the official state religion from the 4th century CE. Confucian principles were followed in the state administration and were an essential part of entrance exams to positions within that system. Buddhism was the strongest faith, though, and temples and monasteries sprang up everywhere.

    The Buddhist temple -monasteries, with their landed estates, royal patronage, and exemption from tax, became wealthy and the whole religious apparatus rivalled that of the state itself. Many such monasteries even had their own armed forces recruited from warrior-monks and the general populace. Buddhism was practised not only by the elite families, which often sent a son to study at a monastery and become a monk, but also by the lower classes.

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    High-fired grey stoneware was produced in great quantities from the Three Kingdoms period. Ceramics were decorated with incisions, applying additional clay pieces, and cutting away the clay to create a latticework effect. The most famous Korean ceramics from any period, though, are the pale green celadons produced in the Goryeo kingdom. Also known as greenware, these have a smooth glaze and typically have fine inlaid designs sanggam , especially Buddhist motifs such as the lotus flower, cranes, and clouds.

    Celadons were first introduced into Korea from China during the 9th century CE, but Korean potters became so skilled at their manufacture that their wares were exported back to China and, even today, Korean celadons are amongst the most prized ceramics in the world. Tomb-painting is best seen in the tombs of Goguryeo. Over 80 of them have chambers decorated with brightly painted scenes of everyday life, portraits of the occupants, and mythical creatures.

    The paintings were made by applying the paint either directly onto the stone wall or onto a lime plaster base. Buddhist art was popular throughout the peninsula, and gilt-bronze was used to produce expressive statuettes of Buddha , Maitreya the coming Buddha , and bodhisattvas. Monumental figures were carved from boulders and into rock faces too.

    Gilt bronze was also used to manufacture ornate incense burners, relics boxes, and crowns. The most famous Korean crowns are those of the Silla kingdom made in sheet-gold. These have trees and stag-like branches which represent a link with shamanism. Jewellery of all kinds was made using goldwork techniques such as wiring, punching, cutting, and granulation.

    Jade, often carved into crescent moon shapes, was a popular form of embellishment for these glittering adornments. Another skill of Korean metalworkers from the Unified Silla kingdom onwards was the casting of large bronze bells pomjong which were used in Buddhist temples to announce services. The best surviving remains of Korean architecture from the period prior to recorded history are megalithic structures, fortification walls, and stone-lined tombs. Outstanding examples of ancient Korean dolmens are the table-type structures on Ganghwa Island which date to c.

    Single standing stones menhirs , unrelated to a burial context and perhaps used as marker stones, are also found across Korea. Unfortunately, there are few surviving public buildings from ancient Korea prior to the 16th century CE. The architecture of ancient Korea is, then, best seen in tomb paintings and those structures which do still stand such as the stone pagoda of the Baekje Miruk temple at Iksan which has six of its original storeys.

    Large mound tombs are typical of the Three Kingdoms period. These are earth-covered mounds with interior stone-lined or brick interior chambers for the deceased, usually with a horizontal entrance passage except Silla tombs which have no access point. One of the largest such tombs is at the Goguryeo capital Kungnaesong modern Tonggou and thought to be that of King Gwanggaeto the Great r. It is 75 metres long and using blocks measuring 3 x 5 metres.

    One of the outstanding stone structures from the Unified Silla period is the Buddhist Seokguram Grotto Sokkuram temple east of Gyeongju. Constructed between and CE, it contains a circular domed inner chamber within which is a massive seated Buddha. Another interesting Silla structure is the mid-7th century CE Cheomseongdae observatory. It is the oldest surviving observatory in East Asia.

    It is one of the oldest wooden structures surviving in the whole of Korea.

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    Roofs of Korean buildings, as seen in the Hall of Eternal Life, are typically high-pitched to allow easy drainage of rainwater and strong enough to resist the weight of snow in winter. They are also high to permit air-flow in the warmer months. Ancient roofs were made of wooden beams and then tiled giwa over a layer of earth to provide extra insulation. The roofs are concave for aesthetic purposes, and the eaves also gently curve upwards cheoma.

    This curvature permits extra sunlight in winter to enter the building and at the same time provide a little extra shade in summer.