3 Korean Phrases Other Languages Need

One of the most interesting things about the vocabulary of other languages is just how much they can reveal of another culture’s thought process. Japanese vocabulary tends to spotlight the culture’s focus on honor, while French vocabulary shows just how much that nation and culture treasure love and other emotions. These cultures often have specific words to describe things that other languages might not ever think need to be summed-up in one word. Korea is no exception. The Korean language has some interesting words to describe things you never knew needed just one word to sum them up perfectly.


Here’s a concept that Western societies can definitely relate to. Hoon-Nam is a Korean word South Korean Flagthat is used to describe the characteristic of a man having both outer, superficial beauty and inner, character or spiritual beauty. In other words, a man who is a devastatingly handsome, but at the same time may be humble, generous, hardworking, good with children, patient, understanding or any other desirable character trait. The female equivalent of this word is Hoon-Nyeo. Either way, the notion that someone is attractive both externally and internally is a very good one, and it’s a wish that many people outside of Asia share. Who doesn’t want to end up with a partner that doesn’t just look good, but is actually a good person as well?


This is an experience that every single person can relate to. Dab-Jung-Nuh describes a specific anxiety where you find yourself cornered in a social situation in which you are almost required to say whatever needs to be said in order to keep the peace and agree with someone else, regardless of your own feelings.

This may be as simple as agreeing with a potential boss at a job interview, or as delicate as pretending to agree with the political, cultural or religious views of a sick elderly family member, because everyone else stresses how important it is not to start an argument with someone in such delicate medical condition. Regardless of the exact circumstances, this is the situation where you find yourself “trapped” with no practical option except to tell another person what they want to hear.


Nae-Soong usually refers to females, but in general refers to a specific behavior of altering the personality in order to make the right impression on “people that matter” only to revert to their true personality once there’s no need to impress.

Usually, this is thought of as women acting cutesy or bubble-brained when they are actually serious, or intelligent, or men that act macho and loud-spoken when they’re the opposite. But most people can relate to the idea of seeing someone they thought they knew suddenly behave differently in different company.

Korean, like many other languages, has special words and phrases that often get the point across much better using specific words than the general concepts you may have had in mind. Speak with us if you have any content you’d like translated to another language to make sure you’re making the most out of what that language can do.

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