I may have lied. The following may not be phrases so much as just words. And they maybe heard all over Korea , but on account of the fact that I spend so much time in Paju, I’m giving the credit there. Also, feel free to add your own in the comments at the end. For those not in Korea, I’ve added the explanation and my own thoughts after each one.
1. 헐 (Hul)- What exactly does this mean? I have no idea. Neither does this guy but he has a youtube video so it looks better than anything else.
Anyway, I hear this everywhere, on the street, in the classroom, on the subway, on the bus, on the t.v., everywhere. I also like to use it myself. Since I have no idea what it means though, I just randomly throw it out there. For example, if the religious people corner me on the street, a good 헐 is usually enough to get them to stop talking to me. Same goes for the shop assistants that like to follow you around. In fact Hul is a one stop shop to get yourself out of any situation.
2. “Maybe”- I don’t know if this is a Paju thing or a Korea thing, but Koreans like to use the word “maybe” as a definite accumulation of a thought. “Shauna, maybe we will have no school tomorrow”. Great, so maybe I should come to school or maybe I should stay at home? Which? And when will you decide? “Teacher, maybe we go home early”. Right so should I stay should I go? So many questions. Maybe you should just stop using the word maybe. The incorrect use of the word cause me all kinds of confusion, “maybe we will go to lunch, maybe we finish class early, maybe we meet for coffee????? And the confusion continues…….
3. Hello. How are you? I am fine thank you and you? I don’t know who taught who how to say this but Koreans like to say it as one sentence, not stopping after the “Hello” or the “How are you?” I mean, really, who actually says “I am fine thank you and you?” when someone asks how they are? Not me. I usually answer, “solid finest” or “grandest” or something normal. But this whole ” I am fine thank you and you?” makes it seem like the person wants to eat my soul.4. 우와!!!! 외국 사람!!!!!- (Wow foreigner!) I live in Paju. Though there are a lot of foreigners here, in a population of 350,000 people, 60 of us are still novelties. So, usually I hear “Wow foreigner!” followed by ‘where you from?” To which I reply, Ireland. After 5 seconds thinking they usually reply……”ah Iceland” to which I say “HUL” and walk away. Although, to be honest, I’ll take Iceland over; “미국 사람” (American) or Russian????? What I really want to know is why Koreans seem to know the word Russian but don’t say any other nationality in English?????? I mean really, it’s highly possible that there are a load of Russians working in Seoul but honestly how many Russians are hanging around Geumchon????????
5. “Oppa, Gangnam style.” In case you live under a tree……….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0
Somebody may tell me how this guy got so famous? He was there before but suddenly he’s everywhere and all anyone says is “oppa, Gangnam style” I hear this on the street, on my ipod (unfortunately), on my phone, it’s my alarm in the morning, my 5-year-olds make up their own words probably because they have no idea what Gangnam is. And people outside of Korea thik it necessary to send it to my Facebook page with the words “Shauna have you heard of this?????” No sorry, I don’t get out much in Korea. HUL…………….