Fun Korean Adverbs

 

Koreans love to say one descriptive word (usually onomatopoeia words) twice and make it into an adverb that describes the situation or person perfectly! Here are some of my favorite ones:

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부글부글 (Pronunciation: bugeul-bugeul)

This word is the sound of something boiling, but it is also the act of boiling. When you want to say, “Boil the ramen,” in Korean, it would be, “Bugeul-bugeul the ramen.” The adverb can also be used to describe someone’s “boiling rage.”

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보글보글 (Pronunciation: bogeul-bogeul)

This is the “softer” or “smaller” version of the first word. The equivalent word in English would be “simmer.” When you lower the fire and let the boiling soup simmer, you would use “bogeul-bogeul” instead of “bugeul-bugeul” to describe it.

지글지글 (Pronunciaton: jigeul-jigeul, or jiggle-jiggle)

This adverb means the same thing as the previous adverb. It describes the sound of a pot of liquid simmering. You would use it in the same way as bogeul-bogeul.

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쓱싹쓱싹 (Pronunciation: sseukssak-sseukssak)

This adverb describes the sound and action of sawing wood. It can also be used to describe the sound and action of wiping a table, a board, etc. When you saw/wipe one way, it goes “sseuk,” and when you saw/wipe the other way, it goes “ssak.” Hence, you “sseukssak-sseukssak” away on wood (sawing), or on a table (wiping).

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호로록 (Pronunciation: ho-ro-rok)

This one describes the sound and action of lightly slurping, particularly noodles. It can also be described as an equivalent to “nom nom nom.” So when you are slurping your noodle “cutely,” one would describe it as “ho-ro-rok.”

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후루룩 (Pronunciation: hu-ru-ruk)

This is the stronger version of the previous adverb! When you are loudly and vigorously slurping away at your noodle, one would describe the action as “hu-ru-ruk.” When someone is super hungry, s/he can be heard “hu-ru-ruk”-ing away!

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아기자기 (Pronunciation: ah-gi-ja-gi)

This word describes anything that is small and cute. It can also be used to describe a harmonious atmosphere. Anything cute and happy can be described with this word, including relationships.

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옹기종기 (Pronunciation: ong-gi-jong-gi)

When you see groups of children huddled here and there, you can describe that scene as “ong-gi-jong-gi.” When you see a collection of things/group of people of all different sizes, colors (or race), etc., you can describe that as “ong-gi-jong-gi” as well.

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물렁물렁 (Pronunciation: moolung-moolung)

The closest English equivalent of this word would probably be “squishy.” Jello could also be described as “moolung-moolung.” Anything soft and squishy, basically. Even people.

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번들번들/반들반들 (Pronunciation: bundle-bundle/bahndle-bahndle)

The first one is the “stronger” or “harder” version of describing something as smooth, glossy, and shiny, while the second one is the “lighter” or “softer” version of it. You would describe shiny shoes as “bahndle-bahndle.”

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부들부들 (Pronunciation: budeul-budeul)

This one has two meanings: it can be used to describe someone shaking/trembling (usually from anger), or it can be used to describe a very soft texture. You could say the blanket or fur of your pet is “budeul-budeul.”

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반짝반짝 (Pronunciation: banjjak-banjjak)

This adverb is used to describe something that is twinkling, sparkling, or glittering. It is most commonly used to describe stars and jewelry.

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