Want to be my 친구? (how to say ‘friend’ in Korean)

안녕하세요!

Tabi waving

If you’re just starting to learn Korean, there are probably some phrases you want to learn. Like “Hello,” How are you,” “I really can’t speak Korean at all,” “What on earth did you just say,” and as many people like to look up first, swearwords.

 (Don’t read the following: But personally I don’t seek to learn swearwords in a target language that I’m not fluent in yet. I don’t think I’d look classy if I’m talking politely to a Korean that I just met when a bird poops on my head and suddenly I let loose a bad word by accident. No judgment on other people learning bad words – that’s up to you! And who knows? It might spark a great conversation with someone who overhears you and is impressed by your slang. I just don’t want to make a mistake. And clearly I already do well enough on my own without the aid of an inappropriate foreign vocabulary hehe.)

 A word that I learned early on was ‘friend.’ Which is 친구 by the way. Ching-gu. Chin-gu (Don’t accidentally spell it like 칭구  – been there, done that many a time). It’s a fun word to say, and it just sounds like the meaning of friend to me. It sounds like a nice, comfortable relationship with a buddy who shares some of the things that you like. It sounds like good times.

That might be just me who hears it that way…

I've always got my crayon.

What are some other words with 친구 in them?

남자친구: boyfriend

Or, if you want to be more literal, man-friend. 남자 is man; 친구 is friend.

If 여자 is woman, how do you say girlfriend?

여자친구: girlfriend

These two words are common in those dramatic k-drama scenes where someone is confronted by their judgmental friend, their indomitable mother, or by the super aggravating second female lead who demands to know who this ‘other woman’ or this ‘worthless lower-class creature’ is.

내…여자친구!”

And the act of defiance is complete! The male lead has got his girl…for now. Of course, there’s usually at least five more episodes complete with two huge misunderstandings, a declaration of “I never want to see you again! This is the end” and one case of severe amnesia that magically goes away at an opportune time.

Did someone say 백년의유산? How about 50 episodes, maybe three (and counting) cases of amnesia, several accusations of insanity, an average of five massive misunderstandings per episode, and a mother-in-law that makes Godzilla seem like an affable old chap.

Did someone say 백년의유산? How about 50 episodes, maybe three cases of amnesia, several accusations of insanity, an average of five massive misunderstandings per episode, and a mother-in-law that makes Godzilla seem like an affable old chap. Yet I can’t stop watching it…

By the way, don’t mix up 남자 with 감자. I have a friend who was writing notes to our mutual Korean friend in class to practice her hangeul and she wrote “potatofriend” instead of “boyfriend.”

Not that having a 감자친구 is a bad thing at all. I’d love to have Mr. Potato Head as a 친구.

And that's Mr. Potato Head to you.

감사합니다!

 

What I’m listening to…

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4 thoughts on “Want to be my 친구? (how to say ‘friend’ in Korean)

  1. Ahaha I’m a Korean, but I was really enjoying reading this post.. :P especially at the part “감자친구” ㅎㅎ

    Like

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