My Korean nickname is disease

missInterpretation header made in Photoshop 11 by creator


I seem to have a propensity to put my Korean foot in my mouth whether it’s because I mix up words, misunderstand, or completely misspell a key word. My most recent mistake was relatively harmless, although it did make my language partner laugh.

She had been telling me about a cute childhood 별명 or nickname of hers. I hadn’t known the word, “별명” (byeol-myeong), so I looked it up in my favorite online dictionary, Naver Endic. As I typed my reply, I mixed up the word I had just learned, using 병명 instead and essentially told her in Korean that “I had many names of diseases when I was little.”

GIF not mine

Seungri cannot comprehend my childhood.

I used 병명 instead of 별명. 병명 (byeong-myeong) means “name of disease.”

I’ll be honest; I’m grateful that this wasn’t a really awful mistake. The last time I mis-typed something, I wrote “질 지냈어요?” instead of the usual, polite “잘 지냈어요?” 질 doesn’t just mean “quality” – but I’ll leave it up to you to check out Naver Dictionary and find out why my poor language buddy was both horrified and filled with laughter when I sent him that message. THAT time was an awful mistake. This time, my language partner just joked about how she hopes I have recovered from my sickly childhood filled with names of diseases.

And don’t worry about me; I’m really quite alright with the fact that I’ve made myself look stupid again…

GIF not mine


Have you made any mistakes while learning a language? Tell me about it in the comments! And don’t give up just because you made a mistake – mistakes are the best way to learn.



I’m listening to…


3 thoughts on “My Korean nickname is disease

  1. Pingback: Learning Korean Vocabulary with Naver | my {seoul} dream

  2. “질 지냈어요?”
    I literally just made this mistake tonight, and with and 언니 whom had I just met nonetheless. I was trying to tell her to sleep well. I thought that I had only made a slight mistake in spelling (because ㅏ and ㅣ are right next to each other on my keyboard), and I looked it up to see if the word had any real meaning (trying to improve my vocabulary, you know?)

    When I saw what it meant, I gasped so loud that my mom heard it from the next room over and thought that I was having an asthma attack! I’m literally so disappointed in myself, and I feel like I’ve scared her off! How did you get over the embarrassment?


    • Ahhh yes, the side-by-side keys strike again! Don’t worry – most people would realize it was an easy typing mistake and probably not even mention anything. I’m sure your 언니 didn’t mind!

      As for the embarrassment, the road of language learning is riddled with bumps and potholes – no matter how good you are, mistakes are bound to happen. I just try to capitalize on the moment by laughing it off and learning from it! After all, I’m sure that 언니 has her own share of language mistake stories 🙂


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