Korean Sounds (Onomatopoeia) (한국어 의성어)

Korean Onomatopoeia
So we were out eating lunch on Saturday before we went to see “Grand Budapest Hotel”, and Hyo gave me the idea for this. First of all, I didn’t even know the correct term for these sounds and the word “onomatopoeia” is just a ridiculous word. You learn something new everyday.

As it turns out, Korean has a ton of these floating around in daily speech and I only knew a few of them before researching to make this graphic. It’s always interesting to see how different languages perceive sounds. Other English speakers like myself for the life of us can’t figure out how “멍멍” = dog barking, but there are other sounds like a duck quacking, or a door bell that sound the same.

Once again, if I forgot any, just remember it’s just not that easy to fit them all into one graphic in a simple easy to read format. I added the ones that Hyo and I use often, as well as some of my favorite ones. If you catch any mistakes that we missed, let us know!

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  • Pat

    Nice. However it was a bit difficult to read the meaning of 앗. White words on a yellow background and all ㅜ ㅜ

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      Thanks I will correct that 😉

  • Gemma Galgani Kim

    No. 26 의성어 (an onomatopoeic word)
    쿨쿨 kool kool (○) // 끌끌 kkeul kkeul (×)

    No. 27 의태어 (an imitative word)
    주륵 주륵 jooreuk jooreuk (○) // 추록추록 choorok choorok (×)

    No. 28 의태어 (an imitative word)
    반짝 반짝 banjjak banjjak (○) : basic type
    빤짝 빤짝 bbanjjak bbanjjak (○) more strong type

  • Michael Aronson

    More than the usefulness, I’m really impressed with your sense of design. Are you just building on your own skills every time (as opposed to using specific sources of inspiration or tutorials)?

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      Thanks. I will occasionally look at other infographics just because I’m interested in those things and like to keep my interest in them keen. But most of the time, it’s just me brooding over an idea for a few days, and putting ideas together as they come to me.

      Studying Graphic Design in college also helps :p

      • Michael Aronson

        Aha, didn’t know you had a background in design. Still, each of these infographics seems more and more polished.

        • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

          Thank you sir. That’s what I love about art of any kind. The creator can always look back and see how he/she has progressed from beginning the present.

  • Rachel

    Love this one. My favourite is definitely 멍멍, still searching for a dog that makes that sound

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      When you find one, let me know!

  • http://learnkoreanlearnkindness.blogspot.com Elizabeth Holland

    I didn’t know any of these except for the heartbeat sound 🙂 TY 🙂 35 new words

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      No problem 🙂

  • http://jreidy17.wordpress.com/ Julia the Berkshire Beanie

    I like the word “onomatopoeia” and that the Korean language has so many sounds is one of the reasons I like Korean. Some Korean words I hear and I just glory in the sounds. Like ‘babble’ 횡설수설. Or 포도 곳곳에 in the poem http://wp.me/p4oh6a-2k

    • Dominic ‘Dom’ Dinkins

      Yes, it is awesome that the language has so many unique sounds. Hope all goes well with your studies of it. Thanks for the link to the poem!

  • Michael

    Don’t forget the Growl of a tiger or dong! “으르렁” (eu-reu-reong) and boiling water “부글부글” (bugeul-bugeul)

  • Hailey Park

    girl’s shouting “umma!!” (mom!!) kk

  • Zhannat Bissen

    very interesting. I need to memo

  • Romina Varas Villalobos

    I heard “jjaekkak” or something like that was the equivalent of tick tack too! (the sound of the clock)

    • Andrea

      I think you’re right… In 너라고 by Super Junior they used 째깍째깍 to make the sound of a clock: tic toc tic toc.

  • Diisha

    I am sooooo loving the graphics of your site…oh and the information too