Stumbling upon new (to me) Korean slang and figuring out what it means has got to be one of the most interesting parts of learning Korean as far as I’m concerned. Korean slang is often super creative and fascinating to piece back together to understand: 1) what it means, 2) what the reference(s) is/are and 3) what are the variations of it.
If learning Korean is one thing, then learning Korean slang is like learning a completely different language altogether!
Anyway, I find Korean slang so fascinating that I figured I ought to blog about it so this is my attempt at it.
Photo by Kaffee Meister on Unsplash
It’s only fitting considering the name of my blog that the 1st slang I talk about is related to iced coffee.
얼어 죽어도 아이스 often shortened as 얼죽아 is a slang phrase that became popular in winter 2019.
Let’s pick it apart:
얼어 죽어도 아이스 literally means “Even if I die freezing, ice” and more figuratively “Even if I die freezing [I’ll still order/drink] iced [coffee]”
It’s very often shortened as 얼죽아 which is just the first character block of each word in 얼어 죽어도 아이스 smashed together to build a new “word”, something that is often done with Korean slang.
As you can probably guess, the word became popular among lovers of iced drinks who continue to order them even in the rough of Korean winters where temperatures are often sub-zero and people wear long-padding coats. The phrase became so famous that Korean news outlets wrote about it. This particular article also explains that Korean coffee shop chains Ediya and Twosome Place saw their iced drinks sales rise up by 36% and 28% respectively compared to winter 2018.
So what are the reasons behind such a craze for iced drinks? In the same article, one person says that as Korean coffee isn’t really good, it doesn’t matter if you dilute it with – a train of thought I can certainly agree with when it comes to mainstream Korean coffee shops chains who notoriously sell subpar tasting coffee… Another person said that drinking iced drinks is a symbol of youth and that you should enjoy it as long as your teeth can bear it. My reason? I just prefer it to hot drinks. 끝.
The 얼죽아 movement has had a lot of impact:
Korean stationery chain Artbox came out with a 얼죽아 sticker you can proudly display to show that you’re an “honorary member” of that movement. Highkey need it.
This tweet comes out at the top when you look up the phrase on search engines, stating that some members of the 얼죽아 협회(association) have apparently decided to leave/defected and that remaining members should stick together until summer comes. “When winter comes, our time comes” is how the tweet ends. Serious business.
I will end this post on other coffee-related slangs I learned while going down this rabbit hole of research: 아아 and 따아.
Credit to Eggbun
Once more, these 2 words are the shortened versions of 아이스 아메리카노 and 따듯한 아메리카노, built by taking the first character block of each word. They respectively mean Iced Americano and Hot Americano. It’s just a bit hysterical to me to see a slang word that’s just 아아 = ah-ah. It feels like screaming into the void about iced americano which might be just a little too relatable.
Until the next time for more ramblings on Korean slang that I hope you will find interesting! 🙂 If you have any requests, leave a comment.