I read here earlier that written language is different from modern text/chat language. So much so, that some would consider it difficult to read/understand.

Are there any specific cases where you've seen this effect? In what ways, does the language maintain it's original meaning/writing so that even a person studying Korean could understand it?

3 Answers 3


To answer "are there any specific cases", I would offer these.

  • for LOL I often see ㅎㅎㅎ (like He He he)
  • for OK my Korean wife uses ㅇㅋ
  • another laughing sound is ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

In addition to vocalized abbreviations like that, I also see a lot of slang and funny/cute spellings (그려 for 그래, 넵 for , 엽 for ), but I see this mainly with the younger generation. My pastor and other elders in the church chat the way they email or speak.


Most younger generations use shortened words(called 줄임말) or type only the first constants of a letter(often expressed as 초성 쓰기).

지켜주지 못해 미안해 -> 지못미

넘을 수 없는 사차원의 벽 -> 넘사벽

these are two examples of shortened words, but there are an extremely vast variety of these and understanding these words without knowing Korean as well as a native language would probably be very hard.

There isn't any meaning in giving examples for the second type of texting(초성 쓰기), since anything can be written in constants. For instance:

이거레알 반박불가 -> ㅇㄱㄹㅇ ㅂㅂㅂㄱ

understanding these without being Korean is impossible at most times, but chatting a lot with Koreans will help a lot if you really want to understand Korean texting words.


There are differences between literary language and spoken language. There are a lot of expressions that are widely used in writing, but are rarely used in casual speech. Also more contractions and omissions are used in speech than in (formal) writings. See thiscredit goes to the book "국어실력이 밥 먹여준다":

  • 그러나 나는 누나와 함께 이곳에서 가장 큰 것을 찾아 동생에게 가져다 주어야 해.

Chances are, nobody speaks like this in real life. You're more likely to say:

  • 하지만 난 누나랑 같이 여기서 제일 큰 걸 찾아서 동생한테 갖다 줘야 돼.

그러나, 이곳, 가장, 에게, -어야 하다, etc are literary expressions that are rarely used in casual speech, and are replaced with 하지만, 여기, 제일, 한테, -어야 되다. Also 나는, 것을, 가져다, 주어야 are contracted to 난, 걸, 갖다, 줘야. Also the -아 connecting ending is replaced with -아서 to make it sound more apparent.

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