I am currently reading a book in Korean about clouds. It teaches words such as 쌘비구름, 털구름... apparently these are the pure Korean words for types of clouds (in brackets below...)

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A native Korean I was speaking to hadn't heard of some of these terms. I was wondering how commonly-used the pure Korean words are compared to the Chinese-derived ones? (I do understand that these neither of these sets of words will be frequently-used in general conversation).

  • I am not sure about the usage of these words, but wouldn't it be similar to English speakers not even knowing the words for each type of cloud? I imagine there exist native Korean speakers that don't know what it is simply because they hadn't learned about all the types of clouds there are.
    – Amacelia
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 23:24
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    @Amacelia probably... though my sample of one native Korean was familiar with the other terms (적란운, 고적운, etc), so I'm wondering if I should focus on learning those instead of the ones in the book... Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


About as common as they are in English.. I personally don't know those words (except that 적란운 sounds very familiar for some weird reason), and I've never heard these terms being tossed around in conversations.

Edit: sorry, I misunderstood your question. If I remember correctly, cloud names were a part of our middle school curriculum and we were mostly taught with the Chinese-based names. (Korean names were more like fun facts). Even to this date I'm pretty sure Chinese-based names are preferred over Korean ones in academia when such options are available.

  • Sorry, I was asking how common the Korean words are compared to the Chinese-derived words - have edited the question to clarify. I assume at least one set must be used when these are studied in school? Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 7:04
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    I also remember learning the Chinese character version back in middle school. To me, Korean names don't really sound familiar. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 7:24

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