Apart from the normal differences in pitch and tone between male and female voices, are there any different words, different intonations, or other linguistic habits that tend to be used more by men or women in Korean?

Are there any 'male habits' that (to sound natural) a female learner may want to avoid imitating, and vice versa?

  • 1
    For example, 니(question ending) tend to be used by women
    – user237
    Jun 27, 2016 at 12:04
  • @SuperCoolHandsomeGelBoy if you can tell me what men would use instead, you could put that as an answer... Jun 27, 2016 at 12:16
  • Exactly because there is no men equivalent.
    – user237
    Jun 27, 2016 at 12:19
  • 1
    @SuperCoolHandsomeGelBoy Men do use '~니?', but maybe not as often as women.
    – Memming
    Jun 27, 2016 at 15:45
  • 1
    It's less common for men to say 어머 or 깜짝이야. Jun 28, 2016 at 3:35

3 Answers 3


There are innumerable differences in daily life. The clearest example is 애교: while dramatized on TV, it is omnipresent in most informal situations involving female speakers. Men largely avoid any kind of 애교 for fear of appearing feminine. (Note: 애교 prevalence and level is highly variable depending on the speaker background(s) and situation, especially age.)

Key characteristics of 애교 include excessively stressing and intentionally mispronouncing words:

  • Extending final syllables, written as "~"
  • Pronouncing "도" as "두" e.g. "저두요"
  • Pronouncing "요" as "여" e.g. "고마워여"
  • Baby talk e.g. "먹어떠" "알아떠" "알게떠"
  • The quintessential example: adding "ng" to the end of sentences e.g. "넹" "고마웡" "알겠습니당"

Less concretely: Women address people by name more often, use softer/politer language, and are more comfortable with slang. Men prefer titles, speak far more tersely, and swear more.

The difference in texting style is much more extreme, and a whole other topic...

  • 2
    I think you might be over-exaggerating the prevalence of 애교. I have lots of (female) friends who avoid it on purpose or use it only for comic effect.
    – 파울울
    Jun 29, 2016 at 17:43
  • @파울울 Good point – I've added a note to my answer. Still, most informal situations involving multiple female speakers will include some level of 애교. Jun 30, 2016 at 2:56
  • @파울울 I've added a few more subtle examples. Jun 30, 2016 at 3:15
  • video example of 애교 with explanation and comparison
    – klementine
    Jun 30, 2016 at 23:16

Men are more likely to use the formal style endings (스)ㅂ니다/ㅂ니까 mixed in here and there. Also, mainly men really still use the Familiar or 하네 Style. (indicative 하네, suggestion 하세, question 하나, command 하게, retrospective statement 하데, retrospective question 하디) but this is becoming increasingly rare these days, I hear (except for 네 which now really is more of an exclamatory ending than just indicative....)

The abbreviated quotative ending (다고) is often spoken as "다구" by women...otherwise I'm not aware of too many things you could say are truly clear or definitive... but of course young school girls have all kinds of slangy things, as you would expect.


When a person gets a haircut, a man will say "머리를 깎는다" while a woman will say "머리를 자른다."

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