Korean Internet Slang Part 1: ㄹㅇ, ㅇㅈ

Gabriel Tan

Gabriel Tan

Jul 17 2021

·

2 min read

This post is a part of the Korean Slang series:

1. Korean Internet Slang Part 1: ㄹㅇ, ㅇㅈ

If you've been around on the Korean part of the Internet long enough, you might have seen these characters floating around. Unlike ㅋ or ㅎ which most beginning Korean learners see and understand, these ones don't seem to be so straightforward. When I first came across the multitudes of Korean Slang in the YouTube comment section, I didn't know what they meant, but upon closer inspection they are quite simple to understand.

Let's take a look at these two Korean slang words!

ㄹㅇ

Hint: Koreans like to abbreviate common words even though they don't seem to save many keystrokes or taps.

Can you guess what this term means using the hint above? Here's an example of it in the wild in a YouTube video.

ㄹㅇ

It's an abbreviation that expands into 리얼/레알, which is just the English loanword for "Real". Its meaning can either be "real" or "really" based on its context. It can be used on its own to express agreement or empathy towards what someone else said, or can be used to emphasize something like how "really" would be used.

ㅇㅈ

What about this one? Can you guess what it's short for?

This is an abbreviation for 인정, which means the acknowledgement or recgonition of something.

It's commonly used to express either a similar sentiment to what someone else said, or to acknowledge what someone else said.

You can see here how a a certain YouTube commenter is using it to agree with the sentiment of the original commenter.

ㅇㅈ

Using Korean Slang

Korean slang can be quite daunting to a Korean learner, just like how English learners find English slang difficult to understand. But if you know at least some of these, I believe that you'll be able to connect better to your Korean friends! (Or at least, those in their early 20s and younger)

Just like how English slang evolves over time (Hardly anyone 5 years ago would have used words like "yeet", "sheesh", and "drip" in the way we use it now), Korean slang should and will evolve over time.

Don't get too caught up in trying to master all slang words that you see - who knows, they'll be outdated in a couple months and you'll become a 꼰대 ㅋㅋ

Next time round, I'll be covering a few other abbreviations such as ㄹㅈㄷ, ㅅㅂ, ㅈㄴ. Subscribe to the mailing list to get notified when my posts go live!


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