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As much as a Rat's Tail: Korean Slang, invective and euphemism

As much as a Rat's Tail: Korean Slang, invective and euphemism [Kindle Edition]

Peter Nicholas Liptak , Si Woo Lee

Print List Price: 12.95
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Product Description


대한민국을 사랑하는 외국인 친구들에게 선물하면 좋은 책 --Cyworld, June 17, 2010

Slang moves faster than a late night text message, and whether you're native, gyopo, or foreigner, As Much as a Rat's Tail is loaded with the latest lowbrow lyricism Hangul has to offer. The portable, well-bound paperback is ready to make a home in your pack or on your bookshelf, ready to be read in pieces or cover to cover. With helpful icons indexing ddokboki (spicey!) for sexual terms, soju for (im)proper drinking etiquette and sushi for Japanese imports, the guide pops with bright design and readable ruminations regarding an entry's radical roots revealing the underbelly of contemporary Korean.

Entertainingly useful entries range from the foul to the sublime. The next time you're at the bar and that cute girl says nui-ddong geulk-da - you'll understand she's saying you think your poop is thick; or if there's magic between you, it might be cheot nun, the first snow, referring to love at first sight.

Don't be an nong-ddaeng-i (do-little or dawdler), pick up the Rat's Tail and pump up your speech with fresh flavor. One caveat: if you're an English teacher, you might want to keep it out of your classroom.

As Much As a Rat's Tail: Korean Slang, An Irreverent Look at Language within Culture is available on Amazon in the US and at Seoul Selection in Korea. --Groove Magazine, Seoul by Drake Baer

Product Description

As much as a Rat's Tail: Korean slang, invective & euphemism– the “Insider's guide”

An irreverent look at Language within Culture 

Get 'street' with A Rat's Tail - Learn what the kids are really saying, all the Korean they will never teach you in class. 
Korean is rich with the dynamic linguistic expressions and freshly coined language. A Rat's Tail dives into the intricacies of modern Korean slang introducing the hip, hot, spicy and sexual, the irreverent and inspiring, the cultural, crass and comical. 

This is the Korean not covered in the language books, full of color and infused with philosophy. With A Rat's Tail in hand, you can impress others with your verbal acumen as you complement their fashion sense, dish out dirty words, or text up a storm, while you gain insight into the mind and culture of the Korean people. 

Get the lingo on:
• expressions so necessary they're like rice
• a little something on the side
• stuff to say (and do) while drinking
• spicy language and swearing
• something sexy to say
• what they say in the halls, not the classroom!
• Konglish & more

Get the Straight Scoop with explanations of uncommon words and unusual usage. 
Culturally Speaking – get the skinny on how Koreans think, speak or act. 
Plus how to pick up, break up, make up, or get down and dirty. 
Find out who's abusing you and how to talk about someone behind their back.


“This book is the bomb!” —Mr. Kim 

"A must read for Koreans and foreigners alike!” —Mr. Park 
“Shockingly fun!” —Mr. Lee

“Great bathroom reading!” —another Mr. Lee (go there if you dare)

Author Bios
Peter N. Liptak lives and writes in Seoul, Korea. An avid traveler and poet, Peter draws on Korea’s people, language and culture as a source of inspiration, linguistic and otherwise. Keen on dialect and borrowed words in language, Peter did his MA in Korean Studies at Yonsei University. Catch up with Peter and his musings at or his adventures at

Siwoo Lee - A young philosopher who studies international management at KyungHee University, Siwoo Lee has taken a profound interest in the symbolism of language, combined with his fascination with foreign tongues and his sophisticated command of slang, has led him to delve into the world of A Rat’s Tail.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6281 KB
  • Print Length: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Exile Press LLC; 1st edition (6 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008DXZYA2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #491,518 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real deal 20 April 2010
By Mr. Luke B. Doyle - Published on
I've got a copy of the Korean edition which is fantastic. I'm an English language instructor at a Korean university in Seoul. I've used this book as a conversation starter in my classes and the Korean students are amused, shocked & amazed. I've often heard exclaimed, "Teacher, you shouldn't learn these bad words!" Well, red rag to a bull...Anyway, this is the most practical Korean you'll find in any book about the Korean language. Bust these lines on your new Korean friends and watch their jaws drop at your masterful and deep understanding of their language...

Beautiful layout & good organisation, easily accessible information, all the lists you need with all the words you need to know, example phrase usage in sample dialogues (in Korean and in English using the Korean phrase). unlike any other Korean slang books, there are explanations of everything so you can know that you're using the material right!

Very cool guys. Thanks for making this book! I keep it with me at all times now :)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless Handbook for Korean - Hilarious and Brilliant 23 Dec 2010
By Michael A. Robson - Published on
I have been through the usual textbooks for Korean learning: I got the Pimsleur Audio course on iTunes; I got some very stiff textbooks at the Incheon Airport Bookstore, I've watched many of the hit Korean comedies from the last 10 years (subtitled, obviously), and I even (briefly) joined a Korean language Institute (before they doubled the hourly fee!).

So why was I so drawn to this book? Because the author came right out and declared that you really can't get a handle of Korean life from those stiff old textbooks, that the answers I was looking for are not found through repetition of grammatical structures, but that the culture was a wildly different thing from anything in the West, and would have to be paced through gradually. In other words, slang was part of the education, it was not an optional aspect of language, but integral, and require learning for anyone with even a passing interest in the Korean language. Basically, this book, ostensibly a dictionary of racy, zany, hilarious Korean slang (with mini dialogues for each word, many of which are incredibly funny) was going to be my next step in further understanding Korean pop culture.

I insist on using the term `pop culture' here, because it does a great disservice to thousands of years of Korean history to say that you will more deeply understand it by watching Gangster movies. I wouldn't dare. That is a very distant mountain I have yet to set foot upon. I want to be very careful here in any `wisdom' I glean from such a book. To be clear, any book about slang, is obviously going to be geared towards a younger set. Much of the slang is inappropriate, especially in an austere Korean business environment (and yet, ironically, totally perfect, in a 3 hour drunken Korean Karaoke session, also integral to Business life). There is a time and a place for such language. And that is, casual conversation. Very casual. You can actually get into trouble for being too stiff and boring (eg. talking like they do in my textbooks), and that is, people won't really like you, they'll think of you as a robot, with no personality. And there's a risk of getting too `colourful' with this language and being the life of a party (and summarily fired for being inappropriate at the office). Use your common sense.

So what's in here? Well for start, I have to apologize at how incredibly long it took me to get through this book. I've basically flashcarded (via iPhone app) most of the words in here (between 200-300 slang expressions) for my own study. It doesn't have to be studied like that, of course; if you were an English teacher in Korea, you could throw this in your backpack, and practice a few words throughout the day (ahem, the polite ones, of course), and that alone would get you massive brownie points with colleagues, students and friends (and members of the opposite sex).

So here's a few Cultural Points that I've tried to extract from reading this book. Apologies to any Koreans if I've gone off track. Please correct me in the comments!

* Age is huge in Korea, determining (akin to Japan) the way you talk to someone, the kind of language you use. Not surprising for anyone familiar with Korean `politeness levels', but I found it very interesting, that if two people meet, and they discover they are born in the same year, there is no obligation to be exceedingly polite (as they are neither senior nor junior to each other), and upon realizing this, get to speak Casual Korean. It's a delight and worthy of celebration. This is considered a good sign, and basically, let the good times roll! Geom-bei!

* Speaking of Korean Drinking, my own trips to Korea (purely business) have all followed this script. After work, the group will go out for dinner. There is a phenomenon known as 1 cha, 2 cha, 3 cha (basically first round, second round, third round) where the party will move from the restaurant (drinking) to a drinking establishment, and later a Karaoke bar. By the time you get to the Karaoke bar, you should be very loose, and showing your true self. This is how you form a strong bond or warm connection with someone (especially your colleagues), by drinking together and having a blast.

* Three Keys in Korea. This is pretty big, because anyone who's watched 5 minutes of a Korean drama series, or a Korean movie will note, "Hm.. Lots of rich people." There is a strong sense of pressure that hangs over Korean life, I believe, to get married, start a family, and have these three keys: the car keys, the home keys, and the keys to the office. In other words, to have your life in order, and have some property. WIthout these, men are considered marriage material. Hence all the pressure, starting from the womb, to do well in school and get a good job. On the other hand, much of this is common throughout the world, who doesn't want their children to be successful? I think the key in Korea, is that is seems to be constant reminder, and hence the pressure is suffocating at times. The drive for money and wealth, and a good reputation pervades much of Korean life. So shape up!

* When it comes to Korean Comedy, everyone loves a play on words, and some of the skits, and dialogues in this book are laugh out loud funny. There's something distinctly Korean, the silly goofball personality, that you see throughout funny movies and TV shows. My Korean friends will kill me if I don't insert this disclaimer: this is exaggerated for effect. Please, please, please remember, all comedy (and drama, and theatre of any kind) is exaggerated for effect. That's why girls in Korean shows are often over the top in their emotional outbursts, and Korean men totally snap and fly into a rage at the smallest offense, and a huge brawl breaks out. This is meant to be funny, and Korean comedy does this very well. Normal life, and normal people, are just that, very moderated, and very reasonable people. But that wouldn't be any fun to watch on TV, now would it?

I know my Korean teacher doesn't approve of this book, but I don't care. Eventually, we have to bring our personalities out in our language study, and with this book, you have all the tools to do so. Whether you choose to be playboy, a computer geek, a princess, a gangster, a cranky ajumma, or a salaryman, is up to you ;)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things you'll never learn in Rosetta Stone ... 26 Oct 2010
By B. Bautista - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is simply a godsend for those learning Korean slang. I have been studying Korean on my own and have been learning random slang words from my time chatting online. Although I have owned Making Out in Korean: Revised Edition (Making Out Books) for awhile, it doesn't really give any useful examples of how to use the words. It's just straight word and definition. However, this book gives real conversations in Korean that include the slang word that it's trying explain and also includes English translations. What's also intuitive about this book is that it includes some cultural explanations to some words as well as onomatopoeias that Koreans love to use! Try out this book! You'll definitely impress your Korean friends. As usual, there are some words in here that should never be used with people you don't know. However, that's just common sense stuff. Enjoy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rat's Review 18 May 2010
By J.W.Atkinson - Published on
Forget the textbooks! This is what the kids are REALLY saying on the streets.

This is a well thought out, well laid out, and well organised text. Not only do you get the vocabulary, each page gives you a true-to-life dialogue along with the background and origin of each slang term.

Full credit to the authors.

Use some of these gems with your Korean friends and you're sure to raise more than a few eyebrows ;)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent entertaining read! 28 April 2011
By Callie - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is real entertaining. As a non-Korean native, I find the book highly entertaining. Something that my korean friends find it funny as well. A great read. Highly recommended! It's the real deal.
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