Korean-Mexican Slang

David Bowles
5 min readNov 27, 2022

For the past couple of years, as I’ve slowly been studying Korean, my sneaky little brain has been noticing correspondences with my own dialect of Mexican Spanish … which have led to my making mash-ups between the two languages. I call this hybrid Hanmegsiko Kaló or Korean-Mexican Slang.

Here are some examples I first shared on Twitter.

I say we take Korean slang word 콜 (kol, “okay, cool”) and mash it up with the synonymous Mexican slang word “órale” to make 콜아래 (kórale).

Then we take 아이씨 (aish, “darn/damn it”) and blend it with synonymous “ay, chihuahua” to make 아이씨와와 (aishiwawa). A racier version would use “ay, chingado” and become 아이싼가도 (aishingado). This is fun!

A mash-up of the South Korean and Mexican flags. Posted to Reddit by u/random1za

Got another! We smash together 헐 (heol, “whoa/WTF”) and “no manches” (“you gotta be freaking kidding”) to make 헐만젯 or “heolmanchet”! Racier version with “no mames” — 헐마멧 or “heolmamet.” This shit’s finding its way into a sci-fi story, I swear.

I also like the sound of this hybrid insult: 빈재미친놈 (pinjae michinnom or “damn crazy-ass”). It blends Mexican “pinche” with Korean “michinnom.” (The “j” is an unaspirated “ch” sound, btw.)

Ooh! How about taking 개새끼 (gaesaekki, “son of a b*tch”) and mashing it up with “hijo de la chingada” to make 진가다새끼 (chingada-saekki)? Man, if someone called me chingada-saekki, I’d gasp, “Kórale, bansa, güey!” (Wow, back at you, dude!).

미국 시림 (miguk saram, US citizen) + gringo = 미국 린 고 (miguk ringo … migugringo …)

In addition to mash-ups, doublets can be used. -야, 왜? (Ya, wae? “Hey, why?”) -¡Ya, güey! (“That’s enough, dude!”) Pronounced virtually the same, those four syllables together become -야, 왜? 야, 왜! (Ya, wae? Ya, güey!) (“Wae” is roughly “way,” though closer to “weh.”)

Oooh! If we combine 몰라 (molla, “I dunno”) with the Chicano slang “sepa la mo” (who the heck knows), we create 세바라 몰라 (sepa la molla), which just really underscores the obliviousness of the speaker, hahaha, ㅋㅋㅋ, jajaja.

Another pair of phrases that deserve blending are 어떡해 (eotteoghae, “what to do / what should I do” — “ghae” is between “kay” and “keh”) and “ahora qué” (what now). Maybe it’s as simple as 아오라어떡해 (ahora eotteo qué).

David Bowles

A Mexican American author & translator from South Texas. Teaches literature & Nahuatl at UTRGV. VP of the Texas Institute of Letters.

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