Korean Language Blog

Thank you! Please check your inbox for your confirmation email.
You must click the link in the email to verify your request.

Wait, Is That Korean or English? (Part 2) Posted by on Jun 24, 2020 in Korean Language, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

I have been collecting Korean 허위 동족어 (huh-wee-dong-jok-uh: false cognates) for a while. 허위 동족어 are pairs of words that seem to be cognates because of similar sounds and meaning, but have different etymologies. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_cognate#:~:text=False%20cognates%20are%20pairs%20of,even%20within%20the%20same%20family.)

I have more Korean false cognates that I can share with you. I hope this post helps you expand your Korean vocabulary.

We talked about Korean words that sound like English words on the last post. if you have not had a chance to look at them, I recommend you review part 1.  (https://blogs.transparent.com/korean/wait-is-that-korean-or-english-part-1/)


Image by Pixabay


  1. 빨리 (bbal-lee: quick, fast)

빨리 is the most common adverb you would hear in Korean. 빨리 has the double consonant of ‘ㅂ’, but when you repeat the word, it sounds like “barley”.


  1. 마음 (mah-um :heart, mind)

맘 is short for 마음, which sounds like “mom”. Every mom’s 맘 for their children is the same.


  1. 미 (mi: beauty)

미 sounds like “me”. Do you like me for my 미?


  1. 혼 (hon: soul, spirit)

혼 sounds like “horn” when you ignore ‘r’ sound. Spirits don’t have horns.


  1. 불 (bool: fire)

불 sounds like “bull”. A bull will avoid 불.


Image by Pixabay


  1. 덕 (duc: virtue)

덕 sounds like “duck”. I’ve never thought of a duck having virtue.


  1. 밤 (bahm: night/chestnut)

밤 sounds like bomb or balm to me. 밤 has two meanings in Korean. When you pronounce 밤 in short sound, it means night/ night time.  On the other hand, 밤 in longer sound means a chestnut. Do not worry about the length of sounds. It is even confusing to me. You will understand by contextual meaning.


      8. 니가 (ni-gah: you)

Yes, perhaps the vilest word in colloquial English sounds like one of the most common words in Korean. I want to be sure that there are no misunderstandings.

“네가 (ne-gah) ” is a variation of  ‘너’ (you), when the postpositional particle ‘가 (-gah)’ is attached to it. “니가” is phonetically spelled in colloquial Korean, and is used very often in Korean conversations. Don’t be shocked when you think you hear this word in Korean conversation. And never use the English soundalike. Ever.


Image by Pixabay


  1. 아이 (ah-ee: child, kid)

아이 sounds like “eye”. 아이’ s eyes are pretty.


  1. 낫 (naht: a sickle)

낫 sounds like “knot”. The 낫 is not a tool to untangle for this knot.


  1. 이글이글 (ee-gle-ee-gle: lively, blazingly, burning)

이글이글 is an adjective, which usually comes before a verb. 이글이글 sounds just like “eagle”. The sun is 이글이글 타고 있다 on top of an eagle’s head.




Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: FlyHighOyster

Hi everyone, I was born and raised in Seoul, S. Korea. I have lived in Seattle for a while and I am traveling the world with my husband since 2016. It is my honor to share Korean culture with you all. Don't be shy to share your thoughts and comments! :) Talk to you soon. HJ