Korean cultural code words Language of generalisation

Part One- Korean New Year

How would you explain the things below connected to Korean New Year celebrations to a foreign person who had never heard of them?




charye sang-


tteok mandu guk-


jegi chagi –




Match the words above to the descriptions from English language sites below:

– a game of jumping on a seesaw

– traditional family board game

– traditional Korean clothing

– a ritual table

– soup with rice cakes

– ttok-guk with mandu dumplings

– first day of the lunar calendar. It is the most important of the traditional Korean holidays

– paying your respects to the living elders of the family by performing one deep traditional bow… Usually, the elders give something to the people offering saebae: food, money, drink or something similar and offer words of wisdom, or deokdam

– honoring of the past four generations of ancestors

-a game where a light object is wrapped in paper or cloth, and then kicked in a Hacky Sack like manner

Are the explanations above accurate and clear? How would you change them?

How important are the things above in a modern Korean New Year?

Are there any things which have been forgotten? How would you explain what they are and how important they are (traditionally and nowadays)?

Do the same with the “Korean cultural code words” below. Choose one and explain what it is and how important (or not) in traditional and modern Korea but without saying the name, then your partner will guess which one you are talking about. Do they agree with what you said?

Kalbi Samgetan

Bulgolgi Kisaeng

Taekwondo Kimchi

Sundebu chigye Ajumma

Anju Chuseok

Dan-gun DMZ

DVD bang Hagwon

Hallyu Hangeul

Hanbok Hanok

Jjimjulbang KTX

Minbak Mudang

Ondol Pansori

Pension PC bang

Samul nori Soju

Yangban “Couple look”

Gyopo Jeonse

Ohmy News

Which things do you think most foreigners would already have heard of before they visited Korea?

Which things above are the most important to explain to describe traditional and modern Korean culture?

What other things should be on the list? How would you explain what they are?

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