Sunday, May 19, 2019

#127. 존나 -- As f***

I am back from my hiatus with another penis post!

The korean colloquial word for "penis" is "고추," which also means "chili pepper." Presumably it just derives from their shapes.

The word "존나" has become such a classic slang word that I don't imagine it going anywhere. It was popular in the 90s when I was a kid, it is still extremely popular now (in fact, I am told that it was already popular in the 70s and 80s). So in short, every Korean knows what this word means.

To start, here are some examples of the uses for this word.

"선생님이 별것도 아닌걸 가지고 잔소리하는데 존나 짜증났어." (The teacher was nagging at me for nothing, and I was annoyed as f***)
"무슨 밥이 한공기에 만원이야? 존나 비싸네!" (How is a bowl of rice 10,000 won? That's expensive as f***)
"어제 영화보는데 내동생이 옆에서 존나 떠들어서 존나 패버리고싶었어." (My brother wouldn't f***ing shut up while I was watching a movie last night, and I wanted to f***ing beat him up.)

As you can see, the word "존나" is a pretty good translation of the f-word in English, both in its vulgarity and in its meaning. Just like how you expect a bunch of rowdy teenagers roaming the bars at night to be throwing the f-bombs everywhere, the main users of the word "존나" in Korea are also young men with rebellious streaks, and even then, only among close friends or in a fight.

Of course, more people tend to use it on the internet, because internet knows neither the age nor the gender of the speaker (and the Korean internet is a lawless wasteland.)

The word "좆," an extremely vulgar slang word for "penis," has been covered several times in this blog (not because I'm obsessed with it, but because so much of the Korean slang is based on sexuality!) For example, see 좆같다, 좆만하다, and 인실좆.

In this case, the word "좆" has been changed to "존," because the word "존나" comes from the phrase "좆나다," which pronounces exactly like "존나다," shortened to "존나." Well, can you guess what it means?

Here is a photo of a newborn sprout. In Korean, we might say "새싹이 나다 (Sprout has sprouted)."

It is a composition of the noun "좆 (penis)" and the verb "나다 (comes into existence, sprouts, grows, etc.)" You probably guessed it, "좆나다" quite literally means "penis has grown" or "erection."

So for example, the phrase "This pastry is so good that it's giving me an erection = This pastry is good AF" would translate to "빵이 존나게 맛있네," or "빵 존나 맛있네."

Since there is literally no other Korean word that involves the letter "좆" other than the extremely vulgar slang word for "penis," many internet communities will police themselves into blocking any posts that uses the word "좆," or even "좆나" and "존나," so this word has an amazing number of variants. The most common of these is "ㅈㄴ," using just the constants. Other variants include "조낸, 줜나, 졸라, 절라, 존내, 줠라, ..." all of which are vulgar as f***!

So, once again, I would refrain from using these words unless you're a male person into your third drink with your closest male friends (don't even use it in the presence of women... Yes, I know it sounds sexist, but Korea has a longer way to go towards gender equality, and it's better to play it safe than to make a huge faux pas in my opinion!)

Some softened form of this word exists. One is "열라," which comes from "열나다" (to be heated up.) While still not suitable for polite company, this will at least not earn as many frowns if you accidentally say it too loudly in a crowded subway.

For example, you could be having a snack with your girl friends, and say
"와 이 떡볶이 열라매워! 스트레스가 확 풀린다" (Omg, this 떡볶이 is spicy as f***! I feel like all of my stress disappeared.)

Unfortunately, the etymology of this word is a little bit more questionable (the avoidance of the word "penis" is what makes it a little less vulgar). Story has it that "열라" comes from the fact that if you have an extremely vigorous sex, you can heat up your 좆 via the friction.


In the similar vein, sometimes the older generation will use the phrase "좆빠지게," which means to the point where your penis falls off. Stretch your imagination in the context of sex, and deduce for yourselves why this is used as an exaggeration or a strong affirmation of an adjective. For example, you can say
"좆빠지게 일했는데 월급은 겨우 130이네." (I worked my penis off, and my paycheque for the month is only $1300 USD = 1,300,000 Korean won.)

No one believes me when I say that Korean is an extremely vulgar language. Maybe I will pique your interest if I say that literally no one on the internet will be offended by you using the word "존나." You can do much, much worse!