I get it. Sometimes when you’re writing a Kpop fanfic, you want to make the experience as authentic for the reader as possible. And what better way to do that than to throw the occasional Korean in here and there?
Romanized Korean is great; there are certain colloquial things in Korean that you just can’t translate into English. So yes, all the power to you writers out there using romanized Korean - kudos to you for trying to incorporate another language into your writing in a way that makes your story flow more naturally in a certain cultural setting. But are you doing it correctly?
I can’t tell you how much I cringe when I find a well-written fic and am enjoying it… when the author drops some misused romanized Korean smack in the middle. For those of you scrunching their noses at this post and thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a fic. Just ignore it.” I’d like to point out that yes it is slightly insulting when someone misuses your language, acts like it’s not a big deal, and continues to misuse your language even if they may or may not know that they are misusing it.
So to spread awareness on using proper romanized Korean, I am uploading this post to share several common mistakes that fanfic writers tend to make.
Hope you find this helpful!
- “Jongin-yah”x “Hwasa-ah”×
- Can you tell me why these are wrong?
- If these sound right to you, you are probably not using these suffixes correctly.
- RULE: -ah is used with names that end in a consonant sound while -yah is used with names that end in a vowel sound.
- RULE: you should only use -ah/-yah when directly addressing someone.
- “Jungkook-ah, we really need to hang out sometime!“
- “Hani-yah, let’s go study at the library later today.”
- NEVER use these suffixes in the object form/to refer to someone.
- “Did our Sungmin-ah sleep well last night?”x
- "I was with Sunny-yah at the club yesterday.“x
- Personally, I dislike seeing ‘jagi’ in fanfics because it does translate into ‘Honey’ or ‘Sweetheart’ and other similar terms of endearment. But if you must use it for whatever reason, make sure you’re using it correctly!
- “Our jagi-yah looks so cute today!”x
- “Is our jagi-yah sick?”x
- This is such a common mistake.
- As in the previous lesson, ‘jagi’ ends with a vowel sound, therefore the appropriate ending is? Yup. -Yah.
- So why is the above example wrong?
- As in the previous lesson, you should ONLY use -yah after ‘jagi’ when you are directly addressing someone and not commenting on their appearance/condition/etc.
- “Jagi-yah, let’s go eat something yummy today~”
- “I bought a pretty necklace for our jagi.”
- “I went on a date with Suhoie-ah yesterday.”x
- That actually killed me to type.
- RULE: Unlike -ah/-yah, you can use -ie in the object form/to refer to someone and to comment on someone’s appearance/condition/etc.
- RULE: Only use -ie if the name ends with a consonant sound.
- “Have I ever introduced you to Sebomie?”
- “Jiminie performed so well on stage today.”
- “Did you get Youngjaeie’s number?”x
- NEVER use -ie and -ah/-yah together
- “Kim Soohyunie-yah is my kdrama crush!”x
- Just. No.
- NEVER use the suffixes -ah/-yah outside of Kpop fanfics. -ie is okay.
- For example, when commenting on a music video:
- “Sehunie is so good looking” is perfectly fine.
- “Kihyun-ah sings so well!” is not since you’re commenting on a quality of his and not directly addressing him.
- “Annyeong! Jeoneun Irene ibnida!”x
- Lit. Translated: “Hello! I am Irene!”
- Bottom line is, if you can translate directly into English, I implore you to stay away from romanized Korean.
- You might as well just type your whole story in Korean if you’re going to use romanized Korean so heavily.
- “Umma, how have you been?“x
- Lit. Translated: “Mom, how have you been?”
- PLEASE DON’T USE SARANGHAEYO IN YOUR FIC OR I WILL FIND YOU AND-
- Sorry. It needed to be said.
- Honestly speaking, using romanized Korean in your fics isn’t completely necessary. If your story setting is in Korea and the majority of your characters are Korean, then it’s assumed that they are speaking Korean even though you’re writing in English. You don’t see professional Dramafever subtitles using -ah/-yah or oppa in their subs do you?
Anywaaaaaays happy fanfic writing and I hope this wasn’t too confusing :)
taemin: m-minho oppa oh i mean hyung *flips lucifer era hair behind his shoulder* saranghaeyo..i know you’re the coolest guy in school and i’m a nerd but you make my heart go dugeun dugeun..do you want me to tutor you in science?
minho, dribbling a basketball: what the hell is science
Something I found around my Facebook time line. Seriously, anything can happen in the next 24 hours and I’m not prepared to let go. Thank you guys for being an inspiration, that you can achieve your dreams as long as you worked hard and did your best.
Good luck to all 101 trainees in their future endeavors
PLEASE WRITE THE CONTINUATION TO BREAKING SMT SPECIAL OF YOOSUNG AND JAEHEES I CHECK YOUR ACOUNT EVERYDAY TO SEE IT IM THIRSTYYY
-frowns- Before you read, aaah, I know there are a lot of different ways
for this piece to be criticized… (I’m sorry, I’m still anxious that this piece will be taken negatively…) Ahah;; Still, it’s here, at least. Now you
know what happens after MC holds the knife in her hand.
He never got the chance to
apologize. He never got the chance to explain.
What was the truth
behind it all? If only he could have been less stubborn, less scared, he would
have told you.
After Rika had
passed away years ago, Yoosung started to see a psychiatrist with Zen’s
encouragement, and was diagnosed with depression. His psychiatrist claimed that
it wasn’t abnormal that Yoosung’s grief developed into depression, after all,
Rika had been an important figure in his life. It was no wonder that his loss
could affect him so deeply.
It’s not that he
loved her in the romantic sense—Yoosung knew that others often misunderstood,
but he couldn’t care less about their misinterpretations. As long as he himself
knew how he felt, then it didn’t matter. Yoosung treasured Rika as a person,
because… he had never learned to love and value himself until he met her.
Before he had met
her, Yoosung had always felt like there was nothing special about himself. He
was just like every other kid out there. He went to school, he studied, he
listened to his parents… He wasn’t special. There was no point to his existence.
Anyone could replace him.
But Rika had made
him realize that he was more than that.
“You really are a good kid!” Rika had said
upon meeting him for the first time.
Yoosung furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.
It’s not like he was doing anything special by volunteering today… His mom had
convinced him to join Rika in doing this, with the benefit of getting community
hours. He wasn’t the one who wanted to volunteer.
Rika noticed his dubious expression, and she
smiled gently at him, putting down the stack of papers she had been carrying.
She cradled his smaller hands in her own, gazing softly into his eyes.
“Yoosung-ah, what are you thinking?” she murmured,
looking genuinely curious to hear his thoughts.
He faked a reassuring grin. “Ah, no, I was
just thinking that you shouldn’t be complimenting me when you work even harder
than me, noona!”
Rika chuckled quietly. “I wasn’t asking for
a model-student answer, Yoosung, I was asking what YOU were thinking about.”
Yoosung felt confused by her response at
first, but sighed when he realized that he probably couldn’t fool her. “Well,
you called me a good kid, but it’s not like I’m the one who wanted to volunteer
in the first place,” he admitted, frowning.
“Hmm~ So you don’t want to volunteer?” she
said thoughtfully. “Then, what do you
want to do?”
……He didn’t know the answer to that.
Wasn’t he just supposed to be a good friend,
a good son, and a good student? Was there any merit in pursuing his own
interests? Did he even have his own interests…? One that wasn’t influenced by
someone else, but an interest that he desired all on his own?
“I-I don’t know,” he answered truthfully,
averting his eyes in embarrassment.
“Well, if you don’t know yet, then that can
only mean that you’re still on a journey to find out, right?”
“Yes! I’m sure that as you come to
experience many new things, you’ll be able to find something you truly love and
have passion for, from the bottom of your heart. Aren’t you curious what it
“Uhm, I guess so?” He didn’t want to say it
out loud, but his cousin’s words were seriously cringeworthy and cheesy.
Despite his unenthusiastic response, Rika
beamed at him. “Perhaps you don’t believe me right now, but I’m certain that
you’ll find the answer someday. When that time comes, make sure to tell me,
“Pfft. Okay, I promise.” Yoosung really
didn’t understand how she could sound so sure of herself. Still, although he
didn’t fully believe her, he did feel a small spark of hope that maybe, just
maybe, she could be right. He couldn’t guarantee that she was wrong, just as
much as she couldn’t guarantee that she was correct.
So, in an attempt to determine whether her
ridiculously cheesy ideals were true, he decided to give it a try—opening his
eyes to new experiences. It wouldn’t hurt to try. There was nothing about
himself that he valued, so what could he possibly lose?
Yoosung began to volunteer more, meeting
numerous people from senior citizens who respectively taught him many lessons,
to little children who taught him patience. He put in more effort in his
studies, which helped him to get along with the other students who were
impressed by his sudden passion. He even helped out more at home, developing a
better bond with his mother, too.
He didn’t really enjoy any of those things,
But the people he interacted with during
these moments helped him in discovering himself. They’d tell him that he was
full of potential, hardworking, passionate, reliable, friendly… They recognized
multiple characteristics in him, praising him, admiring him. To be honest, Yoosung
didn’t believe any of their compliments at first.
But having hundreds of people telling him
the same things over and over again, Yoosung started to believe it, too.
“Yoosung-ah, has something good happened?” Rika
“Hm? Why do you ask, noona?”
“You’ve been smiling a lot more lately when
Yoosung flashed a sheepish look at her. “Well,
it turns out you were right…”
Her eyes lit up at this. “You’ve found it?
The thing you love and have passion for?”
“Mmn, no,” he murmured, shaking his head, “But
I do think you’re right that I simply haven’t discovered it yet. When we talked
about it before… honestly, I was lost about who I am. But you suggested that I
haven’t had enough experiences, so I tried to expand my world a bit, and I
think I’m slowly starting to understand who I am.”
“And that is?” she urged him to continue
with clear anticipation in her tone.
“I don’t think I can describe it easily…
There isn’t really a black and white when it comes to a person’s identity and
characteristics. I used to think that there wasn’t much substance to who I am,
but now, I know that’s wrong. Through meeting others, helping others, and
pushing myself to succeed, I’ve realized a lot of things about myself. And… I
can be proud of who I am today because you led me to this answer.”
Rika’s eyes widened in surprise. She tried
to deny it, “No, I didn’t really do anything at all!”
“That’s not true… You helped me face my
insecurities, and you inspired me to volunteer. I know that… it might seem
trivial to you, but it’s really important to me. And I’m sure that what you
said about me finding something I can genuinely love someday will come true as
well. Thank you, noona. For helping me. Thank you. You’re the best cousin I
could ask for. Saranghaeyo, noona!”
When Yoosung fell
in love with you, he hadn’t expected for you to return his feelings. Finding
out that you loved him back made him feel like the happiest man in the world.
He was determined to make you happy, too… and somewhere along the line, he
realized: You were what he’d always
been looking for. He loved you and cared for you from the bottom of his heart,
he really did.
realization hit him like a double-edged sword. On one hand, he was more than
thrilled that he finally found something he was strongly interested in. On the
other hand… he couldn’t keep his promise to Rika. He had promised to tell her
when he finally found it. But… she was dead.
This fact upset him
for the longest time, and he lamented about it to his therapist a lot. But
Yoosung knew that Rika wasn’t coming back. He just… he just needed time to move
She had made such a
huge impact in his life. She was someone important to him. Rika was someone
that he wanted to show you off to. To show that he wasn’t that same little boy
who held no passion anymore. To show that he’d grown up.
And Yoosung wasn’t
ready to spill all this to you. It was hard enough trying to live normally
despite knowing that the cousin he had always looked up to and appreciated would
no longer smile or laugh beside him. It’d be even harder recounting the whole
story to you, because she really meant a lot to him.
That morning when
he had awoken you upon discovering that you’d disrespected his privacy, that
you’d treaded upon something he simply wasn’t ready to talk about yet… Yoosung
just snapped. Did you not trust him? Hadn’t he told you numerous times not to
go near that corner? He would have told you the truth when he was ready but he
just wasn’t ready and he didn’t know how to explain without revealing
In his anger, he’d
left after yelling at you to leave, but once he walked outside, he regretted
his words immediately. He didn’t mean a single word he’d said. But… Yoosung
knew that he was still mad, and he needed to calm down first, so he refused to
return so soon. He thought he would just apologize later, and then he would be
able to explain to you.
When he finally got
back home, he was ready to sit down to talk with you but…
You were on his kitchen floor, lying there in a pool of your own blood, and Yoosung felt his
heart stop at the sight.
With his fingers
shaking, he didn’t know what to do even as he fumbled for his phone while
staring at your figure with wide eyes, guilt and shock overwhelming him. He had
done this to you.
If only he had
If only he had been
If only he hadn’t
yelled this morning.
If only he’d come
But the reality was
that he’d been an idiot and what he’d
done had hurt you and now here he was, being interrogated by the police.
“I don’t know why she did it, I’m sorry, I’m
sorry, I don’t know,” he pleaded, unable to think straight. He couldn’t
answer any of their questions properly. He just couldn’t.
All he could think
about right now was that he couldn’t lose you too.
The police gave up on him after hours of
interrogation that went nowhere, so Yoosung was finally able to sit beside your
It was scary, staring
at your motionless body on the sickeningly white bed, with an IV attached to
your arm and an oxygen mask over your face. Your heartbeat monitor was stable…
for now. But what if it stopped?
What if your heart stopped beating, and you
left him, like Rika did?
This wasn’t one of
those cliché movies where the heartbeat monitor would stop and then start again
after a few sappy words from their lover. No, Yoosung knew better than that. Movies
are movies for a reason. Life is much crueler than that.
Miracles like that don’t
returned, no matter how hard he wished that her death was a lie.
“I’m sorry, MC, I’m sorry,” he sobbed,
grasping onto your hand tightly. “Please
don’t leave me. I didn’t mean any of it. I was just mad, I was being childish.
You know I’m a childish idiot like that. Please wake up, please.”
The doctors had
said you were suffering from a large amount of blood loss. They had managed to
find a blood donor in time, but for now, they would have to wait for you to
It was supposed to
take a day or two, but Yoosung didn’t want to leave your side in case you woke
He wanted to be the
first person you saw when you woke up. He wanted to apologize immediately, and
be the one to take care of you once you were awake again. He wanted to show you
how sorry he was, and that he really did love you, and explain that his
depression had gotten the better of him, that he wasn’t thinking straight…
He would’ve done
anything to make it up to you. He knew that his words were too hurtful—if you
had been the one to say it to him, he doubted he could take it either. He knew
what he had done was unforgivable, but he refused to give up without trying.
Even if you didn’t forgive him, Yoosung had to apologize, at the very least.
So he waited.
And waited. And
waited. And waited.
But you didn’t wake
Weeks passed, but
you still slept there, in that very hospital bed, looking so peaceful and alive and yet… unconscious.
“WHY ISN’T SHE WAKING
UP?!” Yoosung screamed at the doctors, his anxiety overwhelming him.
One of the doctors did his best to explain. “I-I’m not sure,
Mr. Kim. The blood transfusion was successful, we’re sure of that… It could very
likely be a psychological effect, though. This patient attempted suicide, did
she not? There’s likely something that she doesn’t want to face, and she’s
forcing herself to stay asleep subconsciously. There isn’t solid evidence but
there’s nothing else I can think of.”
Yoosung blamed himself even more when he heard that
possibility. It was his fault. All because he’d let his anger take over him… he’d
said such hurtful things to you that he didn’t mean.
Would you ever wake up? Or would he never get the chance to
explain himself? Would you leave the living world without ever learning the
Would you die not knowing how much Yoosung really loved you?
That he wasn’t in love with Rika? That he was depressed and struggling to tell
Would he never get the chance to apologize?
He would never know, because he was later forbidden access
to your hospital room by your family, who learned that your suicide attempt was
his fault. In the first place, it’s not like he was your immediate family… He
couldn’t object or overrule their decision. Then he discovered that you didn’t
stay in that room anymore—had you changed hospital rooms? Maybe you had woken
up? Or… were you… gone?
He didn’t know. But the fact was, he couldn’t see you anymore,
or even know if you were alive, safe and healthy. He couldn’t grieve for you
because he wasn’t even allowed to know if you were dead.
It was cruel, but maybe… maybe he
His only hope was that maybe he’ll meet you again one day…
Even if you were with someone else, even if you hated his guts, even if you
continued to misunderstand, he’d be happy just to know that you were even
Still, that chance would never come if you had already passed