Learn Korean Words with K-pop – 노약자석 (Noyakjaseok) by Odebak and Fatdoo

K-pop: Odebak and fatdooHappy New Year, everyone! 새해 복 많이 받으세요~! Are you ready for all the great things 2014 has in store for you? I know I sure am! I’m also ready for warmer weather, but it’s only January, so I might have to wait a while for that…

Anyways! For this year’s first Learn Korean Words with K-Pop blog post, I’ve chosen a couple things from “노약자석” (Noyakgaseok) by 오대박 and 팻두 (Odebak and Fatdoo). 오대박 revealed to us that this song was actually inspired by our very first TTMIK Iyagi episode! How awesome is that?

If you don’t know what TTMIK Iyagi is, it’s an audio series for advanced beginners and intermediate learners. In each Iyagi (이야기) episode, we have two or more people talking about a topic in 100% Korean. The vocabulary is fairly easy and the speakers talk at a slower pace than usual to make it easier to follow along. Each episode comes with a free PDF transcription, so you can work on your listening and reading skills at the same time! What a sweet deal! Check out the first episode here:  http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/shows/iyagi-1.

Alrighty then, moving on! Please take a couple minutes to watch the full MV for 노약자석:

Pretty funny, right? I think the lyrics are fairly simple and straightforward, with the exception of one thing. At 1:15, 오대박 sings “자는 척 안 돼 이 녀석”. Let’s define all the words in this phrase first:

  •  자 = 자다 = to sleep
  • 척 = 척 하다 = to pretend
  • (으/느)ㄴ 척 = to pretend to + V
  • 안 돼 = do not, cannot; not
  • 이 = this; you (sometimes there is no direct translation to English with this word)
  • 녀석 = informal word for “guy”; dude; fellow; kid

Translated to English, this phrase means “you can’t pretend to sleep, dude!”

The structure (으/느)ㄴ 척 literally means “to pretend to [do something]” in Korean and is used a couple more times in this song.  In this line, it’s 자는 척,  or “pretend to sleep”, but at 1:40, 팻두 says “케톡 하는 척, 아무것도 모르는 척”. Can anyone translate this line to English?! (케톡 is actually 카카오톡, but for legal purposes was changed to 케톡 😀 )

If you need more of an explanation, you can learn more about (으/느)ㄴ 척 in TTMIK Level 7, Lesson 2 http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/lessons/l7l2/.

The next thing I noticed while watching the video were the words “내 놔” in an animation at 2:04.

Do you already know what it means? Can you guess?

내 looks like the contraction of 나의 (my, mine), which is what I thought it was at first. However, in this case, it’s actually the verb stem of 내다 (to submit) being used together with 놔.

놔 is actually a contraction of 놓아 (놓다 = dictionary form). 놓다 has several different meanings depending on the context of the sentence. Some common English translations for 놓다 are:

  • to lay, put, place
  • to release, to let go

In this context, 놔 means “give”, or more literally “release”. With 내 and 놔 together, it means “give it to me” or “hand it in” in a commanding manner. This phrase can be used, for example, when your friend or younger sibling hides/steals your stuff, but keeps insiting that he/she didn’t do it. 내 놔 can also be used by a parent or a teacher when a child or student grabs something he/she is not supposed to have and insists on keeping it, or when he/she has something they have to give to you, like a school report card.

I’ve noticed that 놔 is used everywhere! For example, in The Rain Effect, Episode 1, Rain was in a clothing shop in Japan looking for a new “album concept” outfit, and his very good friend from high school, 김광민 (Kim Kwang Min), was trying on a jacket and was trying to get Rain to buy it for him. 김광민 asks Rain,“지훈아 (Rain’s real name) 옷 어떠냐?” (what do you think of this one?) and Rain replies, “갖다 놔~”.

Whoa, whoa. 갖다?! O_o

I was confused when I tried to look it up in the dictionary just like that and couldn’t find it. Why wasn’t it in the dictionary? I discovered that it’s another contraction! Mwahahaha~

 갖다 is the contracted form of 가져다(가), which means “take the thing you have and + v”. 가져다(가) is found in the dictionary as 가지다, which means “to have”.

Typically this phrase is used toward a dog when it takes something it shouldn’t have and you tell it to “put it back”.

 So, Rain was (in a kind of rude, but joking, way) telling his friend to “take the jacket and let it go (put it back)”.

Here are a couple of sample sentences using 놔:

  1. 이거 놔! = Let go of me!
  2. 거기 놔. = Leave it there.
  3. 여기에 놔 주세요. = Please put that here.
  4. 책 다 읽었으면 여기에 올려 놔. = If you are finished reading the book, put it here.

That’s all I have for now. I hope this helps with your Korean studies. I know that writing these posts helps me with mine!

If you have any questions or requests, please leave me a comment in the comments section below or hit me up on social media!

Thanks for reading!



  • Lilia

    Haha, who wrote this post? So funnny!