What is this Korean language sound?
July 20, 2022 9:25 AM   Subscribe

We watch a lot of Korean TV (with subtitles) and there's a very infrequently used sound that's like a glottal raspy thing (like KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK, really prolonged and fairly harsh) but I haven't been able to find out more about it. What can you tell me?
posted by seanmpuckett to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Could it be what this paper describes as the Fricative Voice Gesture?
posted by zamboni at 9:32 AM on July 20, 2022

I might be taking this in the wrong direction based on your "KKKKK..." but in Korea they use a bunch of K's to denote laughing, like we use hahaha in English.
posted by switcheroo at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It’s emphasis, saying something is verrry big or verrrry good or the like. I found the discussion here about how Koreans have no idea what we’re talking about interesting
posted by Nickel at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2022 [7 favorites]

Without a video/audio sample, I would be inclined to agree with Nickel. What kinds of shows are you watching and who is making this sound?
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2022

Response by poster: Episode 3 of Mystic Pop-up Bar (on Netflix) has two by a woman in the scene starting at 13:49. There are others in this series, including some long ones by men, but I am having difficulty locating them. I will update later as and if I am able.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:57 AM on July 20, 2022

Best answer: Alas I don't have Netflix but will see if I can access a friend's account later.

Does it sound like the two instances in the example in Nickel's first link? Because that's 100% a way of emphasizing your statement, e.g., how I would say "Are you surrrrre?" or an example in 1980s Valley Girl speak "I was like, sooooooooo...." but it's with a guttural phoneme that's not a "R" or "M" so it's not a familiar sound to North American English speakers (who knows, maybe other Englishes have this!).

The second instance puts the emphasis on the "ha/하" sound - 달라지는 것 나도 없어/But nothing ever changes (ddal-la-ji-neun geot hana-do eop-seo is my hasty romanization). I hear this one a lot!
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:35 PM on July 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I just got to listening to the example, yes that's exactly it! Thanks, all.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2022

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