Badass Korean

You're cool like Korea... You’re a real BADASS, so learn to speak like one!

Learn some slang from the GreyRat before you become the linguistic equivalent of a 99-pound weakling.

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So you’ve come to see the badass and gather what you can from his slangdom. “Why learn slang?” you query… ’cause it’s fun! It breaks down barriers between cultures, it opens eyes and raises eyebrows… It says you’re down, you’re cool like Korea, you’re Badass!
Either you’re here as a novice, to learn a bit of shocking language, or you’re here to share some wisdom, or maybe to disagree with the whole concept, but whatever your reason for visiting, we’d like to say thanks and welcome! Now, let’s get to work!

A New Way to Look at Language

We Rethought Everything



Culture Cues

Grey Rat

The big book of Korean Slang: As much as a Rat's Tail by Peter Liptak

Interested In Learning to Speak like a Badass?

by Peter N. Liptak & Siwoo Lee



Get real with expressions so necessary they’re like rice.
Add variety to your language with a little something on the side.
Cool stuff to say (and do) at the bar or the nightclub.
Spicy language and swearing.
Say it aint so! Hot and sweet!
Get to work with something sexy to say.
Have a cup of Konglish. Orai? OK Buddy! Hai-ting!
What they say in the halls, not the classroom!


The Lost Language of the Seoul
Beyond slang, this book is very much about culture, and in particular cross-cultural understanding; it’s about bridging cultural divides and about making friends and having fun; it’s about the poetry of language; it’s about relationshipsdrinking, smoking, partying, texting, swearing and so much more.

근데, 왜 [GENDAE, WAE]?

Forget about it!
You think you’ll get (understand) the shows, the music, the conversations on the street after studying your prim and proper textbooks or taking tons of classes? No way! Forget about it! Duetgodeun (됐거든)!

From K-pop to Korean dramas, behind-the-scenes classroom chatter to Korea’s fabulous Mafia movies, no formal lessons or textbooks will teach you to talk the talk, or walk the walk. They just won’t cover it! They’ll teach you pure, polite, traditional language; not what they use on the street or in the hallways… not what you really need… As much as a Rat’s Tail is designed to help people to really understand Korea and Koreans, to instantly bridge culture gaps, to make friends and to make your life here easier and more enjoyable.

To do this, you need a guide – and As much as a Rat’s Tail is the definitive guide to all things Korean, beyond the slang, beyond the drinking and the swearing, it analyzes the poetry of language, introduces the characters and the cultural mores, covers the bad words, the fun words, the stuff you’ll really use…

More than just a book about slang, A Rat’s Tail is about really communicating; it’s about bridging cultural divides; it’s about learning and sharing knowledge and experiences; it’s about cultivating mutual respect and understanding; it’s about making friends; and so much more.


Years ago, when hailing a cab in front of the American army base near Itaewon, a fellow foreigner was getting out of the car. He was speaking Korean rather fluently to the driver. “Wow, you speak Korean well,” I said to him, to which the stranger replied, “chui-ggo-ri man-geum (As much as a Rat’s Tail),” and expression equivalent to “a measly amount” or “hardly at all.” I was taken with the easy confidence of the expression, and have loved the phrase ever since.

Every time I get into a taxi and speak a little Korean, the driver says, “Oh, you speak Korean so well!” A modest chui-ggo-ri mam-geum always earns a smile and bridges the cultural divide. Instantly, we’re comrades.



This is the stuff you need to know… like what is a “heol” and why are people always asking me about “the water” at the club.

You’ll get the Straight Scoop with explanations of uncommon words and unusual usage; Culturally Speaking, which gives you the skinny on how Koreans think, speak or act. Plus it’ll teach you how to pick up, break up, make up, or get down and dirty. It will let you find out who’s using you or abusing you, and how to talk about someone behind their back.

Korean is rich with the dynamic linguistic expressions and freshly coined language. A Rat’s Tail dives into the intricacies of modern Korean slang introducing the hip, hot, spicy and sexual; the irreverent and inspiring; the cultural, crass and comical; the Korean not covered in the language books, full of color and infused with philosophy.

With As much as a Rat’s Tail in hand, you can impress others with your verbal acumen as you complement their fashion sense, dish out dirty words, or text up a storm, while you gain insight into the mind and culture of the Korean people. And this stuff works both ways – this book is great for Koreans to learn English while having fun with their own language and learning what outsiders get from their culture.


I got off the plane and navigated through my first days without a single word of Korean, so with phrasebook in hand, I set out to learn. But during a hiking excursion on Kwanak mountain, hearing a seemingly familiar word shouted over and over by an army private holding an M16 standing guard near the summit. “Shibal, Ssibal…” When I asked a friend what it meant, he begrudgingly related that it was not a Korean pronunciation of the Hindu goddess Shiva… In fact, it was the worst word in Korean – 씨발 [ssibal] similar to “you f*cking (so-and-so),” but literally “you will sell your seed.”

My second week of teaching saw a rather unruly student, bordering on insane, shouting at the top of his lungs during class, “han jaji, du jaji, sae jaji, nae, jaji.” I had no idea what he was saying, but found out from a co-worker after class – 자지 [jaji] penis or dick. So effectively, he was counting “One penis, two penis, three penis, four…?!”

That’s when I knew the phrasebooks wouldn’t do, and if I was going to learn the language of the street, I might as well help others to do so at the same time.

Chew the fat with the Grey Rat

4 + 3 =

the Rat's Tail logo in black and white


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