Do you remember the first time you delved into K-Pop only to quickly discover the pandora box of confusion you had just encountered? Everything from the language to the music to the clothes were a new experience, but it mostly had to do with the fact of it being foreign and you not being a native speaker. That’s why you were super happy to find a community online of English speaking fans who shared your interests. But this also had it’s setbacks.
As it turned out, even within the English speaking fans, there was a collections of slang, words, and phrases you didn’t know or didn’t use prior to entering the fandom. However, once you began using them, you can’t really part with them. That’s why we came up with a list of words you began using once you became a K-Pop fan.
Before K-Pop, your favorite band member was simply your favorite member. But at some point when you were looking up pictures of your beau on Tumblr, you stumbled upon the word “bias.” Etymologically, this term refers to an outlook or temperament with a one-sided inclination. To a person outside the fandom, it would make little sense. But with a super big open mind, “bias” makes some sense when referring to your favorite member in a group. Or at least now it does.
This word is common in music, alright. But when someone announces its “comeback,” you imagine the Madonna albums after years of hiatus, or Britney Spears’ Circus following her meltdown. Comebacks are long awaited returns to music by artists who have been gone for a while. However, in K-Pop, this merely means another release by a given act. Sure, BIGBANG’s comeback will, indeed, be a comeback. On the other hand, GOT7’s debut and following two comebacks this year hardly constitute as such.
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Girl and boy bands throughout history haven’t always been fully comprised of equally talented members, but K-Pop has been keeping it real with telling people that a member in their group’s sole purpose is to be good-looking (nevermind they’re not as gifted in dancing or singing). But can we all just agree that using “visual” as an adjective to describe a person is weird? “Visual,” of course, has to do with the eyes, so maybe something that already exists like “looker” would make more sense than something you bring to show and tell in school.
4. “Virus” Or “Vitamin”
EXO’s Chanyeol is widely known as the “happy virus,” with him introducing himself as such in T.V. shows. Fans, particularly on Tumblr, for their part, rapidly embraced the tag. “Vitamin” is also a term used to describe a person who energizes you (another weird description). Both now make lots of sense. However, outside of the fandom, someone would be confused if you were to use these types of descriptions. I’m sure these sound far better and make more sense in Korean, and yet, we’ve adopted the awkward and cheesy English translations into our everyday speech. English is not that metaphorical…
Have you ever noticed how every other article on American K-Pop sites (even this one!) use the word “showcase” a lot. Outside of K-Pop, more common synonyms like “performs,” “features,” or “displays” are the norm. However, someone somewhere began using “showcase” as the verb to use when describing what K-Pop idols are showing or doing that it’s become second nature. This might be the case of a direct translation from a Korean word that got popular really quick, but we could be wrong…
Pre K-Pop, a cold shower on a hot day was refreshing. But now, a group’s new sound or image that is different from what they did before or to anyone else is “refreshing.” Again, it’s one of those things you never thought about before K-Pop, but once you became a fan, you started using the word as an adjective and even employ it for Western artists now. While the word is overused in K-Pop, it makes for a very metaphorical adjective to use for other things as well.
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7. “My Style”
To say that someone fits the features and characteristics you look for in a crush, we usually use “my type.” However, in K-Pop, people tend to say that a person is their “style.” “Tall, dark, and handsome guys are my type” became “tall, dark, and handsome guys are my style.” Even miss A has a song titled Ma Style. However, this word is something we normally associate with material things like clothing, or use to describe other actions (writing, painting, designing, you name it!) Either way, “style” sounds way more chic and sassier that “type.”
To feel burdened by something or someone is a thing, we know. However, the expression seems to be part of Koreans’ everyday speech. Artists are always talking about feeling burdened or not wanting to burden someone else. Maybe it’s because we normally don’t think we’re imposing on someone else, but this expression and its derivatives are definitely uncommon outside of K-Pop.
What words, phrases, or slang did you began using once you got into the K-Pop fandom? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.