Thursday, November 17, 2005

What does 독새기 mean?

In the Jeju dialect, 독새기 means "egg" (계란). I have heard that the word comes from 닭새끼, which means "baby chicken."

I am not really into dialects, but if I lived in Jeju-do, I might spend some time studying their dialect. For those interested in the Jeju-do dialect, here is a page that lists some terms and expressions. And for those interesting in reading some old Jeju-do stories, here is a site that gives you the story in the Jeju dialect, along with a translation in standard Korean. The stories are short, so for fun, those of you who live in Jeju-do might want to memorize one in the Jeju dialect and tell it to one of your Korean friends there.


  1. Thanks for the post of the Jeju dialect. I'm really interested in the different dialects of Korean and those Jeju links are a great resource. Another 2 words I came across were from 2 former university students of mine who visited Jeju in the summer.

    Told me the ajumma called them 큰놈 and 적은놈 referring to their size and how old they looked. They told me the Jeju dialect was practically unintelligible to them at least when spoken by older Jeju natives. My favourite dialect still though is Busan.

  2. Your are welcome, Pilgrim.

    I do not think that 큰놈 and 적은놈 are dialect since they are very common expressions across Korean, except that 적은놈 should be 작은놈, since it referring to "size," not "quantity." The ajuma may have said 적은놈 since even Koreans confuse 적다 and 작다, but the two words simply mean "a big person" and "a small person."

    Yes, I have heard that the Jeju dialect is almost like a foreign language, which is what makes it interesting. There may be a lot of history buried in that dialect. Of course, we could say the same thing about the Gyeongsang dialect.

    I once took a plane from Busan to Japan and was sitting next to an elderly couple who were speaking to each other during much of the trip. At first, I thought they were speaking Japanese, which I do not speak, but later I realized they were speaking Korean. The speech patterns, however, sounded just like Japanese.

    The Gyeongsang dialect seems to have some strong links to the Japanese language, and I sometimes wonder how far back those links go.

    1. By the way, 적다 means 작다 in the Jeju dialect/language! Thanks for this blog!


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