Monday, December 05, 2005

What does 딴따라 mean?

딴따라 is a disparaging name for "entertainer" (연예인).

I mention this word because 딴따라 seems very similar in form to 짠짜라, which I have talked about here. I am curious to know if one evolved from the other or if one is a dialect of the other?

By the way, I have a book that lists these 딴따라 related student slang:
  • 딴따라 a band (그룹 사운드)
  • 딴따라 양성소 an Arts college (예술대학)
  • 딴따라패 a singer

I do not speak Japanese, but there is something about the word 딴따라 that makes me think it has Japanese origin. It just does not sound Korean-like to me.

Update: Concerning 딴따라패, I think the is referring to "a name plate" or "a nametag," which means 딴따라패 could literally be translated as "someone with the title of 'singer.'"


  1. '패' means a group.

    ex) 남사당패 or 패거리

  2. You are right, Jaemin. 패 can also mean "group," and 딴따라패 is a disparaging term for "a group of singers," but my book of slang defined 딴따라패 as "a singer," not "a group of singers," so I thought the slang might be using the "nametag" meaning of 패, instead of the "group" meaning.

  3. 딴따라 is a old fashioned slang. mostly old people(abvoe 40 or 50??) use the term. I never heard 딴따라패 though it makes sense.

  4. Wow, I came across this in the book "How Koreans Talk" and I remembered you had posted about it. According to this it's actually a Koreanization of English onomatopoeia for a trumpet blaring sound and originally refered to circus clowns and horn blowers that paraded through towns to advertise evening shows. Unfortunately it doesn't say exactly what English it claims the word is mimmicking.

  5. So 딴따라 comes from English omomatopoeia? That's interesting. I guess the English would just be something like "dan-da-da," which sounds like the trumpet blast used to introduce a performer in a show of some kind.

    I have skimmed through that book, "How Koreans Talk," but did not really consider it very seriously. Maybe I should give it a second look? Thanks for mentioning it, Sub8hr.

  6. Yeah, I can't say I was very taken with the book at first either, but a Korean friend who thought it would be useful bought it for me. There are some interesting phrases I'll be listening out for to see if I actually hear some places.


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