Dialect – 우리 친구아이가 (Busan)

Some dialects ought to be classified as a completely different language whereas others just “sound funny”. 제주도 dialect has a reputation for belonging to the former category while most other dialects can supposedly be cracked with a bit of patience and a sense of humour.

부산 dialect has a reputation for being really strong and even using alternative grammar patterns for some expressions. My LP has family in Busan so we talked a bit about dialects over lunch the other day. The movie 친구 is often quoted for the line “우리 친구아이가” (in standard Korean: 우리 친구잖아). Actually this particular sentence pattern and sample sentence is also covered in a TTMIK dialect lesson, but it was immortalised in the movie 친구.

The 아이가 ending looks fairly random at first, but it comes from 아니다. For Danish speakers it will not sound that weird since it corresponds to our own slightly odd way of using the word “ikke” (literally “not”) at the end of a sentence to ask a question informally (ik’?). In comparison, in English you would have to say “isn’t it?”, which can in some situations make it sound a bit more like an afterthought where you ask for confirmation compared to if just saying “right?”.

I’m often surprised by the similarities between Danish and Korean. They look so different, and yet there are some surprising similarities.

2 thoughts on “Dialect – 우리 친구아이가 (Busan)

  1. Happy Piglet

    What does it mean by LP? Language professor? A friend of mine who majored in Linguistics in the U.S is teaching at a university in Norway. She and I also are from Busan. Hahaha…You seems to have an in-depth understanding of Busan dialect. Indeed, this expression (우리) 친구 아이가 represents the etos of Busan spirit, I would like to say….. Let me add one more here; 우리가 남이가? which translate to “we are not strangers (남); we care for each other; we are friends (implicitly meaning). So, 이가-ending usually comes with ? or ! when it’s written in sentences.
    우리 친구 아이가!; emphasis on the fact that we are friends.
    우리가 남이가! or 우리가 남이가?; emphasis on the fact that we are for each other. it’s a sort of enantiosis.

    hope you become fluent in Busan dialect. 🙂

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Wow, thanks for the clarifications 🙂
      I really like the sound of Busan dialect, it has a special “something” to it and I hope I can become really good at it one day 🙂
      Your friend is really far from home! Norway of all places. Meeting Korean adoptees is not uncommon in Scandinavia, but very few Koreans who were raised in Korea move to Scandinavia as adults.

      LP stands for language partner. Unfortunately I don’t have the opportunity to take classes in Korean, but I study at home on my own and then my language partners help me by answering my questions and reinforcing/correcting what I learned on my own. It works quite well, I think 🙂


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