my k-pop name

IU Eight

Koreans like to play with language. Many K-pop stars have stage names which are a play on English phonetics and words. For example, the singer, IU 이지은, chose her name to signify “I and You (U) are one through music.”

In this spirit, I have brainstormed a couple of possible k-pop names that are riffs on my US name.

  • 비 친구
    • In Korean, this means: Rain Friends
      (I have a penchant for rain–two friends under an umbrella rain, not destructive rain.)
    • In English this sounds like: Be Chingu
    • In Kanglish: The word for rain sounds like “be” in English. So the name could mean / sound like: Be Friends. The B / ㅂ is also for Busan, the city where I was born.
      The meaning is also significant since my adoptive family name is “Frens” (also found in the title of this blog, “Friends without ID.”)
  • 책 이 공주님
    • In Korean this means: book, this princess
      (Reading books is a favorite past time, but that sounds like a humble brag. So irritating.)
    • In English this sounds like: jake ee gongjunim
    • In Kanglish: The word for “book” + the word for “this” sounds like my first name, Jackie, and since Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) does not have an “F” sound, my family name is spelled with a “ㅍ” or “P” and the “S” at the end of “Frens” needs a vowel sound afterward (usually a “ㅡ” or “eu” sound). I’m taking liberties to transform the hangeul spelling of my family name (“peurensu”/ “프렌스”) to a phonetic sounding “princess.”

As I advance in Duolingo Korean, I am becoming skeptical about whether I’m learning Korean or just mastering Duolingo. I sight read symbols and match sounds with characters. I question whether I am necessarily making meaning.

인기 딨는 올빼미는 숲에 있습니다
The popular owl is in the forest.*


*This is an example sentence from Duolingo.

화이팅 / Go for it! (Google translation)

About jaclynfre

Recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
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6 Responses to my k-pop name

  1. arjeha says:

    What a neat and interesting post. It is interesting how the Korean words fit into who you are and what you like.

  2. It was quite interesting seeing how you dissected your name. I actually tried learning Korean on Duolingo, but had a lot of trouble getting past the phonetics 😂
    I couldn’t match the sounds with the right characters properly because the sounds sounded too similar for me to differentiate. I would pick up Korean faster watching Korean dramas haha. Learning Japanese was easier for me on Duolingo than Korean.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Anyone learning a language with characters other than the ones they grew up learning is doing the most. I learned to speak Japanese as a kindergartener but then our family moved to the US so I didn’t learn how to read and write the characters. Hangeul vowels are definitely not easy!!! Also the characters that sound like one sound (K) sometimes and then another sometimes (G)?!!! But English is the worst with that, of course!!! (How about all the sounds Y makes, for instance?!!!). Thanks for stopping by. Please recommend KDramas. I’m watching Money Heist Korea now.

  3. Lainie Levin says:

    It’s interesting to read your adventures with Duolingo – I’ve been wondering if I should do something similar to start learning Korean, tho I can’t help but think for me I’d be better off in person, where there’s an actual human who can let me know if I’m on track.

    Reading about the words, word roots and their translations reminds me a lot of Hebrew as well, where the language also supports a lot of word and language play!

    • jaclynfre says:

      I love this comparison with Hebrew. Hebrew sounds fascinating to me because of the deep rhetorical tradition associated with the culture–this is based on my reading of Chaim Potok (so forgive me if I am painting with a broad brush).

      What I like about Duolingo compared to Rosetta Stone which I also tried is the low bar of entry. I felt like Rosetta Stone had a steep learning curve once you hit level 3 and it was difficult to advance because, at that time, if you didn’t pronounce the word correctly you would get stuck in a loop. At one point, my Korean tutor (native speaker) even tried to say the phrase so I could get passed a lesson and was denied. 😆

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

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