JK. It's not a secret.
If you've noticed me on facebook for, like, a minute, you've seen me or someone I know posting in Korean characters. I realize that if you don't know the Hangul alphabet, the characters might be mean nothing to you or at least be confusing.
Sometimes expats use real Korean words in our statuses or comments, like "hello" "안녕하세요" or our cities like "Jeonju" "전주" or, if someone's being cheeky, you might even see "do you want to die?" "죽을래?"
Sometimes what you see aren't real words. Just like in the west, sounds and/or emotions have been made into common Korean text-speak, if you will. OMG, right?
My favorite is the Korean giggle, as such:
It's pretty straightforward. The letter "ㄱ" sounds like a "g" or "k" and the double letter "ㅋ" sounds like a harder "K."
In Korea, you don't really hear giggles like "hmmhmhhm" or "heheheh" out loud. Rather, you hear this soft "kekeke" or "kikiki" instead!
And how is that spelled? Like this! ㅋㅋㅋ
Voila! Now you know what I'm doing if you see me leave a comment or photo description with ㅋㅋㅋ
I'm just giggling at ya.
The funny thing is that I really giggle like that now! In real life. Out loud. I'm giving up my western "hehe's" in favor of Korean "ㅋㅋ's"
(Side note: Google translate used to translate the ㅋ as a K, which meant if you type the typical 3 ㅋㅋㅋ's in a row, it'd translate that to KKK which is ABSOLUTELY NOT what you meant! Now they're translating it into "blah blah" which is less offensive, but still not accurate. The Korean equivalent of "blah blah blah" is "mo mo mo" or "모모모" ...fun fact.)
Along those funny lines, you might see:
The letter that looks like a little snowman with a hat - "ㅎ" - is an "h" sound. The line pointing right - "ㅏ" - is an "ah" sound.
Got it? It's just "hahaha" in Hangul ;)
What if you don't feel like laughing, you ask? Well I'm glad you're curious!
If you're sad or bummed about something, you can leave a little ㅠㅠ in the comments.
This isn't a sound, though the letters would sound like "yu yu" if they were spelled out properly -- but that's not what we're trying to do.
What does this look like to you? ㅠㅠ
Imagine eyes. Imagine eyelashes.
It's a sad face! Cute, right? Way cuter than this :( will ever be.
There are a ton of other emoticons and cute things you can do with the Hangul alphabet, but that's a good place to start! Now go practice giggling like a Korean.