If there were a country that started every sentence with ‘hyung,’ it would be Korea. It certainly feels like it sometimes. Now that you’re in Korea, how do you tell people to stop using ‘dodo’ in every sentence? Let’s find out together!
Dodo and Its Meaning
Dodo is one of the most popular words in Korean. It can mean ‘friend’ or ‘companion.’ However, in most cases, it is used to refer to ‘betting.’ That is, someone will say something like ‘I will give you $10 if your team wins the game.’ Then the other person will counter-offer, ‘I will give you $20 if your team wins.’ This process will continue until someone agrees to make a deal. Finally, the person who started the game will say ‘dodo’ to signify the end of the bet.
In this sense, dodo is similar to the Spanish word for ‘bull,’ ‘toro.’ If you don’t want to use the Spanish word, you can simply say ‘bull’ or ‘torry’ instead of ‘dodo.’
The Korean Alphabet Has ‘Dodo’ In It
As we’ve established, the Korean language is very competitive. It is also very poetic. It starts with the strongest consonants (which are also used in martial arts) and works its way down to the weakest. In fact, a lot of the ‘goo-ga’ (or ‘greetings’) in the language are actually just pleasantries.
Because of this, ‘dodo’ is actually a component of the Korean alphabet. It is spelled ‘ㅂ’ and it is pronounced ‘doh-doh.’ It belongs to the family of characters called ‘hankook’ (or ‘hangul,’ ‘alphabet’) and ‘ganjo,’ which also contains the characters for ‘bet,’ ‘war,’ ‘peace,’ ‘girl,’ and ‘boy.’
If you ever wondered why there are so many combinations of ‘hankook’ and ‘ganjo’ in the Korean alphabet, it is because of the way the language is constructed. Like Latin or Greek, each combination of consonants and vowels has a meaning. For example, ‘ㅂ’ paired with ‘a’ (or ‘i’), ‘ㅂ’ paired with ‘e’ (or ‘i’), and ‘ㅂ’ paired with ‘o’ (or ‘u’) all mean ‘dog.’ These letters can be combined in almost any way to form words, but they each have their own meaning. For instance, ‘ㅂ’ paired with ‘a’ (or ‘i’) can mean ‘fight,’ ‘to argue,’ or ‘to quarrel with.’
How ‘Dodo’ Will Make You Sound More Korean
When you say ‘dodo,’ the person listening won’t know what you’re talking about. They won’t have any context, so it will sound like gibberish. This is sometimes an issue for non-Koreans who learn the language. Even some native speakers have trouble understanding what ‘dodo’ means when they first encounter it.
To help you fit in better with native speakers, try using ‘dodo’ less frequently and instead pair it with a more specific word. For example, you could say, “I was surprised when Kim Jong-un didn’t show up for the summit. I thought he would, but maybe he was scared. It would be nice if he would give us some sign. Do you think we will get our money back?”
If you want to avoid misunderstanding, it is best to use words that people in your situation will understand. In this case, you could say “I was surprised when Kim Jong-un didn’t show up for the summit. I thought he would, but maybe he was scared. It would be nice if he would give us a sign. Do you think we will get our money back?”
Why Do Koreans Keep Using ‘Dodo’
Even after you’ve explained what ‘dodo’ means, people in your situation will keep using it. This is because it is the simplest way to explain something to someone who doesn’t know the language. Even people who know the meaning of ‘dodo’ will sometimes use it when they don’t have time to think of another word.
To stop this, you either need to convince them that they are overusing ‘dodo’ or you need to replace it with another word. Unfortunately, the first option is often very difficult to do. Luckily, there is another solution. You can replace ‘dodo’ with another word that has the same meaning, but sounds more natural. In this case, people will most likely understand what you are saying, but not in the way you meant it. For example, you could say, “I was surprised that Kim Jong-un didn’t show up for the summit. I thought he would, but maybe he was scared. It would be nice if he would give us a sign. Do you think we will get our money back?”
If you find that ‘dodo’ is frequently misused, it can help to know the correct way to say ‘no’ in Korean. People will still use ‘dodo’ for a simple ‘no,’ but you should instead say ‘nejmoh.’ This is short for ‘nope.’ ‘Nejmoh’ is one of the 27,000 different words in the Korean language. While not particularly difficult to learn, it is still a very large number of words for a non-native speaker to know.
Learning a new word is one thing. Actually using it in a sentence is another. You’ll soon find that people in your situation say the word ‘nejmoh’ frequently, especially when they want to emphasize that they are not interested in what someone is saying. Thus, you can replace ‘dodo’ with ‘nejmoh’ to fit in with native speakers.