너무너무, 정말 너무너무 and 정말정말

I noticed that one Korean hiking video blogger says 너무너무 (neo-mu neo-mu) a lot, the weather, the view or her feelings. In one video she clocked up three in the space of four sentences. I have also heard her say 정말 너무너무 (jeong-mal neo-mu neo-mu) and 정말정말 (jeong-mal jeong-mal). These are the equivalent of very very, really very very and really really in English, which are certainly encountered in informal speech. I pondered whether these are more typical of young women’s speech, but I have also heard a young male Korean hiking video blogger saying 너무너무, just not as much. I don’t know if I say them much. I probably do more than I realise. I have just searched my diary from my first residence in Korea, and found seven instances of very, very, modifying careful, lazy, soft, loud, cold x 2 and dark.

Now that I think about it, I have (probably) never encountered these in Korean or English textbooks, even though they are obviously very common in informal speech, probably in most or even all languages – I can also think of French très, très bon . I can’t remember hearing the Korean repetitions anywhere else, either in real life or on media. It’s just that I’ve been watching and listening to Korean hiking videos blogs recently. I will probably start noticing them much more now. 

PS soon after: in the next video I watched, she said 너무너무너무 행복.

PPS 17 March: in another video, she clocks up seven 너무 in a row, before 오기 잘했다 (approx “Coming here is very, very, very, very, very, very, very good”)

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