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Must Know Topik Vocabulary Words | Topik Word Changes

안녕하세요 여러분! I'm Koreanstudyjunkie. I'm going to help you prepare for the Topik exam, more so for the Topik 2 exam.

In this post, we'll look at words that have the same meaning but are completely differently in spelling and pronunciation (and sometimes small differences in meaning). I find that these appear A LOT on the topik exam.

A small disclaimer I should add here is that while these do have meanings that can be considered the same, some are slightly different in when they are used. For that reason, I did include some example sentences and encourage you to find more examples with these words to understand them better in context.


*you can study all of these and more like them in this Quizlet set that I created

익숙하다 → 낯익다 = to get used to, be familiar with

저는 익숙하지 않은 곳이 불편해요.

I am uncomfortable in unfamiliar spaces.

낯익은 얼굴이지만 이름은 모르겠다.

I recognize him but don´t know his name.

같다 → 동일하다 = to be the same

이 두 문장은 의미가 같아요.

These two sentences have the same meaning.

그들은 두 사람 다 거의 동일한 말을 했어요.

They both said much the same thing.

다르다 → 상이하다 = to be different

기대했던 것과 다르네요.

It's different from what we were expecting.

우리는 상이한 의견의 차이를 극복하기 위해 많은 대화를 나누었어요.

We had a lot of conversations to overcome differences of opinion.

어색하다 → 서먹하다 = to be awkward

이 문장은 약간 어색해 보여요.

This sentence seems to be a little awkward.

너 왜 요즘 민준이랑 서먹하게 지내니?

Why do you feel awkward with Minjun these days?

시끄럽다 → 떠들썩하다 = to be noisy

라디오 소리가 시끄러워서 잘 수가 없어요.

The radio is so loud (that) I can't sleep.

유치원 교실이 굉장히 떠들썩했어요.

The kindergarten classroom was so boisterous.

빌리다 → 대출하다 (돈) = to borrow

사전 좀 빌릴 수 있을까요?

Could I borrow your dictionary?

어린이들에게 무료로 책을 대출해 주는 어린이 도서관이 문을 열었어요.

A children's library has opened, offering free book loans to children.

고치다 → 수리다 = to repair, to fix

이 차를 고치려면 돈이 얼마나 들까요?

This sentence seems to be a little awkward.

이 집은 화장실이 낡아서 수리해야 해요.

The bathroom in this house is old and needs to be repaired.

경험하다 → 겪다 = to experience, to undergo

저는 한국에서의 삶을 경험하게 되었어요.

I got to experience life in Korea.

세계적 경제 위기로 자동차 수출에 어려움을 겪고 있어요.

The global economic crisis is causing difficulties in exporting cars.

헤엄치다 → 수영하다 = to swim, move through the water

여름이 되자 아이들은 개울에서 헤엄치며 놀았어요.

In summer, the children played (while swimming) in the stream.

수영할 줄 아는 사람들도 파도가 높은 바다에서는 조심해야 해요.

Even those who can swim should be careful in the sea with high waves.

키우다 → 기르다 = to raise (an animal/child); to grow (a plant)

그는 개 한 마리와 고양이 두 마리를 키우고 있어요.

He has a dog and two cats.

그녀는 취미로 허브를 기른다

She grows herbs as a hobby.



This is likely because some words come from Chinese and some words come from Korean, which can result in there being 2 completely different looking and sounding words with the same meaning - but I’m not 100% sure. (I made a lesson with a deeper explanation between pure korean and sino korean words)

There is also a phenomenon in Korean where there are certain words that are more formal or honorific. For example, you may know the word “있다“ meaning to be or to have but there is an honorific “alternative” 계시다. (Check out this lesson to see a list of honorific word changes)

I should mention too that in Korean there are simply words that have a ton of meanings that can kind of “collide” with other words that may have the same or similar meaning despite being completely different words.


That's all for this lesson! Be sure to leave a comment if you want more Topik related content. You can also "heart" this lesson to show your appreciation.

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