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30-Day Challenge

30-Day Challenge: Day #21 – 3 Korean Word Games you can play to test or increase your vocabulary


1. 끝말잇기 (Last letter Game)

The clip above is from the TV show called 아빠! 어디가?


In this game, players must speak vocabulary words where the first syllable of the word matches the last syllable of the previous word.

  • For example: 모 -> -> -> 퍼 etc.

If your vocabulary is pretty good, try to do this without a dictionary. But, feel free to use a paper dictionary (more effective for flipping to a large list of words beginning with a certain syllable than smartphone dictionaries) to help you learn new words and increase your vocabulary.

Or, adapt it into English class:

The concept is the same. Have students tell you English vocab words with the first letter of the next word using the last letter of the previous word. Write these on the board. Younger hagwon kids really like this game.

  • For example: Apple -> Elephant -> Truck -> Kangaroo etc.

2. 절대 음감 게임 (One syllable emphasis Game)

The chip above is from the TV show 런닝맨.


The first half of this game (with the introduction and the 2 first teams) can be seen at this link (starting about 2:02).

In this game, players must say the word or phrase over and over again with a different emphasis on each individual syllable in the word or phrase – starting with the first syllable.

  • For example: 국수닭갈비 -> 막수닭갈비 -> 막국닭갈비 -> 막국수갈비 -> 막국수닭비 -> 막국수닭갈

This is a good game for getting you to practice your pronunciation, and is good for helping you to remember the spelling of the different syllables in a word.

For a bigger challenge, don’t write down the words or phrases, just challenge your partner orally. For an additional challenge, require it to be completed within a certain time limit – like 30 seconds or 1 minute.

Or, adapt it into English class:

Write a short sentence on the board. Then, have students read the sentence over and over again changing the emphasized word with each reading. It can really help them learn voice inflection and word emphasis.

  • For example: I want to eat ice cream. -> I want to eat ice cream. -> I want to eat ice cream. -> I want to eat ice cream. -> I want to eat ice cream. -> I want to eat ice cream.

I’ve used this game with great success in high school classes. I usually divide them up into groups of 4-5 students, then time them to see who can do it the best and fastest. Lots of laughter with this one.

3. 거꾸로 말해요 (Ah-ha backwards speaking Game)

The clip above is from the TV show 무한도전.


The game itself starts from about 1:30 in the clip above (immediately after the children’s song).

In this game, players must speak first one word, then the next player says that word backward – syllable by syllable. Usually the game is limited to a certain category (in this clip, Family 가족) and a certain number of syllables (in this clip 3).

The first player says a single word which the second player reverses. The second player then chooses a new word which the third player reverses. The third creates a new words, and so on. They also say, “Ah-ha!” between each word.

In the example below, each player’s words are in a single color. (So 유재석’s are all in green, etc.)

  • For example: 부성애 – 애성부 -> 모성애애성모 -> 울어마마어울 -> 작은딸딸은작 -> 큰이모모이큰 -> 작은이모…. Oops he failed because it was 4 syllables!

To simplify the game, eliminate the time limit and also allow players to write down the words before speaking.

Or, adapt it into English class:

With this game, you can use vocabulary words OR sentences, but it’s a good idea to just do it VERY slowly at first. Don’t forget to say “Ah ha” between words or phrases.

It’s probably even a good idea to have students WRITE DOWN what they are planning to say before they say it as this game can be quite challenging on the spot – especially for second-language learners (and even for native speakers).

  • Example with 3-syllable animals vocab: Kangaroo (ah ha) -> roo-kang-ga (ah ha)elephant (ah ha) -> phant-el-a (ah ha)gorilla (ah ha) -> la-ril-go (ah ha)…
  • Example with 3-word sentences: How are you? (ah ha) -> you are how (ah ha)What’s your name? (ah ha) -> name your what’s (ah ha)Eat your chicken (ah ha) -> chicken your eat (ah ha)

I’ve used this game in high school and middle school. But, like I said, it’s much better to have every student write down a word or phrase that they intend to use on their turn FIRST. Then, all they have to focus on is reversing whatever is spoken to them before their turn. It’s also helpful to let them write down everything as it’s spoken so that they can more easily comprehend HOW to reverse things.

Remember, take this game VERY SLOWLY.


#21: Choose one of the word games listed above and play it with some friends. Record a video of your game.

The whole point today is to have a little fun and stretch your brains a bit. Feel free to write down the words or expressions you use (to help you learn them), and feel free to use a dictionary if you need to (a paper dictionary is recommended for easier flipping between words with certain syllables).

Hashtags are:

#k2k3021 #wordgames

Have fun!~


Last syllable game clips
  1. 끝말잇기 from 아빠 어디가
  2. 끝말잇기 clip 2
  3. 끝말잇기 YouTube search
Syllable emphasis game clips
  1. 절대 음감 게임 from 런닝맨 clip 1
  2. 절대 음감 게임 clip 2
  3. 절대 음감 게임 YouTube search (with clips from various shows including Star King)
Ah-ha backward speaking game clips
  1. 거꾸로 말해요 from 무한도전 clip 1
  2. 거꾸로 말해요 from 무한도전 with introduction to the game
  3. 거꾸로 말해요 from 무한도전 clip 3
  4. 거꾸로 말해요 무한도전 YouTube search (many clips)

Have you ever played any of these games? Which one is the most difficult? Which one is the most fun?

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