Original Script: 인싸, 아싸
Phonetic (Roman) Script: Inssa and Ahssa
Full translation: Insider and Outsider
The following is transcribed from a conversation between the interviewer and the informant, and it was translated from its original language Korean.
Informant: There’s this popular slang in Korea, especially for school and office settings, mostly college. It’s “Inssa” and “Ahssa”, they alway go in Paris. Inssa is shortened for insider, and ahssah is shortened for outsider. They describe the type of person you are in a given social setting. Insiders are those who can blend well with the crowd. They’re popular, outgoing, they’d get drinks all the time, talk to professors well, all that. Outsiders are, well, outsiders. They’re the people who don’t have any friends, who are not up to date with pop culture and all the new slangs.
Interviewer: Is this concept any different from the pre-established introvert and extrovert?
Informant: I think inssa and ahssa are more exclusively to these specific social settings, like schools, and more specifically colleges. I think it’s just a newer way of saying the same stuff, but it has slightly different tones. Introvert and extrovert are more like internal, personality trait things. I think you can be an introvert and an inssa, like you don’t have to be an extrovert to have good connections.
Interviewer: Are there any variations of these terms?
Informant: Yes. You can add the word ‘haek’ in front of them. Haek is Korean for nuclear, and Koreans use that word as kind of an additive to really emphasize things. So a ‘haek-inssa’ would be a really extreme insider, someone who knows everyone in their school. A haek-ahssa would be someone who’s like invisible.
Interviewer: How would you describe yourself when you were in college?
Informant: I think I was more of an inssa at first, but towards later years I jus stopped caring so much
My informant is a Korean male in his mid 20s, working as a barista in Seoul. He graduated from college already, but he describes himself as well versed with current Korean lingo and college culture.
The conversation took place on the phone. The informant was in house by himself in a comfforbtale setting.
These new words came across as more jokey than serious, but they still gave me the sense that it was to point out people who weren’t outgoing. I’m not sure if categorizing everyone in these standards would be positive, but I did find the terminology very catchy.