Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What's the opposite of 내리뜨다?

내리뜨다 means "look downward" or "drop one's eyes." The opposite of 내리뜨다 is "치뜨다," which means "look upward." The prefix 내리- means "downward," the prefix 치- means "upward," and the verb 뜨다 means "open (one's eyes)"; therefore, 내리뜨다 literally means, "open one's eyes downward," and 치뜨다 literally means "open one's eyes upward."

I find 내리뜨다 and 치뜨다 a little strange because how does one open one's eyes downward or upward? "Upward" and "downward" imply movement, but the act of "opening one's eyes" happens too quickly to give a sense of movement. Why not just say 내리보다 or 치보다 since 보다 means "to see" or "to look," which is what 내리뜨다 and 치뜨다 seem to be saying? Actually, there are two words that use 보다 that seem similar to 내리뜨다 and 치뜨다. The two words are 내려다보다 and 쳐다보다.

내려다보다 means "look down at," and 쳐다보다 means "look up at," The literal meaning of 내려다보다 is "lower and look," and the literal meaning of 쳐다보다 is "raise and look," which seem to imply that there is more movement involved with 내려다보다 and 쳐다보다 than with 내리뜨다 and 치뜨다.

So what is the difference between 내리뜨다 and 녀려다보다 and between 치뜨다 and 쳐다보다?

I think 내리뜨다 is used when a person has downcast eyes, but is not really looking at anything in particular. The person may be in deep thought or may be trying to avoid eye contact with someone. On the other hand, 내려다보다 is used when a person is looking down at something to see what it is or watch what is happening. Likewise, 치뜨다 is used when a person has upcast eyes, but is not really looking at anything in particular. The person may be looking up while trying to remember something. 쳐다보다, on the other hand, is used when a person is looking up at something to see what it is or watch what is happening.

I have not read any usage notes on the above words, but I think I am guessing pretty close to the differences in meaning.

Friday, January 06, 2006

What does 네눈박이 mean?

A 네눈박이 is "a dog with black spots above the eyes," which makes the dog look like it has "four eyes" (네눈) "imbedded" (박이) in its head. Granted it is not a very useful word, but I like it for some reason. I think I might use it to describe people who wear glasses ("Hey, foureyes.") Anyway, here are a few more words that use the -박이 suffix:
  • 고추박이 a disparaging reference to "the husband of a woman of low birth" (고추 is "a red pepper," which is a euphemism for "penis.")
  • 금니박이 a disparaging reference to "a person with a gold tooth"
  • 덧니박이 a person with a snaggletooth
  • 두대박이 a two-masted ship
  • (본)토박이 a native; a native-born
  • 붙박이 a fixture; a fixed (build-in) article
  • 붙박이장 a built-in closet
  • (오이)소박이(김치) stuffed cucumber kimchi
  • 쌍열박이 a 2-barrel gun
  • 옥니박이 a person with inturned teeth
  • 외대박이 a single-masted boat
  • 점박이 a person with a birthmark or mole; a spotted animal
  • 판박이 a printed book
  • 판박이 문구 a set phrase
  • 판박이 생활 a routine life
  • 판박이 소리 a cliche
  • 판박이 인사 a conventional greeting

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What does 독불장군(獨不將軍) mean?

독불장군(獨不將軍) is defined as follows:
  1. [고집쟁이] a man of self-assertion
  2. [외톨이] a meverick; a loner; a lone wolf; someone ostracized.

Today's meaning of the expression is different from its original meaning, as the Chinese characters show:

  • (독) alone
  • (불) no; not
  • (장) commander; general
  • (군) soldier

Originally, 獨不將軍(독불장군) meant, "one cannot become a general by oneself," which implies that a person needs "people skills" to succeed. Koreans seem to have taken that piece of good advice and changed it into a noun.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Do you know how to play 땅따먹기?

Here is a link to a very interesting site of traditional Korean children's games. The recorded animation makes it easy to learn the games. Personally, I liked 땅따먹기.

Here is a link to some animated children's stories. It is a good site.

Monday, January 02, 2006

What's the difference between 이미 and 벌써?

I started the following post a couple of weeks ago, but did not finish it. I finished it today.

I recently came across the following paragraph and paused for some reason on the adverb 이미, which means "already." I paused because I wondered why the writer chose to use 이미 instead of 벌써, which also means "already"?
피츠버그대의 한 관계자는 19일 “섀튼 교수가 황 교수와 주고받은 모든 전자우편을 확보해 검토하는 등 그에 대한 대학 연구윤리국 조사가 거의 마무리됐다”며 “학교 당국은 이미 섀튼의 잘못이 충분히 드러났다고 판단하고 곧 징계위원회를 열어 중징계를 내릴 방침”이라고 밝혔다.

On the 19th, an official for the University of Pittsburg said, "The investigation by the university's research ethics division is almost finished. We have secured all the email between Professor Schatten and Professor Hwang and are examining it. School officials have already judged that Schatten's errors were excessive, and the disciplinary committee plans to convene and announce disciplinary measures soon.
이미 and 벌써 can both be used to mean "already," but 벌써 is used when one wants to express surprise that something has already happened. In other words, 벌써 implies a "So soon?" meaning. For example, only 벌써, not 이미, can be used in the following dialog:
A: 다 마쳤어어요.
B: 벌써?

A: I've finished everything.
B: Already? (So soon?)

Also, Koreans seem to use 벌써 instead of 이미 when asking questions. Consider the following dialog:

A: 벌써 했어요?
B: 네, 벌써 했어요.

A: Have you already done it?
B: Yes, I have already done it.

Since the the writer used 이미 in the Korean paragraph above, he or she apparently was not surprised to hear that school officials had already determined that Professor Schatten had made mistakes. That is all right, but I still have a question about the sentence. Consider the following:
  • “학교 당국은 이미 섀튼의 잘못이 충분히 드러났다판단하고..."
Is 이미 descibing the action of 드러나다 or 판단하다? In other words, is the sentence saying "Enough mistakes had already appeared" or "School officials have already decided"? If it is the former, the sentence is correct as is, but if it is the latter, then the sentence should be rewritten as follows:
  • “학교 당국은 섀튼의 잘못이 충분히 드러났다고 이미 판단하고...."
For some reason, I felt that the writer meant to say the latter and translated it as such.