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.


  1. 산울림: "아니 벌써"

    작사 : 김창완
    작곡 : 김창완

    아니 벌써 해가 솟았나 창문 밖이 환하게 밝았나
    가벼운 아침 발걸음 모두 함께 콧노래 부르며
    밝은 날을 기다리는 부푼 마음 가슴에 가득
    이리저리 지나치는 정다운 눈길 거리에 찼네

    아니 벌써 밤이 깊었나 정말 시간 가는줄 몰랐네
    해 저문 거릴 비추는 가로등 하얗게 피었네
    밝은 날을 기다리는 부푼 마음 가슴에 가득
    이리저리 지나치는 정다운 눈길 거리에 찼네

  2. That's an interesting song, Antti. I like it, but I see what I consider two grammatical mistakes in it. Actually, one might not be considered a mistake, depending on what the songwriter meant to say, but I do not think he meant to say what he said.

    If anyone is interesting in playing a guessing game, I challenge you to find the two mistakes I am talking about. Today is Wednesday in Korea. I will wait until Saturday to tell you what the two mistakes are.

    Here is a hint: One of the mistakes has to do with something I have talked about on this blog.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. “학교 당국은 이미 섀튼의 잘못이 충분히 드러났다고 판단하고..."
    The former is right. Because '이미' modifies the verb, 드러났다.
    So, you can say "학교 당국은 섀튼의 잘못이 이미 충분히 드러났다고 판단하고..."
    This means
    School officials concluded(judged,thought) that enough mistakes had already appeared and...

    But, as you know, "학교 당국은 섀튼의 잘못이 충분히 드러났다고 이미 판단하고..." has a different meaning. In this case, '이미' modifies '판단하고'. This implies that school officials have already decided before somethings. So it is weird.

    I don't know whether my answer would be helpful. ^^ just I hope so...


  5. Hi Soulmoon,

    I was also thinking the same thing.

    Concerning the song that Antti posted, here is the portion that I consider to be a mistake: "밝은 날을."

    As I mentioned in a previous post, here, 밝다 can be used as either a adjective or a verb. If it is used as an adjective, it means "bright," and if it is used as a verb it means "dawn." So, the question is whether the writer meant to say, "waiting for a bright day"? or "waiting for the dawn"?

    I think the songwriter meant to say "waiting for the dawn." However, if that were the case, the writer should have written the phrase as 밝는 날 or 밝을 날, not as 밝은 날, which would mean "bright day." Of course, if he had wanted to say "the dawn" in the past tense, then 밝은 날 would have been all right, but the context of the song tells us that that is not what he meant to say.

    Here is a summary of the different uses of 밝다:

    밝은 날 - bright day

    밝은 날 a dawned day
    밝는 날 a dawning day
    밝을 날 the coming dawn

  6. '벌써' is an expression to be used in spoken Korean. You will never see the word in any formal writings.

  7. 안녕하세요..한국어 정말 잘하시네요. 우연히 네 블러그를 찾아되서 반갑고 시간이 있으면 내 블러그로 놀어오세요.

    전 대만사람이고 지금도 한국어를 배우고 있습니다.

    감사합니다.즐거운 하루되세요.


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