Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is this the way to Amarillo?

I was feeling a little homesick, so I decided to learn the Korean lyrics for the following song, but I couldn't find them, so I decided to make my own. Do not expect a word-for-word translation.




"Is this the way to Amarillo"

When the day is dawning,
On a Texas Sunday Morning

일요일 아침에
텍사스 하늘이 밝아질 때

How I long to be there
with Marie who's wait'n for me there

거기 있고 싶어요
날 기다리는 여자랑

Every lonely city
where I hang my hat

쓸쓸한 도시에
많이 갔는데도

Ain’t as half as pretty
as where my baby’s at.

내 여자 도시는
훨씬 더 예뻐요.

Is this the way to Amarillo
Every night I’ve been hugging my pillow
Dreaming dreams of Amarillo
And sweet Marie who waits for me

앰마렐로 이 쪽인가요?
밤마다 베게 꼭 껴안아요
꿈에서 나타나요
그 도시와 내 여자요.

Show me the way to Amarillo
I’ve been weeping like a willow
Crying over Amarillo
And sweet Marie who waits for me

앰마렐로 길을 보여줘요.
버들처럼 계속 울어요.
생각나면 꼭 울어요.
그 도시와 내 여자요.

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
And Marie who waits for me.

샤라라라라라라라
샤라라라라라라라
샤라라라라라라라
기다리는 내 여자요.

There’s a church bell ringing
hear the song of joy that it’s singing
For the sweet Maria
and the guy who’s coming to see her

성당 종이 우네요
그 행복한 소리 들어요.
내 작한 여자와
보러 가는 나를 위하여.

Just beyond the highway
There’s an open plain
and it keeps me going
Through the wind and rain

앞길 조금 넘어
평야 있는데
계속 가겠어요
폭풍 있어도요.

Is this the way to Amarillo
Every night I’ve been hugging my pillow
Dreaming dreams of Amarillo
And sweet Marie who waits for me

앰마렐로 이 쪽인가요?
밤마다 베게 꼭 껴안아요
꿈에서 나타나요
그 도시와 내 여자요

Show me the way to Amarillo
I’ve been weeping like a willow
Crying over Amarillo
And sweet Marie who waits for me

앰마렐로 길을 보여줘요.
버들처럼 계속 울어요.
생각나면 꼭 울어요.
그 도시와 내 여자요.

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
And Marie who waits for me.

샤라라라라라라라
샤라라라라라라라
샤라라라라라라라
기다리는 내 여자요.

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
And Marie who waits for me.

샤라라라라라라라
샤라라라라라라라
샤라라라라라라라
기다리는 내 여자요.

Here are links to a few more versions:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why do they call it 단청(丹靑)?



The above picture shows the colorfully painted eaves of a traditional Korean building. Koreans call this type of decoration 단청(丹靑), which literally means "red & blue." 단 means "red," and 청 means "blue." The name comes from the fact that red (which includes orange) and blue (which includes green) are the representative colors used in the painting.

By the way, 단 (丹) is not the only Chinese character that means "red." There are, at least, four others that represent different shades of red. Also, there are, at least, five Chinese characters for blue. Here is a list of the characters that mean "red," starting with the lightest red and progressing to the darkest.

Shades of Red in Chinese Characters

  1. 홍(紅) - pinkish red
  2. 적(赤) - red
  3. 단(丹) - red
  4. 주(朱) - vermilion; cinnabar
  5. 강(絳) - crimson

Shades of Blue (green) in Chinese Characters

  1. 청(靑) - dark blue
  2. 창(蒼) - azure (sky blue)
  3. 벽(碧) - greenish blue
  4. 록(綠) - (grassy) green
  5. 취(翠) - jade green

The Five Cardinal Colors in Korea (오색)

  • 청(靑) - blue
  • 적(赤) - red
  • 황(黃) - yellow
  • 백(백) - white
  • 흑(黑) - black

Colors of the Rainbow

  • red - 빨강색
  • orange - 주황색
  • yellow - 노랑색
  • green - 초록색
  • blue - 파랑색
  • indigo - 남색
  • violet - 보라색

Names of Colors (unfinished) *

  • amber (pumpkin) - 호박색
  • amethyst - 자수정빛
  • apricot - 살구빛
  • aqua (greenish blue) - 녹청색 (more green than blue)
  • aquamarine (light aqua) - 연한 녹청색
  • auburn (redish brown) - 고동색 (적갈색)
  • azure (sky blue) - 하늘색
  • baby blue - 연한 청색
  • black - 흑색; 검은 색
  • blue - 푸른색; 파랑; 청색
  • blue-green (turquoise) - 청녹색 (more blue than green)
  • brass (yellowish copper) - 황동색
  • bronze - (bluish copper) - 청동색
  • brown - 갈색
  • Burgundy - 버건디색; 짙은 홍색
  • cardinal red - 진홍색
  • celadon - 청자색
  • chestnut (maroon) - 밤색; 적갈색
  • cinnabar - 주홍색
  • cinnamon - 육계색
  • copper - 동색; 구릿빛
  • cream - 크림색
  • crimson (ruby red) - 심홍색
  • cyan - 시안색
  • dark (deep) blue - 검푸르다; 암청색 (심청색)
  • dark (deep) green - 암녹색 (심녹색)
  • dark (deep) red - 검붉다; 암홍색; (심홍색)
  • dark yellow - 검누렇다
  • eggplant - 가지색
  • emerald - 선녹색
  • flax - 아마색
  • flesh color - 피부색; 살빛
  • gold - 금색; 황금색
  • green - 녹색
  • grey - 회색
  • indigo (deep blue) - 남색
  • ivory - 상아색 (아이보리)
  • jade - 옥색
  • khaki - 카키색 (황갈색)
  • lavender - 라벤더색
  • maroon (chestnut) - 밤색; 적갈색
  • mauve - 담자색
  • moss green - 이끼 녹색
  • mustard - 겨자색
  • navy blue - 감청색
  • olive - 올리브색
  • orange - 주황색; 오렌지색
  • orchid - 연보랏빛; 난초색
  • peach - 복숭앗빛
  • pink - 분홍색
  • platinum - 백금색
  • pumpkin (amber) - 호박색
  • purple - 자주빛
  • rose - 장밋빛
  • ruby red (crimson) - 심홍색; 홍옥색
  • salmon - 연어 살빛
  • sapphire - 청옥색; 사파이어색
  • saffron - 사프란색 (농황색)
  • silver - 은색; 은빛
  • sky blue - 하늘색
  • turquoise (blue-green) - 청녹색; 터키옥색
  • violet - 보라빛; 제비꽃색
  • white - 하얀색
  • yellow - 노란색; 황색

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What is the opposite of 태양(太陽)?

태양(太陽) is the sino-Korean word for "the sun." It literally means "big star." 태(太) means "big," and 양(陽) means "star. 양(陽) can also mean "bright." The pure Korean word for "the sun" is 해.

The opposite of 태양(太陽) is 태음(太陰), which is a sino-Korean word for "the moon." It literally means "big shadow." 태(太) means "big," and 음(陰) means "shade" or "shadow." The pure Korean word for "the moon" is 달.

The Chinese characters 양(陽 - light) and 음(陰 - dark) form the word 음양(陰陽), which refers to the philosophy that everything in the universe has an opposite. The Chinese call it "yin-yang."

Here are more words that use the Chinese characters 음(陰) and 양(陽):
  1. 양력(陽曆) - solar calendar
    음력(陰曆) - lunar calendar
    .
  2. 양지(陽地) - a sunny place
    음지(陰地) - a shady place
    .
  3. 양성(陽性) - positive
    음성(陰性) - negative
    .
  4. 양수(陽數) - a positive number
    음수(陰數) - a negative number
    .
  5. 양극(陽極) - a positive pole (electricity)
    음극(陰極) - a negative pole (electricity)
    .
  6. 양각(陽刻)하다- emboss (carve in relief)
    음각(陰刻)하다 - engrave

If anyone can think of more words, I will add them to the list.

Friday, October 03, 2008

"독도," by Gerry Bevers

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

삼국사기에 의해
우산국 있었는데
울릉도이었지만
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

세종기록에 의해
울진현의 동쪽에
우산울릉 안 멀어
좋은 날에 보인대.

방향, 거리 있어야
위치 알 수 있는데
방향 없는 거린데
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

우리 고도에 의해
우산도 있었는데
울릉 서쪽 있어도
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

성종기록에 의해
삼봉도 있었는데
울릉도를 무시해
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

숙종기록에 의해
안용복 있었는데
울릉도에 갔을때
일본 손님 됐는데

안용복의 주장는
송도가 자산도다
어딘지는 몰라도
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

천칠백십일년에
삼척영장 박석창
울릉 지리 다 보고
지도를 그렸는데

울릉도의 동쪽에
우산도를 썼는데
대나무밭 있어도
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

정조때 한창국이
울릉도에 나가고
가지도의 강치는
두 마리를 잡았대.

가지도 앞 계곡은
십리 깊이 있는데
그런 계곡 없어도
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

우리 많은 고도에
울릉 바로 동쪽에
둘 아닌 한 섬으로
우산도를 그렸네.

울릉도의 동쪽에
작은 죽도 있는데
그 사실을 무시해
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

천구백년에 고종은
울릉, 죽도, 석도를
모두 합해가지고
한 군으로 지셨네.

죽도, 관음 외에도
많은 석도 있는데
그 사실을 무시해
그냥 독도라면 돼.

독도는 우리 땅
문서, 지도 없어도
무조건 우리 땅.

by Gerry Bevers

Friday, August 29, 2008

숨어 있는 바퀴벌레, 아이까지 싹 없어집니까?

There is an exterminating company here in Korea called CESCO that runs a commercial on TV that I find unbelievably shocking. In what apears to be a desperate attempt to get more customers, a guy in the commercial makes the following promise:

숨어있는 바퀴벌레, 아이까지 싹 없어집니다.

We completely get rid of not only the hidden cockroaches, but even your kids.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Do you enjoy watching non-Koreans speak Korean?

I enjoyed these videos, and thought it would be interesting to ask students of Korean to introduce themselves in Korean on video. I just got these videos off YouTube, but if you would like me to post your video, just link to your YouTube video in the Comments section.









What's the Korean for "Like talking to a brick wall"?

If you look up the Korean equivalent for "It's like talking to a brick wall," you commonly get the expression "쇠귀에 경 읽기 같군요," but I wonder if that really conveys the exact same meaning?

I am asking because there is another Korean expression that seems to have a very similar meaning. Do the following two expressions have the same meanings or are there nuances?
  • 쇠귀에 경 읽기 같군요.
    .
  • 담벼락하고 말하는 셈이다.

I do not have the answer, just the question; however, the second one seems to be a direct translation of the English expression.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are tulips (鬱草) depressing?

우울하다 (憂鬱) means "depressed," melancholy," or gloomy." I think 우울하다 is a good word since it even sounds "depressing," but even more depressing than the sound is the Chinese character for the "울" in 우울하다, which is depressingly complex and can mean "depression" or "gloom." Why would someone make a character that looks like this?


Notice that it is not only complex, but it is also ugly. A person would have to be pretty damned depressed to make a character that ugly, right? If you would like to learn all seventeen meanings for this depressing character, you can go to Naver's Chinese character dictionary HERE. By the way, 울울하다 (鬱鬱) also means "depressed," melancholy," or gloomy."

I am so depressed by this character that I do not even want to write about it anymore, except to say the following three things.

The radical for this character is also depressing since the only two characters listed under it is 鬱 (울), and the radical, itself, 鬯 (창), which is the name of some kind of Chinese liquor. Why even bother with a radical if you are only going to put one other character under it?

Also, strangely, the Chinese names for "tulip" are 鬱金香 (울금향) and 鬱草 (울초), which, I guess, could mean "depressing, golden fragrance" and "depressing grass," respectively. However, that seems a little strange to me because I do not find tulips depressing. Do you? Of course, THIS SONG about tulips is a little depressing.

It is possible, I guess, that the 鬱 (울) in 鬱金香 (울금향) and 鬱草 (울초) meant "beautiful" instead of "depressing" since "beautiful" is one of the other meanings of the character. If that is the case, then I guess the meanings of the Chinese names for tulip would be "beautiful, golden fragrance" (鬱金香) and "beautiful grass" (鬱草), which sounds a little better to me.

Finally, the character 鬱 (울) can also be found in the name of the Korean island of Ulleungdo (鬱陵島 - 울릉도). Since 陵 (릉) means "hill" and 島 (島) means "island," wouldn't that mean that Ulleungdo (鬱陵島) means "Depressing Hill Island"? Well, probably not since 鬱 can also mean "luxuriant," as in luxuriant foliage. Therefore, it is more probable that the originally meaning of the name "Ulleungdo" was either "Luxuriant Mountain Island" or "Beautiful Mountain Island," which describe the island quite well.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What is the opposite of 낙제 (落第)?

The Korean word 낙제 (落第) means "to fail an exam." The Chinese character 落 (낙) means "to fall," and the character 제 (第) means "order" or "exam." It seems a little strange that a word that means "order" could also mean "exam," but maybe it is based on the fact that an exam helps determine your ranking or "order" among a group of people?

The opposite of 낙제 (落第) is 급제 (及第), which means "to pass an exam." The Chinese character 及(급) means "to reach" or "to attain."

I am interested in the Chinese character 及 (급) and how it combines with other characters to make certain words. For example, the Korean word 가급적 (可及的) means "as ... as possible" or "as much as possible." The character 可 (가) means "possible," and 及 (급) means "to reach" or "to attain," so it literally means "the quality of being able to reach or attain as much (of something) as possible."

The following are some other words that include the character 及 (급):
  • 미급 (未及) - unattainable
  • 역불급 (力不及) - beyond one's power or ability
  • 소급 (遡及) - retroaction; retroactivity (遡 means "to oppose" or "to go against")
  • 불소급 (不遡及) - not retroactive
  • 과불급 (過不及) - excess or deficiency
  • 추급 (追及) - overtake; catch up with
  • 파급 (波及) - extend or spead (like a wave)
  • 논급 (論及) - reference; mention
  • 보급 (普及) - diffusion; spread (普 means "wide")
  • 언급 (言及) - reference; mention

By the way, do not confuse the character 第 (제) with 弟 (제), which means "younger brother."

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What do these Chinese expressions mean?

The following is a list of expressions that I come across in my very unsystematic attempt to learn to read and understand Chinese expressions. I will be adding to the list as I come across expressions I find interesting or difficult to understand. By the way, I do not have English translations of these expression, so I am coming up with my own, which means there are probably better translations out there.
  • 靑出於藍 (청출어람) - Blue (靑) comes (出) from (於) an indigo plant (藍).
    .
    Supposedly the dye that comes from an indigo plant is bluer than the plant, itself, so this expression supposedly implies that "a disciple is better than his teacher."
    .
  • 富潤屋 德潤身 (부윤옥 덕윤신) - Riches (富) give luster to (潤) a house (屋); virtue (德) gives luster to (潤) a body (身).
    .
    I do not think there is a hidden meaning in this expression since it seems self-explanatory.
    .
  • 子欲養而 親不待 (자욕양이 친부대) - A son (子) wants (欲) to serve his parents (養), but (而) his parents (親) do not (不) wait (待).
    .
    This sentence seems to be saying that sons who intend to care for his parents often do not get a chance because their parents die. I am not sure what this sentence had intended to teach, but I would guess that it was warning children not to wait, or wait too long, to serve their parents. By the way, in this expression, 養 (양) means 奉養하다 (봉양하다), which means "to serve (support) one's parents."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What was Ulleungdo like in 1899?

For anyone who might be interested, below is a translation I did of a September 23, 1899 article from the Korean newspaper Hwangseong Sinmun (皇城新聞), which described the Korean island of Ulleungdo and the problems it was having with Japanese settlers and merchants coming to the island at the time.

It was a difficult but interesting translation for me, so there may be some mistakes, but I am posting it here to give you an idea of how Koreans wrote their language more than 100 years ago. If you find any mistakes, please let me know. And if you would like to look at the original article, it is posted below the translation. You can enlarge the article by clicking on it twice.

Special Report (別報)

Ulleungdo Situation (鬱陵島 事況)

There is an island in the sea east of Uljin called "Ulleung" (蔚珍之東海에 一島가 有하니 曰鬱陵). Among its six, small neighboring islands (其附屬한 小六島中에) the most prominent one (最著者는) is Usando/Jukdo (于山島竹島이니). According to the Daehanjiji (大韓地誌에 曰), Ulleungdo is the old country of Usan (鬱陵島는 古于山國이라). It has an area of 100 ri (地方이 百里오) and three peaks that stand out (三峰이 律兀한되).

Its products are (所産은) siho (柴胡 – bupleurum root), gobon (藁本 Ligusticum sinense Oliv. root), seoknam (石楠 – Photinia serrulata Lindl), wisteria (藤草), juniper (香木), zelkova (槻木), and nojuk [(蘆竹 - a reed-like bamboo)이오]. The land is suitable for barley (土性은 宜麥하고). In the past (古에), there were water animals that looked like cows without horns that were called “gaji” (牛形無角한 水獸가 有하니 名曰可之오). There are also seabirds that are called "gwakjo" (海鳥가 有하니 名曰 霍鳥러라).

There are few people on the island (島中에 人烟이 稀少하야), so the government exempts them from paying tax (國家에서 公稅를 免徵하고). Every three years (每式年에), the authority in the neighboring region (附近地方官으로) selected and sent emissaries (差使員을 定送하야) to inspect the situation on the island (島中情形도 査察하고) just bring back juniper and nojuk to present to the king (香木과 蘆竹을 裁還하야 御貢할 뿐이러니).

In 1883 (癸未年에), the royal court (朝廷에서) appointed Kim Ok-gyun as the Southeast Islands Development & Whaling Official (金玉均으로 東南諸島開拓史兼捕鯨使를 任하고) and appointed Baek Chun-bae as his assistant (白春培로 從事官을 任하야). They were given the task of settling the island (該島開拓事務를 辦理케하였더니), but because of the Gapshin Coup the following year (翌年 甲申의 變을 因하야), they could not achieve much (泰效치못하였고).

Afterwards, in 1888 (其後戊子年에), island resident Seo Gyeong-su was appointed Wolsong Commander and given the duty of increasing the island’s population and preventing the illegal harvesting of the island’s forest by foreigners. (島民徐敬秀로 越松萬戶를 差定하야 該島人民을 繁殖하고 外國人의 樹木侵伐하는 弊를 防禦케 하였더니), but Seo Gyeong-su died the following year before completing the job (翌年에 徐敬秀가 身死未遂하였고).

In 1895 (開國五百四年에), the Ministry of the Interior appointed island resident Bae Gye-ju as the Island Supervisor and had him manage the island (內部에서 本島民 裵季周로 島監을 任하야 島務를 管理케하였더니).

In the spring of this year (1899), Bae Gye-ju reported to the Ministry of Interior that Japanese had recently been arriving in large numbers and were cutting down trees, encroaching on residents, and causing disturbances (本年春에 裵季周가 內部에 來報하되 近者에 日本人이 夥數流入하야 樹木을 斫伐하고 居民을 侵擾하니), and requested that the government establish law and order (政府에서 設法防護하기를 請함의), which prompted the Interior Ministry to request Sir John McLeavy Brown, chief commissioner of the Korean Customs Service, to dispatch one Westerner to the island to investigate the situation there (內部에서 海關總稅務士 柏卓安에게 委託하야 西人一員을 派送하야 該島情形을 査報케 하였더니). A summary of the report follows (其報告의 槪況이 如左하니):

Ulleungdo is about 200 ri from land (鬱陵島는 距陸二百餘里오). It has an area estimated to be about seventy-five square ri (面積은 約計 七十五方里니). The entire island had little cultivated land (遍嶋中에 耕植하는 地는 不多하고), and there was a thick forest of trees from the seashore to the mountain ridge (樹木이 海濱으로 從하야 山嶺까지 鬱密하였는되). The height of the mountain is calculated to be 4,000 English feet (山高는 計有四千英尺이오). The depth of the water within three ri of the shore is between 6,000 and 9,600 English feet (距岸三里內의 水深은 自六千至九千六百英尺이라).

There are about 300 families of men and women living on the island (居民은 男女 約 三百口이니). Over the past couple of decades (數十年來로), shipbuilders/merchants and fishermen/farmers have gradually come to live together on the island. (漸次 船匠商客과 漁人耕夫가 相隨而至하야 居生하는되). Since the water is extremely deep, it is said that fishing is unprofitable, but annual shipments of seaweed reach as much as 2,000 dam (海水가 太深하야 魚産은 未益하고다만 海菜의 運出이 每年에 二千 擔에 多至하고).

The land is fertile, so fertilization with night soil is unnecessary (土質은 膏沃하야 糞漑 를 要치아니하고), but wood ash is plowed into the fields to achieve two harvests a year (樹叢燼灰로 覆耕하야 一年兩熟을 得하니). Barley and wheat are planted in the spring (春季에는 大小麥이오), and potatoes and beans in the fall (秋季에는 薯와 豆인 되). Last year’s harvest was 20,000 po of potatoes, 20,000 po of barley, 10,000 po of yellow beans, and 5,000 po of wheat (上年所穫이 薯 二萬包, 大麥 二萬包, 黃豆一萬包, 小麥五千包이오). The incline of the land is too steep to grow rice (地勢가 太斜하야 禾穀은 耕作지 못 하고). There are many wood products, including old, large Japanese cedar and a variety of rare, valuable trees (材木은 老年巨杉과 各種貴重寶木이 亦多하고). There are zelkova, juniper, pine nut, and Integra holly (槻木 香木 柏子木 甘湯木이 産有하어라).

Trade with the mainland is extremely rare, but they occasionally get a shipment of only a few po of such things as foodstuff, tobacco, and cotton cloth (大陸과 通商이 極少한 되 往往히 商簇의 輸入하는 物貨는 食物烟草布疋 等數包 뿐이오.) The goods they ship out is mainly seaweed, but also lumber, and occasionally clothes (其 載出하는 物品은 海菜가 居多하고 板木 間或 裝 運하더라).

Among the confusion of seal peaks and rock cliffs along the shoreline (嶋邊海狗峯石壁亂叢中에), there is a small inlet about 100 English feet wide (一小灣이有하니 約闊一百 英尺이라), where Japanese ships loaded with such imports as rice, salt, pottery, Japanese wine, wool, cotton cloth, kerosene, matches, and umbrellas trade with the locals using the barter method (該灣으로 日本船商의 輸入品은 米 塩 瓷器 日本酒 洋布 木綿 火油 火柴 雨傘等件인되 土民으로더부러 交易하는 法은 物로物을易하고). Besides beans and barley, the exported goods include wood that is cut indiscriminately from all over the mountain, loaded onto ships, carried away--the price is insufficient (其輸出品은 豆麥外에 満山材木을 亂斫鋸削하야 船隻에 載往하는者--其値가 不實하고).

There are places on the island where about 200 Japanese have built houses and are living temporarily (本嶋中에 築室旅居하는 日本人이 二百餘名인되). They encroach on the locals and have inappropriate relations (土民을 侵凌하야 相関하는 弊가 有하어라). The farmers and merchants are originally not taxed 農民商民의 公税는 原定함이 無하고), but, the island supervisor is collecting one-tenth of the seaweed (但 嶋監이 海菜에는 十分의一을 徵하고) and a wood charge of 100 ryang per ship (木料에는 毎船一隻에 葉一百 兩을 徴하여). When the Japanese sell goods, they paid only a negotiated fee of two percent, but no tax (日本人은 賣貨時 口文(百抽二)外에는 納税함이 無하더라).

In September of this year, the Interior Ministry (本年九月에 内部에서), based on the above report (右項報告을 等因하야), requested that the Foreign Ministry request the head of the Japanese mission in Korea (外部에 照會하였더니 外部에서 駐京日本公使에게 照會하야) to promise to correct the situation and remove the Japanese trespassing on the island (該嶋에 潜越한 日本人을 訂期刷還하고)…. Have him prohibit and stop trade…. (不*******買賣함을 禁戢케하라하였더라).


Monday, April 21, 2008

Isn't there a quick and easy way to learn Korean?

NO, there is no quick and easy way to learn the Korean language, but if you want a "quick and easy" introduction to the language with links to listening and pronunciation practice all on one Web page, then try the following site:

"Let's Learn Korean"

Also, Yahoo! has set up an English-language portal page targeting foreigners in Korea:

"Inside Korea"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Does "생전 처음 봤다" make sense?

There are many Korean expressions that seem odd to me, and the following expression is near the top of the list.

생전 처음 봤다
"It is the first time in my life to see that."

For some reason, in Korean, 생전 (生前) means "during [one's] life," which seems strange since 生 means "life" and 前 means "in front of" or "before." Why doesn't is mean "before one is born"?

If I were in charge of the Korean language, I would change 생전 처음 봤다 to 생후 처음 봤다 since "생후" (生後) means "after birth" or "since birth." Doesn't it make more sense?
  • 生 (생) - life; birth
  • 前 (전) - in front of; before
  • 後 (후) - behind; after

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2008 - General questions or comments about the Korean language

I have started this post to give people an opportunity to use the "Comments" section to ask questions, share information, or make general comments about the Korean language. Feel free to ask or share what you will.

What does "世俗之人 皆善人之同乎己" mean?

Today, I came across the following Chinese expression, which I do not completely understand.

世俗之人 皆善人之同乎
세속지인 개선인지동호

세상의 사람들은 모두가 다른 사람이 자기의 같은 것을 좋아 한다.

All people in the world like people who are similar to themselves.

I think I understand most parts of the above expression, but I do not understand the function of 乎 . Here is what I understand:

  • 世俗之人 - the people of the world
  • 皆 - all
  • 善 - like
  • 人之同 - people who are similar
  • 乎 - to (Thanks, Taemin. See "comments" section.)
  • 己 - themselves

Can someone explain to me the grammar of 人之同乎己?

UPDATE:

Taemin has explained to me that 乎 means "to" in the above expression, so 人之同乎己 means "people who are similar to themselves." Therefore, 同乎 (동호) could be generally translated as "similar to." The opposite meaning would be 異乎 (이호), which could be translated as "different from." The following is a sentence that uses 異乎 (이호) from King Sejong's "Hunmin Jeong-eum" (訓民正音).

國之語音 異乎中國 與文字 不相流通
국지어음 이호중국 여문자 불상유통

나라의 말 소리가 중국 달라서 문자와 더불어 서로 통하지 못하다.

The sound of our language is different from China's, so the writing, as well, cannot correspond with each other.

  • 國之語音 - The sound of our language
  • 異乎 - is different from
  • 中國 - China's
  • 與 - likewise
  • 文字 - the writing
  • 不 - cannot
  • 相 - each other
  • 流通 - correspond

Many people may be interested in learning Korean, but not really interested in learning old Chinese sayings; however, here are a few modern examples of the 동 (同) and 이 (異) characters being used in speech today:
  • 이동(異同)이 없다. - There is no difference.
    Notice that the characters for "different" (異) and "same" (同) combine to form a word that means "difference." I do not know why "different" wins out over "same," but it does. By the way, it does not matter if 동 (同) comes before 이 (異), as in 동이, it still means "difference."
    .
  • 이국(異國) - a foreign country; a strange land
    .
  • 이국(異國)적인 - exotic
    .
  • 이상(異常)하다 - strange; different (異) from the ordinary (常)
    .
  • 동반(同伴)하다 - to accompany
    .
  • 동생(同生) - a younger brother or sister
    .
  • 동시(同時)에 - at the same time
    .
  • 동의(同意)하다 - to agree with; to have the same (同) opinion (意)
    .
  • 동포(同胞) - fellow countrymen; brethren
    .
  • 동행(同行)하다 - to travel together; to go in company with
    (In a restaurant) 동행은 세 사람입니다. (We are a party of three.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What's the difference between 百花 and 白花?

Today I came across the expression, 百花滿發 (백화만발), which means "All kinds of flowers are in full bloom."

  • 百花 (백화) : all kinds of flowers (百 = 100; 花 = flower)
  • 滿發 (만발) : full bloom (滿 = full; 發 = bloom)
I am writing this because I did not know the meaning of 百花 until today. Of course, if I had seen the Chinese characters, I would have known its literal meaning of "100 flowers," but I would not have known that it is also used to mean "all kinds of flowers." If I had seen or heard the Korean 백화, my first thought would have been "white flower" (白花 - 백화).

It seems to be quite common to use 百 (100) with other characters to mean "all" or "various." Other examples are as follows:

  • 百計 (백계) : all [every] means; all resources
    百計(백계)을 다 쓰다. Try every means available.
    百計 無策 (백계 무책) : helplessness

    .
  • 百憂 (백우) : all [a variety of] concerns
    The Chinese name for the antidepressant drug "prozac" seems to be 百憂解 (백우해), which literally means "relief from all concerns."
    .
  • 百行 (백행) : all [a variety of] behavior or conduct
    百行之本也 (효百行之本也) - Filial piety is the foundation for all conduct.

If anyone has other good examples of using 百 to mean "all" or "a variety of," please post them in the "Comments" section.

Monday, April 07, 2008

山高於海 : "A mountain is higher than the sea"?

Today I came across the Chinese expression 山高於海 (산고어해), which I think is supposed to mean, "A mountain is higher than the sea."
  • 山 (산) - mountain
  • 高 (고) - high
  • 於 (어) - than
  • 海 (해) - sea
Does anyone know the origin of the expression and the reason for stating the obvious?

Monday, March 17, 2008

What does the "생" in 생쥐 mean?

According to THIS Korean article, the "mouse's head" (생쥐 머리) in the picture below was found in a bag of 새우깡, which is a popular crunchy snack food here in Korea.



If some of you are like me, you may have thought the word 생쥐 meant "live mouse," based on such words as 생방송 (live broadcast) and 생음악 (live music); however, there is no way the mouse in the above picture could still be alive, so what does 생쥐 mean?

In the past, I was curious about the word 생쥐 because of the Korean expression 물에 빠진 생쥐, which means "a drowned mouse" and is used to describe someone who is soaking wet. I was curious because I had thought 생쥐 meant "live mouse" and could not understand how a drowned mouse could still be alive, so I looked up the word.

생쥐 is an abbreviated form of 새앙쥐, which is a kind of small mouse here in Korea. And the 새앙 in 새앙쥐 is supposed to mean "생강" (ginger), which supposedly implies the mouse is the size of a piece of ginger. I do not know if that is true, but that is what I've read.

By the way, would anyone be interested in a half-eaten bag of 새우깡?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why don't they just say "매우"?

I have been studying Korean for a long time, but I still find it quite difficult to understand a group of young Koreans engaged in excited conversation, and one of the reasons it is so difficult is that they love to use slang. Here is a good example.

The word 매우 is a nice Korean adverb that means "very." I like it, but, for some reason, young Koreans seem to hate it because they have invented all kinds of slang expressions to replace it. Here are a few of them:
  • 대따
  • 대빵
  • 되게
  • 디따
  • 딥따
  • 억수로 겁나게
  • 억시기
  • 열라
  • 절라
  • 존나
  • 졸라
  • 콜라리
  • 허벌나게

I hate Korean slang because I think it is hurting the language, but I especially hate slang that replaces nice Korean adverbs.