Friday, November 30, 2018

What is a 거수기?

ANSWER: a rubber-stamp politician

거수기 (擧手機) is a disparaging term that literally means a lifting (擧) hand (手) machine (機). It is used to refer to politicians who vote the way their party leaders tell them to vote rather than according to their own personal views. In other words, such politicians are like machines who automatically raise their hands to vote for whatever their party leaders tell them.

By the way, Koreans used to use a piece of equipment called a 거중기 to lift heavy objects. The word 거중기 (擧重器) literally means a lifting (擧) heavy [objects] (重) instrument (器). The Chinese character 機 (기), which means machine, can substitute for the character 器 (기).

擧重器 (거중기) - a heavy-lifting (擧重) instrument (器)
LINK

Thursday, November 29, 2018

What does 방약무인 mean?

ANSWER: arrogance, insolence, overbearance

방약무인 (傍若無人) literally means [at one's] side (傍), as if (若) there are no (無) people (人) [there]. This is equivalent to the Korean phrase 옆에 사람 없는 것 처럼 (as if there are no people nearby).

People tend to be more humble and reserved in front of other people, but there are some people who act arrogantly and do as they please even in front of other people. If you see such a person, you could whisper to your friend, "저 사람은 방약무인한 짓을 한다," which could be translated as, "That guy is being a jerk."

A similar phrase with the same meaning is 안하무인 (眼下無人), which literally means [he acts as if] under [his] eyes (眼下), there are no (無) people (人).

What does 무소(無所) mean?

ANSWER: nothing | nowhere

소 (所) can mean either thing or place, and 무 (無) can mean without, not have, or there is no/not. For example, the Korean word for rumor is 소문 (所聞), which literally means a thing (所) that is heard (聞); and the Korean word for place or location is 장소 (場所), which literally means a place's (場) location (所). As for 무 (無), the Korean word for nameless is 무명 (無名), which literally means without (無) a name (名); and the Korean word for safety is 무사 (無事), which literally means without (無) incident (事).

As for 무소 (無所), here are a few words in which it appears:
  • 무소득 (無所得) - without (無) gain or benefit (所得) or nothing (無所) gained (得). By itself, 소득 (所得) literally means something (所) gained (得).
  • 무소부재 (無所不在) - There is no (無) place (所) [He] does not (不) exist (在), which translates as omnipresence.
  • 무소부지 (無所不知) - There is no (無) thing (所) [He] does not (不) know (知), which translates as omniscience.
  •  무소불능 (無所不能) - There is no (無) thing (所) [for Him] that is not (不) possible (能), which translates as omnipotence.
  • 무소불위 (無所不爲) - There is no (無) thing (所) [He] does not (不) do (爲), which also translates as omnipotence.
  • 무소속 (無所屬) - without (無) a place (所) or group (屬), which translates as without affiliation [to a group] or independence

Saturday, November 24, 2018

What does the Chinese character 鄭 (정) mean?

ANSWER: courtesy, politeness, civility, consideration, care

The Chinese character 鄭 (정) appears in the Sino-Korean word 정중(鄭重)하다, which means be courteous, be polite, be civil, or be careful, so it is a good word to know, but that is really the only Korean word in which you will see the character 鄭 (정). So if that is the only Korean word in which that character appears, would it really be worth the effort of a Korean-language learner to learn that character? Yes, because after 김(金), 이(李), 박(朴), and 최(崔), the character 정(鄭) is probably the next most common family name (surname) in Korea, so a Korean language learner will most likely see the character over and over again in Korean society.

Below is a list of the ten most common family names in Korea. Sometimes being able to read the Chinese character of a Korean family name is useful, especially when you receive a business card with no hangeul (한글). (It has happened to me before.) In such cases, you would at least be able to say, "Nice to meet you, Mr. Jeong (鄭)," which might really impress the guy.
  1. (김)
  2. (이)
  3. (박)
  4. (최)
  5. (정)
  6. (강)
  7. (조)
  8. (윤)
  9. (장)
  10. (림/임)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Who was older, 이백년 or 이조년?

ANSWER: 이백년

Lee Jo-nyeon (이조년 - 李兆年) lived from 1269 to 1343 and was a civil servant (문신) during the time of the Goryeo Kingdom (918 - 1392). He was also a poet (시인) and a literary man (문인) who wrote the well-known poem (시조) that starts with the line "梨花月白三更天(이화월백삼경천)." The line translates as follows: "The pear blossoms (梨花) [and] moon (月) are white (白) [against] the midnight (三更) sky (天)."

Mr. Lee was the youngest of five brothers, and his given name literally means "a trillion (조 兆) years (년 年). Here are the given names of his four elder brothers, listed from eldest to youngest:
  1. 백년 (百年) - a hundred (百) years (年)
  2. 천년 (千年) - a thousand (千) years (年)
  3. 만년 (萬年) - ten thousand (萬) years (年)
  4. 억년 (億年) - a hundred million (億) years (年)
You can read a Korean-language article on Lee Jo-nyeon HERE.

Here is my translation of Mr. Lee's poem:

()()()()()()()
The pear () blossoms () [and] moon () are white () [against] the midnight (三更) sky ().

()()()()()()()
Crying () sad tears () [and] making () noise (), the resentful () cuckoo (杜鵑).

()()()()()()()
Wide () awakeness () [and] many () emotions () cause () this () anxiety ().

()()()()()()()
Unrelated (不關) human affairs (人事) do not () produce () sleep ().

This guy reminds me of me, except instead of a cuckoo, I have a neighbor's dog.
 

I do not know why, but in "The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Korean Poetry," Peter H. Lee, my former Korean literature professor at the University of Hawaii, translated the poem as follows:
The moon is white on pear blossoms,
and the Milky Way tells the third watch.
A cuckoo would not know
the intent of a branch of spring.
Too much awareness is a sickness,
it keeps me awake all night. 
Unfortunately, the "The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Korean Poetry" does not show the original Chinese, so there is possibly another version of the poem I have not seen. By the way, I do not like reading old Chinese and Korean poetry unless they also include the original Chinese. I like having the option of being able to interpret the poems myself.

What does 조조할인 mean?

ANSWER: early morning discount

조조할인 (早朝割引) is a Sino-Korean phrase that literally means early (早) morning (朝) discount (割引), but could be translated as morning matinee discount. It refers to the discount movie theaters often give to get people to come to the early showings of their movies, which usually start sometime before noon in Korea. That is not a busy time for the theaters, so they give the discounts hoping to bring in customers.


아직도 생각나요 그 아침 햇살속에
수줍게 웃고있는 그 모습이

I still remember, in the morning rays of the sun, her shyly smiling face.

그 시절 그 땐 그렇게 갈데가 없었는지
언제나 조조할인은 우리 차지였었죠

During that time, maybe because then we really had no other place to go, the early morning discount was always our place to go.

돈 오백원이 어디냐고 난 고집을 피웠지만
사실은 좀 더 일찍 그대를 보고파

Though I insisted, "Where would I get 500 won (the undiscounted price of the afternoon movie)?" I really just wanted to see her a little earlier.

하지만 우리 함께한 순간 이젠 주말의 명화됐지만
가끔씩 나는 그리워져요, 풋내 가득한 첫사랑

Even though our moments together are now weekend movie classics, I sometimes miss them, and that full freshness of first love.  

수많은 연인들은 지금도 그곳에서
추억을 만들겠죠 우리처럼

Many lovers probably still make memories there, as we did.

손님이 뜸한 월요일 극장 뒷자리에서
난 처음 그대 입술을 느낄 수가 있었죠.

In the back seats of the theater on Mondays, when there were few customers. Yes, it was the first time I was able to feel her lips.

나 자신도 믿지못할 그 은밀한 기적 속에
남자로 나는 다시 태어난 거에요.

In that moment, which was so furtive and amazing that even I could not believe it, I was reborn a man. 

하지만 우리 함께한 순간 이젠 주말의 명화됐지만
가끔씩 나는 그리워져요, 풋내 가득한 첫사랑

Even though our moments together are now weekend movie classics, I sometimes miss them, and that full freshness of first love.

하지만 우리 함께한 순간 이젠 주말의 명화 됐지만
가끔씩 나는 그리워 져요,  풋내 가듯한 첫사랑.

Even though our moments together are now weekend movie classics, I sometimes miss them, and that full freshness of first love.

아직도 생각나요 그아침 햇살속에
수줍게 웃고 있던 그모습이

I still remember, in the morning rays of the sun, her shyly smiling face.

수많은 연인들은 지금도 그곳에서
추억을 만들겠죠 우리처럼
Many lovers probably still make memories there, as we did.

Monday, November 19, 2018

What's the opposite of 부인?

ANSWER: 부군

부인 (夫人) is a polite way to refer to another person's wife, and 부군 (夫君) is the polite way to refer to another person's husband.

If you wanted to be especially polite, such as when referring to your boss's wife, to the wife of a social elite, or to the wife of a world leader, you could say 영부인 (令夫人). So, could you also refer to the husband of a world leader by saying 영부군 (令夫君)? I would not because, even though the character 令 (령) can be translated as esteemed, the character has, at least, the connotation of beautiful. For some reason, it would seem strange to say or even imply, "How's your beautiful husband?"

However, you can very politely refer to another person's son and daughter as esteemed son (영식 - 令息) and beautiful (esteemed) daughter (영애 - 令愛).

Sunday, November 18, 2018

What does 띵호와 mean?

ANSWER: Very good!

The Chinese characters 挺好 (정호) translate as very (挺) good (好), but when Koreans say these characters, they imitate the Chinese pronunciation, which is tǐng (挺) hǎo (好). The Korean imitation, however, seems to use the Chinese pronunciation for only the first character and the Korean pronunciation for the second, resulting in 띵(挺) 호 (好). The 와 sound comes by adding the exclamatory ending 婀 (아) to the end of 띵호, forming 띵호아, which naturally became 띵호와 (挺好啊). The exclamatory ending 啊 (아) is represented by the exclamation point (!) in the English translation.

Koreans seem to use 띵호와 in a humorous way, similar to how some Americans sometimes use the Spanish "Muchas gracias" to say "Thank you very much." For example, the following video shows a guy playing a Korean game entitled "띵호와 주방장," which literally translates as "A Very Good Chef." It may also suggest the character in the game is cooking Chinese-style food. If you use this expression with your Korean waitress or waiter, you may get a smile, but I am not sure since I have never tried it.




Saturday, November 17, 2018

What does 질주 mean?

ANSWER: speeding, running rapidly

My Korean-English dictionary marks 질주 (疾走) as a very frequently used word in Korea, which suggests Korean language learners should learn this word. 질주하다, of course, is the verb form and means to run fast or to run at full speed. My Korean-Korean dictionary defines 질주 as 빨리 달림 since 빨리 means fast and 달리다 is a pure Korean verb that also means to run. Another pure Korean word that can also mean to run is 뛰다, so I assume 질주 could also be defined as 빨리 뜀. The subject of the verb 질주하다 can be a person, an animal, or a vehicle, so almost anything that can run fast.

Okay, so why am I posting about this? Because today I noticed that the 질 (疾) in 질주 (疾走) is the Chinese character that means sickness or disease. For example, it is also in the word 질병 (疾病), which means sickness or disease. That made me wonder why 疾 (질) was used in the word 질주, so I looked up 疾 (질) in my Chinese character dictionary and noticed for the first time that it can also mean fast. (I do not know why I never noticed it before.) That means 질주(疾走) literally means quickly (疾) run (走).

I am still unsure how 疾 (질) came to mean fast, but the components of the character are 疒 (엄), which means sickness, and 失 (실), which means arrow, so the 失 part of the character may have something to do with 疾 (질) also meaning fast since an arrow can be pretty fast on the fly.

Anyway, here is a YouTube video that talks about the word 질주 (疾走):


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Is she going with the wind or against the wind?

ANSWER: I think both.

The first line of the song from the video below is as follows:
바람이 불어오는 곳, 그 곳으로 가네
From where the wind blows, I'm going that way.
바람이 불어오는 means the wind is blowing toward her, so when she says, "I'm going that way," she can only be referring to the direction from where the wind is coming. If she were going to go with the wind, shouldn't she have said instead, 바람이 불어가는 곳, 그 곳으로 가네? And why did she use the ending 네, which is an ending that suggests mild surprise? Did she suddenly found herself heading into the wind without knowing why?

Later in the song is the following line:
바람에 내 몸 맡기고, 그 곳으로 가네.
I have surrendered myself to the wind, and I'm going that way.
 바람에 내 몸을 맡기고 means I have surrendered my body to the wind, so that means she is no longer fighting the wind and is allowing it to take her where it will. Has she given up on something? Again, she uses the ending 네, which suggests she is surprised to find that she has surrendered herself to the wind.

Even though 가네 suggests that the woman had not planned to go in the direction she was headed, I suspect she used 가네 to sound softer and more helpless and confused. If she had used 간다 instead, she would have sounded too determined, too in control, and less girlishly soft.


What is a "sheep teeth plant"?

ANSWER: a fern

The Korean name for ferns is 양치식물 (羊齒植物), which literally translates as sheep (羊) teeth (齒) plants ( 植物). Apparently, a fern looks like the teeth of a sheep, which does not have upper incisors, by the way. Which is the fern, photo A or photo B?  LINK

A


B

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Do you prefer 통통 or 빼빼?

통통 is plumb or chubby, and 빼빼 is thin or skinny. 포(脯) is dried meat or fish seasoned with spices. 육포 (肉脯) is dried meat slices, and 어포 (魚脯) is dried fish slices. In the US, we eat a lot of beef jerky, but we do not eat much fish jerky. When I was in Korea, I liked to eat 쥐포, which is dried rat meat.


Just kidding! 쥐포 is an abbreviation of 쥐치포, which literally means dried filefish, whatever that is, but I think 쥐포 can also be used to refer to other kinds of dried fish. So, unless you see a long hairy tail, 쥐포 refers to some kind of dried fish.



What does 곧은창자 mean?

ANSWER: rectum

The Korean word for rectum is either 곧은창자 or 직장(直腸), and both words literally mean straight (直) intestine (腸). The rectum is the last and relatively straight section of the large intestine. The word 곧은창자 is also jokingly used to refer to someone who goes to the toilet right after eating, suggesting that the person's intestines is just a rectum, straight from the stomach to the exit.

What are 뱁새 eyes?

ANSWER: narrow eyes

뱁새 is the Korean name for the bird known as the Korean crow-tit, and 눈 is the Korean word for eyes, so 뱁새눈 literally means Korean crow-tit eyes, but Koreans use the phrase 뱁새눈 to mean narrow eyes and jokingly refer to people with extremely narrow eyes as 뱁새눈이, with the 이 meaning person. But if you look at a photo of a Korean crow-tit, its eyes are round, not narrow, so how did 뱁새눈 come to mean narrow eyes? (LINK for the 뱁새 photos)


In Korean, the scientific classification of the 뱁새 is 붉은머리오목눈이, which translates as read-headed (붉은머리) sunken-eyed bird (오목눈이).  Sunken-eyed bird? They do not look very sunken to me.


Anyway, though it is possible the eyes of the 뱁새 are slightly sunken, it is pretty obvious that they are round, not narrow, so, again, how did 뱁새눈 come to mean narrow eyes? I have a theory.

Up until at least the 19th century, the name of the bird was 볍새, not 뱁새, and the name 볍새 sounds very similar to the word 볍씨, which means rice seed. Therefore, I wonder if 뱁새눈 was originally 볍씨눈.

볍씨
뱁새눈

LINK
LINK

Monday, November 12, 2018

What does 일거수일투족 mean?

ANSWER: each raised hand, each step taken

In a pdf file HERE, which lists 142 Korean metaphors, the following example sentence was given for one of them:
그는 매의 눈으로 부하들의 일거수일투족을 모두 감시하고 있었다.
He was watching his subordinates' every move with hawk eyes.
The sentence was meant to be an example of the usage of 매의 눈, which means hawk eyes, but I was more interested in the expression 일거수일투족 (一擧手一投足), which was translated as every move. The literal meaning of the expression, however, is each (一) raised (擧) hand (手), each (一) taken (投) step (足). An equivalent expression is 일거일동 (一擧一動), which translates as every (一) action (擧), every (一) movement (動). The word 거동 (擧動) is equivalent to 행동 (行動), which means action, movements, conduct, or behavior.

Where can I find a pdf file of 142 Korean metaphors?

ANSWER: Click HERE.

The material is kind of interesting, but there are mistakes. For example, they translated 황소, which means bull, as yellow cow. As I mentioned HERE, 황소 literally means big cow, not yellow cow. And they translated 불여우 as fire fox instead of red fox, something I have already talked about HERE. 불여우 was originally 붉여우, which means red (붉) fox (여우), but sometime in the past the ㄱ in 붉 was dropped.

As I mentioned above, the paper is interesting, but it seems to be just a student assignment.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

황 means "yellow," and 새 "bird," so what color is a 황새?

 ANSWER: white (with a little black)

황새 is the Korean word for stork, which is a big white bird, so the 황 in 황새 does not mean yellow. 황새 was originally pronounced 한새, which literally means big (한) bird (새). It is the same 한 used in the Korean word 한숨, which literally means big (한) breath (숨) or a deep sigh. Though Koreans still say 한숨, over time the pronunciation of 한새 changed to 황새. The same thing happened to the Korean word for bull (황소), which was originally 한소 (big cow).

한- is a pure Korean prefix with different meanings, and one of its meanings is big. Here are a few pure Korean words in which the 한 in the word means big:

  • 한가위 - is another name for chuseok (추석 秋夕), a big fall festival on the day/night of the full moon in the eighth lunar month. The lunar calendar starts with the first month of spring, so the eighth month would be the second month of autumn. Besides 추석 and 한가위, you can also say 추석날 or 한가윗날. I am not sure what 가위 means, but 추석 ( 秋夕) literally means fall (秋) night (夕). The pure Korean for fall night is 가을 밤, so I wonder if 가위 was originally 가을. In fact, there is the pure Korean word 한가을, which literally means at the height (한) of autumn (가을) because another meaning of the prefix 한 is the height, the summit, the zenith, or the peak (한창의). The eight month of the lunar calendar would be the peak of autumn, so maybe that is also the literally meaning of 한가위.
     
  • 한걱정 - big worry (trouble)
     
  • 한근심 - a big worry, a great anxiety
     
  • 한길 - a main street (road)
     
  • 한동안 - (for) quite a while
     
  • 한밑천 - a large amount of capital
     
  • 한바탕 - a big (wrestling) bout or event
     
  • 한사리 - spring tide (a tide just after a new or full moon when there is the greatest difference between high and low tide
     
  • 한숨 - big breath or deep sigh
     

  • 한턱 - a big treat. (The 한 is 한턱 means big, not one.)

Friday, November 09, 2018

What's the difference between 우(佑) and 좌(佐)?

ANSWER: Both mean help, but 우 (佑) seems to refer to help from above while 좌 (佐) seems to refer to help from below.

The Chinese character 右 (우) means right or right hand, and the Chinese character 左 (좌) means left or left hand. And the character 人 (인) or 亻(인) means person. While 人 is normally used by itself, the character 亻(인) is used only as a component of composite characters, such as in the characters 佑 (우) and 佐 (좌). Therefore, the components of 佑 and 佐 literally translate as "a person's (亻) right hand (右)" and "a person's (亻) left hand (左)."

The phrase 천우신조 (天佑神助) can translate as divine care or grace of God, so the phrase 천우신조로 translates as by the grace of God, but the phrase 천우신조 (天佑神助) literally translates as "Heaven's (天) help (佑) [and/or] God's (神) help (助)." When referring to help from Heaven, notice that 우 (佑) was used, not 좌 (佐)

The first sentence of Korea's national anthem reads as follows:
동해(東海)물과 백두산(白頭山)이 마르고 닳도록 하느님이 보우(保佑)하사 우리 나라 만세(萬歲).
Until the waters of the East Sea (동해물) dry up (마르고) and Mount Baekdu (백두산) wears away (닳도록), God (하느님이) protect (보 保) and help (우 佑) our country (우리 나라) ten thousand years (만세).
Notice that the subject 하느님 (God) was used with the verb 보우(保佑)하다, which means to protect (保) and help (佑). Again, when the subject is God, the character 佑 (우) is used, not 佐 (좌). In addition, the character 우 (佑) or the verb 보우(保佑)하다 seems to have been used to refer not only to help from God but also to help from kings and emperors. This is why I wrote that 佑 (우) seems to refer to help from above.

As for the character 佐 (좌), it is used in the verb 보좌(保佐)하다, which also means to protect (保) and help (佐), but it refers to giving protection and help to a superior. 보좌관 (補佐官), for example, translates as an aide, and 보좌인 (保佐人) as an assistant, a counselor, or an advisor, suggesting that the character 佐 (좌) is used when referring to help from below.

In summary, one seems to get help (우 佑) from God and king but gives help (좌 佐) to one's king or superiors. In other words, help from a person's right hand (佑), and help to a person's left hand (佐).

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

What is a 십이지장(十二指腸)?

ANSWER: a duodenum

장(腸) means intestines. Koreans call the small intestine 소장(小將) and the large intestine 대장(大腸). The small intestine is composed of three sections, the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. The duodenum is the first and smallest section of the small intestine and connects the stomach to the middle section of the small intestine, the jejunum. The duodenum is between 10 and 15 inches long in humans.

As mentioned above, the Korean name for the duodenum is 십이지장(十二指腸), which literally means "the twelve (十二) finger (指) intestine (腸)." It is called the twelve-finger intestine because it is approximately twelve Korean finger-widths long. One finger-width (指) represents one Korean inch (치) or 촌 (寸), which is 1/10th of a Korean foot (척 尺). A Korean foot (尺) is 30.3 centimeters, which is about 11.9 inches. That means a Korean inch (指) is 3.03 centimeters, which is 1.19 inches. Therefore, Koreans in the past seemed to have measured the duodenum to be about 14.28 inches long, which is within the range of present-day measurements. According to Wikipedia, the duodenum is "the principle site for iron adsorption" in mammals.

The middle section of the small intestine is the jejunum. The Korean name for the jejunum is 공장 (空腸) or 빈창자, which literally means empty (空) intestine (腸). It is about 2.5 meters long and is where "sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids are absorbed into the blood stream."

The final section of the small intestine is the ileum, and the Korean name is 회장 (回腸) or 돌창자, which literally means the winding (回) intestine (腸). It is approximately three meters long and, according to Wikipedia, absorbs mainly B12 and bile acids.

By the way, do not confuse 장 (腸), which means intestine, with 장 (臟), which means organ or viscera. The character 臟 is composed of the character for flesh (육 月) and the character for storehouse or warehouse (장 藏), so the character for organ, 장(臟), literally means fleshy (月) storehouse (藏):

The Five Organs or Viscera (오장 - 五臟)
  • 심장 (心臟) - heart
  • 폐장 (肺臟) - lungs
  • 비장 (脾臟) - spleen
  • 간장 (肝臟) - liver
  • 신장 (腎腸) - kidney
The Korean Wikipedia article for the small intestine is HERE.

The Digestive System


Sunday, November 04, 2018

What does 엇- mean?

ANSWER: crooked, obliquely, aslant, diagonally; cross each other, go amiss, go crisscross; deviate from, run counter to; avoid each other, dodge each other; a little, rather, somewhat

As you can see, there are many possible translations of 엇, but the three general meanings are slanted, crisscross, and a little. 엇 is a Korean prefix, which means it is not used by itself but instead is attached to other words to modify or refine their meanings. Here is a list of words that have 엇 as a prefix:
  • 엇가다 - to go awry, turn aside, to deviate from, be perverse
  • 엇갈리다 - cross each other, miss each other on the road
  • 엇걸다 - make a diagonal loop, stack (rifles by crisscrossing them teepee style)
  • 엇걸리다 - (passive of 엇걸다) to be made into a diagonal loop, to be stacked
  • 엇걷다 - weave (loop) at an angle
  • 엇결 - cross-grain (of wood)
  • 엇구수하다 - rather tasty, rather humorous
  • 엇그루 - a tree stump that has been cut diagonally
  • 엇나가다 - (the same meaning as 엇가다)
  • 엇놀리다 - moving (exchanging) one's hands and feet (as if climbing a ladder or crawling)
  • 엇대다 - to fix (put) askew; insinuate
  • 엇되다 - be (somewhat) snobbish
  • 엇뜨기 - a squinter (뜨다 means to open one's eyes, and 엇뜨다 means to open them a little.)
  • 엇뜨다 - squint (one's eyes)
  • 엇먹다 - to cut (wood) at an angle; to twist words, distort remarks
  • 엇바꾸다 - exchange (with each other), interchange
  • 엇박다 - to hammer (a nail) at a slight, insert at a slant
  • 엇베다 - to cut diagonally (at an angle)
  • 엇붙다 - (a thing or things) touch at an angle
  • 엇비뚜름하다 - be a bit crooked on one side
  • 엇비슷하다 - be almost alike, be nearly the same
  • 엇서다 - be perverse, be cross-grained, be self-centered
  • 엇섞다 - mix in alternation
  • 엇세우다 - to cause to be perverse
  • 엇셈 - an offset (accounting)
  • 엇지다 - to deviate a little
  • 엇지르다 - to cross somewhat, to intersect somewhat
By the way, there is no Chinese character that represents the Korean sound 엇, so Koreans have made their own character. The character is 旕 (엇), which is a combination of the Chinese characters 於 (어) and 叱 (질). Though the character 叱  is pronounced /질/ when used by itself, Koreans use it in their self-made combination characters to represent the final consonant sounds ㅅ and ㅈ, using just the initial consonant of the character. ㄷ, ㅅ, and ㅈ all have the same /ㄷ/ sound at the end of a single syllable. The character 旕 (엇) is not used to represent the 엇 sound in the above "pure Korean" words, but it is used to represent the 엇 sound in the following "Sino-Korean" word:

旕時調 (엇시조)

Sijo (시조 - 時調) is one style of Korean poetic verse, and 엇시조 (旕時調) is one style of 시조. An 엇시조 is a style of 시조 that does not follow the traditional 시조 form. For example, if the third line of a traditional three-line 시조 is longer than the first two lines, then it could be referred to as an 엇시조 since it deviates from the traditional form.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

What are 공후백자남?

ANSWER: titles of nobility
  • 공작 (公爵) - Duke
  • 후작 (侯爵) - Marquis
  • 백작 (伯爵) - Count (Earl)
  • 자작 (子爵) - Viscount
  • 남작 (男爵) - Baron
The pure Korean word for 작 (爵) is 벼슬, which translates as government rank or a government post, but 爵 can also mean 작위 (爵位), which translates as peerage or title and rank of nobility.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

What does 삐라 mean?

ANSWER: a hand bill or leaflet

삐라 does not sound like a Korean word, does it? That is because it comes from the Japanese word ビラ(비라), which may have come from the English word bill. See HERE.

The Sino-Korean word for 삐라 is 전단 (傳單) or 전단지, but my Korean-English dictionary says that the word 삐라 has been more frequently used than 전단. Leaflets, or 삐라, have been used by both North and South Korea to spread propaganda. The U.S. also used them in World War II, and UN Forces used them during the Korean War.

Anyway, 삐라 is marked as a very high frequency word in my dictionary, so it is a word Korean learners should know. I do not know of any pure Korean word for leaflet, just 삐라 and the Sino-Korean word 전단 or 전단지. I am not sure, but these days younger Koreans may be using the word 전단지 more often than the old Japanese loanword 삐라.

Below is an old cartoon explaining to Koreans what to do should they find leaflet (삐라) propaganda. The drawings were most likely for those Koreans who could not read, and the simple sentences for those who could barely read.