Month: July 2012

V+으마

The lovely Yulia encouraged me to make more 사극 말투 posts, so here we go.  Unfortunately, 해를 품은 달 and 성균관 유생들의 나날 are the only two Korean historical fiction novels I own so unless I get to watching more 사극 dramas, most of my examples are going to come from those novels.  The Moon/Sun sheen’s worn off a bit for me and I’m starting to notice how truly 오글오글 the writing is in this book but I’m still going to keep going with it hopefully!  It’s an amazing feeling to be able to comprehend Korean prose. Having discovered that Wol was brought to the palace as his personal talisman, Hwon uses his headache as an excuse to see her early one day.  Being the shameless flirt he is, he kisses her on the cheek… “아.  미안하구나.  놀라게 하려던 것은 아닌데.  그럼 놀라게 한 죄로 나도 벌을 받으마.” The conversation turns back to Wol’s identity before she became a shaman.  Wol doesn’t have the answers but Hwon is determined to keep her by his side …

성질 급한… 한국사람?

So I just learned this expression from Jeannie today.  Let’s break it down! 성질:  temper 급하다:  to be urgent, pressing, in a hurry Together, we get 성질(이) 급하다 = to be quick-tempered or to be impatient.   I’ve heard a lot about Koreans being impatient and wanting things to be fast, fast, fast all the time.  Though I can’t say this is all too unique to Korea; it seems like most people around the world are beginning to value their time a little too much, a little too unreasonably.  This is certainly the mentality shared by a lot of Americans. But what are 성질 급한 한국사람들 like?  You might get a sense of it from last year’s rather hilarious Olleh CF.  (Thanks for sharing this with me, Jeannie!) The tagline might be specific to Koreans but I certainly find myself relating to a couple of these situations!  Especially the printer and nailpolish cuts.  Haha!

쓸 데 없는 고퀄리티

I was reading a magazine article (a really interesting one which I’m currently in the process of translating.  Should be up in a couple days) and I came across this phrase.  I kind of figured out what it meant from context but a quick search and a LINE message to Yekyung clarified it for me. This phrase is 유행어 – a popular phrase or “lingo.”  Let’s break it down. 쓸 데 없다:  useless, unnecessary, superfluous.  I’ve used this phrase a lot in the context of “쓸 데 없는 걱정/말.” 고퀄리티:  This comes from attaching the Hanja 高 (높을 고, 높이 고) to the English word “quality.”  높다, as you might know, means “to be high.” Putting it together, 쓸 데 없는 고퀄리티 = ridiculously high quality. What exactly gets does that mean?  I actually see this phrase mostly referring to things that are elaborately well made, but cannot bring the maker any real attention or profit.  That is, the time and effort put into making the thing, far exceeds the payoff.  For example, a doodle like the one …

Accidental Koreanizations?

Here’s yet another thing that sets Korean apart from all the other foreign languages I’ve ever attempted.  I find myself accidentally using Korean language conventions in English and in my native language of Marathi more and more these days.  And I don’t mean things like certain words or exclamations (아이씨, 아이고, 대박! etc.) – rather, accidental Koreanizations that are inadvertently creeping into my style of speech!  These are two especially sneaky ones: Answering negative questions.  I think I’ve confused a lot of teachers and friends by accidentally using the Korean convention of answering negative questions.  These questions perplex me and somehow I’ve always been at a loss as to how to answer them unambiguously with a simple “yes” or “no” in English.  Some types of negative questions have a certain contextual polarity associated with them that doesn’t necessarily match with what the question is actually asking, so that gets confusing too.  In English, I usually  end up having to support my yes/no answer with extra verbiage to make it less ambiguous.  My logical head prefers the …