Yekyung has an incredible ability to know exactly which words and phrases I might not be familiar with when we’re conversing. Like she’ll go on for a couple minutes in Korean and then suddenly stop and say, “Do you know 모모?” That’s how I learned this phrase.
잠귀(가) 밝다: to be a light sleeper
잠귀(가) 어둡다: to be a deep sleeper
잠귀 is pretty easy to figure out. It’s just a concatenation of 잠 (sleep) + 귀 (ear).
잠귀: 잠결에 소리를 듣는 귀의 감각. Your ability to hear when you’re asleep.
밝다 and 어둡다 are kind of funny to me because 밝다 literally means “to be bright” and 어둡다 means “to be dark” – so the translation isn’t exactly literal.
I used to be a 잠귀 밝은 사람. I had trouble falling asleep anywhere but my own bed and I woke up at the slightest noise – but then graduate school happened. Unsurprisingly, I now have no trouble sleeping like a rock at any given time or place,
including during seminars. Or so I thought. Yekyung has got to be the most 잠귀가 어두운 사람 I have ever met. She needs to set six alarms to get up in the morning… and then she makes fun of me for being a sleepyhead! XD