백마병 & 도끼병

If you watch Korean dramas, you’re probably already familiar with 왕자병 (“prince disease”) and 공주병 (“princess disease”) – words that basically describe obnoxiously entitled, often 싸가지 없는 youth (an excellent example is 이승기’s character in 찬란한 유산).

백마병 and 또기병 fall under a similar category of exasperating people to be around.  Any idea what they might mean?

A prince usually rides 백마 (a white horse) while traveling or making ceremonial rounds through local villages, and the commoners bow and clap for the prince.  However, the horse, not knowing any better, prances and preens thinking all the attention is for itself.  It follows that 백마병 describes a condition in which a person always thinks another party is interested in them.

도끼병 describes the same type of person.  도끼 is “axe” which goes in hand with 찍다, meaning to chop (도끼로 찍다 = to chop with an axe).  However, in a colloquial way, the verb 찍다 can also take a person as topic or direct object and mean “to claim”, “to indicate”, “to name as one’s own”, “to have in mind.”  For example:

개는 내가 찍었다.  =  She’s mine./I’m keeping an eye on her.
찍어둔 사람 있어?  = Do you have someone in mind?

Putting those two things together, 도끼병 describes a person who thinks other people are always claiming him/herself as their own.

So basically, these two phrases describe people who always think other people have crushes on them.  I can imagine that being around a person who’s always fantasizing about so-and-so liking him/her can be annoying, but I think we’ve all contracted a self-resolving case of this disease at some point.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a person is being nice for the sake of being nice in a purely platonic way, or whether that person is interested in something more!

21 Questions

Shanna posted this today and I decided to give it a go too.  Currently dealing with a lot of blegh school- and health-related stuff so I haven’t been posting regularly, but I do have several half-written posts currently percolating in my Drafts.  But for now, here’s this.

1. Why Korean?
I have a whole, rambling post dedicated to that.  I love language and of all the languages I’ve tried learning, Korean stuck with me.

2 . Daum or Naver (dictionary I mean)?
Daum, baby.

3. First website that you visit everyday?
Tumblr HEH HEH.  And Dramabeans.

4. Best thing that happened to you? (related to learning Korean)
Meeting wonderful people who share my passion for language.

5. Ever regretted learning Korean?
Not for a second.

6. Most common feedback/question you get when you say you are learning Korean?
“Why Korean?”
“How long have you been learning?”
“Say something.”

7. First Korean food that comes to your mind?
떡볶이!  The first Korean dish I ever tried was 야채 비빔밥 at Tofu House, but I LOVE 떡볶이.  I want some.  Like now.

8. Most overrated Korean drama?
내 이름은 김삼순.  Feel free to hate me, but I must be true to myself.

9. Most underrated Korean drama?
White Christmas or Que Sera Sera.

10.Latest milestone in learning Korean?
Finally having confidence to watch everything unsubbed.  Woot!

11. Favorite Korean word / phrase?
수고 했다/ 수고 많았다/고생 했다.  These are such special phrases to me.  I like that there’s a direct and standard phrase in Korean that others can use to acknowledge another’s hard work.  Whenever I get back from lab and 언니 says that to me, it makes me want to get up the next day and work even harder.

12. Name 3 people (fictional / real) who motivate / influence your Korean learning journey
1)  My language partner and dear friend Kwang-im, who’s always challenging me and pushing me out of my comfort zone and making me realize what I’m actually capable of – not only in Korean, but in the scientific research world as well.

2)  The Korean, writer of the popular Ask A Korean blog, who came to the United States when he was in high school and now has a better grasp of the English language than most native English speakers.  At some point in his life, he crossed the “good writing for a foreigner” threshold to just “good writing” period.

3)  Hyunwoo Sun, polyglot, entrepreneur, and founder of Talk To Me in Korean – is there nothing this man can’t do?  My Korean wouldn’t be at the level it’s at if it were not for this man and the amazing TTMIK team.

13. Secret ambition / goal (relating to Korean)
Not “real” goal, more of a crazy fantasy.  Act in a Korean drama as the token foreigner character, except have some lines in Korean too.  Never mind the fact that I can’t act.  HAHAHAHA.

14. I want to sound like _____ when I speak Korean
Ha Jiwon!!  I love her tone.

15. Best compliment received (for Korean)
A comment I once got on Lang-8:

와~ 이렇게 한국어를 잘 쓰는 외국인 분은 처음봐요!! 모르고 보면 그냥 한국 사람이 쓴 글로 보일 정도군요. 요즘엔 한국인들도 한국어를 제대로 못 쓰는 경우가 많은데, 한국어 잘 못 쓰는 한국인들에게 Archana의 글을 보여주고 싶을 정도네요~ 열심히 공부하시는 모습 아름답습니다!

Also, a friend of my friend said that my speak/write 예쁘게.

16. When is the last time you sat down and studied Korean?
I think it’s been a year and a half or something.  I don’t really “sit down and study” Korean.

17. Favorite textbook?
I hate textbooks.  Integrated Korean.

18. Special people you met (online or otherwise) through Korean?
The one who started it all – my best friend in high school Michelle, my language partner and 친언니 같은 Kwang-im, my program mate Yekyung, my wonderfully wonderful fellow book-addict Jeannie, the ever-diligent Shanna, words-cant-describe-how-much-I-love-her Holly, and of course ALL OF YOU.

19. How has learning Korean changed you / your life?
It’s nice to have one thing in my life that will, without fail, make me happy.  Also, 90% of the things I do in my leisure time involves Korean in some way.  However, I’ve lost other parts of my life – I don’t read as much any more and I hardly ever write.  Because free time is so limited in grad school, all of that time goes into Korean.

20. Ever dreamt in Korean?
Yes.  Funnily enough, I have several dreams where I’m being interviewed in Korean but I can only understand 85% of what the interviewer is saying.

21. Single best thing about learning Korean?
Having a whole new culture/history, a new body of literature, and world of entertainment open to you. 

Hope to see more of this going around the K-learning blogs.  Till next time.