So, First Step, CNBLUE‘s first full-length album, released about a month ago and normally I wouldn’t care… but then I got sucked into watching Yonghwa & Seohyun episodes on We Got Married and, well, I started to pay a little more attention to CNB.
I’ve never watched 우리 결혼했어요, but I remember I found out about the 용서 couple’s “반말송” (“Banmal Song”) through allkpop. So when CN Blue’s Jung Yonghwa released a digital version of the song retitled “처음 사랑하는 연인들을 위해” (“For First-time Lovers”) earlier this year, I was curious to hear it because 반말송 was so popular. It’s really one of the most adorable songs I have ever heard.
What I love about this song is that it is so distinctly Korean. It’s about something that you can’t really understand unless you know a little about Korean culture and it’s about something I love watching in a Korean drama – progression of a relationship in parallel with changes in speech levels. How do you gauge when to start speaking “comfortably” to a person you’ve met? When can you switch from 존댓말 to 반말? What’s even more interesting (what this song is about) is how to speak to a person who’s just become your lover – how do you get over the awkwardness and the shyness, not only in feeling but also in speech? Although most languages do have a “polite” speech and a “casual” speech, an issue like this is more significant in Korean because there are about seven distinct speech levels (excluding mixing the different types of speech). And it’s something that English speakers can’t really understand. I’m glad I’m at a level in Korean where I can understand both the meaning and cultural significance of a song like this.
AND IT’S SO CUTE!
Ahem. Anyway. Although it is not impossible to translate a song like this into English (the person who uploaded this video did a pretty good job), it’s best left untranslated because so much meaning is lost if you do. Besides, how on earth can you accurately translate a line like “우리 서로 반말하는 사이가 되기를” anyway? The thought makes me shudder. :)