먹칠하다

It’s so strange to realize that 성균관 유생들의 나날 was one of the first Korean novels I ever bought, at a time when it was still wayyyy too difficult for me to comprehend.

Six years later (!!), I can finally read entire chapters without having to look up words and still understand what’s going on. Plus, I know an astounding number of words related to Confucian scholarship and education. (Oh my god I found the blog post I wrote when I first bought the books.)

Anyway, that’s how I came across the word 먹칠하다.

Continue reading “먹칠하다”

V + ㄹ세

As you all may or may not know, Sungkyunkwan Scandal is one of my favorite dramas; the books are equally entertaining albeit horribly difficult to read.  I’m still plowing through book one, but I have paged through a lot of it and read chunks here and there.  This bit is from the last chapter of book one (all copyright belongs to the author 정은궐).  If any of you are planning to get the books or watch the drama later, don’t worry, none of these passages should be spoiler-worthy.

Okay so this isn’t strictly 사극 말투 but since I’ve often heard it and read it in historical dramas/books, I decided to include it in here.  It’s important to note V+ㄹ세 is sometimes used among the older generation when speaking 하게체, but rarely (if at all) among the younger current generation.  Here we go!

Three scholars in charge of Sungkyunkwan’s student publication (문집) accost Guhro and physically restrain him from escaping.  This year, they intend on getting his contribution to the publication one way or another, even at the risk of their own lives.

“뭐, 뭐야!  이거 놔!”
“글을 주기 전엔 놓아줄 수 없네.  걸오!  글 좀 주게나.”
“죽고 싶지 않으면 썩 떨어져!”
“죽더라도 글을 받기 전엔 떨어지지 않겠네.  우린 지금 유서 써 놓고 이리 달려들었어.”
“무슨 글?”
“우리 셋이 이번에 문집을 맡았네.  꼭 자네 글을 싣고 싶단 말일세.”
“에잇!  내가 미쳤다고 그런 글을 줘?”

Later, Yoonhee marvels over Guhro’s writing.  Guhro gives her a short poem to read and tells her to take it if she likes it.  Yoonhee is amazed that the contents of the poem and the disposition of the writer can be so… different.  Yongha butts in… 

“이런 걸 두고 사기(fraud)라고 하지.  시 속에 지은이의 성품이 녹아 있기 마련이라더니, 말짱 헛말일세!”
“시비 걸려면 내놔!”
“싫습니다!  이제 이건 제 겁니다.”
윤희는 그가 빼앗기 전에 얼른 소맷자락 속으로 넣아서 감추었다.  용하가 평소와 달리 대단히 기분 나쁜 투로 말하였다.
“걸오!  난 왜 안 주는가?  내가 자네 글을 얼마나 갖고 싶어하는데, 왜 난 안 주고 여기 대물만주는가!  나도 사랑 시를 지어 주게.  나도 달란 말일세!”

V + 일세 is used in one of three situations.

  1. When you are letting another person know of your thoughts/opinion on some matter.
  2. As an exclamation, when you’ve realized something for the first time.
  3. When you are conjecturing/surmising or intending to do something.

I think the first and third examples fall more under situation 1.  (Though I do tend to hear this construction more when I would expect to hear 모모 말이야 in contemporary Korean.)  The second example falls more under situation 2.  Not to be mixed up with the 말일세 of the other examples, 헛말 refers to “meaningless/useless words” and the 일세 in this context functions more like 이네.  Note that this construction is used between social equals or to inferior – it’s practically like using 반말.

There you have it!  I hope you don’t mind the long examples.  I love the humor in these books and it’s a delight to read richer, rounder versions of the characters I loved so much from the drama.

HanBooks

I am currently SUPER EXCITED because the Korean novels that I bought online last week just arrived in the mail a few days ago!  On Shanna’s recommendation, I bought Big Bang’s biography 세상에 너를 소리쳐! I’ve already paged through a bit of it and I’m surprised how much I can understand.  It’s awesome getting to know more about my favorite K-pop boys AND learn some new Korean words while I’m at it.  Obviously reading prose like this is more complicated than reading 만화 so it’s sometimes a challenge getting through long, dependent-clause heavy sentences.  But for a beginner, this can be great reading practice.  I also bought 성균관 유생들의 나날 volume 1 – the novel that inspired one of my most favorite dramas ever Sungkyunkwan Scandal (KBS 2010). I’ve read a couple pages of this novel and I already know it’s WAY beyond my reading level.  I’m usually okay with the dialogue bits but in the prose, I have to literally look up every other word.  But it’s okay.  I’m sure it’ll get better as my Korean improves.

I bought both of these books from HanBooks, a division of AladinUS which is the largest online Korean bookstore in the U.S., catering to Korean Americans who want to purchase products in their native language.  The only issue with AladinUS is that the entire website is in Korean which may be difficult for some people to navigate.  The HanBooks site, on the other hand, is entirely in English.  You can find a variety of products – everything from popular Korean novels (written in Korean of course), 만화책, dramas, music, electronic dictionaries (like the iRiver Dicple), and even Korean language learning material.  This site is a dream come true for people like me who aren’t willing to drive two hours to get to their nearest Koreatown bookstore.  And although the pricing is in USD, it is possible for them to ship outside of the U.S. as well.  More info:

Pros:

  • You can purchase pretty much any book, CD, DVD, etc. sold in Korea.
  • If they don’t have it, you can get them to import it for you.
  • Great customer service!
  • FAST (if you live in the U.S.).  Although it states on the website that your order ships between 5-10 days, my order was shipped in 3 days and I received it 2 days later.
  • I was really excited about this:  You can buy individual books from a book set.  For example, 성균관 유생들의 나날 was actually packaged as a 2 volume set.  I only wanted one volume so I just stated that in the “comments” section of the order form and the cost and S&H were adjusted accordingly.
  • Products arrived in great condition.  They were even bubble-wrapped even though they were just books.

Cons:

  • Pricey.  The products are a bit more expensive than what they would originally cost in Korea and the shipping and handling cost is a bit high too.
  • The website is outdated.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell if certain products are in stock or not.

Overall, I give this store 4.9/5 stars!!  It’s really great.  I was so impressed with the speed of their delivery and the quality of the products.  I’m looking forward to buying more from them in the future.