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the pursuit of
I do not suppose that this is a comprehensive, although it is a pretty long and
good list. It is the result of 10 years of living in Korea, learning the
Korean language. This list will remain
on this website 'till the cows come home (whenever that might be). Please,
if you have any power to do so, please do what you can to stop the
Notes: haek-ga-jok literally means
"nuclear-house-clan". In English, the term "nuclear
family" is only used by sociologists, to define the modern trends
in family-making. In the past, the term "family" had the
same meaning as "household", but not any more. In fact,
although many current English-English lexicons still list that meaning first,
it should be known that definitions are listed in chronological order,
and the first definition is often obsolete.
square : 네모
square : 정사각형
네모 : quadrilateral;
Notes: "Quadrilateral" is from Latin. "Quadri"
means four; "lateral" means side(s).
"Tetragon" is from Greek, but the word is NOT commonly used in
English. "Tetra" means four; "Gon" means
It is interesting to me that we use the Latin word for a four-sided
figure, but any figure with more than four sides, is labeled with the
Greek word; like Pentagon (five sides).
tree : 나무 (namu)
tree : 밑동 있는 나무
나무 : shrub/tree/etc
나무 also means: wood
Notes: this is a classic case where the Korean word is a hypernym
of the English word(s). In Korean, the word "namu" means
any wood (alive or dead), or any bush or shrub with a hard, wood-like
stem. English does not have a word to match the Korean word
exactly, but "wood" would be a close approximation.
flower : 꽃 (ggot)
flower : 꽃부리
꽃 : flowering plant
fruit : 과일 (gwa-il)
fruit : 열매 (yeol-mae)
과일 : ?
maybe: "common table fruits"
Notes: in the botanical sense of the word "fruit",
"yeol-mae" matches perfectly. In the colloquial sense of
the word "fruit", "gwa-il" matches perfectly.
pumpkin : 호박 (ho-bak)
pumpkin : 늙은 호박
호박 : edible gourd; squash
Notes: The term hobak seems to denote any edible
gourd, which is NOT sweet. There are two common hobaks in
Korea: neulgeunhobak (old hobak) and ae hobak (baby hobak).
The old hobak is a pumpkin, and the baby hobak is a
dove : 비둘기 (bi-dul-gi)
dove : 하얀 비둘기
비둘기 : pigeon
worm : 벌레 (beolle)
worm : 다리 없는 벌레;
(dari eopneun beolle)
(jireongi gateun beolle)
벌레 : bug
Notes: I don't know if there is a scientific (biological) term for
worm in Korean. There must be, but even if there is, lay people
wouldn't know it when they heard it (or saw it). And there
evidently is not word in the vernacular to match "worm".
So, I've used the translation: dari eopneun beolle, which
literally means legless bug. Jireongi
means earthworm. So, I've used Jireongi gateun
beolle, which means earthworm-like bug.
hip : 엉덩이
hip : 골반 (gol-bal)
엉덩이 : buttocks
favorite : 마음에 드는
favorite : 가장 좋은
마음에 드는 : liked
charming : 매력 있는
charming : 기쁘게 하는
매력 있는 : enchanting
frustrated : 실망한
frustrated : 좌절된
실망한 : disappointed
professional : 전문가
professional : 직업인
(jig-eob-in) say /jigeobin/
NOTE: professionals are paid for
전문가 : specialist, expert
Notes: jeon-mun-ga literally means "specialist" or "expert". Unfortunately,
some professionals are NOT experts. I'd like to make this point
very clear. A first-year teacher is a professional, because she/he
receives a salary, but he/she is most-likely lacking in skills, which
come with time and experience.
amateur : 비전문가
amateur : 실업자
NOTE: amateur may or may not have great
skill, but is NOT paid for his/her skill
비전문가 : novice
Notes: shil-eop-ja literally means: "unemployed person".
So, it is NOT a good match for "amateur", but I cannot find a
good match in the Korean language. However, I would like emphasize
that an amateur DOES NOT RECEIVE payment for her/his skill (good or bad
skill, doesn't matter). But, in the vernacular, we generally think
of an "amateur" as one who lacks skill.
Notes: "calm" means not moving or moving very little,
which I thing is close to sang-nyang-han, but bu-deu-reo-un
means "soft", which has both the concrete and abstract
meanings, just like English does. In this case, we are talking
about the abstract meaning of "soft", as in: soft/calm music,
or soft/calm gestures.
still : 조용한, 고요한
still : 가만이 있는
조용한 : quiet
Notes: "still" means not moving at all.
shrew : 잔소리 하는 여자
(jan-sori ha-neun yeo-ja)
shrew : 두더지 (du-deo-ji)
잔소리 하는 : nagging
Notes: jan-sori ha-neun yeo-ja literally means:
"nagging woman", obviously taken from the Shakespearean play:
"The Taming of the Shrew", "shrew" being an obsolete
metaphor for a nagging woman.
My late wife defined jan-sori
as any noise which irritates or annoys. So, it has a much broader
meaning than "nagging".
urchin : 장난꾸러기
urchin : 성게 (seong-ge)
장난꾸러기 : prankster
Notes: "urchin" can be used as a metaphor for a
troublesome child. Seong-ge literally means: "star crab".
school : 학교
school : 가르치는
학교 : public
Notes: "school" is a hypernym of all learning
institutions. To differentiate, one must use any of a number of
modifiers, thusly: 1.
primary/elementary school; 2. secondary school; 3. middle school; 4. jr.
high school; 5. sr. high school; 6. school of higher learning (e.g.,
college or university); 7. school of English (i.e., and English
Academy); 7. Sunday school; 8. home school (home schooling), etc.
teacher : 선생,
NOTE: any person who teaches, is
: Firstborn, One's Elder
: Public School Teacher
Notes: Seon-seng is word is a Sino-Korean word composed of two
morphemes: seon (first) & seng (birth)... but usage is of paramount
usage1: title of respect to any older
person [Note: In China, only this usage is appropriate]
usage2: title of respect to a mentor or
teacher, who is "Older" in the sense that he/she has more
experience/knowledge/training in a particular field
: 제하고 (je-ha-go);
: 제하고 (je-ha-go)
: outside of, in addition to
(hyo-gwa itneun, yu-hyo-han)
: 아끼는; 없애는
있는 : effective
Notes: The bilingual lexicons in Korea translate the words
"effective" and "efficient" identically. Yet,
the smarter students perceive that there is some difference in usage,
which is true, but differences in usage is not due to the whim of native
speakers, but rather due to completely different meanings. Look at
the table below.
effective car, performs as I would have it perform, generally
with regard to speed, power and toque.
efficient car conserves gas, and thus conserves money.
effective learning method produces desired results with regard
to memory and ability to "regurgitate" learned
efficient learning method conserves time and energy (and the
implication is that it produces desired results with less time
and energy). The problem is that the
"effects" may be ephemeral.
It helps to look at the meaning of the root
words, and the root meanings are completely opposite!
The root of effective is effect. "Effect" (v.t.) means
to cause or to produce (생기게 하다).
The root of efficient is efface. "Efface" (v.t.) means
to eliminate, to eradicate (없애다)
NOTE: apparently, even native
speakers get confused, because I've commonly heard people say,
"cost-effective", when they mean "cost-efficient".
2nd NOTE: Also, when we say/write
"fuel-efficient", we don't mean it uses a lot of fuel; we mean
it eliminates the need for a lot of fuel. Same thing with
Notes: ji-bang means countryside and ji-bang-eui
means of the countryside. "Local" means near a given
place. So, when the doctor gives a "local anesthetic",
it is near (and only has affect near) the place of surgery. When
the doctor gives a "general anesthetic", it has affect on the
whole body. When talking about geography, "local" means
near a given place (if specified), or near the speaker (if the place is
out : 발견하다;
out : 알아내다
: discover, find
생각해 내다 : figure out
BONUS: 알아보다 : try to find out
: 전 (jeon)
의 (eui) =
전 (jeon) = law, rule, protocol
의전 = ceremonial protocol
: objective, aim, goal
이유 : reason, purpose
Notes: While the meanings of reason and purpose are quite similar,
the grammar and usage are a bit different.
is the reason for working?
is the purpose of working?
is the reason for a toy's existence?
is the purpose of a toy?
reason for working is to make money.
purpose of working is to make money.
reason for a toy's existence is to be played with.
purpose of a toy is to be played with.
edit : 편집하다
edit : 수정하다
: do layout work
: ~하여야 하다
: ~하면 더 좋다
하다 : have to/must
better : ~하면 더 좋다
better : ???
더 좋다 : should
Notes: I don't know that there is a suitable translation of
"had better" in Korean. Honestly, I think that the
translation given could be the nearest thing the Korean language has,
but the function is VERY different from "should". This
should be explicated by reference materials that disseminate information
about the English language, but it isn't. Thus, most Koreans,
grossly and erroneously use "had better" to their
"betters", when they had better not. [I'm specifically
referring to how Koreans use it to their foreign teachers/professors,
saying things like, "You had better teach us well." At
such times, I feel like saying, (and sometimes do): "You had better
learn how to speak politely, or else you are going to make a lot of
people angry." That of course leads into my dissertation
about the usage of "had better".
I am extremely irate with LONGMAN (never did
like Longman), because the English text books in China are produced by
Longman (in cooperation with the Chinese Education Press).
According to Longman's text book, had better, should and ought to are
all the same. This is HORRIBLE! Longman's English reference
materials are among the MOST popular in Asia. This is really too
bad. Take for example Longman's learners dictionary of
English. It is liked by learners for the simple definitions
therein. I vehemently dislike many of the definitions, because
they are often wrong (due to the simplicity and brevity thereof).
If learners of English want the best definitions with sample sentences,
they should look into COBUILD's
English-Learner's Dictionary, or Oxford's English-Learner's
dictionary. [But, I am NOT endorsing Oxford's bilingual
dictionaries, because it is often just as wrong and any other bilingual