Archive for October 2010

이유 vs 의미

Am I the only one that confuses these two? I shouldn't seeing as how they don't mean the same thing. Take a look:

의미 (意味)
meaning, sense, significance

You may not use 의미 a lot in spoken Korean because there's a natively Korean word that is much more widely used: 뜻. Take a look at 의미's more written nuance:

당신은 내 인생에 정말 큰 의미예요.
You mean a lot to my life.

추석은 우리의 가장 의미있는 명절이다.
Chuseok is our most meaningful holiday

이 단어는 여러 가지 의미로 해석될 수 있다.
This word can be interpreted in many different ways.

인생은 무 의미해.
Life is meaningless.

이유 (理由)
reason, cause, excuse
This word can be both conversational and written:

이유 없이 기분이 나쁜 것 같아.
For no reason I'm in a bad mood.

이렇게 늦게 온 이유가 뭐예요?
What's the reason why you came late?

무슨 이유가 있을 거야.
There must be some reason for it.

만화를 그렇게 좋아하는 이유가 뭐야?
Why do you like anime so much?

그 이유는 설명하기 어려워요.
The reasons are difficult to explain.

Slow your roll. What's the real difference between 천천히 and 느리게? Don't they both mean "slow"? Pull up a chair because I'm taking my time with this one:

천천하다 is the root verb and close to never used. 천천히 is the adjective form and is quite casually used in everyday speech. Examples:

밥 좀 천천히 먹어.
Eat slower, won't you?

천천히 가세요
go slowly

좀 더 천천히 말씀해 주시겠습니까?
Could you speak a little more slowly?

천천히 그리고 꾸준히 하면 이긴다.
Slow and steady wins the race (lit. game)

On the other hand, 느리게 is an adjective whose root verb is 느리다. It also means "slowly" but the difference in nuance is in the action taken. 천천히 is a conscious action that is controllable while 느리게 is out of your control. So, in the last example, if we use 느리게 그리고 꾸준히 하면 이긴다 it doesn't really carry the same feeling as taking your time. Also, saying 밥 좀 느리게 먹어 just sounds unnatural because it's a conscious effort to eat slowly.

However, making an observation on someone else's action is a whole different story. For example:

너 밥 진짜 천천히 먹는 구나
너 밥 진짜 느리게 먹는 구나.
Both could be used to express "Wow, you really eat slowly". Another could be:

Tom은 말을 정말 천천히 해.
Tom은 말을 정말 느리게 해.
"Tom speaks way too slowly" is conveyed but the second example carries more of a negative connotation. Remember, 느리다 is out of your control. Think of an old P4 desktop that takes five minutes to open an email. It's not consciously trying to piss you off; it's just an old computer. Therefore, it might sound like "이 컴퓨터 진짜 느리다!" More examples:

너 지금 일부러 천천히 말하는 거지?
You're speaking slowly on purpose, aren't you?

내 여동생은 설거지하는 게 느리다.
My little sister washes dishes too slowly.

우리는 이해가 꽤 느리다.
We are quite slow on the uptake.

지불이 느리다.
It was slow in making payments.

나는 말이 매우 느리다.
I'm a slow talker.

Everyday. There are entirely way too many different ways to express this simple little thing. Although not universally agreeable, below is what I would consider a classification of each term:

맨날 - conversational
하루 - both conversational and formal
하루하루 - conversational (emphasis)
매일 - both conversational and formal
일상적인 - both conversational and formal

While all of the above mean "everyday" the last really means "regularly" or "routinely" which could easily almost stand in for "everyday" in some contexts. Korean seldom uses 일상적인 but instead 일상 + 명사 as in:

일상생활 - everyday life, daily life, the day-to-day
일상업무 - daily business, the daily grind, routine work
일상용품 - things that are used routinely everyday

More examples:

엄마는 맨날 나보고만 뭐라고 해.
Why does my mom always (everyday) pick on me?

오늘 하루도 참 길었지.
Today was such a long day.

하루하루 멀어져 가겠지.
♪ Each day I'm getting farther from you 

나는 매일 아침 7시 30분에 출근해요.
I start work everyday at 7:30 in the morning.

저의 일상적인 업무는 학교에서 시작해서 학교에서 끝나요.
My daily routine starts and ends at school.

당신의 일상 생활은 바쁜 편입니까?
Is your daily life considered busy?

Hanja is a tricky beast ain’t she? She tempts us with her interweaving of Chinese, Japanese and Korean root words and then spits in our face when things start looking like a big mess of spilt spaghetti on the page. When first venturing into the brave world of 한문 I found that a lot of the basic characters looked similar. When I would put pen to paper, I’d find myself mixing up strokes and wondering why three different letters all looked the same. Here are some of the first words that tripped me up:

to enter

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