Monthly Archives: November 2012


사고 ~ accident

사고를 당하다 ~ to be in an accident

오늘은 사고를 당했어요. 지금 아파요… ~ today I was involved in an accident. Now it hurts…

Today in judo we did a bit of hockey just for fun as part of warm-up. However, my fun ended pretty abruptly when somebody hit me in the head with a hockey stick so I heard a ringing sound (I always thought that didn’t happen in real life, and it was just something they wrote in books), I suddenly found myself sitting on the floor clutching my left ear, and I was bleeding.
Luckily it could have been a lot worse and the outer ear took the blow. Apart from a slightly crunchy sound when something moves in the ear (which only I can hear, apparently), and the feeling that I probably shouldn’t touch it, I’m fine and there are no signs of internal injuries. Thank God for growing up in a family with medical knowledge!!!
It’s only now several hours later that I think about how an ear is a small price to pay compared to the rest of the face or even internal damage :-S I should even get away from this without a cauliflower-ear because of the way I was hit so I have taken luck to the next dimension it seems.

My guess is that he confused hockey with golf. Sticks on the ground, people!
No more hockey for me!

Castles and palaces: 궁 vs. 성

This weekend I went to see an exhibition about a “궁”, and the exhibition was held at a “성”. That led me to think about how these two words differ.

In English the words “palace” and “castle” are both used to describe a place where royalty lives, though castles tend to have more towers and sometimes also a moat (think Windsor Castle vs. Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace style-wise).

That being said, though, you wouldn’t call Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace a 궁 even if they don’t fit under exactly the same label in English.

The difference between 궁 and 성 is found in the architecture on a larger scale than the difference you find between European style palaces and castles:

Those of you who have seen a Korean palace in real life or in dramas will have noticed that rather than a single building, the palace grounds are more like a little village containing a many separate houses. No particular house is considered “the 궁”, they are all part of the 궁.
In contrast, a castle or a European-style palace consists of one building and it has multiple storeys. There may of course be other buildings near/associated with the castle (for servants’ quarters or the like), but they are not considered part of the castle itself.

That means that when speaking of Korean royalty, using the word 성 would be misleading, and when speaking of for instance Buckingham Palace, the word 궁 would not be accurate either.

성 and 성

성 ~ castle
우와! 이 성은 정말 예뻐요! 여기에 왕과 여왕이 살아요? ~ wow! this castle is really beautiful! Is this where the king and queen lives?

성 ~ surname
When filling in a form requiring your personal details (e.g. application to the TOPIK) you will be asked to fill in “성+이름” ~ surname + given name

헐 ~ an exclamation that is made when surprised or mildly shocked, a bit like what?/really?/seriously?/no way!

Example: I shared a bit of history of the royal family (from a couple of hundred years ago I should say) with my language partner. The conversation turned to one queen in particular and went roughly like this:
-여왕은 왕의 의사와 불륜 관계였어요 ~ the queen had an affair with the king’s doctor.
-헐! ~ what? No way!

Note that you will never find 헐 in a formal setting

살 and 살

살 ~ counter for age
몇 살이에요? ~ how old are you?
스물세 살이에요 ~ I’m 23 years old

살 ~ flesh, fat
살이 찌다 ~ to gain weight
저 사람은 찔까요? ~ didn’t she gain weight?

My own mnemonic:
What do most women not want? To be considered old or fat – and especially not both at the same time. The Koreans have just been kind enough to provide us with one word that can be used to express both…

Specialised vocabulary: Politics

제도 ~ institution
군주제 ~ monarchy
군주 정치 ~ monarchy

왕 ~ king
여왕 ~ queen
귀족 ~ nobility
자리 ~ position (in the sense of responsibility and social status)
차지하다 ~ to occupy a position

힘 ~ power (in the sense of influence)
법 ~ law
폐지 ~ abolishment
검열 ~ censorship
신문의 검열 ~ censorship of newspapers

폐지하다 ~ to abolish
약화시키다 ~ to weaken (e.g. someone’s power)
처형하다 ~ to execute
처형되다 ~ to be executed
처형시키다 ~ to have someone else executed
추방하다 ~ to deport/exile
추방되다 ~ to be deported/forced into exile
남아 있다 ~ to remain
속이다 ~ to deceive

Verb ending with -시키다 ~ to have someone…..