Transferring the logic of Korean to other languages

My previous language partner was very keen on learning Danish, and he actually became really good in quite a short time! Good grammatical understanding, good vocabulary, and a brain soaking up Danish like a sponge in water. Working with hanja, I suddenly remembered when he transferred the logic of hanja to his Danish studies. We were going over a short story for his Danish class and some of the vocabulary he had wondered about.

First we discussed the word “over” which can both be a preposition (above) and used in combination with other words in the meaning of “a lot” or “too much”.

Larer we came across “rask” which means “recovered”.

Lastly we looked at the word “overrasket” and he naturally assumed that this would mean “fully recovered”, which made sense given the two words he had just learned and since the story was about a guy ending up in hospital after an accident. Oh, if only Danish were always that logical! It means “surprised” and it is not even considered a combination of the two words, but a single entity that is completely separate from the two individual words of “over” and “rask”.

Since then I have thought of “fully recovered” whenever seeing the word “overrasket”.

However, it’s also a good reminder for me that although a Koran syllable might sound like it stems from a hanja character that I know, it might not be related to it at all…


4 thoughts on “Transferring the logic of Korean to other languages

  1. jaemijamie

    ㅋㅋㅋ actually I’ve had similar problems studying Korean! I always am trying to relate syllables or a group of syllables within a larger word or phrase to something that I already know. The connections can be really helpful sometimes but…sometimes they aren’t correct or helpful at all haha

    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Very true. Some words wouldn’t be based on hanja at all and some words might just have a special “feel” that doesn’t translate well to other languages (like Danish “hygge” or Finnish “sisu”).


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