안경 안 쓰니까…

After I cut my hair short some months ago (well, just below my collarbone at the time so it was short for me at least) I was prompted by a Korean friend to send a selca over Kakaotalk. That turned out to be one fateful picture since I wasn’t wearing my glasses (due to reflections). Had it not been for that tiny detail, I might never have gotten the occasion to remember the grammar point -(으)니까 quite as well as I do today. Having recently gotten contact lenses I got to relive the memory. This is what happended:

Her first reaction was to reply “우와, 완전 이쁘당!!!!” (At this point I have to admit to being quite proud of my new haircut). Immediately the following message arrived: “안경 안쓰니까 완전 예뻐요”.

Well that was unexpected… I was pretty sure that -(으)니까 was a grammar point used to mark causation and that all of a sudden we were no longer talking about my hair.

What “Korean – A Comprehensive Grammar” has to say about this grammar point:
“Looking at the usage of this form, just like -(아/어)서, -(으)니까 also has two distinct usages. In addition to ‘causation’, -(으)니까 can also be used to mark ‘discovery’.”

For a moment I wondered if that really just added insult to injury. So what she was saying was “since you’re not wearing glasses, I just realised you’re actually quite pretty”? I may not be turning heads whenever I leave the house, but surely that’s a bit harsh?

Reading on we get to this, though:
“Unlike -(아/어)서 which marks natural consequence, -(으)니까 is used to express a subjective reason that is dependent on the speaker’s own judgement or justification”.

Okay, so my friend has a personal preference for me not wearing glasses. I can live with that, and I can assure you all that I have (almost) recovered emotionally.

However, I doubt I will ever forget that sentence 안경 안 쓰니까…

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4 thoughts on “안경 안 쓰니까…

  1. robwoakleyRob

    ㅎㅎㅎ – This is pretty common way to express things in korea – Especially between girls. I have also seen the opposite, where a woman in the office was wearing a dress and another woman commented – How she now realized she was old, because of the dress. Being British i was horrified at how direct and downright rude this was…ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

    Reply
    1. koreanlearner Post author

      Hahaha! Korean honesty at its best.

      I think most comments are seen as a “I care about you so therefore I tell you this” or “we know each other so I know you can take it” kind of thing. It’s just so surprising since it goes against everything you expect.
      On a similar note, I once went out for cake with a Chinese guy from my BSc studies (after coming home from my MSc studies abroad), and once I’d eaten the very last bite, he suddenly blurts out “didn’t you gain weight since last time I saw you?”. His timing was absolutely impeccable. I’m not big at all, I just used to be really petite – even by Asian standards.

      Reply

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