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…