Category Archives: Play on words


Today I met my LP for a language exchange session before going to work. Our focus was idioms, which turned out to be great fun.

Here are two that my language partner didn’t know – and what he thought they meant.

To bite your tongue: to commit suicide (anyone who has watched a drama or two will have heard an angry ajumma exclaim “do you want me to bite my tongue and bleed to death?!” so I half expected that one).
Hold your horses : park your bike (well, we are in Denmark, but still).

It was a quite hilarious lesson! But then again, I didn’t exactly know the one about “testing the stone bridge before crossing it” either.

주군의 태양

When mentioning to my language partner that I noticed the 귀실 pun, she told me that there is another pun worth noticing: the title itself. More specifically, -군 has a separate meaning, so does -양 and their usage brings about this specific title. First, lt’s look at the endings.

Used about men. E.g. if a “lower ranking” person refers to the CEO’s son (or a butler/employee in the household refers to the master of the house’s son), -군 is attached to the son’s last name. Although the son may be younger than the speaker, the attachment of -군 establishes that the speaker respects the person that is spoken about or addressed. That is why he is called 주군 in the drama. Notice the alternating use of 주군 and 사장님 (the actual title of CEO) in the drama.
In English the equivalent would be something along the lines of “young master”.

Alternatively you can see it used in news broadcasts when the TV station wishes to protect the identity of the person being spoken of. If the last name is 김, the man will be referred to as 김군.

-양 is the female equivalent of -군. This is also attached to the last name in order to show respect. For those who watch Downton Abbey, it can be considered similar to the staff calling the three sisters Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Lady Sybil, including Carson although he has known them since they were little girls.

Also this term is used to protect the identity of women who media wants to spare of getting too much attention in connection with a specific story.

The specific last names in 주군의 태양:
As we know, the title translates into Master’s Sun. The names 주중원 and 태공실 are therefore not randomly chosen since the title only has that double meaning with these two specific last names.
It also means that 태양 is not a random nickname picked for 공실 (I had wondered a bit whether it was something made up by the class mates who made the distinction Big Sun and Little Sun).
That’s a cool observation don’t you think? 🙂

Pronunciation and tongue twisters

Here are some of the sounds we worked on in our language exchange today. Apparently my pronunciation is not bad, but the double consonants need some extra work. Specifically, I need to work on making my “single-consonants” softer. Looking at the list, we didn’t really get around to ㄱ, ㄲ, ㅋ. Next time then.

ㅂ 비읍 방
ㅃ 빵
ㅍ 팡

ㅈ 장
ㅉ 짱
ㅊ 창
Anecdote: if any of you have seen 너의 목소리가 들려, you might remember that the female lead’s last name is 장, but when her colleagues speak to her in private/in an endearing way, they call her 짱 instead, which roughly translates into “the best”.

ㅅ 상
ㅆ 쌍

ㄷ 다
ㄸ 따
ㅌ 타

When you think you sound native, then try these tongue twisters 🙂

내가 그린 기린 그림은 목이 긴 기린 그림이고 니가 그린 기린 그림은 목이 짧은 기린 그림이다.
경찰청 창살 쇠철창살 검찰청 창살 쌍철창살

꽃미남 and “미남이시네요”

Most of you have probably come across the term 꽃미남 which is usually translated into “flower boy” in English.
For those of you who have missed it, a 꽃미남 is a man who is too “pretty” to fall into the conventional category of handsome since he is more beautiful than he is handsome.

In the Korean drama “You are Beautiful” (미남이시네요), a girl takes the place of her twin brother 고미남 in a boy band while he recovers from surgery, the manager thinking that their voices are so similar that with the right clothing and hairdo no-one will notice the difference… Right… Anyway.
Since most of the guys in that drama are unually slow on the uptake, the heroine manages to pose as her brother for quite a while, others thinking that she is just an unusually pretty boy, a 꽃미남.

Only today did I notice that the main character’s name 고미남 is actually a play on words so naturally I had to share with you all 🙂