Does ~ 스럽다 mean "worthy of ~"?

I'm familiar with and use with some frequency the verb ending 스럽다.

I'm trying to contend with and understand the English sentence "I am proud of you" which most will have to agree is from the proud to the one "worthy of" pride. Yet in Korean, it seems that the most accurate translation of this causes the direction of pride establishment to reverse.

Chul-soo is proud of Young-hee. [Chul-soo has pride generated by Young-hee]

영희가 자랑 스럽다. [Young-hee is worthy of pride (that Chul-soo implicitly receives)]

In English, Chul-soo is the subject of the sentence.
In Korean, Young-hee is the subject of the phrase (if not the sentence).

Here is another example that does not implement the reversal:

The hamburger looks delicious.

햄버거가 먹음직 스럽다.

In this case the hamburger is the subject generating the look of being tasty.

Is there a literal translation for "[Subject] am/is proud of [object]?"

I'm interested in this for the purpose of a literal translation for I am proud of you which in my English-as-a-first-language mind is considerably different from You generate pride that I feel. I may never be able to use such literal translation in an actual scenario since the English-based understanding of the literal translation would be awkward at best, but it seems a great curiosity to me.


1 Answer 1


Before starting my answer, I would like to mention I don't have a professional knowledge in Korean, but I would like to share what I think as a native speaker.

For the first question, whether ~스럽다 means worthy of ~, I will not say it is totally wrong, but I do not agree. I would like say the meaning of '~스럽다' is more closer to 'be (like) ~', or ' as like ~'.

According to Naver Korean dictionary, ~스럽다 is a suffix means 'having such a character(~)'.

Also, ~스럽다 is a form changer, which changes a noun to an adjective/predicate. Therefore, only noun form can be placed in ~ part. Nouns representing abstract concept, thoughts or characters are usually used with the phrase ~스럽다.

가방이 고급스럽다.

The bag is like high quality/luxury. (The bag has character of luxury.)

-> The bag is luxurious.

운동은 고통스럽다.

Exercise is like a pain. -> Exercise is painful.

영희는 친절이 부담스럽다.

영희 thinks the kindness is a burden. (영희 thinks the kindness has a character of a burden.)

-> 영희 does not feel comfortable for the kindness.

Also, if the noun representing existing/concrete object (like 어른) is used, ~스럽다 not only means 'having such a character', but sometimes implies 'even though [object] is not (~) itself'.

철수는 어른스럽다.

철수 is like an adult. (철수 has the character of an adult.)

-> 철수 acts like an adult (being mature) even though 철수 is not yet an adult.

Now, see the example you wrote, 햄버거가 먹음직스럽다. 먹음직 is a root word of 먹음직하다(adj), which means '(usually the food) seems good to eat'. 먹음직 itself is a noun form, so when you say:

햄버거가 먹음직스럽다.

The hamburger has characteristic of '먹음직'

-> The hamburger seems good to eat. -> The hamburger look delicious.

자랑스럽다 is a little tricky word. If I use the transition above, it will be:

영희가 자랑스럽다.

영희 is like a pride. (영희 has the character of pride.)

-> [Subject] is proud of 영희.

I also agonized before, about how to translate "I'm proud of ###." in Korean, and could not figure out. In my thought, this is due to different characteristics between languages. Korean uses a lot of implicit sentences, since most of Korean sentences still make sentence without subject. Therefore, this is the best answer that I can say now, hope you like this, or others can answer something better..:

철수는 영희가 자랑스럽다.

철수는 영희를 자랑스러워 한다.

I guess these are more explicit way to say '철수 is proud of 영희', focusing on the subject 철수.

  • +1 (and points for correct answer) 철수는 영희를 자랑스러워 한다. which i see (and my Korean wife agrees is proper and not awkward): 나는 너를 자랑스러워 한다 or I am proud of you. Very nice - thank you! Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 21:17
  • @WEBjuju I'm glad if it was helpful! :)
    – pebble
    Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 21:23
  • 2
    pebble를 자랑스러워 합니다 Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 21:33

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