5

인생은 원이 아니라 무한한 직선이다

That translates to Life isn’t a circle, it’s an infinite, straight line.

Is there a contextual requirement for when to say and when to say 동그라미? Are there other ways to say circle?

  • 원 to 동그라미 is circle to round. – 9dan Jan 1 '18 at 8:33
  • @9dan I believe 동그라미 is always used as a noun and its adjective form is different which is a common characteristic of Hangul conjugation - please refer to my answer below – Crosscounter Jan 1 '18 at 11:59
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Korean, like many other Eastern Asian languages and cultures, are rooted in Chinese origins.

is Korean transcription of Hanja - which derives from Chinese character of the same shape. This is used most commonly in a written and formal context - meaning is not restricted to a physical shape of a circle but a figurative sense. In addition, it can easily be combined with other Hanja to form a new word and act as an adjective.

E.g.

원형 = 원 (circle) + 형 (shape) = meaning circular

원만 = 원 (amicable/well "rounded") + 만 (full) = meaning a friendly, easy going characteristic

동그라미 is Hangul and is used exclusive as a noun. (compare with 동그란 Adj. / 동그랗게 Adv.)

You could transliterate English word circle into 서클 (pronounced 써클) and it will be understood by Koreans. However, rather than meaning a physical shape of circle, the usual context would be:

서클 = group of people as in club/clique

서클렌즈 = circle lenses (a transliterated loanword)

0

동그라미 is noun indicating shape of appearance of thing

1) 달걀은 동그랗다.

egg is round.

(Here note that egg is solid, i.e., 3 dimensional body)

2) Rachel은 맞는 답에(정답에) 동그라미를 그리고 있다 (또는 치고 있다)

Rachel is circling the correct answer.

(Here we do not use 원(circle)을 그리고 있다)

3) 동그라미 contains 원. Ring and bracelet may not be circle but absolutely round.

Given sentence in OP, 원 represents the coincidence of starting point and ending point so that if we use 동그라미, then there may be confusion.

  • 1
    "But because 동그라미 is a shape of seed, it represents a positive feeling." : I'm not sure exactly what this is supposed to mean... (I mean, some people might feel this way or that about how a "circle" is the shape of life, the nature, the universe and everything, but that's not really relevant to the discussion of the words 원 or 동그라미 in Korean.) – jick Apr 19 '18 at 16:00
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    I see. I fixed it. – HK Lee Apr 19 '18 at 16:03

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