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I'm trying to translate the lyrics of a song to Korean. Here's the line I'm working on:

Do you feel the world is broken?

... and here's my attempt at translating it:

세상의 깨지기는 느낍니까?

Did I handle 깨지다 (to be broken) correctly? I've had trouble finding examples of using 느끼다 (to feel) with another verb or adjective. I figured I needed to change 깨지다 to a noun for it to work correctly. Is this the correct way to do it? Basically - what I've tried to do is this:

Do you feel the world's brokenness?

I did find one example of 느끼다 with another verb: 행복하다고 느끼다 (to feel happy). So maybe this is another way to translate it?

세상이 깨지고 느껴요?

I'm an extreme novice when it comes to Korean, so please forgive my lack of knowledge. Thank you for your help.

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I think you're doing great! I'll dissect your translations so that you may learn, but please don't be disheartened :-) I'm not an expert myself, but growing up hearing Korean through parents, relatives, and TV dramas, I have a sense for things that definitely don't sound Korean.


Let's start with

세상의 깨지기는 느낍니까?

You correctly begin with "의" for a possessive form of "world".

깨지기는

The "기는" here is not quite right. You would normally only see that form when trying to incorporate the complex word, "even," like

깨지기는 했어요?

which means, "Did it even break?"

Broken-ness is a strange word, though. An adjective converted into a noun. In Korean, I recognize that as replacing a final ㄴ with an ㅁ:

  • 아름다운 (beautiful) vs. 아름다움 (beauty)
  • 강한 (strong) vs. 강함 (strongness)

There are exceptions of course, like 행복한, whose noun form is just 행복 (though 행복함 doesn't necessarily sound wrong). Google Translate gives me this:

  • 부서진 (broken) vs. 부서짐 (brokenness)

But this word doesn't fit your lyrics, as you may have already thought. "부서진" describes something more physical and concrete, certainly never refers to emotions, and as for a world, invokes more a picture of post-World War III destruction, rather than society or relationships.

Your choice of 깨지다 is much more appropriate! This word is used for emotions, society, and relationships, as much as broken glass. The problem? I don't know if the following...

  • 깨진 (broken) vs. 깨짐 (brokenness)

...actually works. The first is definitely a real and common word. But I have never heard the ㅁ-replacement on this word. It's probably "technically" a word but too strange-sounding for lyrical or even conversational use. For learning's sake, if it were a usable word, then your last phrase is good as-is!

세상의 깨짐을 느낍니까?

Anyway, maybe someone can point you to the correct word for "brokenness," but I wouldn't hold my breath.


I would try a different construction, which is actually the second path you were already trying:

세상이 깨지고 느껴요?

First, you seem to have switched to a more casual "느껴요" here. Whether to use "느낍니까", "느껴요", or "느껴" is a whole different topic, but let me revert to "느낍니까" to keep consistent with the previous tone. So,

세상이 깨지고 느낍니까?

Here, the piece that's off is just the middle again :-) What you've written roughly translates to,

The world breaks, and... do you feel?

The "고" by itself is a temporal "and," e.g. a "then." What you saw in your analogue was actually "-하다고", whose "고" is totally unrelated, and is some kind of a grammatical thing I don't know how to explain. The direct analogue of that to the word for "broken" is

깨졌다고

So your combined sentence would be:

세상이 깨졌다고 느낍니까?

This is getting very close to your original sentence!


I think you're fine using the above, but if you need your translation to be a cut above the rest, I would say that 깨졌다고 is still a bit strong of a word. It's like... something definite has shattered. Whereas your lyrics, to me at least, evoke more of a feeling that something is wrong, but the mood lies in the vagueness of what's wrong. I'm sure an actual, daily user of Korean could come up with better words, but this is my best attempt:

세상이 잘못됐다고 느낍니까?

It doesn't sound very lyrical to me, but it translates literally to:

Do you feel the world has gone wrong?

Good luck!

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  • IMHO, "세상이 어떻게 잘못됐다고 느낍니까?" would mean "How do you feel the word is broken?", i.e., "Can you describe the way the world is broken in your opinion?" – jick Mar 31 '18 at 16:01
  • Oh, that's true. What about 어때...? Maybe I misremembered the phrase. – Andrew Cheong Mar 31 '18 at 16:02
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    어떻게 can mean "somehow" in sentences like "그래도 어떻게(든) 해봐야지.", but I think it's much more likely "how = in what way" in most context. – jick Mar 31 '18 at 16:03
  • Thanks! I will edit the end out later. Maybe you can provide a better answer overall! – Andrew Cheong Mar 31 '18 at 16:04
  • "어때" is "what about...?" or "what do you think about...?" so it might not quite fit here. – jick Mar 31 '18 at 16:06
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Do you feel the world is broken?

You can't translate it into Korean directly for the natural sentence.

You can say

세상이 완벽하지 않다고 느끼나요?

Which means 'Do you feel the world is not perfect?' And even '느끼다' sounds a bit not suitable.

세상이 완벽하지 않다고 생각하나요?

This sounds better. Which means 'Do you think the world is not perfect?'

In conclusion,

Do you feel A is B?
A이/이가/은/는 B다고 느끼나요?

Do you think A is B?
A이/이가/은/는 B라고 생각하나요?

As you may know, you can alternatively say '느끼세요?', '느끼십니까?', or etc, instead.

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