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I’m getting a tattoo in Korean soon but I want to make sure the translation makes sense. The phrase i want to translate is “I left my heart in Seoul” I’ve heard multiple ways of saying it, all pretty similar but with slight differences. Which one makes the most sense and can someone tell me the difference between each one? It’s gonna be on my body forever so I want to make sure!

  1. 내 마음을 서울에 놔뒀다

  2. 나의 마음을 서울에 맡기다 for this one would it make a difference to put 나는 instead of 나의?

  3. 내 마음을 서울에 두고 갔다

  • I have a want that you would explain the meaning of the sentence "I left my heart in Seoul", in English. That is, which mean do you want to write in Korean ? – HK Lee Aug 15 '18 at 5:01
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    i was in seoul in 2015 and i loved it so much. so much so, that i feel like a piece of me was left behind and will forever be with the beautiful city! the phrase basically means that – Erin Aug 15 '18 at 10:30
  • You'll also have to realize that sometimes, a sentence that makes sense in English may not make sense in, or just sound strange, in another language. – solid_luffy Aug 15 '18 at 14:38
  • @solid_luffy i guess you’re right when you say not everything makes sense in english as it does in korean. i’m really set on having a korean tattoo but it looks like i’ll have to do more research into having something that makes more sense in korean. thankyou for your feedback!! – Erin Aug 17 '18 at 3:52
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Based on reading this, I tried to convey what is expressed in your description of how you felt about the city! So, I tried to write more like poetry or lyrical. Don't pick up immediately from these, yet though, but have some thought about them, or have other natives read it, and go from there since it's permanent engraving on your skin. But, these are what splashed in my head as I was reading your description with my heart pounding because I could feel how much you were in love with Seoul! It's a city that means a lot to me as well!

i was in seoul in 2015 and i loved it so much. so much so, that i feel like a piece of me was left behind and will forever be with the beautiful city!...

  1. 내 영혼아 서울과 영원히 : My Soul! Forever With Seoul
  2. 내 영혼은 서울과 영원히! : My Soul, Forever With Seoul!
  3. 내 영혼은 서울과 함께・・・: My Soul, together with you, Seoul・・・
  4. 서울이여 나와 함께 영원히! : Seoul, thee forever with me
  5. 서울이여 영원히 나와 함께 : Seoul, forever I'm with thee
  6. 서울이여 나하고 영원히 : Seoul, with me forever
  7. 내 마음은 서울과 영원히 : My heart, forever with Seoul
  8. 서울이여 나와 영원히! : Seoul, forever with me!
  9. 아름다운 서울이여 나와 함께 영원히・・・: The beautiful thee, Seoul, Forever With Me
  10. 내 마음은 영원히 서울과 있으리라 : My heart will be with Seoul forever
  11. 내 마음은 언제나 서울과 함께・・・ : My heart will always be with Seoul

These writings can be read as energetic, melancholy, or even sad depending on where you place punctuation marks (if you care) such as「!」,「・・・」, and 「~」

  1. 내 영혼아, 서울과 영원히! : My Soul! Forever With Seoul!
  2. 서울이여 나와 함께 영원히・・・ : Seoul, thee forever with me
  3. 서울이여! 영원히 나와 함께・・・ : Seoul, forever I'm with thee
  4. 서울이여 나하고 영원히・・・ : Seoul, with me forever
  5. 내 마음은 서울과 영원히・・・ : My heart, forever with Seoul
  6. 서울이여 나와 영원히・・・ : Seoul, forever with me!

(9) ,(10), and (11) are my personal picks (the one in bold) despite of its length because its number of syllables closely matches to that of ancient Korean poetry frame. At least they sound quite poetic and rhythmic to my native ear while the others sound a little more like calling-out-like. As for (9), I like the rhymes coming from the series of similar syllables from 름/운/울, followed by an emphatic sound 여, and 나/와 which all together forms a flow from 'down/neutral' to 'open/out-casting' and eventually 'rising but fainting' sound of '히'. It even feels melodic to read it. (10) sounds good mostly because the 있으리라: classy and emphatic. (11) sounds just plain modern but omitting the verb makes the phrase sound good and add the feeling of longing for the city.
It doesn't explicitly say 'you left the city behind', but, you can leave it to be inferred by readers; and when someone asks about it, you can give them the full story along with a cup of tea; maybe they can come to tears after they realize what it means :) Isn't that the beauty of East Asian poetry--omission?

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My wife is a native Korean speaker. She says all these options technically mean “I left my heart in Seoul”, but she doesn't like any of them for a tattoo! She says...

1 - '내 마음을 서울에 놔뒀다' - makes sense but doesn't sound 'poetic' enough for a tattoo.

2 - '나의 마음을 서울에 맡기다' - might not be quite what you want because 맡기다 has the more specific meaning of 'deposit' or 'entrust'.

3 - '내 마음을 서울에 두고 갔다' could be a bit odd because when someone reads it, presumably you are right here in front of them - so she says 내 마음을 서울에 두고 왔다 could make more sense.

I think the suggestions you listed were also made by native speakers, so you can see that there are varying opinions on what might or might not be appropriate. Possibly this could be evidence that this isn't a very 'natural' phrase to get done as a tattoo. Mrs. topo morto thinks it's a bit long, whichever way you say it. But then neither she nor I have any ink.

  • can you ask mrs. topo morto if she can suggest any other phrase with the same meaning that sounds poetic enough for a tattoo? thankyou! – Erin Aug 15 '18 at 10:32
  • @Erin partly she's just not a tattoo fan.... I guess she'd be fine with a very small I♥서울 laid out like the famous I♥NY. The other tattoo she said she liked was '차카게 살자' - but that's nothing to do with Seoul... seems like a dodgy joke :) – topo Reinstate Monica Aug 15 '18 at 21:32
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맡기다 :

자연에 나를 맡기다 : I leave me into nature

두고 왔다 : I can find the following examples in private blog

도시A에 마음만 두고 왔다. I lost my heart only at city A

백두산에 마음을 두고 돌와 왔는데 사실 그렇지 않았다. I returned home after leaving heart at Baekdoo Mt, but it is not true.

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