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Newbie here. I try to decypher a simple proverb, 가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱다. The global meaning is clear but I don't understand some details.

Vocabulary's ok to me (see infra) but I have three questions about (1) spelling (2) grammar and (3) meaning.

(1) Is 고와야 pronouced goaya or gowaya ?

(2) What's exactly 고와야 ? Is it 곱다 + suffix 아/어 + 야 ? But what's the meaning of this suffix here ?

(3) Litterary, this is what I understand:

If(?) the words [that] go [to you] are right, the words [that] come [to you] are right [too].

Any help would be appreciated !


Vocabulary:

  • 이 [i] : subject marker

  • 가다 [gada] : to go

  • 말 [mal] : word(s), speech(es)

  • 오다 [oda] : to come

  • 곱다 [gopda] : ~to be beautifull, to be pure

3

(1) Is 고와야 pronouced goaya or gowaya ?

gowaya

(2) What's exactly 고와야 ? Is it 곱다 + suffix 아/어 + 야 ? But what's the meaning of this suffix here ?

Yes, you are right. Above suffix has a meaning of a kind of obligation.

[A] suffix 아/어야 [B] means must [A] to [B]

(3) Literary, this is what I understand:

If(?) the words [that] go [to you] are right, the words [that] come [to you] are right [too].

Of course above proverb has above meaning. But the nuance is stronger. And 곱다 means nice rather than right

The going words must be nice, then coming word is nice.

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