The song I am referring to is 봄 by 윤석중, a well-known writer of Korean children's poetry. This poem was later composed into a song in 1990.

니나니 나니나 니나니나 버들피리 소리가 들려온다
니나니 나니나 니나니나 버들피리 소리가 들려온다
니나니 나니나 니나니나 시내에 얼음이 다풀렸다
니나니 나니나 니나니나 잔디가 파랗게 돋아난다
니나니 나니나 니나니나 산나물 캐러들 올라간다
니나니 나니나 니나니나 제비가 물차고 날아든다

I am having some difficulties understanding the last two lines. In particular, the meaning of "캐러들" and "물차고". As for "캐러들" I really have no idea except it might somehow be related to the verb "캐다" (to dig out). Whereas for "물차고", it can mean "to be filled with water" but it certainly does not make sense here (like, how can you fill a swallow with water?)

1 Answer 1


Without 니나니 나니나 니나니나, the poem can be corrected as the following:

버들피리 소리가 들려온다
버들피리 소리가 들려온다
시내 얼음이 다 풀렸다
잔디가 파랗게 돋아난다
산나물 캐러들 올라간다
제비가 물 차고 날아든다

캐러들 is not a single word.

들: 그 문장의 주어가 복수임을 나타내는 보조사 (A postpositional particle used to show that the subject is plural).

Thus, at least two are doing the same action with the same purpose: 산나물 캐러 올라가기.

차다 does not mean to fill here. As flying birds, 제비 can splash water with their feet (that is, they can kick water).

  • That "에" in "시내에" seems quite strange too. I wonder why they did not just put "의" there as you did? As for "캐러들", I have only seen this plural indicator "들" after nouns, but "캐러" is a verb here, is this normal in Korean? For "물 차고" I'm OK with your explanation now.
    – user23823
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 13:17
  • 1
    (1) It is because that 의 can be pronounced as 에. People are familiar with pronunciation-based spellings so such errors happen. (2) It is a normal way to use 들. You should note that 들 can be put in various positions. The standard dictionary mentions the condition where 들 is used: "체언, 부사어, 연결 어미 ‘-아, -게, -지, -고’, 합성 동사의 선행 요소, 문장의 끝 따위의 뒤에 붙어." This 들 is not a direct plural indicator that you know: It shows that the subject is plural (not that the noun right before -들 is plural). Look up 들 and -들; you will find that they are different.
    – Klmo
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 16:16
  • 시내 is a location, so I don't think 시내에 is wrong here: it's just slightly different from 시내의. That is, "All the ice is gone in the stream" vs "All the ice of the stream is gone." (Of course, since they almost always sound the same here, it might not be right to consider them as two completely separate cases.)
    – jick
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 20:21
  • 1
    The same correction can also be found in this review on a collection of poems: 봄에 어울리는 '봄'의 시에는 버들피리의 니나니 나니나 소리에 맞춰 시내 얼음이 풀리고, 잔디가 파랗게 돋아나며, 제비는 물 차고 날아든다.
    – Klmo
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 4:27
  • 시내에 얼음이 다 풀렸다 can also be translated as "All the ice melted away [because of / into] a stream," but this 얼음 can be ice of any locations. From what I can imagine about the time when the spring comes, the poem must refer to all the ice of a stream. Therefore, I would assert that 시내의 얼음 is correct. The standard dictionary has this example sentence: "한강 얼음이 풀렸다." If the sentence started with 시내에 있던, it would be clearer.
    – Klmo
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 6:20

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