1

I thought the words 무궁화 means Hibiscus flower (or Infinite Flower in Korean), or Big Red Flower (大紅花) in Chinese.

The word 꽃이 also means flower. How come the word flower is mentioned again if 무궁화 already means Hibiscus flower?

1

꽃 is both a regular noun for "flower" and a suffix-like word that attaches to names of flowers to make the meaning clearer. Since 무궁화 is a name of the flower, you can say either 무궁화가 피었습니다 or 무궁화꽃이 피었습니다, but the latter is probably more common. Think of it as habit.
Saying 무궁화꽃 instead of 무궁화 is especially popular among kids. The phrase 무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다 is originally a kids' play word. Because it is such a well known phrase, a novel once used it as its title, and now a drama is using it.

Technically 무궁화꽃 might be considered redundant, but I don't think it is unnatural. Such phrases are common in names. For example, "Kansas City" has "city" in its name to make phrases like "the city of Kansas City" have two citys in them, but so what? Sometimes you repeat things to emphasize it or simply because similar words come in sequence.

1

It's not accurate to say the word "flower" is repeated: first of all, "flower" is an English word, and "무궁화 꽃" only contains "-화" and "꽃", both being Korean. :)

More seriously, just because the word "무궁화" is translated to "Hibiscus flower" doesn't mean the word contains "flower" inside it. (Even though the suffix -화(花) means "flower", it's a suffix, not its own word.)

So, 무궁화 is more analogous to words like 장미(rose) or 목련(magnolia). All three words commonly refer to the flowers, but can also refer to the plants themselves. In Korean, it's common to add "꽃" after such words.

The only time it doesn't work is when the flower name does contain "꽃" - for example, with 제비꽃(violet), people don't say "제비꽃 꽃" because now the word 꽃 is duplicated.

1
  • ok... so you are saying there is a flower suffix, and a flower "own word"... I haven't run into such situation before... but I guess a similar case I can think of is "the city of San Francisco", and "the city of Daly City"... Oct 14 at 6:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.