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Questions tagged [vocabulary]

General questions about word meanings, or finding an appropriate word.

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14
votes
1answer
934 views

How can a non-native Korean speaker say "Pure Korean" or "Native Korean" in Korean?

When talking about Korean word origin, there are "Pure/Native Korean" words, "Sino-Korean" (i.e. Hanja) words, and of course other origins like English. I am wondering how to say "Pure Korean" or "...
13
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the difference between 방금 and 금방?

As far as I know, one of them means "a short while ago", the other "in a short time". Sometimes they are used interchangeably. I'm looking for an explanation of the two words, how they differ, and a ...
13
votes
3answers
8k views

Difference between 되었어요 and 됐어요?

What is the Difference between 되었어요 and 됐어요? For example: -서울에 산 지 얼마나 되었어요? -오 년 됐어요. Or -일 년 육 개월 정도 되었어요. I know both answers are correct.
13
votes
1answer
149 views

Are colors interchangeable

Red is 빨간색 or 홍색. Green is 초록색 or 녹색. Blue is 파란색 or 청색. In each case, the first version is "pure Korean" while the second version comes from Chinese. Probably there are many other examples. Is ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Basic steps to take when learning Korean

Can anyone list basic steps needed to start efficiently learning Korean independently? I do live in a hole geographically, and I highly doubt that I could find a Korean person in a 100 miles radius (...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the politest way in Korean to say that someone is 'old'?

I am aware of 낡은 and 오래 된, but I'm not sure that these are suitable for saying that an (esteemed) person is old. (I'm sure 헌 probably isn't either!) What is the politest way to say that someone is ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a Korean word for 'Syllable Block'?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul#Morpho-syllabic_blocks The combinations of 2, 3, 4 (or more?) 자모 are often called 'blocks' in English. As they are an important concept in the way Korean is ...
11
votes
2answers
11k views

What's the difference between 마지막으로 and 드디어?

As the title says, what's the difference between 드디어 and 마지막으로? They're both "finally" but are they any different?
11
votes
1answer
519 views

Chronology of orthography before and after the separation of North and South Korea

In another question some differences in orthography between North and South Korea were treated. But more precisely, what is the chronology of orthography changes in Korean before the separation in the ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

Easy Korean Poems for Beginners

I just wonder if anyone could help me find few poems in Korean that are not too hard for a beginner like me. I believe it could help me improving my vocabulary and grammar usage. (I've been learning ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

What are the differences between 힘들다 and 어렵다?

Both seems to mean 'to be difficult' or 'to be hard'. Is there a difference between them, in meaning or in usage (spoken/written, formal/informal)?
10
votes
2answers
154 views

What is the natural way to refer to in-laws of an unexpected gender?

If my father's sister has a husband, I call him 고모부. If my father's younger brother has a wife, I call her 숙모. If my father's sister has a wife, what do I call her? If my father's younger brother ...
9
votes
3answers
353 views

How to spot English loanwords and Hanja words in a text?

While studying Japanese, it's very helpful that nearly all words of foreign origin are marked by using katakana (a syllabary separate from the usual mix of hiragana and Chinese characters) and words ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

What are the differences in usage and meaning between 아름답다, 예쁘다, 이쁘다 and 곱다?

These four words basically means 'beautiful', 'lovely', 'pretty', according to Naver Online Dictionary: 아름답다, 예쁘다, and 곱다. From my own experience, it seems to me that 예쁘다 and 이쁘다 have the same ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between '탕' and '국'?

It seems there are two kinds of Korean soups. Some of them are '국', such as 미역국, 콩나물국, 배추국. But then there are also '탕', such as 갈비탕, 삼계탕. Some even seem to have two names, e.g., '우거지국' & '우거지탕'. ...
8
votes
3answers
878 views

two subjects in 당신은 이름이 뭐예요?

I have just studied Korean for a short time. I am having problem with the sentence below. 당신은 이름이 뭐예요? = What is your name? My friend told me that there are two subjects in that sentence (당신 marked ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Does 'Gee' (as in the 소녀시대 song) have any Korean meaning?

Simple question about an old song. Does 'Gee' in the 소녀시대 song of the same name have any meaning in Korean? If not, is it a non-lexical vocable or just a borrowing of the slightly dated English ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

I started studying Korean at 32. I'm 34 and still terrible. Is it possible to learn in your 30s?

Despite studying for 2 years and being in a relationship with a native speaker for all that time (she's fluent in English too) I still can't effectively communicate in the language. Basic stuff like 뭐 ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

What wishes are said during the Korean New Year holiday/설날?

What greetings or wishes are typically or traditionally said on during the Korean New Year holiday, 설날 (Jan. 28, 2017)?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Are the words 이상 and 이하 inclusive?

The words 이상 and 이하 can follow a number to mean "more than" or "less than": 3년 이상 However, it's not always clear if the number itself is included: does the above mean "more than 3 years" or "3 ...
8
votes
1answer
375 views

Is there a special name in Korean for adverbs like '반짝반짝', '흔들흔들', '빙글빙글'?

There seems to be a group of 'doubled' words in Korean that often describe how something looks or moves, e.g. : 반짝반짝 - 'twinkle' or 'sparkle' 흔들흔들 - 'shake' or 'wobble' 빙글빙글 - to go round and ...
8
votes
3answers
976 views

What does “짐” mean?

Not as a burden, luggage, etc. I noticed it as a way of a king/emperor to refer someone, does it mean to refer it as himself or the other person he talk to?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a female equivalent of '인마'?

koreanwikiproject states that '인마' is short for '이놈아', and is usually used towards males (which would make sense as '놈' is an impolite way of saying 'man'). Is there a female equivalent, or is there ...
8
votes
1answer
193 views

Which Korean country names originate from Japanese?

According to this answer, [Some country names] are borrowed from other languages, like 브라질 (Brazil) is borrowed from the English variant of Brasil, or 독일 is borrowed from the Japanese name for ...
8
votes
2answers
225 views

What's the word for "obsolete"?

How can I say "That technology is obsolete" in Korean? I haven't found a good translation in any dictionary, and my Korean friends say I should use "그 테크놀로지는 더 이상 사용되지 않습니다". That essentially means "...
8
votes
1answer
224 views

Would 동경 and 북경 be commonly understood as ways of saying 'Tokyo' and 'Beijing'?

As I understand it, 동경 and 북경 are the Korean pronunciations of the 한국어 forms of 'Tokyo' and 'Beijing'. However, the transliterations from English - 도쿄 and 베이징 - seem more common. My question: are 동경 ...
8
votes
1answer
321 views

How to say or suggest in an informal (and possibly rude) way that someone can be disregarded?

Warning: the English language I would like to know of a Korean equivalent for is rude, and contained in the examples below. From this example, we can understand that B wishes to disregard John's ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

필요하다, 필요 있다, 필요로 하다 : what's the difference in meaning and usage?

I was aware of '필요하다' '필요 있다' both meaning 'to be necessary', and on Naver Dictionary saw that the first translation of 'need' is '필요로 하다'. What is the difference in meaning and usage, if any, ...
8
votes
1answer
250 views

Games with hands, talking/chanting, rhythm, etc

I've played or observed a handful of games involving some sort of hand/rhythm/chanting component. Crucially they all have no equipment/items needed to play. Examples: 가위바위보 "rock, paper, scissors"...
7
votes
4answers
543 views

How to say "neutral flavor" in Korean

I was eating this bread, and the thought that came to my mind was "wow, this bread doesn't taste like anything; there's no particular flavor." It had a very light, neutral taste. I want to say "bland,"...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

What's the nuance of meaning of 마음을 먹다 (literally, 'to eat one's mind'), and how does the metaphor work?

I've heard '마음을 먹다' translated as to 'make up one's mind' or to 'have a mind' (to do something). Is it neutral in feeling, or does it imply hiding or deadening one's emotions in preparation for doing ...
7
votes
3answers
348 views

Are there equivalent to 때문에 with a positive/negative connotation?

If I am correct, the 'Noun+때문에 / Verb+기 때문에' structure is a neutral way to express a cause. For example, 비 때문에 늦었어요 (I was late because of the rain) expresses a negative cause, whereas 여자친구 때문에 행복해요 (...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How do you ask for someone's shoe size in Korean?

How do you ask for someone's shoe size in Korean? I've heard it before at bowling allies. I think it is something like: 몇 씨이에요?
7
votes
1answer
296 views

기계 (gigye) ==> 機械, 器械, 奇計 (what else?)

en.wiktionary.org is great for Hangul Super- Newbie learners. For example, en.wiktionary.org 기계 gives me 3 Kanji (Hanja) meanings/readings for 기계 (gigye) ==> 機械, 器械, 奇計 ( btw, in Jp ( Japanese ),...
7
votes
2answers
181 views

Why is there a difference in these translations of 'Grace', 'Power' and 'Precision' for my taekwondo belts?

I am a martial artist, and for years I have had what I thought were the Korean symbols for Grace, Power and Precision put on my belts. Recently, our Grandmaster (Native born Korean) did me the honor ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What does '여보세요' mean in the middle of a conversation?

I learned '여보세요' as a way of saying 'Hello?' at the start of a conversation on the phone. However, I have heard it said in the middle of conversations too - sometimes when it seemed like people were ...
6
votes
5answers
444 views

Are there many (or any) 'respectable' acronyms or initialisms in use in modern Korean?

There are lots of English acronyms/initialisms that could not usually be used in a polite or professional context, either because they are rude, or because they are not very well known. Some, though, ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What's a natural way to say that someone works somewhere (for a job)?

Normally I would use 일 하다 to express that I (or someone else) works somewhere - e.g. 나는 출판사에서 일한다. But I wonder if this is a bit 'childish', or if it focuses on the action of working rather than the ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

When to use single (ㅅ) or double (ㅆ) consonants?

Is there a rule generally to help remember when we would write double consonants like ㅆ, ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅉ instead of single consonants like ㅅ? For example, remembering to write 땀 for sweat, and not 담. Is ...
6
votes
1answer
498 views

What's the adjective for feeling intense cold pain? (while at the dentist)

What's the adjective for feeling intense cold/pain? (while at the dentist) I hear this all the time when I get a dental cleaning, but I haven't been able to find the word in a dictionary. It roughly ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Exact meaning of 마디

I learned that 마디 could be used as a countword for words. Indeed, the dictionary has examples like "한 마디도 안 했다" - I didn't say a word. However, I'm reading an article (here, unfortunately behind a ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

What's the difference between the ways to say "try", 시도하다, 노력하다, 하려고 하다, and 해 보다?

There's some confusion between different ways to say "try": 시도하다 노력하다 ~려고 하다 ~어/아 보다 Are they used differently, or are the interchangeable?
6
votes
1answer
138 views

What is the difference between 도수 versus 빈도?

What is the difference between 도수and 빈도? In an example like this, 제가 단어의 나타나는 도수로 공부하고 있었어요. , I learned that 빈도 was more appropriate but still don't have a clear understanding of the difference.
6
votes
1answer
723 views

Besides endic.naver.com, any other good Korean-to-English dictionary site for (hangul) super-newbie learners?

Wiktionary is great for super-newbie learners of Hangul. For example, see this question re: 기계 (gigye) : 기계 (gigye) ==> 機械, 器械, 奇計 (what else?) What's another good Korean-to-English dictionary ...
6
votes
2answers
215 views

Reference request: Chinese root of Korean

I have been a user of StackExchange for more than a year, but am a new user of Korean Language SE. If my post does not meet the requirements of this site, please kindly offer me an opportunity to edit ...
5
votes
3answers
727 views

How helpful is knowing Russian vocabulary for knowing vocabulary which only occurs in North Korean?

I've heard that one difference, though not the only one, between North Korean and the Korean spoken by people who were born in South Korea is the vocabulary. Is knowing vocabulary from Russian, or ...
5
votes
3answers
747 views

Addressing someone on the street you have never met and who is of ambiguous age

I was visiting Korea (강원도 춘천시) recently and needed to ask directions to a building on a college campus. (강원대학교 for those who are interested). I was on foot and I did not immediately see a campus map ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the difference between 볼 and 뺨?

My dictionary translates them both as "cheek". Can they be used more or less interchangeably?
5
votes
2answers
460 views

What is the difference between 서고 and 도서관?

I know 도서관 is commonly used, but it's my first time hearing 서고 and the meaning is also library. Is there any differences between them?
5
votes
2answers
776 views

Ways to say "circle" - curious about "원" in this sentence

인생은 원이 아니라 무한한 직선이다 That translates to Life isn’t a circle, it’s an infinite, straight line. Is there a contextual requirement for when to say 원 and when to say 동그라미? Are there other ways to say ...

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