22 votes
Accepted

When transliterating English words to Korean, why does the first F become a ㅎ?

Using ㅍ for all /f/ sounds is the standard, and should be preferred. Using 후/호 for /f/ sounds comes from Japanese. Japanese doesn't have /f/, rather they have /ɸ/. So they use /ɸ/ for transliterating ...
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  • 7,292
21 votes
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Why don't Koreans call their country 'Korea'?

Some ethnicity-associated names Korea originated from the Goryeo dynasty, from about 10th-14th century. Joseon, as present in North Korea's name 조선민주주의인민공화국, originated in the later Joseon dynasty ...
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  • 1,320
12 votes

"며느리도 모른다" etymology

It seems to have a modern origin. It showed up in a TV commercial of 고추장 in the 90s. In the commercial, the granny says even her daughter-in-law doesn't know the secret ingredient to her spicy rice ...
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  • 1,299
12 votes
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How can a non-native Korean speaker say "Pure Korean" or "Native Korean" in Korean?

순우리말: I think this would be fine coming from a non-Korean. While being a Korean speaker or learner, you can consider it yours. Also the sense of 우리 in 순우리말 (without any spaces in it) has become ...
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  • 1,277
12 votes
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갈매기살 (lit. seagull meat) pork cut name origin

It's not seagull :) It seems to be flow like this. '횡격막(diaphragm) -> spoken korean 가로막(horizontal block)' + '-이(er)' + '살(flesh)' = '가로막이살' -> '가ㄹㅗ매기살' - 'ㅗ' = '갈매기살' Source
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  • 406
11 votes

Why don't Koreans call their country 'Korea'?

Basically, 'Chosun' is the old name of 'Korea'. Used a lot in the past, it is rarely used anymore. 'North Korea' still uses the term 'Chosun', but it is rarely used in South Korea. That's why you have ...
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10 votes

Is '양반 (兩班)' a sexist word?

Literally speaking, 양반 (兩班) just refers to the two branches of administration that existed in the 고려 and 조선 dynasties. (Civil administration, [문반, 文班] and Martial administration [무반, 武班]). I have seen ...
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  • 3,884
9 votes
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Why does the word for kindness, 친절 (親切), include a character meaning 'cut off; to disconnect'?

The character 切 has various meanings, not only 'to cut' or 'to disconnect'. According to Naver dictionary, 切 has following meanings, 끊다 베다 정성스럽다 <= 절 of 친절 used this meaning. 적절하다 중요하다(重要--) 절박하다(...
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  • 1,555
9 votes
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Origin of dictionary form (-다)

The citation form of a verb is a particularly specific construct, tied to the requirements of a dictionary user. For inflecting languages such as Korean, it is very important that the user can deduce ...
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  • 2,009
9 votes
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Where did Korean get its reading of 秒?

Most of the Korean Hanja readings are directly related to the Middle Chinese pronunciations/Kang Xi rimes. But this one is a classical example of a 와음 현상. 秒 should be "묘" by principle, but people ...
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  • 7,292
8 votes
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Money Drinking Hippo? What is a 돈먹는하마?

It's a word play on 물먹는 하마, a very famous brand of moisture absorber (see picture). [So the word play is that like this "water eating hippo" product absorbs water, the olympic stadiums in a post-...
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  • 7,024
8 votes
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Are 손가락 and 발가락 related to 숟가락 and 젓가락?

-가락 (suffix) denotes bar-like shape that is long and thin, such as fingers. It can also be used as a unit word that can count objects in that shape. 국수 한 가락 (a single thread of noodle) ...
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  • 954
7 votes

Why is the Korean name 이 often Romanised as 'Lee'?

The name is written in Hanja as 李 which is pronounced as Lǐ in Chinese. Wikipedia has some information on why the spelling Lee is so common Though the official Revised Romanization spelling of ...
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  • 2,794
7 votes

Why don't Koreans call their country 'Korea'?

The English word "Korea" comes from the Korean word Koryeo (고려 / 高麗). Koryeo is a historical dynasty existing between 918 and 1392. As such, it does not make much sense to modern Koreans as a name for ...
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  • 415
7 votes
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Etymology of '띄어쓰기 (word spacing)'

Originally, it's based on the word 뜨다 which has many meanings, but it seems the meaning that applies is an intransitive verb meaning "to come apart or be apart" (in Korean, the dictionary says "거리가 ...
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  • 5,904
7 votes

Why in Korean is 언니 used for female by female?

Not sure if 언니 is from お兄 but the National Institute of Korean Language says that 언니 may be a contraction of 웃 (older) and 누이 (sister), which is pronounced as /운누이/.
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  • 186
7 votes
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The true meaning of Korean workplace titles

So, you wanted etymology, right? Well, every words you wrote is sino-Korean, which means it is composed with Chinese character. Let's start with 사원. 사원 is 社員 in Chinese character. 社 means 'to meet', ...
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  • 589
6 votes
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A question about ㄴ/은

Japanese verbs have the same form whether predicative or attributive. (The only exception is the copula, which is da or desu when used predicatively and na when used attributively.) However, this is ...
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  • 7,292
6 votes
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Can I use 찮다 to express 지 않다

This shortening(지 않다 -> 잖다, 하지 않다 -> 찮다) is not general, and a lot of people don't even recognize that they're shortened forms. When shortening 귀하지 않다 to 귀찮다, it effectively altered the meaning(major ...
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  • 7,292
6 votes

Etymology of '괜찮다'

From Naver's online dictionary: 어원 : ←괜 [<空然] +하-+-지+아니-+하- Seems to be derived from 괜하지 않다 Also, from here: -찮다 is simply a contraction of -치 (cf. "-지 않다") + 않다 (않다 -> 아니하다 "to not ...
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  • 2,794
6 votes

Etymology of '가짜' and '진짜'

'짜' is a pure Korean root word meaning "thing; person." Other words with '짜': 알짜 the best thing; the essence 공짜 a thing obtained without cost; free (of charge) 괴짜 eccentric person 퇴짜 rejection; ...
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  • 1,953
6 votes
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How to spot English loanwords and Hanja words in a text?

I'd say "classical" hanja-eo (based on Middle Chinese eumhun readings) is quite easy to spot, although the accuracy is quite low. You've mentioned certain phonological and phonotactic features; there ...
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  • 2,009
6 votes
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Why is "outside" used for the maternal side?

As with many other Confucianism-influenced countries, the Korean society was under patriarchy, male dominance. The family structure was patrilineal as well. When a woman got married, it was said that ...
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5 votes

Etymology of '가짜' and '진짜'

Maybe 짜 is pure korean word. But its meaning is pretty well explained by Leftium. In most case it mean a thing or person. But the Thing is there is a word 子[자] that exactly means thing or person as ...
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  • 314
5 votes

What does "金三 2:33" mean in etymology?

It's the abbreviated name of the book "금강경삼가해" that the old form "ᄒᆞᆫ보로" appeared in. 2:33 means the word appears in Page 33, Volume 2. 금강경삼가해 means it's a side-by-side translation of the three ...
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  • 7,292
5 votes
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What is the background of the expression "쩐다!"?

It's from dialect word "쩔다" which means "salt down". And It can be use both side of "The best" or "The worst" like "awesome". ex) 니 얼굴 쩐다. -> Your face looks awesome.(Bad or Good)
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  • 406
4 votes
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Etymology for 마찬가지 (just the same)

The etymology page of the National Institute of Korean Language's site explains that 마찬가지 is a shortened form of 마치 한가지. ‘마찬가지’라는 단어는 옛 문헌에서 발견되지 않는다. 사전으로서는 <조선어사전>(1938)에서 처음으로 확인된다. ‘마찬가지’는 ‘...
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  • 7,292
4 votes

Etymology of '말발'

Suffix -발 here means effect or effectiveness. Other words with the suffix are as follow: 감기약을 먹었더니 약발이 돌아 졸려 온다. I'm getting drowsy because of the flu medicine that I took. 연예인들도 결국 화장발, ...
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