People have their own ways to learn Korean. I believe that the best way to Korean, or any other language for that matter, is to have fun while you are learning it. Among many fun things to do with Korean language, there are not that many other methods to beat watching Kdramas.
Just like NBC’s Friends was once a bible for English study, now many Kdramas have become great study materials for learning Korean with their global popularity. Let’s watch and learn some popular Korean dramas while learning Korean and its expressions. The content will be regularly updated so bookmark this page or subscribe to my newsletter for the updates.
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?
Isn’t it dazzling?
Original: 눈부시지 않나? (0:50)
How to pronounce: /nun-bu-si-ji an-na/
Meaning: Isn’t it dazzling? Here, it’s more like ain’t I dazzling? “눈부시다 /nun-bu-si-da/” means to dazzle. “않나?” is usually used for the negative interrogative question. In English, it’s more like “isn’t it?” Normally, people say either “않니? /an-ni/” or “않나요? /an-na-yo/” rather than “않나?” This form sounds more authoritative or bossy. It shows the characteristic of Youngjoon and the relationship between him and Miso.
How could a person be incompetent?
Original: 사람이 어떻게 무능할 수가 있지? (1:37)
How to pronounce: /sa-ram-i eo-tteo-ke mu-neung-hal su-ga it-ji/
Meaning: Again, Youngjoon, a perfect human being, can’t really understand why others can’t be just like him. ‘사람 /sa-ram/’ is a person or a human. ‘어떻게 /eo-tteo-ke/’ is an interrogative adverb meaning ‘how.’ It’s a Korean word you are going to hear and use a lot so remember this one. You can use this word when you use a direction like ‘지하철역까지 어떻게 가나요?,’ ‘How could I get to a subway station?’ ‘무능하다 /mu-neung-ha-da/’ means being incompetent. Its antonym is ‘유능하다 /yu-neung-ha-da/,’ being competent.
This one is a traitor who committed high treason.
Original: 이번엔 대역죄인입니다. (2:06)
How to pronounce: /i-beon-en dae-yeok-joe-in-im-ni-da/
Meaning: Here the word, ‘대역죄인 /dae-yeok-joe-in/’ is a historical vocabulary for a traitor who planned or committed high treason, usually involving to overthrow a current king or dynasty or refuse to follow the king’s order. Obviously, in current Korean society, this word is not used for serious matters. Instead, it usually means someone who committed a serious mistake or fails to succeed in an important task.
I’m scared to death.
Original: 무서워서 살겠어? (1:13)
How to pronounce: /mu-seo-wo-seo sal-ge-sseo/
Meaning: It means ‘I’m scared to death’ or it can literally be translated to ‘how could I live because of that scary (person, thing, situation, etc.)?’ Here, one of the board members (or a high-ranked employee) says this, meaning he can’t live because Youngjoon is too frightening (probably too smart, as well). This expression carries negative connotations.
All the credit goes to Vice-Chairman.
Original: 다 부회장님 덕분입니다. (2:00)
How to pronounce: /da bu-hoe-jang-nim deok-bun-im-ni-da/
Meaning: This can be translated to “this (my improvements) can be achieved thanks to you.” The Korean expression “덕분입니다” (deokbunimnida) means “thanks to”. Koreans say this to express gratitude or acknowledge the role that someone or something played in achieving a certain outcome. It is usually used as a response to someone’s compliments on you.
Embarrassing comments, huh? Then I won’t spare any bit of them if it brings such improvement.
Original: 무안과 질책이라? 그래, 김비서 성장에 원동력이 될 수 있다면 앞으로도 아끼지 않겠어. (2:13)
How to pronounce: /mu-an-gwa jil-chae-gi-ra? Gue-rae, gim-bi-seo seong-jang-e won-dong-ryeo-gi doel su it-da-myeon a-peu-ro-do a-kki-ji an-ke-sseo/
Meaning: OK, it’s a long sentence. The translation carries the meaning well, but let’s dive into it a little more. First, ‘무안 /muan/’ and ‘질책 /jilchaek/’ are different. ‘무안’ comes from ‘무안하게 하다 /mu-an-ha-ge ha-da/,’ which means to embarrass someone. On the other hand, ‘질책하다 /jil-chaek-ha-da/’ means to rebuke, reprimand, or scold someone. It usually implies a stern or serious tone and conveys a sense of disapproval or disappointment. And, this means more serious than simply criticizing.
The other expression that Koreans use often is “원동력 /won-dong-ryeok/.” This word originally means a power that causes movements, but Koreans mostly use this word to express motivations or driving forces for certain actions. Here Youngjoon is saying that as long as my reprimands that embarrass you can be your motivation, I’ll not spare any bit of them.
Kdrama: Goblin (도깨비)
The people called him a god.
Original: 백성들은 그를 신이라 불렀다. (0:31)
How to pronounce: /baek-seong-deul-eun geu-reul shin-i-ra bul-reot-da/
Meaning: The people called him a god.
Let’s go over it word by word.
First, 백성 /beak-seong/ is a word for the people or the public during the historic periods of Korea such as Joseon Dynasty or Goryeo Dynasty. This word could mean anyone who is not a loyal family member, but, it generally means people who were not in a noble class or didn’t have a high status.
“들 /deul/” right after “백성” is a suffix that makes words plural. The Korean language does not clearly distinguish singular and plural in many cases, but when a word has “들” at the end, it means plural. So in this sentence, “백성들” means the people.
“은 /eun/” is a postposition word that makes a previous word a subject. There are four postposition words for this function: 은/는/이/가 (eun/neun/i/ga). It would be too long and complicated to explain this grammar so let’s move on this time. In this sentence, “백성들은” is a subject.
“그 /geu/” is a pronoun for male. Here “그” is obviously Kim Shin (Gong Yoo).
“를 /reul/” is another postposition word that makes a noun or pronoun an object. Again, let’s skip the grammar part. Here, “그를” means him, Kim Shin.
“신이라 /shin-i-ra/”: “신 /shin/” is a god (or God depending on the context). “이라 /i-ra/” or “이라고 /i-ra-go/” is a postpostion to refer or position a prior noun. It usually goes with verbs like call, refer, and so on. Here it goes with “불렀다,” the past tense of calling, meaning, they called him a god.
Watch more clips of Goblin (도깨비) on YouTube.
Related Post: Korean Expressions for Real Life
Related Post: Korean Terms for Family Members
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