If you aren’t already watching or finished watching 별에서 온 그대 (You Who Came From the Stars) then you probably might have been living in a cave.
Jun Ji Hyun starring as Cheon Song Yi, THE extroverted Top International Korea Superstar with a penchant for dropping English phrases, is truly the MVP who carries most of the weight of the show with her delightful, embarrassing and dramatic quirks. If anyone can be your (counter) motivation to learn proper Korean, I figure this girl’s broke-down English would be it. 😛
Anyway, she meets an ancient and introverted Alien by the name of Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun), who also has some strange quirks of his own. At the risk of sounding scandalous (it’s really not), one of them happens to be his fainting spells when bodily fluids are accidentally exchanged.
Anyway, since K-drama watching has long been a method of Korean learning, let’s look at some of the stuff mentioned. I’m going to focus on the first part of Episode 16 since there are some fun nuggets to investigate (but parts that don’t contain too much spoilers):
(Vid courtesy of here)
Go to the timecode indicated to see the usage of the following:
- “내 인생 (life) 에서 사라져 (사라다: disappear) 줘 (-주다:give/do for me) 요.” (Please (do me the favor) of getting lost from my life
Useful term to tell people to get lost. Every drama uses this line, though if people actually acted upon this command, you’ll end up with many ‘MISSING’ posters pasted on lamp posts in Seoul.
- 젠장! (damn! hell! darn!)
Swear word! I seldom hear this in dramas (presumably because it’s pretty standard, and people like SWAG/YOLO contemporary swears), but it’s your basic ‘damn’ equivalent, I believe! Indeed. Which seemingly dependable guy equipped with all kinds of superpowers expects a superstar to drag their woozy-from-a-kiss unconscious ass into the car? Rude.
- “그 때 도!… 키스 그거. 하자마자 기절. 이번에 도 하자마자 혼절. (That time too!… The kiss. You faint as soon as we did it.)
- “할 수 없지.” (Nothing I can do about it. Oh well.)
From ~(으)ㄹ 수 있다/없다. (something is possible/not possible to be done. I can / can’t). See following point for more.
The terse conversation between Jaekyung and the prosecutor/detective duo. I’m not in the camp that thinks twisting their ring with an ominous look and asking people about their general health (hell I do both sometimes) constitutes to the holy grail of evil acting. In fact, I would even say he’s not a very impressive or smart killer. As *killers go, Jaekyung is your basic run-of-mill rich guy whose primary go-to solution is death, and he orders people to do the dirty work for him. Shit’s so intense for Jaekyung that he throws out a rap bit that took me back for like an hour trying to figure out his exact words. I think I kinda got it? Their conversation is civil with formal use of language.
Jaekyung: “..문제가 됩니까?”
(Has it become a problem?)
Prosecutor-nim: 정확하게 말씀하세요. 한유라씨와 연애관계가 아니었습니까?
(Please tell us precisely. Weren’t you in a romantic relationship with Miss Han Yoora?)
Jaekyung: 전 아니었습니다. (It was not the case for me.)
전 is the short form of 저는. This might look like ‘I am ___’ , but not quite. This situation also happens in Japanese. Where 저는 or 전 / 私は/僕は etc. appears, it does not always mean ‘I am ____’ but more of a ‘as for me, in my case’. Imagine you’re in a Japanese restaurant and the waiter asks you and your friend for your orders. Your friend quips ‘Fish’ and you might go 「僕は牛肉(gyuu niku – beef)。」’Beef for me.’ and not ‘I am Beef.’ It’s understood that you mean yourself without having to ramble out the whole sentence (although you can! But good food is too important to waste time on. ) Similarly, Jaekyung isn’t saying ‘I am not.’ but more like ‘Not for me’.
Jaekyung: 한유라씨는 그렇게 생각하고 있었을수 있습니다. (It is possible that she had been thinking that way.)
If you try to pronounce this (saengak-hago isseoseul su issumnida) , you might get what I mean by the rap.
There are 3 grammar portions to this. Now, I don’t trust myself to teach anyone technicalities because I’m intuitive and artistic (ie. just plain lazy and inaccurate) sort of ‘Just feel it. You’ll get it!’ kind of korean learner, I’ll link you to competent explanations.
So you add the three, basically you get 그렇게 생각하고 있었을수 있습니다 = It is possible that she had been thinking that way (when she was alive)
There’s a Japanese version, but it’s not so confusing: そう思っていた(had thoughtso) こと (the thing about) が あります(is)。
After I finally got what he said, I practised that chunk like I do for rap and irritated the hell out of everyone by dropping that line in response to everything.
Person: “OMG. THIS ACTOR IS SO HOT.”
Me: *poetic look* “전.. 그렇게 생각하고 있었을수 있습니다.”
Oh, I’m so annoying. Haha.
(*Hannibal Lecter the Satan of evil villain – Go watch the drama (Hannibal S1 and S2) and movie (Silence of the Lambs series) if you haven’t already. Meaning hidden in meaning after meaning enshrouded in mysterious symbolic imagery – It’s heaven for intuitive people who likes reading in between the lines. Second prize goes to Choi Min Sik, who makes his gritty villain roles look like second nature. I WILL run if I see him by my window.)