Learn Korean with K-Dramas: My Love From Another Star
안녕하세요! Today we’ll be learning some Korean grammar and phrases through a K-drama. We’ll start out by covering some Korean used in the show My Love From Another Star (별에서 온 그대).
In My Love From Another Star, Cheon Song-yi (천송이) is a famous singer with a superiority complex. Do Min-jun (도민준) is an alien from another world (yes, an alien). If you want to know more about the show, watch the entire first episode HERE.
Here’s the scene we’ll be using for this lesson, from episode 1:
There’s a lot of dialogue to cover in this short clip, but I think we can get through it just fine. If you want a head start, check out the vocabulary list at the end of the post.
천송이: 야! 너 지금 우리집 가냐?
“Hey! Are you going to my house?”
(ya! neo ji-geum uri-jip ga-nya?)
야! (ya!) is a casual way of yelling out to someone. In fact, it can be quite rude. Imagine shouting out “Hey, you!” to a stranger on the street, and you’ll understand the feeling that this exclamation has.
In a similar way, using 너 (neo) to mean “you” can also be rude. Save these two terms for your close friends, unless you’re looking for a fight. And if you are looking for a fight, well… don’t tell them that I taught you this.
지금 (ji-geum) means “now” or “right now.”
And although 우리 (u-ri) means “we” or “us” when used on its own, connecting it to a noun (here 집 (jip), which means “house”) means “my.” 우리집 (u-ri-jip) therefore means “my house.” Often, nouns (people, places or things) that are collectively owned will use 우리 (u-ri) to mean “my” instead of directly saying 저의 (jeo-euy) or 나의 (na-euy). A few examples of nouns that are collectively owned could be your house (although it’s your house, you might not be its only resident), your parents (do you own your parents?), and your country (Koreans will often call “Korea” 우리 나라 (u-ri-na-ra), “our country,” for this reason).
가냐 (ga-nya) comes from the verb 가다 (ga-da), “to go,” with 냐 (nya) attached to the end of the verb stem – the verb stem is simply the verb (here, 가다 (ga-da)) with its 다 (da) removed. Doing this turns the verb into a strong, rude sounding question. Just like 야! (ya!) and 너 (neo) can be rude, adding 냐 (nya) to a verb stem can be rude as well. Here are some more examples:
어디 가냐? (eo-di ga-nya?) / Where are you going?
뭐 먹냐? (muo meong-nya?) / What are you eating?
왜 안 하냐? (oae an ha-nya?) / Why don’t you do it?
Remember that the language used in this scene is casual Korean. It’s okay to speak like this with close friends who are the same age as you or younger, but would be rude to use to someone older or to a stranger. In this case, Song-yi and Min-jun aren’t friends, so she’s being rude by speaking this way… but that’s just her character so we can forgive her. Right?
천송이: 야! 너 지금 어딜가-
“Hey! Where do you think you’re going-?”
(ya! neo ji-geum eodil-ga-?)
Once again, Song-yi isn’t being very polite to Min-jun, and promptly yells at him, referring to him again using 너 (neo).
In this sentence, she begins to ask him where he’s going using 어딜 (eo-dil). 어딜 (eo-dil) is a contraction of 어디를 (eo-di-leul), and the 를 (leul) at the end of 어디 (eo-di) is simply an optional marker. She could have just as well said 어디 가 (eo-di ga) instead. However, she suddenly changes her way of speaking, as we’ll see in her next line.
천송이: -시나 했더니...
“I was wondering where you were going, but…”
Song-yi suddenly realizes that Min-jun wasn't stalking her, as she sees him begin to walk to the apartment next to hers. Probably a bit embarrassed at lashing out at him, she switches her speech level to polite Korean. This sentence uses a few Intermediate level Korean concepts in the same sentence, so don’t worry if it doesn't click the first time.
시다 (si-da) can be added to the end of a verb stem in order to show respect to the subject of that verb (this is called an honorific verb). Here, 가다 (ga-da) would become 가시다 (ga-si-da), which is then used just like any other Korean verb.
Remember that using 시다 (si-da) to make an honorific verb is used to show respect to the subject of the verb (what the verb is talking about), and not to the person you’re speaking to. For example, you could just as well use an honorific verb while speaking casually to a friend, if you wish to show respect to someone who you’re talking about, as in this example:
우리 할머니도 하셨어. (u-ri hal-meo-ni-do ha-syeoss-eo.) / My grandmother did it too.
In the above sentence, using the verb 하시다 (ha-si-da) instead of 하다 (ha-da) shows respect to your grandmother, but not to the person with whom you’re speaking.
나 하다 (na ha-da) is another grammar form that you can use after a verb stem to express that you were wondering about something.
어디 가시나 했어요. (eo-di ga-si-na haess-eo-yo.) / “I was wondering where you were going.”
왜 수영을 안 하시나 했어요. (oae su-yeong-eul an ha-si-na haess-eo-yo.) / “I was wondering why you didn’t swim.”
누가 내 스테이크를 먹었나 했어. (nu-ga nae seu-te-i-keu-leul meog-eon-na haess-eo.) / “I was wondering who ate my steak.”
And finally, 더니 (deo-ni) can be added to a verb stem (here it is being added to the past tense of 하다 (ha-da), which is 했다 (haet-da)) to mean “but” or “however.” This grammar form is used to show that something happened differently than you’d expected.
학교에 갔더니 아무도 없었어! (hak-gyo-e gat-deo-ni a-mu-do eop-seoss-eo!) / “I went to school, but nobody was there!”
천송이: 옆집 가시는구나?
“You’re going next door?”
옆 (yeop) means “side,” so 옆집 (yeop-jip) literally means “side house” – or for a better translation, “neighbor’s house.”
Song-yi is still speaking politely (using the honorific verb 가시다 (ga-si-da) instead of 가다 (ga-da)), but ends her sentence a bit differently.
Attaching 는구나 (neun-gu-na) to a verb stem is one way to express surprise, similar to saying “Oh!” before a sentence. Song-yi is showing that she’s surprised to see him going to the apartment next to hers.
아! 한국 사람이시구나! (a! han-guk sa-ram-i-si-gu-na!) / “Ah, so he’s a Korean!”
영어도 잘 하는구나! (yeong-eo-do jal ha-neun-gu-na!) / “Oh, you speak English well too!”
천송이: 아, 거기 사시나 봐요!
“Ah, it seems you live there!”
(a, geo-gi sa-si-na bwa-yo!)
거기 (geo-gi) means “there.”
And remember 시다 (si-da)? The verb 살다 (sal-da), “to live,” (as well as any verb stem ending in ㄹ (l/r)) loses its ㄹ (l/r) when combined with 시다 (si-da), to become 사시다 (sa-si-da).
Attaching 나 보다 (na bo-da) to a verb stem literally means “to look like,” but it can translate more naturally here as “to seem.” Here’s another example.
정말 피곤하나 봐. (jeong-mal pi-gon-ha-na bwa.) / “He really seems tired.”
천송이: 저 오늘 2301호에 새로 이사왔거든요.
“I just moved to 2310 today.”
(jeo o-neul i-sam-baek-il-ho-e sae-ro i-sa-wat-geo-deun-yo.)
저 (jeo) means “I” or “me” (you probably know this already), and is a polite way to refer to yourself.
오늘 (o-neul) is simply “today.” Often the day (today, yesterday, tomorrow, etc.) will be said after the subject (here, 저 (jeo)) in Korean, unless you want to emphasize it by placing it at the start of a sentence.
호 (ho) can be used after a number to indicate, well, a number. Here, it’s being used to say her apartment number. However, 호 cannot be used on its own.
새로 (sae-ro) is an adverb that means “new,” but in natural English we could translate it to “just.” Here Song-yi is saying that she just moved (she’s newly moved in).
이사오다 (i-sa-o-da) means “to move (here).” The verb 오다 (o-da), “to come,” signifies that she’s talking about where she currently is. If she had moved away somewhere else, she would have used the verb 이사가다 (i-sa-ga-da).
거든(요) (geo-deun[yo]) can be added to the end of a verb stem to mean “for your information” or “just so you know.” It’s used when you’re telling someone about something that you think they don’t know.
저 미국 사람이 아니거든요. (jeo mi-guk sa-ram-i a-ni-geo-deun-yo.) / “I’m not an American, just so you know.”
아니요. 진짜 맛있거든요. (a-ni-yo. jin-jja mas-it-geo-deun-yo.) / “No. (For your information) it tastes really good.”
천송이: 깜짝 놀라셨죠? 하, 하.
“Surprised, aren’t you? Haha!”
(ggam-jjak nol-la-syeot-jyo? ha, ha.)
깜짝 놀라다 (ggam-jjak nol-la-da) means “to be shocked” or “to be surprised.” Here again, Song-yi is speaking politely by changing 놀라다 (nol-la-da) to 놀라시다 (nol-la-si-da).
Adding 죠 (jyo) to the end of a verb stem (or just adding 지 (ji) if speaking casually), is similar to ending a sentence with “Isn't it?” It’s used frequently in natural Korean conversations to mean that you’re requesting some sort of confirmation from the person you’re talking to. Another way to think of it is like the “eh” that sometimes Canadians attach to the end of their sentences.
재미있죠! (jae-mi-it-jyo!) / “It’s fun, huh!”
고양이는 쥐를 먹지? (go-yang-i-neun jui-leul meok-ji?) / “Cats eat mice, right?”
천송이: 저 모르세요?
“Don’t you know me?”
(으)세요 ([eu]se-yo) can be added to the end of a verb stem in order to make a question sound polite. If the verb stem ends in a vowel, add 세요 (se-yo). If the verb stem ends in a consonant, add 으세요 (eu-se-yo).
Using 모르세요 (mo-reu-se-yo) (모르다 [mo-reu-da] + 시다 [si-da]) is a polite way to ask “Don’t you know?”
김치를 좋아하세요? (gim-chi-leul jo-a-ha-se-yo?) / “Do you like kimchi?”
저를 안 믿으세요? (jeo-leul an mid-eu-se-yo?) / “Don’t you believe me?”
천송이: 몰라요? 날?
“You don’t know me?”
Although she’s still speaking politely by ending her sentence with 요 (yo), she’s downgraded her extra polite Korean quite a bit by using 몰라요 (mol-la-yo) here instead of 모르세요 (mo-reu-se-yo).
Then again, her very next sentence goes a step lower, by switching back from using 저 (jeo) to the more casual version 나 (na). 나 (na) has the same meaning as 저 (jeo), but is only for casual speaking and not for speaking with people who are older than you or strangers.
날 (nal) is a shortening of 나를 (na-leul). Her sentence 날? (nal?) is a fragment, but if completed could be something like 날 몰라? (nal mol-la?)
도민준: 알아야 됩니까?
“Do I have to?”
Here we get to learn a new common form – “to have to.”
In order to make it, change a verb to the 요 (yo) form like normal, but attach 야 되다 (ya doe-da) to the end instead of 요 (yo). Here, Min-jun uses the verb 알다 (al-da), “to know,” which would normally become 알아요 (al-a-yo) in the 요 (yo) form.
By ending his sentence with 니까 (ni-kka), he’s responding back to her formally. You can tell by the way he replies (not using the more informal 요 (yo) form), that he’s not interested in becoming friendly with her.
언제 해야 돼? (eon-je hae-ya doae?) / “When do I have to do it?”
왜 가야 돼요? (oae ga-ya doae-yo?) / “Why do you have to go?”
천송이: 어? 아니요. 그런 건 아닌데요.
“Huh? No. That’s not what I mean.”
(eo? a-ni-yo. geu-reon geon a-nin-de-yo.)
아니요 (a-ni-yo) is a complete sentence on its own, and means “No.”
그런 (geu-reon) is an adjective that means “that kind of.” 건 (geon) is a shortened version of 것은 (geos-eun), so together 그런 건 (geu-reun geon) means “that kind of thing.”
Literally, she’s replying to him that “It’s not that kind of thing” (referring to what he said), but a more natural translation for this would simply be “That’s not what I mean.”
Ending a verb stem with 데(요) (de[yo]) is a way of softening the ending of a sentence – it makes the sentence sound like you’re not finished completing a thought.
To make this grammar form, attach ㄴ데(요) (n-de[yo]) if the verb stem ends with a vowel, or attach 은데(요)(eun-de[yo]) if it ends with a consonant. This only works with adjectives though. For regular action verbs, you’ll attach 는데(요) (neun-de[yo]) instead.
천송이: 근데 왜 이렇게 빤히 쳐다보세요?
“But why are you staring at me like that?”
(geun-de oe i-reo-ke bban-hi cheo-da-bo-se-yo?)
근데 (geun-de) is simply a way to start your sentence with “but.”
왜 (oae) means “why,” and 이렇게 (i-reo-ke) means “like this.” Together they mean “why like this.”
빤히 (bban-hi) means “clearly” or “obviously,” and 쳐다보다 (cheo-da-bo-da) means “to stare” (here it’s being used as the honorific verb 쳐다보시다 (cheo-da-bo-si-da)).
If we put everything together, we get the literal translation of “But why are you clearly staring like this?”
도민준: 비밀번호 누를 겁니다.
“I’m going to enter my passcode.”
(bi-mil-beon-ho nu-leul geom-ni-da.)
비밀번호 (bi-mil-beon-ho) is a combination of the words 비밀 (bi-mil) (“secret”) and 번호 (beon-ho) (“number”), and means “password” or “passcode” (Get it? Like a secret number?). Remember how I said that we can’t use 호 (ho) on its own? Instead, if you want to say “number” without a number attached, you can use 번호 (beon-ho).
누르다 (nu-reu-da) means “to press,” and here Min-jun uses it in the future tense – “I will.” The basic form for the future tense can be made by attaching ㄹ 것이다 (l geos-i-da) to a verb stem ending in a vowel, or 을 것이다 (eul geos-i-da) to a verb stem ending in a consonant. But here, he uses 거 (geo) instead of 것 (geot), which is a common shortened version. This then becomes ㄹ 겁니다 (l geom-ni-da) and 을 겁니다 (eul geom-ni-da). Just as before, he’s still speaking to her politely with a cold expression, using the 니다 (ni-da) form (he really doesn’t like her).
내일 학교에서 공부할 겁니다. (nae-il hak-gyo-e-seo gong-bu-hal geom-ni-da.) / “Tomorrow I’ll study at school.”
천송이: 쏴리. 예... 쏴리.
“Sorry. Okay. Sorry.”
(ssoa-ri. ye... ssoa-ri.)
쏴리 (ssoa-ri) is just a Konglish version of “Sorry” in English (a mix of Korean and English). It’s simply used here as a joke. The actual way to say “Sorry” in Korean would be 죄송합니다 (joe-song-ham-ni-da) or 미안합니다 (mi-an-ham-ni-da), among others.
예 (ye) (or 네 (ne)) means “Yes,” but it can also be used as a simple “Okay” when you want to show that you understand someone.
천송이: 아, 저 어린 놈의 쉐끼... 사람을 뭘로 보고!
“Ah, that little brat. Who does he think I am?”
(a, jeo eo-rin nom-euy sue-kki... sa-ram-eul muol-lo bo-go!)
The 저 (jeo) used here is an adjective, and is different from 저 for “I” or “me;” it means “that.”
어리다 (eo-ri-da) means “to be young,” but specifically is used toward children. If you want to say that someone is young, but not young like a child, then you’d use 젊다 (jeom-dda).
놈 (nom) can have several meanings, such as “jerk” or “brat,” but it’s not something you want to use to anyone you’re not close friends with. Combined with 어리다 (eo-ri-da), 어린놈 (eo-rin-nom) means “a young jerk” or “a young brat.”
쉐끼 (sue-kki) is a misspelling (she’s saying it wrong to sound cute) of the word 새끼 (sae-kki), which is definitely not something to use to strangers – it means either “bastard” (if to a guy) or “bitch” (if to a girl). With that said, you will hear it used quite frequently in Korean.
사람 (sa-ram) means “person,” and 뭘로 (muol-lo) is a combination of 뭘 (muol) + 로 (lo) (“as what”). Literally, this sentence could translate as “Looking at people as what!” In Korean, to look at someone as “what” means that you’re ignoring them, so Song-yi is complaining that Min-jun is ignoring her, as well as people in general (But can you blame him? After all, he’s an alien, isn't he?).
Ending the sentence with 고 (go) leaves it as a fragment – an uncompleted sentence.
천송이: 근데 진짜 나를 몰라?
“But does he really not know me?”
(geun-de jin-jja na-leul mol-la?)
진짜 (jin-jja) is a casual version of 정말 (jeong-mal), and means “really.”
천송이: 어떻게 몰라?
“How doesn’t he know me?”
어떻게 (eo-tteo-ke) means “how.” You’re doing pretty well! We barely even need any commentary for some of these lines.
천송이: 북한에서 왔어?
“Is he from North Korea?”
북한 (buk-han) is how South Korea refers to North Korea.
에서 (e-seo) means “from,” and is used when you’re talking about something coming from somewhere. 오다 (o-da) at the end means “to come.”
저는 미국에서 왔습니다. (jeo-neun mi-guk-e-seo wass-eum-ni-da.) / “I came from America.”
민준이는 별에서 왔어요. (min-jun-i-neun byeol-e-seo wass-eo-yo.) / “Min-jun came from the stars.”
“Is he an alien?”
외계인 (oe-gye-in) means “alien” or “extraterrestrial.”
(이)야 (i[ya]) is a casual version of the verb 이다 (i-da) (“to be”). In polite Korean, you might see 이에요 (i-e-yo) or 예요 (ye-yo) or 입니까 (im-ni-kka) – this has the same meaning, but is used only in casual situations.
However, since Song-yi is speaking to herself, there’s no need to be polite to anyone. Whenever you’re talking to yourself in Korean, feel free to speak casually. Just make sure that nobody who might be listening thinks that you’re talking about them.
너 바보야? (neo ba-bo-ya?) / “Are you an idiot?”
난 외계인이 아니야! (nan oe-gye-in-i a-ni-ya!) / “I’m not an alien!”
I’d recommend reading these subtitles over a few more times in Korean, and then watching the clip until you’re able to hear the words for yourself. This is a great way to practice listening and understanding Korean. Just like in English, the same words get used over and over again in conversation, so becoming familiar with how they sound will help to improve your own Korean.
See? I told you we’d make it through. Korean, like anything else, takes practice to become better. With enough study and practice, you’ll be watching Korean dramas without subtitles on your own. Good luck in your studies!
Billy Go has been working as a Korean translator since 2008 with his B.A. in Korean, and currently teaches Korean online on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/gobillykorean). Most recently, he has published his first book, Korean Made Simple: A beginner’s guide to learning the Korean language, which is available through his web site (http://www.gobillykorean.com) and other online retailers.