What's in a Word?
The very first word that will be discussed is saranghaeyo (I love you). Mostly, this word is chosen because from the Queen’s vantage point, not only is it one of the most beautiful words in the language but it is also the one most spoken in truth and sincerity. It is not just said to get the attention of the opposite sex or for a quick one night stand. It is not even uttered when first realized because it carries such a commitment with it. Most of the Kdramas show the characters first saying nanun norul joaheyo, I like you, the informal way or nanun norul joahae, which notes a more intimate feeling without expressing true love. Heroes and heroines, alike, are careful to mutter these words because they may be rejected or misunderstood. We find them taking too long to admit feelings or finally stating feelings after some time has passed and they are sure that they do love the person, at the least, and that the feelings are returned, at the most. Such is the case for Lee Shin (Jung Yong Hwa) when he finally realizes he does in fact love Lee Kyu Won (Park Shin Hye) in Heartstrings. Lee Shin had to be sure that he was in love with her because he had already had a case of puppy love for his instructor, Jung Yoon Soo (So Yi Hyun). Our hero kept his love to himself, working in the background to make sure that his true love (Lee Kyu Won) made it in the music business despite the fact that it was his own dream for so long. How wonderful was the moment when he finally uttered the word “Saranghaeyo!” to Kyu Won.
Another favorite is Kamsahamnida (Thank you!). I like this word. It speaks of a much felt appreciation of whatever has been done on behalf of the person who is speaking it. It takes longer to say Kamsahamnida than it does the American Thank you, but when it is said by our favorite girl or guy in Kdrama, we almost want to weep. To have the effort, that was put into whatever it is that has been accomplished, appreciated so deeply moves the viewer it’s as much as if it had happened in reality. Remember or review the drama Thorn Birds, episode 20 (43:04) when our antagonist Han Yoo Kyung (Kim Min Jung) finally utters the word sorry, it is real. In the entire series revenge was the only thing on Yoo Kyung’s mind. Blinded by what she thought was her mother’s rejection, Han Yoo Kyung went about destroying every life she touched until she met again her childhood friend Seo Jung Eun (Han Hye Jin) who was like a cleaning woman keeping the secrets of Yoo Kyung and raising Yoo Kyung’s abandoned child. When Jun Eun saves Yoo Kyung’s life by bringing her home and nursing her back to health, she realizes just what her friend had done for her and she finally says joesanhamnida and means it.
Other words to listen for and to think about are anieyo (you are welcome/no problem), the musical sounding ne (yes), hyung (older brother), and apayo (sick). The one word, from the Queen’s vantage point is overworked is the ever present, oppa. This one should get a much needed rest! Girls seem to say it to every good looking eligible male they meet in Kdrama. Even when the male does not feel the same way, some girls wear it out anyway! This is very much like girls in America who do not seem to understand that a young man is just not that into them. Maybe that is the same everywhere. Anyway, for now, this ends your lesson in Korean from the Queen’s vantage point.
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