Alright. How long has it been since you started learning Korean? The Sanchon Hunjang will be administering a little language quiz today:
How would you say "An old man in his seventies, whose cow was stolen..."?
☞ According to the paper, it is "소를 도둑 맞은 70대 할아버지가...
I'm sure I could have come up with some muddling way to express the idea, but I would never have thought to say it this way. I didn't realize that you could make 도둑 맞은 work as a single unit and take the object of the stealing.
And speaking of odd single-units in Korean, how about all those words that end in that elevating suffix ~님.
- I once knew this assiduous student of Korean who puzzled long and hard over the name of the group 벗님들. Of course that was before he fell in love with 박해받은 노동자의 해방 poetry. At any rate, he reasoned that, since the suffix has the elevating effect, it surely couldn't be used in speaking about oneself. Just like you can't say "*나님께서는 진지드시겠습니다." Well, I guess you could say that, but it wouldn't be in good form. And it certainly wouldn't be a native speaker kind of thing to do. So how could these guys call themselves 벗님들?
- And how about 손님? If you're a regular customer, and you have occasion to mention that fact, you can't very well say "*나는 단골손이야."
- I frequently see teachers who, when talking to their students, refer to themselves as "선생님." For instance, "선생님이 잠깐 나갔다 올께." I even cornered one of them and quizzed her down about it. Her response was "we do that to teach the kids that they need to call the teacher 선생님." But that doesn't hold much water when you realize that, if this were the case, they should be attaching the elevating verb infix ~시, too. Then we'd be back to that *나님께서 stuff again.
I think the key lies in the 소를 도둑 맞는 principle. In some words, the ~님 may have started out as an elevating suffix but now it has just became a natural part of a few nouns. They have fused into a single unit. Since it's just one unit, it no longer sounds strange to call yourself 선생님 or 벗님. That's my new idea, anyway. Which is not to say that teachers don't call each other 선생 (sans ~님), but there seems to be a bit of single-unit-ness about words like 선생님.
(More of the newspaper article about the old man and his cow, just in case anyone was curious about more details than the grammar of the title. 소를 도둑 맞은 70대 할아버지가 ‘횡재’를 했다.
도둑 맞은 암소가 19일만에 새끼를 낳아 자신의 품으로 돌아온 것이다. 그야말로 '새옹지마(塞翁之馬)'가 아닌 '새옹지우(塞翁之牛)'셈이다.전남 여수시 화양면 서촌리에 사는 김모(74) 할아버지가 12년생 암소와 2년생 암소 2마리를 도둑 맞은 것은 지난 달 12일. 김 할아버지는 아침에 소 먹이를 주려고 축사에 나왔다 깜짝 놀랐다... Swiped via Naver.
Say...that's pretty clever how they turned the border geezer's horse
into the border geezer's cow