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자신 & 자체

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by vientito, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. vientito Senior Member

    • 자신 & 자체

    This seems very basic but I am always confused as to whether they are interchangeable in general usage.

    If not interchangeable, how should they be used properly?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2013
  2. Rance Senior Member

    Their meaning is quite similar, but they are not interchangeable.
    자신 is for people while 자체 is not.

    Plan itself is not bad.
    계획 자체는 나쁘지 않다. (O)
    계획 자신은 나쁘지 않다. (X)

    Know thyself.
    너 자신을 알라. (O)
    너 자체를 알라. (X)
  3. vientito Senior Member

    I have found one curious example in naver where it seems to contradict the fact that 자체 is meant for things

    Most other examples seem to fit in with your explanation quite well except this:

    그 문제는 자체적으로 해결합시다

    Let's settle the matter among ourselves.

    So, I suppose 자체적으로 is dealing with ourselves - the people who are going to resolve the problem. Why would we not say "자신적으로"?

    Also, is 자기 for the most purpose identical to 자신?
  4. Rance Senior Member

    The confusion probably comes from the slight difference in how to use 자체 and 자체적.
    자체 usually comes after a noun while 자체적 often seems to have that noun omitted.

    그가 무사하다는 자체가 기적이다 (X)
    그가 무사하다는 것 자체가 기적이다 (O)

    In case of your sentence:
    그 문제는 자체적으로 해결합시다

    What's missing in this sentence is the subject, but what it's implying is that the subject, or the speaker, and listeners("we") are part of a specific organization.
    That implication is erased out in the process of translation.

    Fully written sentence should look something like:
    그 문제는 우리 회사 자체적으로 해결합시다.

    Here's another example.

    모 기업회장은 자체적으로 자금조달을 하기 시작했다.

    Here 자체적 does not mean 기업회장 himself.
    Instead it is likely to be referring to his company which is omitted in the sentence.

    모 기업회장은 (회사) 자체적으로 자금조달을 하기 시작했다.

    When dealing plural subjects, we still use 자신.

    우리는 우리 자신을 가꾸어야합니다. (O)
    우리는 우리 자체를 가꾸어야합니다. (X)

    그들의 적은 바로 그들 자신이다. (O)
    그들의 적은 바로 그들 자체이다. (X)

    And 자신적 does not sound natural to my ears and it's likely we don't use or rarely use that expression.

    Finally, there is some difference in 자기 and 자신.
    자신 can be an intensive pronoun, but 자기 is not.

    I, myself, like this picture.
    나 자신은 이 그림이 좋다. (O)
    나 자기는 이 그림이 좋다. (X)
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  5. vientito Senior Member

    Thank you so much for your explanation. It is all clear now.
  6. vientito Senior Member

    Just one more question before I let this topic go.

    When referring to person with higher status, like your grandfather & grandmother, I am informed that 당신 is used rather than 자기. How about 자신? Is it appropriate to use 자신 for a person who has a much higher respect status?
  7. Rance Senior Member

    Really depends on what you mean by "a much higher respect status". (Just some older people or someone you wish to show utmost respect?)
    To simply put, it is ok to use 자신.

    할아버지는 자기의 장수비결을 알려주셨다. (X)
    할아버지는 자신의 장수비결을 알려주셨다. (O)
    할아버지는 당신의 장수비결을 알려주셨다. (O)

    However the degrees of respect are not the same.
    If you wish to show utmost respect, you should use 당신.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  8. 82riceballs Senior Member

    English - USA
    Sorry to dig up this thread, but I had a similar question-

    I just read in Rance's explanation above that 자신 is used with people and 자체 is used with things.

    I was having a conversation with a Korean friend about a mutual friend-

    Friend: 얘는 미친듯이 술을 마시더라
    Me: 얘 자체가 미쳤어!!

    Should I have said 얘 자신이 미쳤어??
  9. Kross

    Kross Senior Member

    No, I have never heard someone saying 애 자신이 미쳤어 under those circumstances.

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