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한국어 공부 갈 길이 뭡니다?

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by Lizara, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. Lizara Junior Member

    English - Canadian

    I'm trying to do a translation and I'm not quite sure what this phrase means (or if 갈 길이 is what I actually heard... but it sounds like that). How would you guys translate this? I was thinking something like, "How will he go about studying Korean?"
  2. ddungbo Junior Member

    Learning Korean is (still) a long way to go.
    I'm (still) a long way off from speaking fluent Korean.

    And I think you confused 뭡니다 and 멉니다. 뭡니다 is wrong (and not Korean). 멉니다(root: 멀다) is correct.

    Edit. 갈 길이 is correct, good catch. :)
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  3. Lizara Junior Member

    English - Canadian
    Ah... thanks. You're right. I thought 뭡니다 was weird given that it clearly ended with ㅂ니다 and not 입니까.
  4. ddungbo Junior Member

    Yes, that's correct. 뭡니까? is fairly common especially in a sentence complaining about something.
    eg. 이게 도대체 뭡니까?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  5. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    Two rather useful expressions in one example here.

    One's 갈 길 is "the road ahead" of one.

    A few examples from of my notorious stash of radio and TV dramas...

    Sometimes it can be perfectly literal, as in 갈 길이 먼데, 아침 먹고 빨리 출발해야지 "We've a long way to go, so I guess we've got to hit the road straight after breakfast." Or 제대로 먹어야 기운이 나지. 갈 길이 멀어." You've got to eat a proper meal to build up your energy. There's a long journey ahead".

    But more frequently, the road is a metaphorical one.

    내 인생 걱정하지 말구 자기 갈 길 가 = "Get on with your own life instead of worrying about mine."

    난 내 갈 길 갈 거야, which, depending on tone of voice, can be either a determined "I'll live life my own way" or a fatalistic "I'll do what I have to do / take whatever's coming my way".

    태업은 철회됐지만 아직 갈 길 멀어. "The slowdown strike has been called off, but there's still a long way to go [=before the dispute is resolved]".

    I'd personally be inclined to translate the original example as "I've still a lot to learn where Korean's concerned" or "I've a lot still to learn about Korean".

    (I was glad to see that ddungbo avoided the tendency many people have always to translate 공부 by "study". Very often "learn" or "Do schoolwork" is more idiomatically appropriate. The English equivalent of a child saying 공부를 못해 isn't "I cannot study", but "I'm no good at school(work) / no good in class / no good at academic stuff")

    The other useful expression is the use of 멀다 to denote something involving a metaphorical/temporal "long way" as well as as something literally "far" in space. One of the most striking examples is the rather common idiom, which can be pretty perplexing to learners, 끝나려면 멀었어? which is how Koreans ask, "Are you nearly finished?" or "Are you almost done?". Literally that's "When you are finished, is that far off?" with the single-word -면 clause functioning here as the subject of 멀다.
  6. 경상남도로 오이소 Junior Member

    Reminds me when I was a kid, and when my family and my relatives are in a car and headed for somewhere. Whenever a kid asks their parents whether we're there yet, they would say "(거의) 다 왔어", meaning "We're (almost) there". Although it's still long way to go--아직 갈 길이 좀 남았는데도요.

    In other words, when a Korean says "다 왔어요" when going somewhere, it's possible that they mean, ironically, "아직 갈길이 멀어요"--a long way to go. I don't know, maybe it's something very 경상남도적(的)--Kyeongsangnamdo-ish thing, where my parents are from. We're that mysterious people :)

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