밀렸기에

Flooooooooor

Senior Member
English - USA
Hi all,

I was reading an explanation of the term 갑툭튀 and encountered this sentence, which describes Kim Jong Un's sudden rise from relative obscurity to leader of North Korea as an example:

해외 출입이 잦아 큰 주목을 받은 김정남에 비해서 상대적으로 밀렸기에 초창기에는 그 누구도 김정은이 새로운 북한의 지도자가 될 거라고 내다보지 않았고 존재감도 시들시들했다.​

Were it not for the word 밀렸기에, I would fully understand this sentence, but I am a little confused by both 1) its meaning and 2) how it fits into the sentence grammatically.

First, is it correct that the base verb 밀리다 here is referring to 김정은's status at the time relative to 김정남's, in that he was "worse" than 김정남 in terms of the amount of attention he was receiving? I have seen sentences before like "나는 아직 힘으로는 그에게 밀린다" in which some specific attribute (힘) is mentioned quite close to the verb to lay out what actually is the basis for comparing two entities. Here, too, there is some context given at the start to hint about what of 김정남 and 검정은 is being compared -- the attention/recognition they had on an international level -- but I want to check that my interpretation is right.

(As a follow-up, can someone simply say "A는 B에게 밀린다" without any other context to imply that A is simply worse than B in general, or would saying this prompt a listener to ask "worse in what way?")

Second, I am pretty sure that the use of -에 here is to mark the verb as being a cause/reason for the second part of the sentence, and that it could be replaced with -기 때문에 without significant change in meaning. Is this correct?

Thanks for any help!
 
  • pcy0308

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello Flooooooooor,
    First, "밀린다" does not necessarily refer to someone being pushed physically or someone being inferior to another in terms of his/her physical strength. For example, "(표차에서) 그녀에게 많이 밀렸기에 그는 상의원직을 포기해야 했다" refers to a male candidate losing a senate election (not because of a lack of physical strength obviously) because of a considerable differential in the number of votes received vis-à-vis his female rival, In this case, compared to his brother Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong Un was relatively behind/inferior in terms of how much attention he was getting, so no one really foresaw or expected him to become what he is now.

    As for your follow-up question, you can definitely use "밀린다" to express one's inferiority in terms of many different aspects. If you want to specify in what way someone or something is inferior, simply put "~면에서", "~적으로" or "~에서". For example, "우리팀은 공격면에서 (상대팀에게) 밀려", which means our team's offence is outmatched (vis-à-vis our opponent).

    As for your second question, you are 100% correct. Both expressions are interchangeable in this context. Hope this helps.
     

    Flooooooooor

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Hi pcy0308,

    These extra usage sentences really helped me understand the usage of the word -- thank you very much for your helpful explanations!
     
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