불 꺼진 창이다

ekdog2

Senior Member
English- Estados Unidos
Hi everyone, I am not sure what the following sentence means, especially the second part because it seems like it is an idiomatic expression:

고무신은 풍전등화가 아니라 불 꺼진 창이다.

Literally, it would mean that rubber shoes are not lamplights before the wind, but are windows where the light is out. I'm not sure how to interpret this.

Also, I do have one additional question that is unrelated. I came across the word "기린원." Is this a person's name or is it just a name of a magazine, journal, newspaper, etc?

Thanks.
 
  • pcy0308

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello ekdog2,

    I must first say, your sentence is very "Korean" in nature and is full of Korean metaphors. :) Here, the sentence is talking about how "고무신" or Gomusin, traditional Korean shoes made of rubber, is becoming out-of-fashion and obsolete. More specifically, in this case, it is referring to a significant decline in its market share.
    (Keep in mind, I was not able to figure out what your sentence meant just by itself. I had to look it up on the Internet to find more context. That being said, this sentence is by no mean a conventionally used expression. Safe to say, whoever wrote the whole passage on Gomusin made this expression up - and quite creatively at that!)

    1. "풍전등화" is a commonly used "four-character idiom based on Chinese letter," and like you've mentioned already, the idiom literally means "a lamplight before the wind." It connotes a dangerous, helpless situation where someone or something is facing an immediate, fatal threat.
    2. "불 꺼진 창" here seems to metaphorically express a demise, a conclusion. In other words, it is taking another step and describing what happens after "풍전등화" (what follows after the wind blew out the lamplight, extinguishing its light). I'd go so far as to say it somewhat has a irreversible connotation to it: like death or some other forms of "end" that cannot be undone.
    Unlike "풍전등화", "불 꺼진 창" is not really a set expression that people use or come across often. However, its usage here renders the whole sentence quite picturesque. This set of words, "등 (a lamp from 풍전등화)" "불 (light)", and "창 (window)" could be interpreted as being (not explicitly but to some degree) related as they create an image of a traditional Korean house, "Choga" (You can google "Korean Choga architecture! You'll see what I mean) with wooden windows and a room lit by "등불".
    3. All these poetic descriptions aside, your sentence simply means, "Gomusin is not just facing a decline in its market share but has already become obsolete." Therefore, "풍전등화" metaphorically connotes a market situation where Gomusin is likely losing its share, commercial popularity, marketability. On the other hand, "불 꺼진 창" is a metaphor for Gomusin that has already lost its market share and has already become obsolete.

    As for your additional question, I had to search the word "기린원" since I've never heard of it. The word refers to either a publishing company based in Korea or a zoo in Jeonju (a city in the southern part/southwest of South Korea). In this case, "기린원" is just a publisher since your sentence "고무신은 풍전등화가 아니라 불 꺼진 창이다" is an excerpt from a book/a journal article published by "기린원".

    Excuse my rather convoluted explanation. Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited:

    ekdog2

    Senior Member
    English- Estados Unidos
    Hello ekdog2,

    I must first say, your sentence is very "Korean" in nature and is full of Korean metaphors. :) Here, the sentence is talking about how "고무신" or Gomusin, traditional Korean shoes made of rubber, is becoming out-of-fashion and obsolete. More specifically, in this case, it is referring to a significant decline in its market share.
    (Keep in mind, I was not able to figure out what your sentence meant just by itself. I had to look it up on the Internet to find more context. That being said, this sentence is by no mean a conventionally used expression. Safe to say, whoever wrote the whole passage on Gomusin made this expression up - and quite creatively at that!)

    1. "풍전등화" is a commonly used "four-character idiom based on Chinese letter," and like you've mentioned already, the idiom literally means "a lamplight before the wind." It connotes a dangerous, helpless situation where someone or something is facing an immediate, fatal threat.
    2. "불 꺼진 창" here seems to metaphorically express a demise, a conclusion. In other words, it is taking another step and describing what happens after "풍전등화" (what follows after the wind blew out the lamplight, extinguishing its light). I'd go so far as to say it somewhat has a irreversible connotation to it: like death or some other forms of "end" that cannot be undone.
    Unlike "풍전등화", "불 꺼진 창" is not really a set expression that people use or come across often. However, its usage here renders the whole sentence quite picturesque. This set of words, "등 (a lamp from 풍전등화)" "불 (light)", and "창 (window)" could be interpreted as being (not explicitly but to some degree) related as they create an image of a traditional Korean house, "Choga" (You can google "Korean Choga architecture! You'll see what I mean) with wooden windows and a room lit by "등불".
    3. All these poetic descriptions aside, your sentence simply means, "Gomusin is not just facing a decline in its market share but has already become obsolete." Therefore, "풍전등화" metaphorically connotes a market situation where Gomusin is likely losing its share, commercial popularity, marketability. On the other hand, "불 꺼진 창" is a metaphor for Gomusin that has already lost its market share and has already become obsolete.

    As for your additional question, I had to search the word "기린원" since I've never heard of it. The word refers to either a publishing company based in Korea or a zoo in Jeonju (a city in the southern part/southwest of South Korea). In this case, "기린원" is just a publisher since your sentence "고무신은 풍전등화가 아니라 불 꺼진 창이다" is an excerpt from a book/a journal article published by "기린원".

    Excuse my rather convoluted explanation. Hope this helps!
    Thanks so much for the detailed explanation! It certainly helps!
     
    Top