참 생일 언제라고 했죠?

Soo Gun

Member
Spanish-Colombia
My language partner asked me "참 (my name) 생일 언제라고 했죠?". With my very basic Korean I could tell she was asking when my birthday was but I wanted to know what 참 meant so I put the question in the translator. The translator said: "By the way, when is your birthday?" but below where they break down every word it says that 참 means "really, (진짜로) truly, (매우) very, so, very much, quite, extremely" but also "(진실) truth, (formal) verity". I wanted to know if 참 really means "by the way" or it's just "really" or if you can use it in both ways.
 
  • pcy0308

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Hello Soo Gun,
    Your definition of "참" is on spot.

    Just a side note, "참" has several meaning in fact:
    1) When it is used as an adverb, it means "quite", "really", "truly", "extremely." It serves as an intensifier of what follows: for example, "여기는 경치가 참 멋지네요" means "the view here is quite amazing."

    2) It could also be used as a noun meaning "truth". For example, "이 주장이 참입니까?" could be interpreted as "is this statement true? (if translated literally, word-by-word, "is this statement the truth?" - which sounds unnatural in English).

    3) "참" can be used as an exclamation. "참, 안타깝군요:" "oh! how unfortunate!"

    4) More often than not when used in a conversation, "참" can also mean "by the way", "oh", "speaking of which". It is used when changing the topic of conversation, when drawing attention to a new question or topic that may or may not necessarily have much to do with what was being discussed. When a question or a thought surfaces out of blue, when a speaker comes to a sudden realization, when interupting the current topic of conversation to introduce a new question...there are many instances where "참" can be used in the aforementioned manner. For example,
    A: "오늘 날씨 참 좋네." ("The weather is really nice today.")
    B: "응, 그런데 내일 비온데." ("Yes, but I heard it's going to be rainy tomorrow.")
    A: "그래? 내일 회사갈때 우산 챙겨야겠네. 참, 프로젝트 건는 다했어?" ("Is that so? I'd better take an umbrella to work tomorrow. By the way, have you finished your project"

    In the given sentence, "참, Soo Gun, 생일 언제라고 했죠?" "참" could more or less be understood as "by the way".

    Hope this helps!
     

    Soo Gun

    Member
    Spanish-Colombia
    Thank you very much for your thorough answer, pcy0308! One last thing. Judging by the ending of some of the sentences you wrote, 잠 can be used both in formal and informal language, right?
     
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