화장지는 변기에 흘려 주세요

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by sekaijuuni, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. sekaijuuni Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    United States, English
    There's no textual context, but I'll give you the best situational context I can. I saw this sign in 2010 on the wall in a bathroom at the Mt. Aso Tourist Info Center in Kyushu, Japan. Unfortunately, the original Japanese was nowhere to be found. And nobody caught me taking a picture in the toilet!

    I kind of feel like the English might be telling you to throw toilet paper away rather than flushing it (don't remember if there was a trash can) but that's not a common practice here.

    It's very likely that the Korean is gibberish as well, but I'd appreciate any insight (or guesses!) as to the meaning. Thanks in advance!

    Attached Files:

  2. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    I have no idea what the "English" means. The Korean means more or less the reverse of what you surmised (or feared).

    화장지 is "toilet paper" (though Koreans mainly refer to it as 휴지, a general term covering paper tissues of all sorts; but then anyone who has watched any of those Korean dramas where our rough-hewn hard-working hero takes his posh chaebol daughter girlfriend downmarket for a bowl of offal soup will have spotted the roll of what looks like (and indeed is) toilet paper on the wall, which diners reach out and grab in circumstances where Westerners would expect a paper napkin to be available. The 변기 is what Americans call "the toilet" and what British English speakers call "the toilet bowl", (or what my German student landlady used to specify in some of her numerous draconian notices as "das eigentliche Gerät selbst" -- the actual piece of appuratus itself -- when she wanted to make very clear what the "toilet cleaning" duties of her tenants extended to. 변기에 adds the locative particle, telling readers that the toilet bowl is the place where they are politely asked to 흘리다 -- "drop / let fall / deposit" -- the toilet paper.

    But one does rather wonder where the anglophone and Korean users of these facilities had been depositing the items concerned, thus making this notice necessary. Now if the notice had been in Greek, it would have made more sense, since we all know about the nature of Greek plumbing and what that bucket is for...
  3. vientito Senior Member

    흘리다 looks as if it originated from the verb 흐르다 (to flow i.e. water... etc). The 리 possibly changes it into active form so 흘리다 would be equivalent to "flushing" or "making (sth) flow". So you get the picture: please flush that blah blah
  4. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    흐르다 is indeed the characteristic motion of any liquid and is what anything does when it "flows" like a river. But the causative counterpart 흘리다 seems to be mainly used for bodily fluids: blood, sweat, drool, and, in a million pop song lyrics, tears. Hence generally "shed" or "drip" with grammatical objects of that sort.

    화장지 as an object for that verb looks a bit odd to me. To flush a toilet is usually (변기의) 물을 내리다, another causative, and the expression to report a related problem to the janitor is (화장실) 물이 안 나와요. To refer to flushing something, such as an incriminating photograph, down the toilet pan, Korean generally deploys its jack-of-all-trades verb where disposing of unwanted items, memories -- or people -- is concerned, namely 버리다: 사진을 변기에 버렸다.

    There is, of course, another sort of "flush". I once spent several minutes headbanging over an item among several others obviously connected with interior refurbishment that kept being advertised in the ad window of my smartphone. 플러시도어. Then I realised it was none other than a Konglish "flush door".
  5. vientito Senior Member

    I stand corrected. There are in fact many specific meanings associated with that verb, most of which embed an abstract sense of being let out ex. secret, bodily fluid, little objects, emotion ...
    According to naver, I was even surprised to see that it could also mean "making payback by separate installments".
  6. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    At the risk of incurring the justified wrath of a moderator... I've just recalled a word that puzzled me even more than 플러시도어, and does link into the thread in a way. I encountered it as the title of a track on the 3rd album by 김윤아 (the one who was also the vocalist of Jaurim), namely 에뜨왈르.

    I could see that had to be a foreign word, since no Korean forms end in 르, but it doesn't get pronounced in the song, and I assumed it must be Konglish for something ending with "wall", but that got me nowhere. I was about to post a query here, then I heard the singer in a radio interview, during which she pronounced the title, and light dawned: 에뜨왈르 is coréençais for "étoile". Then I realised the answer had been there all along in the very first line: 까만 밤하늘, 가장 아름다운 .

    As I think I said in a post a few years back, a side-effect of the wondrous way Hangeul fits Korean like a glove is that it fits many other languages like a washed-out pair of very baggy pants with gaping holes in them.

    But the promised, albeit tenuous, link to the topic of this thread is that, in my initial desperation, I turned to one of the on-line translation programs (yes, I was indeed that desperate), which assured me the word meant "Not in the toilet". Just think, 에뜨왈르 might have ended up as "authentic" Korean on the wall of a Japanese restroom and caused even more puzzlement than the notice that started this thread.
  7. (쓰고 난) 화장지는 변기에 (넣어 물과 함께) 흘려 (보내) 주세요.

    Unfortunately you've seen it in japan, not in korea.
    And also it was posted for koreans and all of foreigners.
    It doesn't make a sense a little but any koreans can understand it and understand some of mistake for making a sentence.

    Anyway, in Korea.. :eek:

    휴지는 변기에 버리시오.
    휴지는 변기에 버려주세요.
    휴지는 변기에 버려주십시오.
  8. 경상남도로 오이소 Member

    "흘려 주세요"라는 말은 틀린 말이지만, 한국 사람이라면 무슨 의도로 적어놨는지 이해할 겁니다.
  9. sekaijuuni Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    United States, English
    Thank you for all of your replies! I would have thanked you earlier, but due to a problem with my spam settings, I was never notified of your posts L

    Unfortunately, I don’t understand Korean (though I can read a little bit of Hangul) so your posts are going a bit over my head, but I guess I can assume that:

    ・the Korean is pretty much as difficult to understand as the English,
    ・you’re probably supposed to flush the toilet paper,
    ・and the Korean forum is full of interesting and witty people.

    From what vientito and조금만are saying about the verb meaning “flow,” I’d guess that it’s just an overly direct translation. Japanese uses an intransitive verb to say that a river flows and the transitive version is used to describe flushing a toilet (or running water or crying tears – causing liquid to flow).

    I wish I could provide more insight, but that’s all I have. Thank you all!

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