It must be love

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by Mahou, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Mahou

    Mahou New Member

    Español - Colombia
    Could someone please tell me if this sentence is correct? What I intend to say is 'It must be love' → 사랑이 시작된거야
    If it's wrong, I'd be very grateful if someonetells me the right way to say it.
    Thank you in advance!
  2. hogeun78 New Member

    It's wrong.

    'It must be love' -> 그건 분명 사랑이야

    '사랑이 시작된거야' -> Love has begun
  3. valeAna New Member

    'it must be love' means 그건 분명 사랑이야, 사랑인 것이 분명해 in korean.
    'it' is '그것'.
    'must be' is '-인 것이 분명하다, 틀림없다'.
    'love' is '사랑'.

    hope you get this :)
  4. Mahou

    Mahou New Member

    Español - Colombia
    Hogeun78 and valeAna, thank you very much♥.
    I think I understand now :3.
  5. 조금만 Senior Member

    English - England
    This is trickier than it looks, and connects with some important issues about the way English is taught, especially in East Asian countries.

    The Korean approach to language learning (which is in turn heavily influenced by Chinese traditional techniques) tends to inculcate the supposed equivalence of single words or short phrases across the two languages and to chop sentences up into chunks, map each chunk to its supposed equivalent, then glue the bits back together. This is how some computerized "translation" works... or rather, doesn't work.

    But we humans can do a bit better, because we have evolved to handle longer-range spans of words as single units of meaning. The problem for language learners is that different languages not only use different words for (broadly) the same things, but, more importantly, they build those words into sentences in fundamentally different ways.

    As an English native speaker, I would retranslate 그건 분명 사랑이야 as "This is certainly love", or "This is love without a doubt" of "This has just got to be love". Now if that's what the original poster wanted to convey, as may well be the case, then the suggested translations are exactly what is wanted.

    But it's equally possible to my mind that the poster's expression meant something more like "I can't see how this can be anything else but love (unlikely/unexpected/surprising though that may be) / Love is the only explanation for this that i can think of",etc. But if that actually was the meaning the poster had in mind, just about the last word we want in any Korean equivalent is 분명.

    The problem is that Koreans are frequently taught that the phrase "must be" is always categorically emphatic, and hence is to be translated using the adverb 분명 ="certainly, definitely, beyond a doubt". What they are less often taught is that in idiomatic English, "must be" equally often bears an almost opposite, much more conjectural-tentative sense "This must be love (I guess... what else can it be?)"

    I turned to my stash of TV dramas for examples, and didn't have long to look. I'll quote just the first instance I found

    A girl pre-occupied with thoughts of her parents' divorce tells her friend "꼭 보고 싶은 사람이 있어" "There's someone I (simply) must see", and walks off. Her friend, looking after her in puzzlement, reflects "꼭 보고 싶은 사람? 아빠 만나러 가나보다. "Someone she must see? I guess she must be going to meet her father." Two "musts" in my English version of that final line, but very different ones.

    Now the first line uses the rather more colloquial 꼭 to convey the sense of "definitely" rather than the somewhat more elevated 분명, but all the same, the sort of "must" in my translation is the one the native speakers assumed was present in the example in the original query. But the second occurrence of "must" in my translation of the second line corresponds to a completely different construction in the Korean (NB, it is indeed a construction, not a free-standing dictionary form that can be matched up one-for-one against an English term or phrase) The "must" there denotes not the certainty of 분명, but a sort of tentative hypothesis based on such evidence as is available to the speaker. ("I guess it's her father she's going to see, though then again it might not be)"

    Suppose someone comes into the house dripping wet. You think to yourself (and maybe say to the newcomer) "It must be raining hard outside". That's another example of the hypothetical-inferential rather than the categorical-assertive use of "must". My hunch is that a Korean might express that by saying something like 밖에 비가 많이 오나 봐. [WARNING, that last example was made up by this here bumptious non-native speaker, a practice I normally try to avoid. All my other examples in this post, though, are The Real Thing(TM), possible typos excepted.]

    Back to an authentic native source again for a further example, from one of the best known and loved of all 20th century Korean poems, 국화 옆에서 (Beside a Chrysanthemum) by Midang, aka Seo Jeongju. The poet, taken by delighted surprise at the sight of a fresh chrysanthemum blooming in his morning garden, reflects on all the things that "must" have happened before this one flower could blossom in a corner of his yard. Each stanza expresses a particular "must" by a phrase ending in this ~(으)ㄴ가 보다 / ~나 보다 construction

    [It's ~(으)ㄴ가 보다 with non-past descriptive verbs (what Korean grammar books call "adjectives") and the non-past copula, and ~나 보다 everywhere else.]

    한 송이 국화꽃을 피우기 위해
    봄부터 소쩍새는
    그렇게 울었나 보다.

    (For just one chrysanthemum to bloom,
    from Springtime on, a nightingale
    must have sung a lament like this.)
    [more literally: must have wept this way]


    So if the more tentative sort of "must" is what the poster had in mind, one suggestion I would venture is 이것 사랑인가 봐, (that's 사랑 plus non-past copula-component "ㅣ" , hence the form "ㄴ 가", producing 사랑인가) a line which actually occurs in a pop song with the title 사랑하게 됐나봐 ("I must have fallen in love") from the soundtrack of the 2011 KBS drama 동안미녀 (Baby-faced Beauty)

    There are other expressions Koreans deploy to express such tentativeness in contexts where English has a conjectural-type "must", of course. There's the ubiquitous use of the (often semantically virtually redundant) 것 같다 construction, by which people say something "seems to be" the case to avoid the possible social clanger of asserting a matter of fact, let alone an opinion; or the rhetorical question (including question-to-self) technique using the --있잖아 confirmation requesting/expecting pattern.

    Of course, this may all be a storm in a tea-bowl if the original poster's meaning was exactly what the native speakers took it to be. All the same, I wanted a little outing for my hobby-horse that translating, understanding and speaking are all about receiving and conveying whole meanings, rather than just matching up separate words, and I think the potential ambiguity of "must" expressions brings that out rather clearly.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  6. 경상남도로 오이소 Member

    사랑인것같아. 사랑인가봐. 사랑임에 틀림없어.

    그런데 좀 더 의역하자면 처음 질문 올리신 분이 번역한 "사랑이 시작된거야"라는 표현도 맞을 수도 있겠네요. (오히려 더 적합할지도?)

    그런데 사실 한국사람은 이런 말 자체를 잘 안하지요. 미국이나 영국 이런 곳에서는 잘 모르겠지만... 굉장히 시적인 표현이고, 영화에서나 나올법한 말들이지요.

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