November 15, 2014

KDrama Words of the Day: Here & There (Yuggi & Chuggi)

red arrow pointing to foreground with yellow arrow pointing in background미안해 Kdrama Word of the Day yesterday 없었어요. Yuggi (here) 여기 and chuggi (there) 저기 are today’s words. The vowel ㅓ is pronounced uh or aw, depending on region. The same applies to its Y version, ㅕ, which is pronounced yuh or yaw.

ㅈ is supposedly more J-like than ㅊ, which is more CH-like, but the difference can be difficult for westerners to distinguish. I suspect that’s because sometimes there is no difference! When we hear our native language, we recognize the intended word from the context, even when the pronunciation is way off, yet may remain entirely unconscious of variations in pronunciation. Listen to yourself say “what do you know,” and you’ll hear what I mean. I’m sure Koreans do the same thing.

All of which to say, even if 저기 is Romanized starting with a J (which is it in one Romanization system, as “jeogi”), it sounds more like CH. Drama fans will have noticed the same situation with the two very different Romanizations of 조선 (Joseon, Chosun).

저기 is used to call to people who are not near you to catch their attention, particularly wait staff in restaurants. Literally it translates to something like “over there!” It is used where we would use, “hey, you!” However, if you add the ending 요 to make it chawgiyo 저기요 (which you should with everyone but close friends), it is more polite than “hey, you.”


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