호빗을 읽기….

I finished chapter 5 of The Hobbit a couple of days ago (어둠 속의 수수께끼).  Some thoughts on some of the translations:

Gollum’s “My precious” is translated 귀염둥이… quite odd, though not sure if there’s a better way to translate.  All I can think of is 쏘중이야… (내 둘째의 태명은 소중ㅇ인데…)

Later, Gollum says “We hateses it, we hateses it, we hateses it forever!” (I believe that’s the original) and that’s translated somewhat awkwardly as “우린 그걸 미워해, 우린 그걸 미워해, 우린 그걸 영원히 미워해!”  The translator really seems to be trying to translate word for word, instead of taking advantage of pronoun dropping, which is usually more natural in Korean.  The English has a very “short and simple” feeling which I think is lost here.  I think “우린 그걸 미워해, 미워해, 영원히 미워해!” would be a lot better….

So this has me worrying about the benefits I’m getting from reading a translated work.  It’s got to be so much easier to read because of the translator’s direct approach.  I might have to try something different next time…


Reading “호빗” (The Hobbit)

I started reading the Hobbit translated into Korean last week; my goal is 10 pages a day, which I was managing well until I started teaching English camp last Monday; even so, I’ve caught up quite a lot on the weekend.

I’ve been surprised how easy I’ve found it,  easier than most other things I’ve read before.  And the reason is obvious… I’ve read it in English before.  This is really the first time I’ve read something in Korean after reading in English, and it makes such a huge difference.  I’m really bad at grasping the context, and  using the context to understand what’s going on… but I’ve read the Hobbit a couple times, and I saw the movie a few weeks ago, so I know what’s going on already.  It’s really funny, but often I feel I can remember the exact words that Tolkien used originally!

And that’s another thing…. the translation seems really direct.  Too direct.  It’s too early really for me to give much of an appraisal of the quality of the translation, but my first thoughts are that it’s somewhat lacking, too direct, and a bit of a rushed job.  It doesn’t seem like the translator has taken the time to try to express things in a natural way, but just translates as directly as possible, even if Koreans wouldn’t say it that way.

One translation I found quite bad was this:

“무리라고! 난 그 발음이 마음에 안 들어…” which is a translation of:

“Throng!” thought Mr. Baggins.  “I don’t like the sound of that….”

Here the translator has used 발음 (pronunciation) to translate “sound”…as in “I don’t like the pronunciation of that”.  My wife, who is Korean, agrees this doesn’t make any sense.  It would seem much better to use the word 소리 or 말…

Anyways, I’m not really in a position to give a proper critique of the translation, but that’s my impression, anyways.

 

 

 


어미・조사 사전 – Book Review (Korean Word Endings Dictionary)

I’ve always thought a reference guide to the word endings in Korean would be an invaluable resource.  I finally found one, and bought it:

“학습자용 어미・조사 사전” (이희자・이종희 지음), 출판사: 한국문화사.  (Korean word endings dictionary for learners, by 이희자 and 이종희).

Available at Kyobo books for 30000 won.

The book contains over 900 Korean word endings, including both 어미 (verb/adjective endings) and 조사 (noun/other substantive endings).  Each word contains usage information, how to add it to a stem, language register, and examples.  Although it is intended for learners, it is all in Korean; even so, the explanations are not too difficult to understand.

There are actually 2 more versions of the book; the beginner’s version (초급용) (15,000 won) and the expert version (전문가용) (45,000 won):

어미 조사 사전: 한국어학습(초급용) 어미 조사 사전 어미 조사 사전(전문가용)

I think the last one is intended for Korean language teachers.  I regret not buying that version a little, actually, although it’s a bit expensive.  I’m not sure what the difference is; it’d be nice to browse through it, but unfortunately it’s not in the local Kyobo store.

The coverage of the red version is pretty good, though; 900 word endings, and so far it’s had most of the ones I’ve looked up.  It has both written (문어) and spoken (구어), formal and informal language, which is good, since there’s sometimes a tendency in these reference books to be overly slanted towards formal / proper / written language.  The only endings I haven’t been able to find so far are archaic and dialectal (사투리) endings.  The latter I wouldn’t expect; it might triple the size of the book.  But archaic endings would be nice; although they’re not part of daily use, they are used a lot in certain contexts.  For example, ~하옵소서, ~매, etc.  They’re still used a lot in Biblical contexts, and in historical dramas.  I hear them at church and in hymns quite a lot, so I’d find their inclusion quite useful.  And given the popularity of Korean dramas, I think a lot of Korean learners would find them useful, too.

The explanations are good, for the most part, though not detailed.  With the examples, normal usage can be deduced, but comparisons between similar endings are limited.  So it’s good for finding out what an ending means, and getting to know a little about how to use it, but not always the best for deciding which ending to use.  Here’s an excerpt:

어미 조사 사전 - excerpt

Overall, I think it’s a great reference to have, especially for intermediate to advance learners.


Goals for Korean studies this year

올해 (2012년)의 한국어를 배우도록 설정하는 목표:

  1. 이 블로그를 통해서 배운 것, 언어를 해석한 것, 등의 기록을 한다.
  2. 한국어 넓은 독서를 한다 (예: 호빗 – 한국어 번역).
  3. 한국어 어휘랑 문법을 선택해서 배운다.
  4. 일기를 자주 쓴다.

등.

Goals for my Korean studies this year:

  1. Keep a record of my studies, my analyses and observations of the language through this blog.
  2. Extensive reading of Korean (starting with “The Hobbit” translated into Korean).
  3. Learn Korean vocabulary and grammar purposefully and selectively. (Keep vocabulary notebook, word cards, etc.)
  4. Write Korean diary regularly.

I’m not using a textbook, but my approach has become a bit too self-directed for textbooks.  I’ll do what I’ve been doing the last year (read books, write journal articles), but hopefully a little more regularly / faster, and with the help of this blog, a vocab notebook, and using word cards once again, I’ll be able to accomplish more.