Did you enjoy last week’s blog post about PSY’s “Gangnam Style”? We hope so, because we might have to do another PSY post if he and Justin Bieber do something awesome together!
This week, we have chosen an extremely well-known K-Pop song. We’ve heard that this song was ranked No. 1 in Thailand for over 50 weeks. That’s nearly an entire calendar year! We are very happy to finally introduce this song, especially after receiving many, many requests!
Have you heard of the group Super Junior? Do you like them? If so, I bet you also like their enormously popular tune “Sorry Sorry.”
Let’s take a look at our first phrase from the song:
1. 눈만 뜨면 [nun-man ddeu-myeon]
First, let’s break down the expression, word by word.
눈 [nun] = eye
-만 [man] = only, just
(눈을) 뜨다 [tteu-da] = open one’s eyes (뜨다 have various meanings, but this particular meaning only goes with “눈”.)
-(으)면 [-myeon] = if, in case (Please refer to “Level 2 Lesson 23 / if, in case / 만약, -(으)면” http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/lessons/level-2-lesson-23/)
By combining all these words together to create 눈만 뜨면, you get a phrase that literally means “if I just open my eyes.” In the lyrics, this expression is followed by “니 생각” [“ni saeng-gak”] which means “thinking of you”. Together, “눈만 뜨면 니 생각” means something along the lines of “I think of you whenever my eyes are open.” Even though there is no subject in this sentence, you can infer from the context that the subject is “I” because it’s followed by 니 [ni], or ‘you’.
Usually, when people are awake, their eyes are open. Therefore, in context, 눈만 뜨면 means “every waking moment,” or more simply, “every time,” “always,” or “all the time.”
1) 눈만 뜨면 배가 고파.
[nun-man tteu-myeon bae-ga go-pa]
= I’m always hungry.
2) 걔는 눈만 뜨면 카톡 하고 있어.
[gye-neun nun-man tteu-myeon ka-tok ha-go it-sseo]
= He/She’s always on 카톡.
(*카톡 is a contraction of 카카오톡 (Kakao Talk), which is the most popular mobile messaging application in Korea.)
Our second expression is…
2. 한눈 팔 생각 [han-nun pal saeng-gak]
한 눈 [han nun] = one eye
팔다 [pal-da] = to sell (Please see “Level 4 Lesson 25 / -(으)ㄹ + noun (future tense noun group) / -(으)ㄹ + 명사, 할 것” for 팔다 becoming 팔 here.)
생각 [saeng-gak] = thought, idea
The most important thing to remember from this phrase is “한 눈 팔다” [han nun pal-da]. If we try to take each word and piece it together, this phrase comes out to be something that doesn’t really make sense. “To sell one eye?” Not even close. This is an idiomatic phrase meaning “look away from something,” or “not paying attention to something.”
In the context of the lyrics,“한 눈 팔다” means “not paying attention to one’s romantic partner.” Sort of like saying someone has “wandering eyes” or they are distracted. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is cheating on the other, but rather just glancing at someone or something else and not giving his/her full attention.
Let’s look at some sample sentences:
1) 한 눈 팔지 말고 공부해.
[han nun pal-ji mal-go gong-bu-hae]
= Pay attention and study!
2) 한 눈 팔다가 사고가 났어요.
[han nun pal-da-ga sa-go-ga nat-sseo-yo]
= I didn’t pay attention and the accident occurred.
Alrighty then, here are today’s questions for you! Do you have a habit that you do 눈만 뜨면? Recently, it seems that people are having a hard time taking their eyes of their phones. Do you 눈만 뜨면 do something with your phone? Do you check 카카오톡 or 페이스북 (Facebook) constantly? Maybe you 한 눈 팔지 않고 study 눈만 뜨면. Let us know by leaving us a comment in the comment box below!
My name is Youngbin Lee. I’m a geeky engineer based in Incheon who love learning languages. Learning languages is pure pleasure to me and I’d like to help others feel the same way as I do. My ultimate goal is to become capable of communicating with you in your language. Are you with me?