가슴 (gaseum) vs 마음 (ma-eum) [Word of the Day] (Kpop Teaches Korean Too | Wonder Girls “Tell Me”)

안녕하세요!

I was given this song as a request to do for “Kpop Teaches Korean Too”. I haven’t come up with a new theme this week for the WOTD so today will be a special post. The song chosen is by Wonder Girls and it’s called “Tell Me”. I’m not going to do the entire song as that’ll only be a full translation. So I’m just going to focus on what part that I’ve talked about before and I love that this song used this!

어쩜 내 가슴이 이렇게 뛰니
가슴이 정말 터질 것 같아
네가 날 볼 때면 전기에 감전된 사람처럼 전기가 올라

“…eojjeom nae gaseumi ireoke ttwini
gaseumi jeongmal teojil geot gata
niga nal bol ttaemyeon
jeongie gamjeondoen saramcheoreom
jeongiga olla…”

My heart is beating so fast
I think it’s going to pop
Whenever you look at me, I feel like i’ve just been electricuted

Wonder Girls | “Tell Me”

가슴 (gaseum) vs 마음 (ma-eum)… remember this?

I didn’t go into detail too much the first time I covered it but I do remember explaining the difference and now we get to see it’s usage in action. The question here is, why was 가슴 (gaseum) used instead of 마음 (ma-eum)? She is talking about her heart so why the difference?

Answer: Because she’s talking about her literal heart.

가슴 (gaseum) | “chest; heart” (literal)

마음 (ma-eum) | “heart” (emotional; figurative)

There may not seem like much of a difference but let’s say, she said instead:

  • 내 마음이 파괴되어 같은 느낌. (nae ma-eum-i pagoedoeeo gat-eun neukkim.) | “I feel like my heart is breaking”. 

Notice how instead of 가슴 (gaseum) that 마음 (ma-eum) is used here. This is because a “broken heart” is a figure of speech and describes an emotional state or feeling. It is not meant to be taken in a literal sense. Therefore, 가슴 (gaseum) cannot be used here.

However, saying: 어쩜 내 가슴이 이렇게 뛰니 (eojjeom nae gaseumi ireoke ttwini) | “My heart is beating so fast”, would be the correct way to talk about the heart. Here we are speaking of the heart in the literal sense. Your “heart racing” or “beating fast” is generally considered a literal feeling.

I just wanted to talk about that again. I saw it and immediately thought, this is the perfect example of how these two words are the same but different.

That’s it for today!

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