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  5. "An elephant's nose is long."

"An elephant's nose is long."

Translation:코끼리는 코가 길어요.

September 29, 2017



I read in some source that word 코끼리 literally means "a long-nosed animal". 코 naturally means a nose, no big surprise. Now 끼리 is made of the stem of word 다 (to be long) and 이, which is a common part of names of different animals (너구리, 개구리, 부엉이, 기러기... - all of them end with "i" sound).

On a somewhat related note, word 사람 (person) originates from verb 살다 (to live).

In most of the words I mentioned, the 자모s (individual "letters" of Korean alphabet, such as ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄷ, ㄹ...) got rearranged (살암 -> 사람, 개굴이 -> 개구리, 코길이 -> 코끼리 etc.) which is a common phenomenon in many native-Korean words (also visible in some words of Chinese origins, though rarely).

Finally, there are a few words in which arrangement of 자모s is different in North and South Korea. For example, "a turtle" is spelled 거부기 in the North and 거북이 in the South. On the contrary, "to do the dishes" is 걸거지하다 in the South and 걸겆이하다 in the North


Interesting! I had a hunch that 코끼리 meant something funny like long nose thingy then I came across your comment. thanks for sharing


Couldnt you also say 코끼리의 코가 길어요?


Yes, this is perfectly fine


Nose long like garden hose.

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