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  5. "한국사람들은 눈치있는 사람을 좋아해요."

"한국사람들은 눈치있는 사람을 좋아해요."

Translation:Koreans like people who are tactful.

October 14, 2017



눈치있다 is closer to polite than quick-witted


That's the first time anyone has ever said that. 눈치게임 is not about being polite. When you say 눈치 없게 행동했어, it's not because someone didn't have manners (though it can be part of it). 눈치를 채다 means to have an instinctual sense about something, like danger.


It very much depends on the context. In certain situations it also implies a quick assessment of a given situation and how to act appropriately and quickly.


So, intuition/ability to intuit in its objective sense.


In a culture that places deep, interwoven importance on tact and politeness, (the grammar makes it impossible not to mark for those things with every sentence) it makes sense these would be major connotations of a word that denotes intuition (aka quick-wittedness or smartness rather than intelligence or cleverness). Thus the confusion for English speakers. Culture, language, and politics pour into each other endlessly.


So intuition, with some emphasis on reading people and adapting to the social situation?


Yes, in this definition. The 눈 part is eye and it means to read someone's state of mind from the eyes (the second syllable's literal meaning is unknown). But in other cases it doesn't have that specific emphasis on social aspects since the word has established broader contexts that I think "intuition" sums up.


I'm told I don't have this constantly. Asking around about it, the opposite of this tactful is being on the autistic spectrum, so seemingly not reading the situation/picking up on the mood, y'know in their own world. Of course I figure this is because it's actually affecting them too deeply and freezing them up in that case. Again it's coming through Japanese so take it with a grain of salt . . .


Koreans like a person who is tactful?


"a person" = one/any individual. This term refers to some specific individual, unknown to both speaker and listener(s).

Synonym: someone.

IMO It is not wrong to use it as a translation for 사람 in this case. But it is not a preferred structure in spoken English because of its singularity implication.


why is my answer 'Koreans like the people who are tactful' wrong?


It sounds kinda awkward to me, it's better to make a general statement by dropping 'the'.


"The people" means a group of specific individuals, known to both speaker and listener(s).

[IMO. "The people" is very similar to "those people" which means "the people there". That's why at times, "그" is translated to "the" and vice versa.]

"People", plural of person, refers to individuals in general = all (those) individuals.


Personal impression:

눈치 있다 - 눈, eye 치, inch (used to mean 'close suitability' cf. fit like a glove)

  • be both observant (perceptive) and protean (adaptable)

This expression bears some similarity to the English use of "read (someone/situation)", which calls on the individual's sense of observation (sight), perception (interpretation/reasoning) and adaptability (versatility).

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