One of the more confusing things for a beginner learning Korean is when they come across the many meanings for the word ‘heart’. In English the same word is used to describe the physical organ and things related to love and feelings of the mind.
However in Korean, these words can be broken down into three words that have a specific meaning.
Let’s talk about the first word in the infographic.
This refers to your actual heart that pumps blood. You will basically only hear this when talking about health and medical related things.
This refers to your feelings, emotions, or preference for something. For example if you just got your heartbroken or had something devastating happen in your life, you would say “마음이 아파요” which literally translates to “my heart/mind hurts”.
This word is also used when describing how you like something (shirt, music, etc). For example:
이 치마가 마음에 들어요 (i chi-ma-ga ma-eum-e deul-eo-yo) I like the skirt.
This comes from 마음에 들다 which means to enter one’s heart. This is different from 좋아하다 in the sense that it’s a bit more passive and nonchalant but both can be used to describe something you like most of the time.
This one usually refers to your actual physical chest/breast. So when you say 가슴이 아파요 to the doctor, you are literally telling him that there is pain in your chest. However, this same phrase can also be used to describe heartbreak.
And finally, this is the Konglish version of the English word heart. This just refers to the symbol of the heart that is used for romance.
심장이 녹을 것 같아. (sim-jang nok-eul geot gat-ta) My heart is melting.Also remember that romanization is only a tool. Try not to depend on it too much. Learning the Hangul alphabet is the key to success!
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