Korean through signs - no smoking signs on shoe shine stores on the streets of Seoul

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The shoeshine shops on the streets here in Seoul until just last year were pretty rickety-looking and quite old, but just recently they've all been replaced with a more modern and (I assume) energy efficient design. On them you can also see these posters from the city government promoting no smoking in public areas (bus and taxi stops, parks and other areas as well I think).

I took two photos of this place and the second has more text so scroll down to below the second image to see what the text means.


First up in the background is a 부동산, a real estate agent. This is actually the same meaning as the French immobilier - the hanja for real estate means non-moving product(s) - 不動産.

Next is the top, which says 구두수선 - 광택. It's easy too:
구두 - shoes
수선 - repair
괭택 - shining/buffing. You can see this word at car washes too that buff cars.

And now the main sign:

함께 숨 쉬는 곳
언제나 금연구역

This means:

함께 - together
숨 쉬다 - to breathe
곳 - a place. Take off the -다 and add 는 to affix it to the noun in the same way as the English "that" (i.e. a relative clause), making "a place where (you can) breathe".
언제나 - always. Note that this is just when (언제) plus 나. You can do this with other words too like 누구 (who) + 나, making 누구나 (anyone).
금연 - no smoking. The opposite is 흡연.
구역 - region/area.

All together it means "A place where you can breathe together, an area that's always no smoking".

Next is this:

공공장소 금연은 이제 문화입니다.

공공 - public
장소 - place
이제 - from now on. Koreans will often colloquially say 인제 too.
문화 - culture
입니다 - is.

All together it means "no smoking in public places is now (part of the) culture".

걷기좋은 거리, 건강한 서울

걷다 - to walk. Replace 다 with 기 and you turn it into a noun (walking). Then add:
좋은 - good. From 좋다. 은 affixes it to the next noun, which is:
거리. Street. All together 걷기좋은 거리 means "a street that's good to walk (on)".
건강하다 - to be healthy. Just like 좋다 above we use ㄴ to connect it to the next noun, and that goes under 하 in 하다. 건강한 = healthy.
서울 - Seoul.
All together it means "Streets that are good to walk on, a healthy Seoul".

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