KOREAN LANGUAGE: Rice Cake Metaphors in Korean Maxims

Rice Cake (ddeok) Metaphors in Korean Maxims 




Ddeok bongime jesa jinaenda.
  김에 제사 지낸다.
“Have the memorial service for your ancestors conducted since you see rice cakes at hand.”
● Rice cakes are essential for memorial services for ancestors.
USAGE
When you solve a problem the moment you chance upon  a thing which is very crucial to solving it



Name ddeoki keo boinda.
남의 떡이  보인다.
“The rice cakes are bigger on others’ plates.”
USAGE
When other people’s possessions or their situations always look better than your own even when they are not really so
EE*
The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Geurime ddeok*
그림의 
Rice cake in the painting”
● You cannot eat the rice cakes in the paintings.
USAGE
When you’re facing the most attractive yet unreachable




Ddeok jul sarameun ggumdo an gguneunde gimchigukbuteo masijimara.
  사람은 꿈도  꾸는데
김치국부터 마시지 마라.
“Do not drink Kimchi soup when a person who has rice cakes has no intention of giving you some.”
● Korean people eat rice cakes together with Kimchi soup - usually, the rice cakes first then the Kimchi soup. 
USAGE
When someone assumes that he’ll get something before he actually has it; when someone’s counting on something before it happens
EE*
Do not count your chickens before they hatch.

Ddeok jugo bbyam manneunda.
 주고  맞는다.
“You give someone a rice cake but he slaps you across the cheek in return.”
USAGE
When your good deeds are paid with evil

Ddeok dallaneunde dol junda.
 달라는데  준다. 
“You ask for a rice cake but are given a stone.”
USAGE
When someone treats you contrary to your wishes
Bogi joeun ddeoki meokgido jota.
보기 좋은 떡이 먹기도 좋다.
“A rice cake that looks good tastes good.”
EE*
Names and natures do often agree.

Nuweoseo ddeok meokgi
누워서  먹기
“(It’s like) eating rice cakes while lying down.”
USAGE
When something is really easy
EE*
It’s a piece of cake
         EE* = English Equivalent

*Rice cake in the painting”(Geurime ddeok) has been mistranslated as “Pie in the sky,” which refers to a foolishly unrealistic goal or an absurd daydream.  The Korean equivalent of “Pie in the sky” can be “A sterile woman''s having a constant dream of a dragon every night.”  In Korean culture, if a person sees a dragon in his/her dream, it is traditionally interpreted as a sign for conceiving a boy. 


RECIPE:  RICE CAKE SOUP (DDEOKGUK)
KOREAN CULTURE:  RICE CAKES, RICE CAKE SOUP & KOREAN AGE SYSTEM