Run BTS Episode 145

A look at the Korean wordplay, puns, and abbreviations from Run BTS Episode 145.

English title:  BTS Village in Joseon Dynasty Part 1

Korean title: 방탄마을 조선시대 1편

Watch it here:

Historical context:

The 조선 (Joseon) dynasty was the last of multiple dynastic kingdoms in Korean history. It lasted for about 500 years, from 1392 to 1897.  You can read more about it here.

General language note:

Starting with Jin at 1:42 followed shortly by V, the guys are constantly using old Joseon era speech patterns and phrasing throughout this series. I won’t be able to highlight every instance of it, for 2 reasons. The first reason is that I myself am not a native Korean speaker, and I am not familiar enough with every facet of old Korean to be able to explain all the nuances. The second reason is that usually the actual meaning of the sentence doesn’t change at all. It’s basically the equivalent of saying, “Thou hast taken my seat, knave.” instead of, “You’re sitting in my spot, moron.”

If you listen for it though, you’ll often be able to tell when they’re speaking in old Korean, because they’re being very extra about it, their voices are often lower and slower, and they add an air of mock solemnity to their sentences. Also, any sentences that end in 소 [so] or 시요 [shi-yo] are definitely old Korean.

If I were to order the guys from who’s doing it the least to who’s doing it the most, it would go something like this:

Jung Kook > Suga > RM > Jin & j-hope > Jimin ————-> V

This episode is loaded with it, but by the third episode in the series, it hardly comes up any more, even from V.

Timestamp 1:49

In old Korean, V says 잊어 달라 하였느냐? [i-jeo dal-la ha-yeon-neu-nya]. The modern Korean equivalent is 잊어 달라 했냐? [i-jeo dal-la-haen-nya] and it means, “Did you ask me to forget?” This is a line from the Korean period drama 해를 품은 달, whose English title is “The Moon Embracing the Sun”.

Yoongi pretends to mishear 잊어 달라 [i-jeo-dal-la] as 2조 달러 [i-jo dal-leo] because of the similar pronunciations. 2조 달러 means 2 trillion dollars. Then j-hope and V resurrect the joke and repeat these lines at 8:53.

Timestamp 5:40

The Korean name for RM’s role of magistrate is 사또 [sa-ddo]. RM makes a joke about modern times having something called 로토 [lo-to], which is the Konglish word for “lottery”, but he pronounces it 로또 [lo-ddo] so it sounds more like 사또.

Timestamp 7:05

Jin tells Jimin to shut up, but instead of saying it in modern Korean, which would be 닥쳐 [dak-chyeo], he says it in old Korean style, so it ends up being 닥치소 [dak-chi-so].

The first syllable sounds exactly like the word for chicken: 닭 [dak].

The second syllable sounds the same as the root of the word 치다 [chi-da] which means to hit.

The third syllable is the same pronunciation and spelling as the Korean word for cow, which is 소 [so].

That’s why, as Jin tells Jimin to shut up in old Korean, the captions say, in English, “Chicken hit cow”.

Timestamp 7:15

Korean names are generally three syllables and consist of a single-syllable surname and a two-syllable given name. They are written with the surname first, followed by the given name.

Jin has just announced that he is the physiognomist, which is 관상가 in Korean. When Jimin asks him what his name is, he replies that his surname is 관 and his given name is 상가.

At 7:25 Jung Kook introduces himself as the painter, which is 화공 in Korean. The joke Jin then makes involves acting as if 화공 is Jung Kook’s name, rather than his profession. Were that the case, his surname would be 화.

There are relatively few surnames in South Korea, and therefore to try and establish what someone’s lineage is, you can ask which clan of Kims or Parks or Lees they are from.  So, pretending that the 화 syllable of 화공 is Jung Kook’s surname, Jin says, 실례지만 어데 화씨입니까? which means, “Pardon me, but which Hwa clan are you from?”

I won’t give a full vocab, because part of it is specifically old Korean, but 씨 means clan.

Timestamp 28:00

The hint j-hope picks up says ㅇㅇ 밑이 어둡다. This means “Underneath ____ it’s dark.” The translation indicates that it refers to the English expression, “The beacon does not shine on its own base.” This expression means that it’s more difficult to see something that is close at hand than far away.

The ㅇㅇ is a placeholder for a word, and when used in this way, it’s typically pronounced as 땡 [ddaeng] where we’d probably say the word “blank”. So in reading the clue aloud, you might say, “Underneath daeng daeng it’s dark.”

As he repeats the hint to himself, Hobi replaces each ㅇ with 뭐 [mweo], which means “what” or “something”, so he’s more or less saying, “Underneath something something it’s dark.” 뭐 뭐 밑이 어둡다.

밑 = the bottom of something, the underside of something

어둡다 = to be dark

뭐 = what, something

Timestamp 31:38

Jimin’s mission is a 제기차기 [jae-gi-cha-gi] battle. 제기 is the name of the shuttlecock-like object that gets kicked in the game, and 차기 means the act of kicking. You can read about the game and its origin here.

Timestamp 42:15

The guys take a look at the hint j-hope picked up earlier, and this time they pronounce the placeholder letters differently again. The name of the letter repeated twice as a placeholder (ㅇㅇ) is 이응 [i-eung].  So it can also be pronounced that way when reading the sentence, and they do that here. 이응이응 밑이 어둡다. [i-eung-i-eung mit-i eo-dup-da]

Run BTS episode 145 Korean wordplay and puns