Run BTS Episode 146

A look at the Korean wordplay, puns, and abbreviations from Run BTS Episode 146.

English title:  BTS Village in Joseon Dynasty Part 2

Korean title: 방탄마을 조선시대 2편

Watch it here:

*Refer to the page on Run BTS episode 145 for general notes about historical and linguistic content.

Timestamp 2:15

After spending a good chunk of time accusing V of being a spy, the guys are prompted by the PD to think about one of the clues again. The clue is 돌 [dol], 물 [mool], 나무 [na-moo].

돌 = stone or rock

물 = water

나무 = tree or wood

돌 [dol] is also the first syllable in the name V has given to one of his camera people, 돌쇠 [dol-swae], and Suga is quick to point this out. They then make 돌쇠 raise his or her hand, and check to see if there is also a 물쇠 [mool-swae] and a 나무쇠 [namoo-swae] among the production crew.

I think they’re barking up the wrong 나무. (아재개그!)

Timestamp 14:05

The hint that Jung Kook finds says 긴가? on it. It seems to be suggesting that the reader complete the word by adding 민가 [min-ga] to create the word 긴가민가 [kin-ga-min-ga], which means for something to be uncertain, dubious. Jung Kook focuses on the third syllable, 민 [min], wondering if the clue points to Yoongi, since 민 is Yoongi’s surname.

Timestamp 15:55

The hint that RM finds has Hanja (Chinese characters) on it. The characters, in Korean, are 상 [sang], 중 [joong], and 하 [ha]. They are translated as high, medium, and low, but it also makes sense to refer to them as above, the midpoint, and below. For example, when talking about the temperature, you use 상 for temperatures above 0, and 하 for temperatures below.

Timestamp 18:14

The guard challenges j-hope to a game of 오목 [o-mok]. They play it on paper with pens, but it is traditionally played on a Go board.  You can read about it here. Note that the title of this Wikipedia page uses the game’s Japanese name rather than its Korean name.

Timestamp 19:51

The guard tells j-hope that the ○ from the ○△▢ hint represents 중 [joong], the word from RM’s earlier hint that meant “middle” or “medium”. You may have noticed that one of the Hanja characters on RM’s hint was in fact a circle.

j-hope starts to try to put together the entire ○△▢ hint. He and Jung Kook were told earlier that the △ represents a tiger, or 호랑이. As j-hope muses, he uses another word for tiger, which is 범 [beom]. He puts this together with 중 to get 중범 [joong-beom], but this doesn’t get him too far, since he’s still missing the ▢.

Timestamp 29:30

j-hope, RM, and Jung Kook convene to pool their hints, and j-hope fills them in on what he discovered regarding ○ and △. When he says he thinks they’re meant to make a single word out of the words for each symbol, RM correctly guesses that the word would be 중범죄 [joong-beom-jwae], which means a serious criminal offense. This will lead them to the prison, where there is a cell marked with a sign that reads 중범죄 in Korean, Chinese, and English.

Timestamp 33:39

V asks the guard for help decoding the name compatibility book he found earlier.

The book was titled 이름 궁합 (Name compatibility). 이름 means “name”. 궁합 is a process wherein a couple, or the couple’s parents, go to a fortune teller to see if they are compatible to be married. It is rarely used in modern times, though some couples do it just for fun. There are multiple factors weighed to determine compatibility, but one method is checking the couple’s names against each other.

The show explains how the name compatibility test is done. In actual practice, the higher the resulting number is, the greater the couple’s compatibility is. However, as we find out later in the show, that’s not quite how it’s used in this game. Here, the intention is to figure out which two names can be popped into the compatibility quiz to result in a certain given number (the number V is trying to determine later on). Those two names will be the thieves.

Timestamp 36:25

When V tries to determine the number he should aim for when using the name compatibility book, he comes up with 79. In Korean, seven is 칠 [chil] and 9 is 구 [goo] This results in “chil-goo”. Trying to cover all angles and wring any possible hints out of it, V notes that 칠구 sounds very much like the word for “friend”, which is 친구 [chin-goo].

The word 친구 can have a more specific meaning than just “friend” in Korean, though. Because Korean social etiquette and hierarchy is heavily dependant on age, you have a unique relationship with people who are born in the same year as you, and these people can be called your 친구. So V uses this information to muse that perhaps the hint is pointing to the fact that the thieves are a pair of members born in the same year. That could either apply to RM and j-hope, both born in ’94, or to himself and Jimin, both born in ’95.

Timestamp 43:03

Poring over the 긴가? [kin-ga] clue from earlier, RM and Jin complete the word again, adding 민가 [min-ga] to create 긴가민가, which means “uncertain” or “dubious”. But this time they note the word they’ve added, 민가, means “private residence”, so they think it points towards one of the homes in the village.

Timestamp 44:19

Suga gets hung up on the clue that says 형광, 발, 주마 뒤에 있다, which means “It’s behind fluorescent, feet, running horse.” He guesses it may have something to do with a zoetrope, which in Korean is called a 주마등, literally a “running horse lamp”. (Fun fact: RM uses the word “zoetrope” in his rap lyrics in Born Singer.]

At 45:04 it turns out Yoongi was on the right track. All three words on the card can have 등 added to the end to create a new word, so the clue was trying to point them to 등, which on its own can mean “lamp”, “back” (as in a person’s back), “ranking”, or even “et cetera” depending on how it’s used.

형광 = fluorescent

형광등 =  a fluorescent light

발 = a foot

발등 = the top of the foot

주마 = a running horse

주마등 = a zoetrope

Run BTS episode 146 Korean wordplay and puns