Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16
  1. #1
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4,337
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default left hand vs right hand

    In Korean, we also use the same words for "right hand" and "right side".

    Thinking about the etymology of "right hand" in Korean, it seems to talk about "right hand" is a proper hand, contrasted with "left hand", regarded as "wrong hand".

    This might be kind of offensive for left-handers - I'm sorry I don't have any bad intention, just academic one - also in English, hasn't "right hand" come from the notion that it is the proper, correct, and upright hand to use?
    Last edited by keannu; 01-Nov-2012 at 22:11.

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    This might be kind of offensive for left-handers - I'm sorry I don't have any bad intention, just academic one - also in English, hasn't "right hand" come from the notion that it is the proper, correct, proper, and upright hand to use?
    No

  3. #3
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    In Korean, we also use the same words for "right hand" and "right side".

    Thinking about the etymology of "right hand" in Korean, it seems to talk about "right hand" is a proper hand, contrasted with "left hand", regarded as "wrong hand".

    This might be kind of offensive for left-handers - I'm sorry I don't have any bad intention, just academic one - also in English, hasn't "right hand" come from the notion that it is the proper, correct, and upright hand to use?
    There was that notion in the US also. Left-handed people were forced to use their right hand by teachers and others, including parents. There was even a touch of evil associated with using the left hand. It is said that the Devil and Death sit on the left shoulder of a person, tempting them or waiting for them to die.

  4. #4
    MartinEnglish is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    127
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    Yes, you're right Keannu, there is a long tradition of all things left-sided being seen as evil/wrong/bad luck etc. The word "sinister", for example, comes from the Latin for "left" and "unlucky". In French gauche means both "left" and "awkward" while "droit" is both right (side) and right (legally). Many other languages (Spanish for example) can carry negative connotations for "left-sided", whilst right-sided is seen to be "correct" or "lawful".

  5. #5
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4,337
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    Thanks for both of your excellent explanations. Korean's "right" in "right hand" has the pronunciation "orun", which is the slight variation of "olun", whch means "correct, lawful" and sometimes Koreans even pronounce it as "barun", which is exactly "correct, lawful" without any meaning of "contrary to the left side".

    So it's quite evident "righ" in "right hand" comes from "correct, lawful" in Korean and I realized many human beings and traditions have the same psychology regardng it.
    Last edited by keannu; 03-Nov-2012 at 02:38.

  6. #6
    Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
    Chicken Sandwich is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Netherlands
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,458
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    Thanks for both of your excellent explanations. Korean's "right" in "right hand" has the pronunciation "orun", which is the slight change of "olun", whch means "correct, lawful" and sometimes Koreans even pronounce it as "barun", which is exactly "correct, lawful" without any meaning of "contrary to the left side".
    Interesting. In Russian, the words for "correct" and "right" (as in right hand) are also similar.

    In the old Soviet days, left-handed children were seen as nonconformists and they were forced to use their right hand by teachers. It's sad but true.

  7. #7
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    Well...one robin does not make a spring. Just because you have found a few cultures who see things this way is no indication that all people believe thus. In the west we use 10 as a base for our numbering system and this seems to make sense since we have ten fingers and ten toes, but there are other cultures who use 12 as a base and three is used in some places.

  8. #8
    keannu's Avatar
    keannu is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4,337
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    You are right, I jumped to the conclusion because of my eureka pleasure. Please see my blushing similey in #5

  9. #9
    MartinEnglish is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    127
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    [QUOTE=Gillnetter;937793]Just because you have found a few cultures...QUOTE]

    A few cultures? Er...all European cultures, Russia, Korea, South America...etc etc

  10. #10
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: left hand vs right hand

    [QUOTE=MartinEnglish;938042]
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    Just because you have found a few cultures...QUOTE]

    A few cultures? Er...all European cultures, Russia, Korea, South America...etc etc
    Your point being?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-Jun-2012, 01:59
  2. [Idiom] 'Talk to my hand' vs 'Speak to my hand'
    By Olympian in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 17-Mar-2012, 20:29
  3. [Grammar] With his left hand/With the left hand
    By Snappy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 20-Nov-2009, 14:31
  4. work hand in hand
    By Tan Elaine in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 20-Feb-2009, 15:56
  5. Hand in Hand vs. Hand in Glove
    By doobadoo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-Oct-2006, 13:59

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •