left hand vs right hand

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keannu

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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?
 
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5jj

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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
 

Gillnetter

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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.
 

MartinEnglish

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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".
 

keannu

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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:oops: human beings and traditions have the same psychology regardng it.
 
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Chicken Sandwich

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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.
 

Gillnetter

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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.
 

keannu

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

5jj

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Yes, you're right Keannu, there is a long tradition of all things left-sided being seen as evil/wrong/bad luck etc.
This was true in the past, but that does not mean that it is true for many people today in the UK or USA.
The word "sinister", for example, comes from the Latin for "left" and "unlucky".
Indeed, but not many people know that today.
 

Esredux

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This was true in the past, but that does not mean that it is true for many people today in the UK or USA.
Nice to know it. So, there's nothing wrong in having two left feet, paying sb a left-handed compliment or just being in left field.
 

5jj

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Nice to know it. So, there's nothing wrong in having two left feet, paying sb a left-handed compliment or just being in left field.
I was referring to:
a long tradition of all things left-sided being seen as evil/wrong/bad luck
- my emphasis added.
 

JarekSteliga

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5jj

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Seeing how this double meaning of "right" straddles the globe, I wouldn't be that surprised if it proved to be case in ... ALL languages.
I would.
 

Barb_D

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I think if the same thing is found in parts of Europe, Asia, and the Americas, there are more than a few robins. While this bias is no longer displayed, it wasn't that long ago that it was still prevalent. I have friends only a few years older than I am who went to Catholic school and were forced to write with their right hand. Nowadays, people who are left-handed are often seen as more creative, thanks to what we've learned about right-brain and left-brain tendencies.
 
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