durk(y)

At work I did something to the text of a document as an experiment, looked at the result and exclaimed “That looks durky”. This is not a word which I would usually use, and almost certainly not a word at all. Maybe I was thinking “dorky”, which is a word I occasionally use. But there was no doubt as the general meaning, and absolutely no doubt as to the grammar. Durky just has to be an adjective, and probably a negative one. 

A colleague and I speculated about other sentences where durk(y) might have a positive meaning: I love the way you durk, You are the durk of my life. Durk could be a noun or verb. Although I used durky, durk could also be an adjective, but the pairing would probably be durk (noun) < > durky (adjective) or durk (adjective) < > durkness (noun), depending on which came first, with durkiness hovering there uncertainly. In turn, the adverb would be durkly or durkily. In the end, we don’t have to decide, because the word is unlikely to catch on. It’s just not fetch enough.

Durk(y) is more likely to have a negative meaning. There’s something about ur/ir or or which makes them sound dark: dirty or dorky. I’ll let you guess (if you don’t know) whether JRR Tolkein’s Mirkwood was a pleasant place or not.

Later in the day, I was listening to an extended piece of classical music and Youtube interrupted the movement with an ad for a product or service by Google. I said “Durk you, Google!” (Maybe I should have blamed Youtube.)

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bok

The standard Korean wish for Lunar New Year/설날 (seollal) is 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (saehae bok manhi padeuseyo, receive many new year blessings) (or much fortune). Thinking about it recently, I was struck by how short and plain the word 복 is. There’s no correlation between a word’s length/complexity/ sound and its meaning, but we expect important words to be long(er) and less important words to be short(er). For example, blessings and fortune, but compare luck. Maybe I’m thinking in terms of English words derived from Greek or Latin. In fact, many of the comparable words in Korean are derived from Chinese, and 복/bok is sometimes written as a Chinese character (which I can’t track down).

bok is also found in 한복 (hanbok, traditional Korean clothes) and 교복 (school uniform), but 복 by itself does not mean clothes. The standard word for clothes is 옷 (ot).