Folk speech
general
Proverbs

Proverb – Korean

???? (????)

Cho-rok-dong-sehk

Green green same color

Cho and Rok are the same color[*]

On the dance floor, I pulled a harmless prank on another dancer while my friend, Gisuk, was watching. When I pretended I did not know anything, the dancer turned to Gisuk and jokingly said, “Well we have a witness right here!” Gisuk cocked her head and said “Witness? Witness to what?” Giving up, the dancer laughed, “Cho and Rok are the same color” and danced off. I asked Gisuk what this proverb meant. She had learned this while living in Korea, and told me that it means that similar people will stick together. In this case, he meant that close people will stand up for one another. “Cho” and “Rok” may sound different, but in the end, they are both the same color. She also mentioned that in Korea, there are very many proverbs that mean the exact same thing, listing off quite a few.

It is fitting, I think, that the Koreans have many ways to express this idea. Korea is ethnically homogenous, and have a remarkably strong sense of national solidarity. (Perhaps this is even evident in the way I’ve unconsciously written ‘Korea’ as opposed to ‘South Korea’.) As a smaller nation that have survived for centuries next to China, and now the financial giant, Japan, Koreans seem to believe that it is important that we maintain this feeling of national unity. Maybe that is why we have so many proverbs reminding us that we are all essentially the same color.


[*] “Cho” and “Rok” are two different names of the same color, green. The most common word for green in modern Korean is “Cho-Rok.”

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