소원/희망/소망 – Korean Words vs Words #8

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With Explanation

Someone asked what is the differences between 희망, 소원, 소망 on Reddit. I couldn't answer it because I had to research. This is the report of my research.

Those words are used to describe what you want. However, there is some differences between them.

소원

소원 is used when what you want is really specific. It is usually translated to wish.

집이 가난해서 작은 집에서 살 수밖에 없었기 때문에 동생은 자신의 방을 갖는 것이 소원이었다.
As we had to live in a small house because of the poverty, it was my younger sister's wish to have her own room.

네 소원을 들어주고 싶은데 내게 그 소원을 들어 줄만한 능력이 없구나.
I want to grant your wish, but I have no power to do that.

10년 전부터 간직해 온 소원을 오늘에서야 이루게 되었다.
I finally fulfilled my wish which I have for 10 years.

Some K-Pop lovers among you might know the song, "소원을 말해봐" by 소녀시대. To grant your wish, it should be specific. If it is vague, you cannot understand it and that can't be granted. That is why 소원 is used in the title.

희망

When you use 희망, you mean there is the possibility that the good result or the hopeful future will come. It is the main difference with 소망. 소망 can be used if there will be a good or bad situation. Therefore, it is usually translated as hope in English.

매우 절망적인 상황인 것을 나도 모르는 것은 아니지만 희망을 잃어서는 안 돼.
I am sure that the situation is really hopeless, but we should not lose our hope.

언제까지 지금과 같은 상황 속에서 지내야 하는 건지. 희망이 보이지 않는다.
How long do I have to be in the situation like this? I don't see any hope.

학생들의 희망찬 미래를 위해 수많은 사람들이 장학금을 기부하고 있다.
For the hopeful future of the students, many people contribute scholarship.

소망

소망 can be used for whatever you want. It has the most broad usage. Although it is vague or the possibility that you the dream will come true is too low, you can use that.

그는 아름다운 세상을 만들고 싶다는 개인적인 소망을 이루기 위해 노력하고 있다.
He tries his best to make his personal dream come true which is that he wants to make a better world.

단순히 마음 속에 있는 소망을 이야기했을 뿐인데, 다들 화를 냈다.
I only said the dream in my heart, but everyone was angry at it.

결혼식 날 그 부부는 검은 머리 파 뿌리 될 때까지 사랑하며 살고 싶다는 소망을 이야기했다.
The couple told their dream on their wedding day that they want to live loving each other until the end of their life.

Sometimes, it is really hard to define what is specific. Because of that, 소망 is sometimes used in specific cases and 소원 is used for vague goals. In our examples of 소원, some people talk with the word 소망. The specificity is decided by the speaker.

There is one more thing to tell you before I end this podcast. New year's resolution is most frequently spoken as 새해 소망 in Korean. 새해 희망 and 새해 소원 are used but they are much less frequently used than 새해 소망. I guess our new year's resolution is usually vague and we learn from years of experience that we should not expect much from our resolution. That is why I guess we use 새해 소망 much. That's sad reality.