적응하다, 익숙하다 – Korean Words vs. Words S2 #7

Sometimes, learning words are like a train. After learning a new word, you want to learn new and related words and these newly learned words lead us to some other new words. From the control words, 조절 and 조정, we've learned 적응. Another person asked me the difference between 적응 and 익숙. I answered 적응 is to begin adjusting and 익숙 is to finish adjusting.

This episode is the detailed version of that answer.

적응하다

When you look up 적응 in dictionary, it says:

일정한 조건이나 환경 따위에 맞추어서 응하거나 알맞게 됨.
Becoming appropriate to some conditions or environments

As I said in the short version, it is usually used when you are starting to adjust to a new environment. It is usually translated as adapt, adjust, get used to in English.

처음이라서 그런지 시차 적응에 오래 걸렸다.
As it is my first time, it took me a lot to get used to the time lag.

언어가 통하지 않아 현지 적응에 시간이 걸릴 것이다.
As I cannot communicate with them, it will take me long to adjust to the environment.

익숙하다

When you look up 익숙하다 in dictionary, it says:

어떤 일을 여러 번 하여 서투르지 않은 상태에 있다.
You did a work for many times, so you are familiar with it.

As I said before, you finished adjusting. You are used to that work, environment, condition because you tried and did that for many times. It is usually translated as familiar, skilled, experienced, practiced or be used to.

그녀는 아이를 다루는데 익숙하다.
She is skilled at handling kids.

이사 온 지 얼마 되지 않아서 집 주변 지리에 익숙하지 않다.
As we moved here not long ago, I am not familiar with the place around my house.

익숙해지다. 적응이 되다.

As you can see, these words are not interchangeable. Interestingly, these words can be interchanged if you conjugate these words in certain form.

익숙해지다 = 적응하다

When you add -지다 after 익숙하다, it becomes familiar or be used to. -지다 makes words mean to have some kind of quality. When you have the quality of being familiar, it means that you are familiar with it. You can change examples above like below:

처음이라서 그런지 시차에 익숙해지는데 오래 걸렸다.
언어가 통하지 않아 현지에 익숙해지는데 시간이 걸릴 것이다.

익숙하다 = 적응이 되다

When you make 적응하다 to be 적응이 되다, it means "finished adjusting." 되다 has many meanings. One of them is to get or arrive to the predefined point. So, we can change our examples like below:

그녀는 아이를 다루는데 적응이 되었다.
이사 온지 얼마 되지 않아서 집 주변 지리에 적응이 되지 않았다.