If you’ve ever used Altavista’s Babelfish to translate Korean to English, you most likely have seen the word “bedspread” in the translation. That’s because the word 요 (yo), used as informal polite ending, is also the word for the Korean sleeping mat.
A site visitor once sent me an email asking me if ordinary people have beds in Korea. He’s been watching Korean dramas and he sees that rich folks have beds while the financially challenged use the floor mattress to sleep on. On the average, Korean houses are small and the cold months are long. The heating system is “ondol” style (from the floor) so you trap more heat with the Korean style bedding. Most people prefer to sleep on the floor for the heat, but more people prefer a bed.