An important part of being able to understand and speak Korean is that one must have a firm understanding of the grammar used to make coherent sentences. During these first few lessons we shall focus on building a usable grammar base. In this lesson, we will learn some more useful particles, Present progressive, future tense, and the requesting form. We will also learn some new grammar, but it will not be the main focus of this lesson.
Here we find Joseph meeting 찬호 again.
- 찬호: 앗! 오래간만 입니다, 조세프!
- 조세프: 네, 안녕하십니까, 찬호?
- 찬호: 네. 저는 지금 학교로 가고 있습니다.
- 조세프: 선생님을 만나겠습니까?
- 찬호: 아니요, 공부하겠습니다. 조세프는 오늘 숙제를 하겠습니까?
- 조세프: 네, 저는 집에서 하겠습니다.
- 찬호: 그래요. 안녕히 가십시오.
- 조세프: 안녕히 계십시오.
찬호 begins with another greeting:
"오래간만 입니다" can be translated as: "Long time, no see" in English. At first, it's a hard expression to pronounce, but a little bit of practice should untie your tongue.
- 조세프: 네, 안녕하십니까, 찬호?
- 찬호: 네. 저는 지금 학교로 가고 있습니다.
|Yes.||I (topic)||now||school||(to/towards)||go (verb stem)||(present progressive)|
New vocabulary, new particle, new verb tense. 지금 means “now”. In a later lesson, we will learn many words such as "later, tomorrow, yesterday, just a second ago, etc". In the next part, 찬호 uses a new particle with a similar meaning to what we learned before: "N + (으)로". This particle means "to", "toward", or "in the direction of". It can be interchanged with "에" relatively safely, but "로" with its additional usages, is a little more versatile. If the noun ends in a consonant then it becomes "으로" (집으로). Simple.
Finally, we have a new verb tense: the present progressive tense. It can also be made into a statement or question by adding the "VS + 고 있습니다" or "VS + 고 있습니까" forms. The strange thing about this verb tense is that the standard "VS + ㅂ/습니다" can mean the same thing! Remember in lesson 1, Joseph said "집에 갑니다". This could have also been said "집에 가고있습니다" or even "집으로 가고 있습니다." It is your choice. Some combinations sound more natural to others, but a beginning student doesn't have to be concerned with that. You will eventually get the feel of what sounds right.
- 조새프: 선생님을 만나겠습니까?
This might sound funny, but one of the most important things to learn in Korean is not found in this sentence. Where is the subject? Is it 선생님 (“teacher”)? No, there is no subject. In Korean, if the subject of the next sentence is understood, it can be omitted. This is often found in colloquial English:
- English speaker A: "I'm a little busy."
- English speaker B: "Oh, studying today?"
However, in Korean, you can omit the subject more freely than English, and sometimes other elements can also be omitted, resulting in very short sentences. Well, if 선생님 ("teacher") isn't the subject, what is it? It's the direct object!
The particle 을 is used to designate the direct object of the sentence, i.e. the thing or person upon which the action is happening. In most textbooks, this is usually denoted as "을/를" because "을" comes after words ending in a consonant, and "를" comes after words in a vowel. This particle is omitable, but for the beginner, it's best left in so nothing gets confused.
Now, based on what we have learned so far, one might guess that the verb stem of the verb in this sentence is "만나겠다", which is a perfectly logical guess, but wrong. The actual verb stem is "만나다" which means "to meet" (as you might have gleaned from the previous paragraph). The "겠습니다" or, more correctly "겠다" is the future tense form. For this form, it is unimportant whether the verb stem ends in a consonant or vowel. Simply add "겠" and then finish off with "습니다" to speak politely. Easy as 파이, no?
- 찬호: 아니요, 공부하겠습니다. 조새프는 오늘 숙제를 하겠습니까?
|No,||(I)||will study.||Joseph (topic)||today||homework (direct object)||will do?|
This sentence may sound a little strange, but it is nonetheless correct. 공부하다 means "to study", 오늘 means "today" and 숙제 means "homework." 하다 will be explained in more detail later, but for now, it means "to do" when by itself. Notice the 를 on 숙제? What is he doing? his homework!
- 조새프: 네, 저는 집에서 하겠습니다.
|Yes,||I (topic)||home||(at)||will do.|
Finally, we have another particle, 에서, which is translated "from" or "at". In this case, it functions as "at". Notice "Yes, I will do it at home."
- 찬호: 그래요. 안녕히 가십시요.
- 조새프: 안녕히 가십시요.
그래요 is a polite way of saying "okay." It also means "Yes that's right."
Korean sentence order
Korean sentences have a different word order from English. Whereas an English sentence typically has a Subject-Verb-Object word order, a Korean sentence typically has a Subject-Object-Verb word order. For sentences with only a subject and a verb, Korean and English word order is essentially identical:
If a sentence includes an object, the English and Korean order differs:
English: I am reading a book. English: I(subject) am reading(verb) a book(object)
Korean: 저는 책을 읽고 있습니다. Korean: 저는(subject) 책을(object) 읽고 있습니다(verb).
A more complete understanding of Korean sentence order requires an understanding of Korean predicates (서술부어). As in English, complete Korean sentences must have a predicate that contains a conjugated Korean word (용언). Also as in English, Korean verbs (동사) are conjugated and so can be sentence predicates. However, with regard to forming sentences, Korean differs from English in two important ways:
- Korean sentences do not require subjects (주어), just predicates. (That is, a Korean sentence with only a predicate is grammatically complete.)
- Korean adjectives (형용사) can be conjugated and used as sentence predicates.
Korean sentences that include subjects, indirect objects, direct objects, and complements often arrange them in this order:
|Korean:||Subject (주어)||indirect object (간접 목적어)||direct object (직접 목적어)||complement (보어)||predicate (서술부어)|
|Subject||predicate||indirect object||direct object||complement|
Above is the usual word order in Korean, which is the order most easily understood by native speakers of Korean. However, excluding the predicate (the verb), the placement of other words is not entirely relevant to the meaning of the sentence. The following arrangements have the same meaning as the above example:
|indirect object||direct object||subject||verb|
|to me||the apple||Cholsu||gives|
|subject||direct object||indirect object||verb|
|Cholsu||the apple||to me||gives|
- 오래간만 입니다 - Long time, no see!
- 선생님 - Teacher
- 숙제 - Homework
- 만나다 - To meet
- 공부하다 - To study
- 하다 - To do
- 지금 - Now
- 오늘 - Today
- VS + 겠습니다 - Future Tense
- VS + 고 있다 - Present Progressive
- N + (으)로 - Toward
- N + 을/를 - Direct Object Marker
- N + 에서 - From, At, Location of Action
Conjugate the following verbs with the future and present progressive tenses in polite form:
Add 에서, (으)로, and 을/를 particles to each noun: