Korean/Lesson I2

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Learn Korean (Introduction)Reading and writing
1급: Beginner1. Greetings2. Forming sentences3. Connective forms and negation4. Colors5. Recreation / In a taxi6. Family7. Around the house8. Using the telephone9. School10. Shopping11. Onomatopoeia
2단계: High beginner3단계: Low intermediate4단계: High intermediate5단계: Low advanced6단계: Advanced


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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.


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Here we find Joseph meeting 찬호 again.


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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.

Conversation review

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찬호 begins with another greeting:

찬호: ! 오래간만 입니다, 조세프!

"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.
네. 저는 지금 학교 고 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" (집로). 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!

teacher (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?
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 on 숙제? What is he doing? his homework!

조새프: 네, 저는 집에서 하겠습니다.
네, 저는 에서 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 가십시오.
조새프: 안녕히 계십시오.

그래오 is a polite way of saying "okay." It also means "Yes that's right."

Korean sentence order

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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:

Korean: 철수는 먹는다.
subject verb
English: Cholsu eats.
subject verb

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).

Korean: 철수는 사과를 먹는다.
subject object verb
English: Cholsu eats the apple.
subject verb object


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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:

  1. Korean sentences do not require subjects (주어), just predicates. (That is, a Korean sentence with only a predicate is grammatically complete.)
  2. 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)
철수는 나에게 사과를   준다.
English: Cholsu gives me the apple.  
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:

Korean: 나에게 사과를 철수는 준다.
indirect object direct object subject verb
to me the apple Cholsu gives
Korean: 철수는 사과를 나에게 준다.
subject direct object indirect object verb
Cholsu the apple to me gives


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Vocabulary: 어휘

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Grammar: 문법

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  • 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

Practice: 연습

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Conjugate the following verbs with the future and present progressive tenses in polite form:

Korean: 공부하다 (to study)

  • Future tense: 공부 하겠습니다
  • Present progressive tense: 공부하고 있습니다
Korean: 만나다 (To meet)

  • Future tense: 만나겠습니다
  • Present progressive tense: 만나고 있습니다
Korean: 보다 (To see)

  • Future tense: 보겠습니다
  • Present progressive tense: 보고 있습니다
Korean: 사랑하다 (To love)

  • Future tense: 사랑하겠습니다
  • Present progressive tense: 사랑하고 있습니다
Korean: 죽다 (To die)

  • Future tense: 죽겠습니다
  • Present progressive tense: 죽고 있습니다
Korean: 먹다 (To eat)

  • Future tense: 먹겠습니다
  • Present progressive tense: 먹고 있습니다
Korean: 말하다 (To talk)

  • Future tense: 말하겠습니다
  • Present progressive tense: 말하고 있습니다

Add 에서, (으)로, and 을/를 particles to each noun:

Korean: 선생님 (Teacher)

  • 선생님에서
  • 선생님으로
  • 선생님을
Korean: 숙제 (Homework)

  • 숙제에서
  • 숙제로
  • 숙제를
Korean: 미국 (America)

  • 미국에서
  • 미국으로
  • 미국을
Korean: 교회 (Church)

  • 교회에서
  • 교회로
  • 교회를
Korean: 남자 (Boy/Man)

  • 남자에서
  • 남자로
  • 남자를
Korean: 여자 (Girl/Woman)

  • 여자에서
  • 여자로
  • 여자를
Korean: 직장 (Workplace)

  • 직장에서
  • 직장으로
  • 직장을

<<Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3>>

Learn Korean (Introduction)Reading and writing
1급: Beginner1. Greetings2. Forming sentences3. Connective forms and negation4. Colors5. Recreation / In a taxi6. Family7. Around the house8. Using the telephone9. School10. Shopping11. Onomatopoeia
2단계: High beginner3단계: Low intermediate4단계: High intermediate5단계: Low advanced6단계: Advanced