I skipped some lessons from my book and jumped over this very special word 싶어 which is used to express wishes. This is of course the infinitive form as the base word is (싶-). This however cannot stand on is own. I am interested in this word as I always hear this in most Korean songs that I am listening. I also noticed that this verb is always preceeded by 고 (ko) which is actually an ending required after a processive base, as such the usual pattern is -고 싶어 (intimate) or -고 싶어요 (polite).
The use of this word was explained by my language partner before that 싶어 is used to express owns wishes and desire (cannot be used on other persons wishes but with exemption). He mentioned this is one of the nuances of Hangul and I guess what he is pertaining to is when it can be used for second party. The book mentioned it can be used in second-person question like ‘Do you wish or Do you want“. This can be an example of its use:
- 할머니가 보고 싶어요 (Halmonika bogo shipoyo) – I want/wish to see grandmother.
- 새 식다은 가고 싶어요 (Sae siktangun kago shipoyo) – I want to go to the new restaurant.
Finally i came across this interesting Korean part of speech which is the object particle. This adds to my stock which are the subject marker 이 ~ 가 and the topic marker 은 ~ 는. Now speaking of object, verb usually has an object and this is what marks that noun. Looking at the pattern of particles, 을 is obviously added after a consonant ending word while 를 goes after the vowel ending one.
One of the differences in English and Hangul is the use of such particles which marks the word function in a sentence. As taught since elementary English, the word order is important in English communication since this will actually drive what you mean. The nearer the object to the word that modifies it, the better. Learning Hangul takes paradigm shift on this rule. The order of the word is not that critical as explained in Elementary Korean book, primarily due to the use of the subject, topic and object marker.
In the statement ‘ Jane sees older sister.’ It could only mean one thing that Jane is the one who sees her older sister. Translating this in Hangul:
제인이 언니를 봐요 —> 제인이 (Jane as subject) 언니 (older sister as object) 봐요 (verb see with the polite ending). The meaning would still be the same even if it is re-written as 언니를 제인이 봐요. Again, the word order is not important as long as the correct particle is used. Unlike in English, rearranging the sentence to ‘Older sister sees Jane’ will obviously mean the other way around. This is one key learning I got.
Surprisingly, subject or object in Korean statement can be dropped BUT both cannot be omitted. This is quite interesting. Using the same statement sample above:
제인 언니를 봐요 —> removing the subject marker would still mean Jane sees older sister. However if the object marker 를 is also dropped, the statement then becomes vague. It can either be ‘Jane sees older sister’ or ‘Older sister sees Jane’. I guess this makes Hangul flexible, such markers play an important role in communicating.
There is one similarity though in the treatment of object in a sentence. In both English and Hangul there can only be one direct object to a verb. Following are some samples:
- 책을 씨요 –> writes a book
- 펜을 주세요 –> gives a pen
- 고기를 사요 –> buys meat
I learned place nouns as Korean would name it. The use of this nouns and 에 will help communicate clearly specially when location is discussed. Among the few place nouns i learned are:
- 안 (inside) used primarily when describing a space or location that can be loosely filled
- 속 (inside) same meaning as 인 but is used mainly for space or location which can be easily identified as filled
- 밖 (outside)
- 위 (above, on top, over)
- 밑 (below, bottom, underneath)
- 아래 (lower, down, below)
- 앞 (in front)
- 뒤 (at the back, behind)
- 근처 (within the vicinity, near)
- 옆 (next to, beside)
- 사이 (between)
Positioning of the noun is important since the above place nouns can be used to modify another noun. I thought the language is not sensitive to such but I was wrong:
- 문 뒤에 – would mean behind the door or located behind the door but if word order is changed to
- 뒤 문 – it would then mean the ‘back door’ or door at the back or door behind. 뒤 is used to modify 문
I also learned one important place noun which will be helpful when I travel to Korea, this is 편 or 쯕 which denotes direction or side (as location). So to say the following:
- On left – 왼 편에 or 왼 쯕에
- On right – 오른 편에 or 오른 쯕에