Honorific Base and Infinitive

When I was trying to check my English-Korean / Korean-English dictionary, I was actually making a big mistake of using the word as is, moreover using the same pattern that English is spoken which is the Subject-Verb-Object pattern.  This is the big difference, in Korean the pattern is Subject-Object-Verb.  Verb being the last part of the sentence is the most important part of the speech as Subject and Object can be dropped in Korean conversation.

The dictionary entry with 다 -da as marker suggest what the base word is. The base word is the one that is used to form infinitive (words as used in conversation).  I have not mastered deducing the base form of a word from its dictionary entry but somehow I am more familiar now.  Using my favorite verb ‘go’:

  • 가다 – Ka-Da is the dictionary entry of this word and is never used as is.
  • 가 – Ka is the base form of this word and at the same time the infinitive form.  Common rule in deriving the infinitive is to add 아 (a) or 어  (eo) to the base form.  There are some complication but normally consonant ending words takes the 어 to get the infinitive except on cases where the previous vowel to the consonant ending word is either ㅗ or ㅏ  in that case 아 is the infinitive ending.

Words have honorific base and infinitive too, similar to the exercise of putting 아 or 어 to the base word to create the regular infinitive.  To make the honorific base, ~으시 or ~시 is added to the base word.  으시 if the word ends in consonant and 시 when word ends in vowel.   Then to make the honorific infinitive ㅓ is added to ~으시 or ~시.  In most cases 으시어 or 시어 is abbreviated to 으셔 or 셔.

Let’s take the word ‘write’ as an example:

  • 쓰다 – Ss-eu-da is the dictionary form of the word (again never used in a conversation unless you are asked what write is in Korean)
  • 쓰 – Ss-eu is the base form of the word
  • 써 – Ss-eo is the regular infinitive form, as mentioned earlier, infinitive form ends with either ㅓor ㅏ.  In the case of the word write which end in ㅡ the rule is  to drop this and replace with ㅓ but if the word still has a vowel before it which ends in ㅗ ㅏ then ㅏ will be the ending.  For this word ㅡ is the last and only vowel so the ending will be ㅓ.
  • 쓰시 – Ssu-shi is the honorific base form.
  • 쓰셔 – Ssu-syo is the infinitive form

Other verbs in their honorific infinitive:

Read  (dictionary entry 읽다 — ikda)

  • 읽 – ik (where s sound is silent) is the regular base form
  • 읽어 – i-ko is the regular infinitive form
  • 읽으시 – i-ku-shi is the honorific base form
  • 읽으셔 – i-ku-syo is the honorific infinitive form

Walk (dictionary entry 걷다 geot-da)

  • 걷 – geot is the base form
  • 걷어 – geo-to is the infinitive form
  • 걷으시 -geo-tu-shi is the honorific base form
  • 걷으셔 – gee-tu-syo is the honorific infinitive form

Come (dictionary entry 오다 oda)

  • 오 – eo is the base form
  • 와 – wa is the infinitive form
  • 오시 – eo-shi is the honorific base form
  • 오셔 – eo-syo is the honorific infinitive form
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s