Uses of Simple Modifier (으)ㄴ

I have always had difficulties understanding modifiers in Korean, reading lessons about this topic for once is not enough.  I guess you really have to read over and over to fully understand its use.  This is were I struggled the most.

Going back to lessons on simple modifier, now it seems more clear to me it’s use.   When used with an adjective, it directly modifies the noun in front of it.  So this means descriptive verbs (non action or non processive types) directly modifies the noun in front of it when it takes t. is form.  An example would be from this sentence:  침대이 커요 (Chimdae.i keoyo) — which means  ‘the bed is big’ can be expressed in a different manner by using this simple modifier.  큰 침대 (Keun chimdae) would then mean the bed that is big.  In this form the phrase can be used to create a little more advance sentence:  큰 침대을 사고 싶어요 (Keun chimdaereul sago shipeoyo), this means I want to buy a big bed.

This modifier works differently when attached to an action word or processive verbs.  As mentioned by one commenter (Cristo), it has a past meaning when used with processive verbs.  Here are some examples:

  • 걸은 사람 (Goreun saram) – the person who walked
  • 쓴 편지 (Sseun pyeonji) – the letter that (I) wrote
  • 기다린 어머니 (Kidarin eomeoni) – the mother who waited

Also got a tip that whenever processive verbs are used in this form, there is no need to transform the verb into past tense since the use of the modifier already signifies that that action has been done already. Therefore it would be impossible to see 걸었언 사람 (Keoreosseon saram) since 걸은 사람 would already meant a person who walked.


Common Place Nouns

Whenever I watch Korean movies, drama or any TV shows,  I always hear these commonly used nouns.  In fact in many cases where I took taxi in Seoul, the driver always ends up asking me ‘여기? ‘.  These are the common words that that are indicative of location:

  • 이 (i) this
  • 그 (gu) that, referring to something  nearby
  • 저 (jo) that , similar to over there or something far from the speaker

Now if you add -기 after this words they become place nouns with exception of 이 which becomes 여기 (yeogi);  그기 (keugi) and 저기 (cheogi)  for the other two.

Sometimes it gets confusing when you try to listen to actual Korean conversation because you will hear 요기 (yogi), 고기 (gogi) and 조기 (chogi) apparently pronouncing the words this way add some sort of cuteness.  Well I am not really sure about how cute that is but hearing someone speak in Korean produces that pattern and rhythm that i love to hear.

WOTD: 공부하다 (Gongbuhada)

Some suggested that I post verb of the day, so I will be doing this type of post moving forward.  It can be any word may it be verb, noun or adjective.  I will try to use them in the different forms that I know, this way I really get to practice usage of words.

First Word of the Day (WOTD) is 공부하다 (gongbuhada) this is the dictionary form of the word which means ‘to learn’.  If you want to use this in conversation or sentence you need to get its base form or root for simpler terms  since this is the form where you start doing conjugation.  The base form of this word is 공부하 (gongbuha), as I previously learned a verb in Korean may either end in ㅓ (eo) or ㅏ (a), and this is done by adding this to the base form the verb.  The result of such is what is called verb in infinitive form.  There are some rules that has to be considered in doing this.   The infinitive form of this verb is  공부해 (gongbuhae), from this form usage of this verb can already be done especially on the casual and polite manner.

  • 한국어를 공부해요. (Hangugeoreul gongbuhaeyo) –  I am studying Korean or I study Korean.
  • 한국어를 공부하고 있어요. (Hangugeoreul gongbugo isseoyo) – I am studying Korean. (Note: Currently in the act of studying)
  • 한국어를 공부하고 싶어요. (Hangugeoreul gongbuhago shipeoyo) – I want to study Korean.
  • 한국어를 공부하세요. (Hangugeoreul gongbuhaseyo) – Please study Korean.
  • 한국어를 공부했어요. (Hangugeoreul gongbuhaesseoyo) – I studied Korean.
  • 한국어를 공부해겠어요. (Hangugeoreul gongbuhaekesseoyo) – I will (have the intention) study Korean.
  • 한국어를 공부할 거에요. (Hangugeoreul gongbuhal koeyo) – I will be studying Korean (there is certainty of doing it in the near future).

우리 함께 한국어를 공부하십시오. (Uri hamkke hangugeoreul gonbuhashipsio). Together let us study Korean =)

Reflections and Answers

After nearly two months of hiatus i realized that there are hundreds of people reading my blog and there are questions left unanswered.  I personally get frustrated when I don’t get answers to questions so i know how it feels to be waiting for one.  I am actually inspired with all the encouragements I get from reader’s messages so i already registered this domain which means i really had to renew my dedication towards learning this language.  However, I would like to apologize to those who requests for email correspondences, I may not be able to return emails one on one as I have a day job.

A lot of visitors requests for translations of names.  Just to clarify, I only write names in Hangul and never translate any name to Korean.  Unless your name is a common noun then chances are I can provide the Korean counterpart; like if your name is Rain then 비 (bi) is the Korean for this word.  It’s totally different when you write it straightforward as Rain which is 레인 (Rein).   So I hope readers would understand this, if you want to get a Korean name you need to have someone, a Korean native perhaps, to give you one.

Also, to set things straight, I am not qualified to teach Korean so please don’t go ask me to coach you or teach you the language.   I myself is learning, I can only impart what I have learned from the point of view of someone who is not speaking English as first Language.  Similar to how I have learned English back on my primary days in school,  I try to relate learning Korean with the way English has been taught in school.  This is why I looked for books and other reference materials to learn.   I have question on tenses, grammar, word use etc.  I wanted to understand the Language just like how a young student may seek to learn a second language so I am trying to explain my learnings with this in mind.  With my interest in Korean culture, I read books about their history and promised to visit South Korea at least once every year.   So some questions not related to Hangul but relevant to South Korea, I may be able to answer or provide opinion on. Most specially, I also learn from suggestions. Likewise, I may commit some errors when i type some words so I would appreciate if you can point it out nicely.  I am not competing with anyone’s competency in Hangul.

Thank you for visiting my site.  I hope we learn together and become conversant one day =)

Back to Modifiers

It’s been a long time since I have opened my Continuing Korean book.  The book has 500+ pages, I have started reading it last year and up to now I am still at page 84.  True to what the others have been saying, compared to Elementary Korean, Continuing Korean is a big challenge.  One of the most difficult lesson I have encountered is on the use of (으) ㄴ modifiers.

At a glance transforming verbs and adjectives into modifier form seems to be easy.  Here is how it is done.  은  is normally added to verbs or adjectives ending in consonant and ㄴ for those ending in vowel.  Some examples are as follows:

  • 앉은 (anjeun)  sit
  • 먹은 (mokeun) eat
  • 만난 (mannan) meet
  • 한 (han) do

Does look simple right? Well there is an exceptions on how you create the modifier form of verbs and adjectives.  This exception is on those L-extending vowel bases.  It’s really hard to explain this L-extending vowel bases but the way I understand it is that these are verbs that normally ends in ㄹ however in some uses, the ㄹ is dropped before attaching the modifier or marker.  So for verbs like 살 (sal) which means live it would be 산 (san)  and for 놀 (nol) which means play it would be 논 (non).  Now imagine these words being used in a not so simple sentence. I bet it would be difficult for learners like me to figure out when its a modifier and when its actually the word itself.  Like 산 do exists as a word which means mountain.

I guess being able to use modifiers in Korean would mean you have truly leveled up in the Language since modifiers like this will now allow you to create more complex sentences or compound sentences.  This topic needs serious a lot of study time.  Hmm the last two words might be a good start to do some exercise 공부한 시간 (gongbuhan shikan) is study time =)

I am Sorry (미안해요)

I didn’t realize that my comments  for approval would turn into hundreds.  I am starting to check each of them.  I have been so busy the past months that I have not been posting and answering questions.

Will try to update as well for those who are looking for one.  Really I am Sorry.