When I started learning Korean almost 4 years ago, I thought it would be as simple as learning the writing system which is 항글 (Hangul) and studying meaning of words, then I would be ready to communicate in Korean. So when I memorized those characters and bought a dictionary, I hurriedly looked for a Language Exchange partner only to find out I am far from being a decent speaker.
Since I don’t have time to attend a formal class I opted to buy a text book that will allow me to understand Hangul. I learned my first big lesson, this language is not like learning English. The basic structure of a Korean sentence is Subject-Object-Verb or SOV in short. No wonder I sounded like a fool putting up those words based on their dictionary meaning just how I would construct my English sentence. The sentence structure alone is a big difference. So when we typically say ‘I love you’, in Korean, the order would be ‘I you love’. The order of words in a sentence also signifies their importance. The first in the order is the least important and that the verb is the most important component of the sentence. The first words in a sentence are most likely to be dropped. This is because the subject or even the object can be implied in a conversation.
Using the sample statement ‘I love you’, this is 나 너를 사랑해요 (na noreul saranghaeyo) in Korean. Let’s dissect this simple statement.
- 나 (Na means I)
- 너를 (noreul means you)
- 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo mean love)
You might have heard 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) in dramas and songs which actually means i love you as well. The subject and object in the statement were dropped but the meaning stays the same. This is why the role of the verb in a sentence is important.
Of course creating a clear statement doesn’t end with knowing the word order. Although subject and object can be dropped in a sentence this should not be taken as a rule of thumb. In the Korean language post-position and markers are used to emphasize the role of the word in a sentence. Again using the example above 나 너를 사랑해요, 너 which means you is marked as object in the sentence without it the sentence would be vague since the subject 나 (i) is not marked.
Can you just imagine how it is to create a compound or complex sentence in Korean? I am not even at that level but I am trying =)
5 Replies to “Korean Statement: The Review”
Gamsa Hamni Da
First I would like to say thank you for sharing your love for this language and culture. It really helps to see another person’s journey as they teach themselves a language. Even if you don’t learn some thing about the language it is still very inspirational. I do have to say though you have helped me in areas where I was struggling as I am teaching myself this hard but beautiful language.
I also wanted to share this group that could be helpful to you and other followers of your blog. You can learn Korean with free lessons, make friends from around the world, and ask questions about Korean and Korea! You might have heard of them already? (Hyunwoo-ssi, one of the teachers from this group was actually a part of Koreanclass101)
They have helped me a lot because the teachers are always there to answer questions. They make learning fun by using social media and more. They are also constantly updating their lessons, website, youtube channel, facebook and twitter. ^_^ They are located in Seoul and share what it’s like living in Korea. They are pretty cool, very friendly and fun to follow. ^_~
Sorry about all of that but just wanted to share with ya. Hopefully it will help 😀
thanks, i subscribed to their podcasts until my iPod breaks down. Will try the other links you shared.
Hi!! I’ve recently started learning Korean. I was very happy after I learnt reading and writing it in a day, but the language isn’t as easy as I thought.
I’ll keep visiting your blog. Nice work.. Gomawayo 🙂