Use of Simple Modifier

So i have learned that the simple modifier (으)ㄴ can be easily done by attaching it to base for of the verb.  USing this modifer allows creation of noun phrse or a clause that modifies a noun.  The simple modifier has two meanings.  With an adjective  it means that is or equals noun.

  • 큰 가방 (keun kabang) 크 descriptive verb meaning large added with simple modifier ㄴ and 가방 meaning bag.  This noun phrase means large bag or a bag that is large.
  • 좋은 아침 (choeun achim) good morning or morning that is good
  • 예쁜 여자 (yeppeun yoja)  beautiful lady or a lady that is beautiful

This simple modifier when added to a processive (action) verb, it has the past meaning like has done or that someone did or has done.  The tense is the difference compared to the use of simple modifier with descriptive verb.

  • 떠난 남자 (ddonan namja)  떠나 meaning left and 남자 meaning a man or a guy.  This noun phrase means the guy who left.
  • 읽은 편지 (ilkeun pyeonji) the letter that (I did) read
  • 만난 친구 (mannan chingu) the friend I met

Since the processive verb when added with this simple modifier has the past meaning, it is therefore impossible to put this simple modifier to past base form of the verb like 만났은 친구.

Looks pretty easy for now.  Although there maybe slight difference the way you do it in English, this is the beauty of the Korean language with just a simple addition of ㄴ to a verb followed by a noun you instantly make a noun phrase.

 

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Modifiers Again

Every time I open my Continuing Korean book, I always end up reading the lesson on modifiers.  I wonder if I would be able to move forward from this lesson.  It looks really easy from the beginning and gets difficult as you build your sentence.

I just reviewed how to turn verbs into a modifier form.   It really is so simple, just add ㄴ to the base of a verb ending in vowel or  은 if the verb ends in consonant.  Here are some examples:

Korean Modifers

This simple verb in modifier forms has two meanings.

  • With a descriptive verb, it means the noun that is –> 좋은 아침 (choeun achim)  good morning or a morning that is good.
  • With a processive verb, it has a past meaning –> 만난 사람 (mannan saram) the person that (i) met.

Seems or Looks Like Expression

I certainly love listening to Korean songs.  Although it is not a good way to learn the language due to some poetic license, it makes you recall phrases and words that you can actually hear being used in regular conversation.  Recently I am inflicted with LSS, short for Last Song Syndrome and the song that keeps on playing in my head these days is an OST from a reality show called ‘The Romantic’.  The song is entitled 사랑은 너인 것 같아 (Sarangeun Noin Kot Kata) by 나비 (Navi).   That part where she sings the lines 사랑은 너인 것 같아 feels like a big confession of a strange feeling that love brings.

The title of the song is typically translated as ‘I think My Love is You’.  I kept on wondering how the title has been translated this way because I only know  ‘think’ is 생각하다 (saenggakhada) in Korean plus 같아 (kata) as far as my little knowledge of the language means together with or like.   Finally, I saw answer to this.   Browsing on my Continuing Korean book, I saw this lesson on Modifiers with 것 같아요.  So this modifier actually means seems or looks as if, it literally means same thing as.

The book says it has been very popular expression to young speaker  (the book is published 2002 makes me think how young is young ^_^)  If I have to use what I just learned then the title of the song can be Seems You are My Love.  The book emphasizes on the use of this pattern even on situation where there is absolutely no doubt or question.  For someone who speaks English, ‘seems’ connotes a little uncertainty.  Typically used if the speaker is not so sure of a fact that he is stating.

Here are some examples of the use of this modifier.

  • 기차가 오는 것 같아요 (Kichaga oneun kot katayo) – The train seems to be coming
  • 감기에 걸린 것 같아요 ( Kamki-e kollin kot katayo) – I seem to have caught a cold
  • 내 책을 잊어버린 것 같아요  (Nae chaekeul ijeobeorin kot katayo) – I seem to have forgotten my book

Use of Modifier 던 (deon)

The use of modifier in Korean verb is simply amazing.  You know how verbs in English can come in different forms too and in Korean modifiers are usually added to the base or infinitive  form of the verb to conjugate it.

The modifier 던 (deon) is something that i always hear when Koreans speak.  It’s a modifier that is attached to the basic form of the verb which will give the verb the meaning of having done doing so and so.   Yes it’s retrospective, so it gives the meaning of doing something in the past.

Based from what I read the modifier 던 when used with simple base have the same meaning with the pattern <verb>고 있었어요 (verb+go isseosseoyo).  I remember this pattern very well.  Like when you say 먹고 있었어요 (meokko isseosseoyo) it means ‘was eating’.   So the simple 먹던 (moekdeon) would mean the same thing.  Comparing the two, this is how it goes:

  • 그 학생이 여기서 자장면을 먹고 있었어요.  (Ku haksaengi yogiso jajangmyeoneul mokko isseosseoyo.) – That student was eating jajangmyeon noodles here.
  • 여기서 자장면을 먹던 학생.  (Yogiseo jajangmyeoneul meokdeon haksaeng) .  The student who eating jajangmyeon noodles or has been eating jajangmyeon noodles here.

So bottomline, these two patterns mean was VERBing.  As final note, you may hear this modifier sound like 든 (deun) for some Korean speakers, they also sometimes spell it that way.

Expressing Ever or Never Done

I am not pausing on the powerful post modifier -(으)ㄴ.  I say it’s powerful because you can do complex sentences with it.  My post today is actually still related to this modifier.   There is another expression I learned that connotes has ever done or has never done.

The nouns 일 (il) and 적 (jeok) both mean event, act, experience.  When used in along with verb 있어요 (isseoyo) and  없어요 (opseoyo) would mean:

  • 일이 있어요 (iri isseoyo) – the event, experience or act exists
  • 적이 있어요 (jeoki isseoyo) – the event, experience or act exists
  • 일이 없어요 (iri opseoyo) – the event, experience or act don’t exists
  • 적이 없어요 (jeoki opseoyo) – the event, experience or act don’t exists

This phrase is compatible and in almost all cases used with exploratory pattern (verb) -어 본.  Previously, I made a post on using the verb 보다 with another verb to mean try to do something.  So the complete pattern would be verb+본 일이 있어요 or verb+본 적이 없어요. Of course 일 is interchangeable with 적.

태국에 가 본 일이 있어요?  (Taeguke ka bon iri isseoyo?) It literally means Does having gone to Thailand exists?  but it actually means ‘Have you ever been to Thailand? ‘

You can actually answer:

  • 네, 태국에 가 본 일이 있어요. (Ne, taeguke ka bun iri isseoyo) Yes, I have been to Thailand.
  • 태국에 가 본 적이 없어요 (Taeguke ka bun jeoki opseoyo) I have never been to Thailand.

When I was learning Korean during my first few weeks, i spent time to memorize Korean characters  (Hangul) and the first thing I did was to try write my name in Hangul.   Now I have a question:  이름을 한글로 써 본 일이 있어요?

The Fact of (Verbi)~ing

The use of modifier -는 (neun)  and 은 (eun) is definitely one of the hardest lessons that i have learned and still learning in the study of Korean Language.  I think until now I am only confident in using these as markers for topic.  I am currently reading the advance book for learning Korean which is Continuing Korean (sort of sequel to Elementary Korean) and the lessons are mostly on the use of these modifiers.

The modifier -는 (neun) is used for processive verbs, it turns a phrase into a topic something comparable to a noun phrase in English.  A processive verb with this modifier (verb+는)  followed by 것 (keot) would mean the fact of doing so-and-so or the fact that one does so-and-so.

Same pattern can be used for plain modifier processive or descriptive verb + 은/ㄴ(ㄴif base ends with vowel)  followed by 것.   This would mean the fact that one did (processive verb) or that is (descriptive verb) .

Here are some examples:

  • 자는 것 (chaneun keot) – the fact that someone is sleeping
  • 잔 것 (chan keot) – the fact that someone slept
  • 한국어 책을 읽는  (hangugeo chaekeul ikneun keot) – someone is reading Korean book
  • 비가 오는 것 (biga oneun keot) – the fact that its raining
  • 비가 온 것 ( biga on keot – the fact that it rained

In practical use, 것 is sometimes abbreviated to 거  (keo) and it still would mean the same.  Now, let me practice how to use this modifier into sentence:

  •  엄마가 자는  것을 몰랐어요.  (Ommaga chaneun keoseul mollaseoyo). I did not know that mother is sleeping.
  • 학생이 한국어 책 읽는 것을 봤어요. (Haksaengi hangugeo chaek ikneun koseul bwasseoyo).  I saw a student reading Korean book.
  • 비가 온  것이  싫어요. (Biga on koshi shiroyo) I hate that it rained.

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.