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 =)

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Colors as Adjective and Noun Modifier

My previous post is about colors as noun, typically in a sentence format it is ‘object of the sentence is equal to noun’.  For today’s post, color is used as an adjective or modifier to further describe a subject or noun.  So instead of saying the bag is red, one can simply say red bag and altogether this becomes one compound subject or object.

There is slight difference when using colors as adjective or modifier in a sentence, in some colors the word 색 (saek) which stands for color is dropped (please check post prior to this one), specifically the colors mentioned below marked in red.

  • 파란 (Paran) Blue
  • 검정 (Geomjeong) Black
  • 하얀 (Hayan) White
  • 빨간 (Ppalhan) Red
  • 노란 (Noran) Yellow
  • 초록색 (Choroksaek) Green
  • 주황색 (Chuhwangsaek) Orange
  • 보라색 (Borasaek) Purple
  • 핑크색 / 분홍색 (Pingkeusaek/Bunhongsaek) Pink
  • 은색 (Eunsaek) Silver
  • 금색 (Keumsaek) Gold
  • 갈색 (Galsaek) Light Brown
  • 밤색 (Bamsaek) Brown
  • 회색 (Hwisaek) Gray

Taking the example above on describing a bag,  here is how you can make use of color to state it:

  • 가방이 빨간색이에요 (Gabangi ppalgansaek-ieyo) – The bag is red.  This is one way to say it with reference to previous post.
  • 가방이 빨간아요 (Gabangi ppalganayo) – this would also mean the bag is red but the way color is used is as adjective or descriptive verb, so the form used is the 4th bullet.
  • 빨간 가방이 예뻐요 (Ppalgan gabangi yeppoyo) – this now means, the red bag is beautiful.

The last two examples provided made use of the color in the form of modifier or as adjective.   Just remember that whenever you use it as adjective, you need to use the inifinitive form, i made a post on how to form this a little long time ago.

Back to Post Modifier Patterns

Couple of months ago, I have been reading about creating modifier forms — the basic ones.  It was really difficult.  As it is right now I still at times commit errors on the use of topic, subject, object markers and some other post-positioning.

Today, I learned about a noun that turns into a post modifier.  So this post is a combination of what I have learned on creating modifiers and a special post modifier function of a noun that is called 길 (kil).  This word  means road, way or street, here are  sample use of this word:

  • 에서 놀지 말아요  (Kileso nolji marayo) – Do not play in the street.
  • 무엇이에요? (Hakyoeseo kil mueshieyo?) – What street is that? or What is that way?

Last time I made a post on processive modifier -는 (-neun), yes it’s called processive modifier because it can only be attached to action verb and not the descriptive ones  (there is such thing as descriptive verb in Korean while in English we would normally call these words adjectives).   The word 길 following a processive verb in 는 form takes the sentence to a new meaning which is not really too far from the essence of street, way or road.   길 then renders a new pattern meaning ‘on the way’.

Just as I imagine, processive modifier in this use will from verbs like 가 (ka) or 와 (wa) which means go and come respectively.   So here are samples of processive verbs followed by 길:

  • Question: 어디에 가세요? (Eodie kaseyo?) – Where are you going?
  • Answer: 학교에 가는 길이에요. (Hakyoe kaneun kilieyo) – I am on my way to school.

Notice that one can actually also answer 학교에 갈 거에요 (Hakyoe kal koeyo) – I am going to school –which, I have learned to form during the time that I am reading about future tense of verbs.   So this new post modifier gives speaker an option on answering such question.    Here is another sample:

집에서 돌아오는  길에 휘성 가수가  만났어요. (Jipeseo dorawaneun kile Wheesung mannaseoyo)  On my way back home I met singer Wheesung.