Vocabulary: To Write

I have downloaded an application from iPAD that allows me to doodle.   It kinda let you practice your Hangul writing without wasting papers and inks. The word 쓰다 (seuda) is the dictionary form of the verb write, so it means ‘to write’.

To use this in a sentence you have to identify the base or infinitive form of the word that is 쓰(seu) and 써 (seo) respectively.  Here are some use that I can think of:

  • 여기에 이름을 써 주세요 (Yeogie ireumeul sseo juseyo) – Please write your name here.
  • 친구에게 편지를 썼어요 (Chinguege pyeonjireul sseosseoyo) – I wrote a letter to a friend.
  • 나중에 블로그 엔트리를 쓸거에요 (Najunge beullogeu enteurireul sseulkoeyo) – I will write ( I have an intention of writing) a blog entry later.

Try the Doodle application in iPAD it’s just cute and nice way to practice Hangul writing. It’s also cool that iPAD has enabled writing on most east asian fonts and that includes Hangul.

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Vocabulary : To Think

Are you thinking of something or someone?

생각하다 (Saenggakhada)

The verb  생각하다 (saenggakhada) is in dictionary form which means ‘to think’.  The base form is 생각하 (saenggakha) while the infinitive form is 생각해 (saenggakhae).  These are some of its use that I learned to create:

  • 나도 당신을 생각하고 있어요 (Nado dangshineul saenggakhago isseoyo) – I am thinking of you too.  This is in present progressive form, please note that 고 있어요 is added to the base form of the verb.
  • 당신을 생각했어요 (Dangshineul saenggakhaesseoyo) – I thought about you.
  • 나도 너 맞아는 생각해요 (Nado no majaneun saenggakhaeyo) – I (also) think you’re right.

Some tenses are formed using the base form like the future form -겠어요 (-kesseoyo) while some are formed using the infinitive form like past form, in fact 생각해 (saenggakhae) can be used in a sentence for informal (intimate) style.

Infinitive Form: The Review

This is sort of a continuation of my post yesterday.  If you can determine the base form of the verb from the dictionary entry then its just proper to learn how to get the infinitive form.  I was talking once with a language exchange partner who is studying Korean but is a native Spanish speaker.  He mentioned that he can easily understand the idea of infinitive in verb as this seems to be the case in Spanish.   From Wikipedia it says in studying Spanish and Portuguese,  infinitives end in -ar, -er, or -ir.  In the case of Korean language, verb in infinitive form can end in eitherㅓ (eo) orㅏ (a).

Learning the infinitive form of the verb in Korean language is important since this form of the verb is where it can already be used in a conversation.   But one must realize that the infinitive form of the verb when used in a sentence without the appropriate style may appear disrespectful when talking to a native Korean.  This is because Korean is spoken in either formal or casual-polite style, verbs normally use a marker to achieve this.  Again this subject may require another post to fully understand.  The style to be used has to be considered with reference to degree of relationship to the person you are talking to.  Likewise there is a concept of honorifics in Korean language.  Aside from the style, verb in honorific form is used if you are talking to someone older or of higher position than you are.  So the infinitive form when used in a conversation without considering the formal or casual-polite style means your relationship to the person is intimate (closer).  This style of speaking is referred to as 반말 (banmal meaning speaking intimately).

There are some rules to follow in deriving the infinitive form and this starts by identifying the base form of the verb.  For vowel ending base verbs these are the things to know:

  • If the base ends with the vowel ㅏ (a), ㅓ(eo) or ㅐ(ae) the infinitive form is equal to the base form.  As such the base form of verb 가 (ka means go),  매 (mae means tie) and 서 (seo means stand) is also it’s infinitive form.
  • For verbs with base form ending inㅣ (i), the infinitive form is made by adding ㅓbut is abbreviated to ㅕ(yeo) so its like ㅣ+ㅓ=ㅕ.  Here are some of the samples under this case, 가르치 (karuchi base form of verb to learn) will become 가르쳐 (karucho) in infinitive form.  Same goes with verb 마시 (mashi – drink) which becomes 마셔 ( masyeo).
  • In the case of base verbs ending in ㅜ (u or oo in some romanization),  the infinitive form is derived by adding ㅓ and abbreviated to ㅝ  (ㅜplusㅓ) .  Here is an example of its application, 주 (ju which means give) becomes 줘 (jwo or jueo). Please note though that verbs ending in ㅝ requires 어 to be added to the base form of the word to get the infinitive form.  This is because there is no abbreviation for ㅝ combined with ㅓ. One sample of this is the word 숴 (sui which means to rest), the infinitive form of this verb is 쉬어 (sui-eo or swi-eo).
  • Applying the same principle for verbs with base ending in ㅗ (o) , ㅏ is added to derived the infinitive form and then abbreviated to ㅘ.  Therefore,  the verb 오 (o) which means to come will become 와 (wa or oa).  Same thing goes for the word 보 (bo which means to see or look), it becomes 봐 (bwa) in the infinitive form.  Just a note that 봐  being one of the mostly used verb can be heard as just 바 (ba) when spoken in Korean.
  • Lastly, for base verbs ending in ㅡ (eu or  short u sound), there is a slight difference in determining the infinitive form.  The ㅡ is dropped and replace by ㅓ. A good example would be the word 쓰 (sseu which means to write), this becomes 써 (seo) in infinitive form.   However when you drop the ㅡ and the ending is a consonant the preceding vowel will be the basis of what will be added to the base to derive the infinitive form.  This means that if the preceding vowel is ㅜ or ㅏ, ㅏ has to be added otherwise its ㅓ.  A example of this case is the word  바쁘  (pappeu which means be busy), it becomes 바빠 (pappa) in infinitive form.

The last rule is something applicable for vowel ending base verbs.  The preceding vowel is indicative whether ㅓorㅏ will be added to form the infinitive.  All consonant ending base verbs ends with  어 (eo) the only exception is if the preceding vowel is 오 or 아 the ending would be 아 instead of 어.  Here are some of the examples the order of the word is dictionary form followed by base form and then the infinitive form:

  • 앉다 –> 앉  –> 앉아 (anja) means sit
  • 읽다 –> 읽 –> 읽어 (ilko pronounced as iko) means read
  • 좋다–>  좋 –> 좋아 (choa or chowa) means like
  • 물다 –> 물 –> 물어  (muleo) means ask

Of course as to any rules there are exceptions.  I may have to make another post for the exceptions but the highlight  is, since verbs in infinitive form can be used in conversation you may hear these verbs as if its a complete sentence when Koreans are engaged  in a conversation.  As simple as 좋아 (choa) would mean something is liked or good  or when you hear 앉아 (anja) it means someone is telling you to take your seat.   This goes the same for a very common verb 괜찮아 (kwaenchna) or expression in Korean.  This means i am okay, it’s okay or are you okay if used with rising tone at the end.

Verbs Base Form: The Review

I decided to review on this basic component of the Korean Language, verb that is.  I get a lot of questions on how to use the dictionary or  how to use the words in the dictionary to make a sentence.   This isn’t an expert’s advise, I will just attempt to explain on lay man’s term some basics on understanding verbs in Korean.

In most of the books I read, the importance of the verb is always highlighted because in some cases subject or object may be removed and the verb can stand on its own just like the way ‘Run!’ or ‘Sit!’ can be considered a sentence because it expresses a complete thought.

I made a page on English-Korean Dictionary or 사전 (sajon).  Having one, is just one step towards pursuing self study but the Korean dictionary is not your typical English dictionary.  The tricky part is, verbs are normally written in dictionary form.  My language exchange partner before has warned me on using words from the dictionary. This is because the dictionary form of the verb cannot be used as  is in a sentence.  Verbs as listed in 사전 follows base+ ending 다 (da).  This is true for all verbs .  Here are some examples:

  • 읽다 (ikda- to read)
  • 먹다 (mokda – to eat)
  • 자다 (jada- to sleep)
  • 공부하다 (kongbuhada- to study)

These words as mentioned cannot be used as is in a sentence.  You have to extract the base (or root)  from the dictionary form to make use of the verb and that is by removing the ending 다.   I am not sure if it’s right to say this or if it’s the scholarly way to explain it, the manner by which you use base form of the Korean verb maybe similar to the principles of conjugation of verbs.  Korean verbs are conjugated from its base form.  If I may go back to my English 101 conjugation is when you use root word of a verb to derive its other uses.   From the examples above, one can extract the base form as follows –>  읽, 먹, 자 and 공부하.

The base form is where you create verbs in present, past and future tenses.  The present tense is almost always equivalent to what the book says as Infinitive form.  So in other words, verbs in Korean can be used written or spoken at least on the Infinitive form.   Deriving the he infinitive form of the verb involves some rules.  One thing is for sure, the infinitive form of  verbs in Korean can only have two endings,  that is ㅏ (a) or ㅓ (eo).  I may have to make another post to explain the Infinitive form.

With this post, one may be disheartened in pursuing self study because having a dictionary and being able to read Hangul characters are just the very beginning.  As the preface of the book Elementary Korean says,  understanding the verb is the heartbreak hill in learning Korean.  If you are not able to understand the dictionary, base and infinitive forms of the verb then you will not survive learning the language.  If this is how you feel while doing self study (and by self study I mean reading Korean Language text book)  i suggest you try learning the language in a different way maybe by memorizing phrases or using phrase books instead.   I hope to encourage patience in learning the language in a structured manner rather than discourage anyone with this post.  화이팅!

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.

Choayo 좋아요 vs Choahaeyo 좋아해요

The word 좋다 (choda) is something you always hear in a Korean conversation.  In fact, in this blog of mine the phrase I like you in Korean is one of the most visited posts i have.  좋다 is the base form of the word like.  it’s a verb which can mean is good, like or in some case  it is also used to express wish.

One of the variations in the use of this verb is the expression 좋아요 (choayo) and 좋아해요 (choahaeyo).  It both means the same the only difference is that for clarity of use in the sentence, the verb 좋아요 cannot take an object meaning to say you cannot pertain the use of this verb to something that is marked -을 (eul) or -를 (-reul) which are actually object markers in a Korean statement.  For clarity, 좋아요 is used with a subject marked with either -가 (-ga) or 이 (-i).   Here is an example–  비빔밥이 좋아요 (bibimbap choayo~ I like bibimbap).   The sentence 비빔밥 좋아해요 (Bibimbapeul choahaeyo) would mean the same but this time the object is marked and the verb became compound with the addition of 해 (from 하다 – hada which mean to do or happen).

So i learned for simple sentence you can drop the markers but for complex ones the role of the marker becomes very important to put across the right meaning of a sentence.  Hmmm… I am truly like the  Korean Language.  정말 한국어를 좋아해요!

Turning Descriptive Verb to Processive

This post is sort of a review on one of the most important part of Korean sentence — verb that is.   Korean sentences usually ends with a verb.  There are two types of verb in Korean, processive and descriptive verbs.  The processive verb is the typical action word as we know in English while the descriptive type is actually adjective.

One main difference of a processive verb with a descriptive one is that it can take direct object.  It can take nouns marked with 을 or 를 (eul or reul) unlike descriptive verbs which can only take subjects and topics, these are nouns marked by either 이/가 (i/ga) or 은 는 (eun/neun) respectively.  This thing is very important in turning descriptive verb to processive type.

How is it done?  this is by simply adding 해요 (haeyo) or 합니다 (hamnida) to the verb.  Here are some examples:

  • 좋아요 (choayo) –> 좋아해요 (choahaeyo) means is good, is liked or likes
  • 싫어요 (shireoyo) –>  싫어해요 (shireohaeyo) means is dislikes or dislikes
  • 기뻐요 (gippeoyo) –>기뻐해요 (gippeohaeyo) means is happy or glad

The practical use of descriptive verbs turned into processive is mainly to express what another person feels or thinks.  This is because in Korean, the speaker ordinarily is not allowed to state flatly what other people thinks or feels.  Such transformation makes the indirect pattern.  Here is an example:

  • 제인이 와서 좋아요 (Jeini waseo choayo).  It’s good that Jane has come or I am glad Jane has come.
  • 제인이 와서 좋아해요 (Jeini waseo choahaeyo). Someone is glad that Jane is here or Jane is glad to be here.