Hangul Nal (한글날)

I am writing this post in celebration of Hangul Day.  The 9th of October is marked as 한글날 (Hangul nal) in South Korea.  According to Korean history this is the day when King Sejong proclaimed 훈민 정음 (Hunmin Jeongeum), the document that contains the writing system (sort of alphabet) for Koreans.

The North Koreans celebrate this during 15th of January and it is called 조선글날 (Choseongul Nal).  Based on some of my readings, in the earlier times Koreans are forced to write using the Chinese writing system but it was difficult for the Koreans to write their native words in Chinese. This is the reason why King Sejong tasked some scholars during his reign to come up with a writing system that will represent the words and sounds of Korean language.

In line with this, I am participating in the celebration of Hangul Nal being organized by the Talk to Me in Korean (TTMIK) online language site. I have been frequenting this site for up to date learnings on Korean and Hangul.  Together with my sister, we baked and decorated a cake to celebrate Hangul Day and sent it to HangeulDay2011@gmail.com.

You too can participate in this event by sending picture of your work of art with Hangul on it.  Check out the video message from 선현우 선생님 (Seon Hyeonwoo Seonsaengim of TTMIK)

If you are a Korean Language enthusiast your participation in this event will surely make a difference. Show Hangul some love =)

Verbs: Infinitive Form

Few months ago I only know that Korean words have dictionary form and there is a base word something that I associate with rootword in English however it seems base word is not necessarily used in conversation or usual communication.  This holds true for dictionary form of the word.  Still on lesson 7 of Elementary Korean, I have learned that Korean verbs have infinitive form.  I really didn’t get why it is called infinitive but readers of the book have been cautioned on taking the term infinitive into English language context. 

What I clearly understood is that the infinitive form can actually stand as the statement or expression already.  In most use, it ends with 요 (yo) to make it polite so dropping this ending and other honorific marker will translate the communication in the intimate form (communication in Korean has various degree or level depending on who you are talking too).

Briefly verb’s infinitive form usually ends in ~ㅏor ~ㅓ depending on the last character of the base word if its consonant or vowel ending.   This lesson reminds me of the particles which is added on noun.

Consonant ending verbs normally will add ~ㅓ to make the infinitive form but with exceptions.  If the last vowel of the verb is or, instead of ㅓ, the letter to be added will beㅏ. Here is a sample:

작 (to be small in size) –> 작아

좋 (to be good) –>  좋아

In most cases 어 will be added like in the verb 없 (indicate non existence) will turn to 없어 and so is for 있 (indicate existence) which will turn to 있어.

There are other exemptions to these specifically for special consonant ending verb which I am about to discover in my further reading.