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.
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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.

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 =)

Clause Modifier for Sentence with Processive Verbs

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post. As I mentioned it’s abit different when you want to transform a sentence ending in a processive verb into a noun phrase (then subsequently use it as Clause Modifier.

What makes the difference?

  1. It can either be present or past
  2. In Korean it comes before the noun instead of the usual English order when it comes after the noun.
  3. The noun phrase from derived from a sentence with processive verb ending can have direct object.

Here are some examples:

With modified noun as original subject:

  • 밥을 먹은 사람 (Papeul meokeun saram) – the person who ate
  • 밥을 먹는 사람 (Papeul meokneun saram) – the person who is eating

With modified noun as original object:

  • 제인 씨가 사은 가방 (Jein sshiga saeun kabang) –  The bag that Jane bought
  • 제인 씨가 사는 가방 (Jein sshiga saneun kabang) – The bag that Jane is buying

With the use of particles to make the meaning unambiguous:

  • 나의 친구 본 사람 (Noui chingureul bon saram)  – The person who saw my friend
  • 나의 친구 본 사람 (Naui chinguga bon saram) – The person that my friend saw.

My nose is bleeding at this point of the lesson, noun phrase  from a processive verb is really one hard thing to  digest.

Transforming Sentence into Clause Modifier

Complex sentences sometimes make you sound fluent and fluid. Although technical writers may not agree to this, joining two simple sentences that are somehow related creates an impression.

A simple Korean sentence can be tranformed into a clause modifier by using one of the modifier endings  -(으)ㄴ  or – 는 (attached to the final verb of the sentence) and then placing a noun after it.  The result of which is a noun expression and no longer a sentence.   This noun expression can then be used as a subject or object just like any other noun expression.

To give you an illustration on how this works:

  • He is  —> is my friend
  • Ms. Jane Reyes —> is my friend
  • The lady wearing a pink dress —> is my friend
  • The lady standing between Ms. Reyes and Atty. Cruz —> is my friend

For descriptive verb, it’s a bit simple just the way it works for English.  Here are some examples:

  • 작은 책 (chakeun chaek/ small book) <—- 책이 작아요 (chaeki chakayo / The book is small)
  • 예쁜 여자  (yeepeun yoja / beautiful lady) <—- 여자가 예뻐요. (Yojaga yeppeoyo/ She [the lady] is beautiful)

There is an exception though which is in the use of verbs 있어요 (isseoyo) and 없어요(opseoyo):

  • 가방이 있는 사람 (Kabangi ittneun saram) –> the person who has bag
  • 연필이 없는 사람 (Yeonpil opneun saram) –> the person who has no pencil.

For the case of processive verbs, its a bit different . There are some other things to consider when transfoming  sentence ending in processive verb into noun phrase.   This I have to read on…

Another Modifier -는

Another modifier I learned today is -는 which is similar to topic particle used for words ending in vowel.  This new modifier is almost similar to -(으)ㄴexcept that it is specially used for processive verb. 

This modifier doesn’t mind the final character of the word whether vowel or consonant it is directly added to a processive verb.  Amazingly, unlike (으) ㄴ, this modifier cannot be used to descriptive verbs or adjectives.  Here are examples of its  application in certain processive verb:

  • 만나는 (manneun) from 마나 (manna) which means meet
  • 쓰는 (sseuneun) from 쓰(sseu)  which means write
  • 기다리는 (kidarineun) from 기다리 (kidari) which means  wait for
  • 가는 (kaneun) from 가 (ka) which means go
  • 먹는 (meokneun)  from 먹 (meok) which means eat
  • 보는 (boneun) from 보 (bo) which means look

This modifier added in a processive verb placed before a noun has a present meaning, that someone is verbing or doing.  This should somehow make this statement clear:

  • 쓰는 사람 (Sseunen saram) –> the person who is writing
  • 읽는 책 (ikneun chaek) –>the book that [he] is reading
  • 걸는 선생님 (keolneun seonsaengnim) –> the teacher who is walking.

So obvisouly for descriptive verbal nouns which takes auxiliary verb 해요,  one there is always the form descriptive verb+한 like this example: 깨끗한 방 (kkaekeuthan bang) would mean a room that is clean. 

However, for a processive verbal nouns with 해요, the verb 하 functions as processive so it taked the modifier 는. Such as 산보하는 사람 (sanbohaneun saram) which means a person who is taking a walk.  Comparing to the last modifier i learned -ㄴ when this is used on the example given –> 산보 사람 (sanbohan saram) it now means a peron who took a walk. Its meaning becomes past.