Korean Statement: The Review

When I started learning Korean almost 4 years ago, I thought it would be as simple as learning the writing system which is  항글 (Hangul) and studying meaning of words, then I would be ready to communicate in Korean.   So when I memorized those characters and bought a dictionary, I hurriedly looked for a Language Exchange partner only to find out I am far from being a decent speaker.

Since I don’t have time to attend a formal class I opted to buy a text book that will allow me to understand Hangul.  I learned my first big lesson, this language is not like learning English.  The basic structure of a Korean sentence is Subject-Object-Verb or  SOV in short.   No wonder I sounded like a fool putting up those words based on their dictionary meaning just how I would construct my English sentence.  The sentence  structure alone is a big difference.  So when we typically say ‘I love you’,  in Korean, the order would be ‘I you love’.  The order of words in a sentence also signifies their importance.  The first in the order is the least important and that the verb is the most important component of the sentence.  The first words in a sentence are most likely to be dropped.  This is because the subject or even the object  can be implied in a conversation.

Using the sample statement ‘I love you’, this is 나 너를 사랑해요 (na noreul saranghaeyo) in Korean.  Let’s dissect this simple statement.

  • 나 (Na means I)
  • 너를 (noreul means you)
  • 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo mean love)

You might have heard 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) in dramas and songs which actually means i love you as well. The subject and object in the statement were dropped but the meaning stays the same.  This is why the role of the verb in a sentence is important.

Of course creating a clear statement doesn’t end with knowing the word order.  Although subject and object can be dropped in a sentence this should not be taken as a rule of thumb.  In the Korean language post-position and markers are used to emphasize the role of the word in a sentence.  Again using the example above 나 너 사랑해요, 너 which means you is marked as object in the sentence without it the sentence would be vague since the subject 나 (i) is not marked.

Can you just imagine how it is to create a compound or complex sentence in Korean?  I am not even at that level but I am trying =)

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