- Filed under In English/Learn Korea
Now, it's time to begin some grammar-related things. I think the most easiest part to learn in languages is nouns, so this post is about Korean nouns.
To make it more interesting, you need to know some basic vocabularies.
|human, people, person||사람, 인간(人間)|
|human race, mankind||인류(人類)|
|earth||땅, 지구(地球)||'땅' is used being compared to the sky, and '지구' means our planet.|
I will show family names in the following lecture.
Same Pronunciation with Different Meanings
Because Korean has much more simplified pronunciations than Chinese has, there are many words that have different meanings but same pronunciations. In fact, sometimes there are differences on the length of vowels which are usually ignored by Koreans. Koreans determine the meanings depending on the context.
|말ː||words, speaking, language|
|배(倍)||doubles/multiples of something|
|사과(謝過)||making an apologize|
Nouns from Foreign(Latin) Languages
We approximate2 the pronunciations of words from English, French, and other languages. Sometimes those approximation are different between North Korea and South Korea because dialects of North Korea have stronger consonants and heavily affected by Russia. Here, I will use only South Korean.
Some words are transformed under influence by Japanese, or just "Konglish" (Korean English).
|cell phone||핸드폰 -- came from 'hand phone' which is not standard English; many people insist that we should use a better expression, '휴대전화(携帶電話)'.|
And of course, the names of many countries and regions in the world are in this category.
and many others.
But the names of some countries which were introduced by Japan or in earlier periods are used in Hanja representations.
|Republic of Korea||대한민국(大韓民國) -- The official name of South Korea. Usually an abbreviation '한국(韓國)' is used.|
|United States||미국(美國) -- Japan use 米國.|
|Great Britain (United Kingdoms)||영국(英國) -- 'English' is '영어(英語)'.|
|France||불란서(佛蘭西) -- Obsolete word now, but the character '佛' is still used in newspapers as an abbreviation.|
The name of our country, "Korea", is made from the name a kingdom which existed at the medieval age in the Korean peninsula, "고려(高麗)". This kingdom had very activated trades of many products with other countries including China and Arabs.
Subjective & Objective Form and Pronouns
Basically, we don't distinguish subjective and objective forms because we have postpositions that indicates the role of the words which it decorates. I will introduce postpositions later.
|I, me||나, 저 -- The later one is an honorific form that lowers the speaker compared to the listener.|
|You||너, 자네, 당신3|
|They||그들 -- same to the plural form of '그'|
To make them adjectives, like 'my', 'your', 'his', and etc, you can just append a postposition '~의'. Exceptionally 'my' and 'your' can be also used as '내/제' and '네' respectively. To represent someone's belongings, just append another word '것' which means (some)thing, like 'mine' = '나의 것/내 것/제 것', 'yours' = '너의 것/네 것', and 'his' = '그의', '그의 것'.
Single and Plural
To make nouns plural, you may just append a suffix '들' like '-s' or '-es' in English. There is no variation of original nouns. But Korean language does not strictly distinguish single and plural nouns, so this can be omitted in many cases. Usually if a noun is decorated by adjectives or used as a subject, then the plural form is more frequently used.
Korean does not have articles such as 'a', 'an', and 'the' in English. You can just put nouns in proper positions without any articles and any pluralization. If you want to emphasize that a noun is single, you may use '한'(the attributive form of ordinal number/native cardinal one) in front of it, but this is not necessary and actually unnatural in many contexts.
There is no strict separation between uncountable and countable nouns. They are countable or uncountable only conceptually, with no grammatical differences due to absence of articles. Of course, we don't pluralize uncountable nouns such as '사랑' which means 'love'.
In fact, putting proper articles for various abstract nouns is the most difficult part for Koreans when they learn English. (Maybe this post has also many mistakes about this.)
The symbol 'ː' means the vowel of the character just before it should be pronounced long, but rarely distinguished by Korean people. ↩
This is called 'transliteration' formally. ↩
In subjective form with some postpositions, this should be used as '네', but many Korean does not care of it. ↩