So, today, instead of learning what other phrases you can use, because you can probably get them from my dictionary space since I list them all out there, Today I’ll be talking about how to make sentences and the basic sentence structures in Korean. Like in Japanese, it’s a different format, and it changes every now and then, when you start using more complex and more detailed sentences, just like it does in English, sometimes.
Anyway, in today’s lesson, we’ll look at the most basic breakdown of a sentence in Korean and how you can tell which words represent which part of the sentence. Essentially, we’ll be talking about topic markers and how they define what the subject and the object of a sentence is. Now that you guys know what we’re doing, let’s get started!
The Basic Structure
Ok, so, let’s take a look at a simple sentence, both in English, and in 한글. In English, we say sentences like:
I Am A Woman.
Now, in 한글 they say:
Literally translated this means “I woman is/am”. You can see the difference, right? In the English language, our sentence structures always follow the SVO structure. That means we speak in this sequence:
Subject + Verb + Object
However, in 한글, it’s rather different, they use the SOV structure, in this sequence:
Subject-Topic Marker + Object-Topic Marker/Verb
Ok, that’s a lot to process because there are many different sentence styles out there. In this case the “object-topic marker” isn’t used, it’s actually “object-verb”. What this means is instead of having two different words for the object and the verb, it’s combined into one. So in…
The 여자입니다 part is the object and the verb put together, with 여자 as the object, and 입니다as the verb. Why they sometimes combine them, is something I’m still trying to wrap my head around too, and I’ll let you know once I do understand, but for now, that’s something you just need to accept, because that’s just what they do.
The next sentence however, shows you how 한 uses topic markers to distinguish what the object is. So, let’s say for example:
I Like Money.
First of all, who doesn’t? Second, in 한글 it looks like this:
저는 돈을 좋아합니다
Ok, you can see the difference now, can’t you? First you have the subject, with 저는, then the object 돈을, and then finally the verb 좋아합니다. It’s much easier to see the difference in this one. The reason why is because of the little bits at the end of each word, called the topic markers.
What Are Topic Markers
In English, and most Latin-based languages, we don’t really need topic markers, because it’s already inherent in the sentence what we’re talking about. It’s essentially part of the word, because instead of lining up the subject next to the object, we line it up with the verb, so we know the difference between the subject and the object.
With me so far?
In 한글 and other Asian languages, however, you don’t get that. In fact, because the subjects and objects line up together, it’s harder to distinguish what you’re talking about. That’s why they use topic markers. Normally, you’ll understand what the subject of the sentence is because they’ll be marked with a:
…at the end of the word, and in terms of the object, you’ll know them because of the:
…at the end of their words. Now, why are there two different versions, for each topic marker? It’s simply because of the ending of the word. If the word ends in a vowel, the first version is used. If it ends in a consonant, it ends in the second version.
So, if the subject of a sentence ends in a vowel, like how 나, 너, 저 do, then the topic marker will be 는, but if the subject of a sentence ends in a consonant, the topic marker will be 은. For example:
저는, 나는, 음식은
The same goes for the object of the sentence, if the word ends in a vowel, the topic marker is 를, if it ends in a consonant, its topic marker is 을. For example:
게를, 너를, 음악을
I hope that makes sense for you guys. So, now you know how to distinguish between the subject of a sentence, and its object.
Next time we’ll talk about the 입니다 part of the sentence, and what it’s used for. I’d say its semantics, but with 한글, it can be a little bit more than that. For now, practice making sentences like 저는 개를 좋아합니다 on your own. Start by creating the SOV structure, in English, and translating it into Korean. Soon, you’ll be able to start creating them without having to translate them.
Well, that’s it from me today, I’ll see you guys next time. For now, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and on my social media accounts. Oh, and share these posts with family and friends, those who you’d think might enjoy these topics and tips! I’ll see you later!