Korean lessons: Lesson 1

Fundamental features of Korean Language   

The Korean language is spoken by more than 60 million people. It belongs to the group of Altaic languages together with Japanese, Ainu, and Mongolian, which were splitted one another several thousand years ago. Syntactically, Korean shares some common characteristics with these Altaic languages, while over 70% of its contemporary vocabulary came from Chinese.

1) SOV language

Korean is classified as an SOV language, which stands for <Subject-Object-Verb> word order. English on the other hand is an SVO language. A subject is the one who acts. An object is the one who receives the subjects action. For example:

<English> Bob loves Jenny.

Who loves Jenny? Bob does. Who is loved by Bob? Jenny is. In Korean this sentence will be in the the word order:

<Korean> Bob Jenny loves.

2) Topic-prominent language

Although we call it a subject, its position is not for subjects, the actor, only. A topic can also be in the position. A topic may not be an actor, but the one which the sentence is about. Let’s take an example: You bumped into a friend after lunch. Your friend asks you, “Hey, how about a lunch?” You might want to say, “Lunch? I already had it. How about a cup of coffee?” The first part of this speech can be understood, ‘As for (or, speaking of) lunch, I already ate it.’ In Korean, this can be stated simply:

<Korean> Lunch, I ate.

 

3) Agglutinating language

Now, you may have been confused, saying, “I don’t get it. How come no one interprets it ‘A lunch ate me.’?” This is where the powerful function of particles, endings, and conjugation comes in.  By attaching these little grammatical devices, you label each words, so that your words come into places without causing misunderstanding.

4) Basic Sentence Formation:

{Subject/Topic+particle}  +  {Object+particle}  +   {Verb/Adjective+conjugation}

  • Ulysses Campos

    Great site!

  • karen

    daebak!

  • beyz

    korean looks similar to turkish because it is an SOV language too

  • jocy Alvarez

    i want to learn a korean languages and how to read well…

    • Michelle Lampton

      I lived in Seoul for 5 years due to work and so as you can imagine, I had to learn the Korean language in a very short space of time. Just offering my advice to anyone else looking to learn this language and that is to follow the Rocket ‘Learn Korean’ program at:

      http://solution2solve.com/learnkorean

  • Joseph Tilak Madawela

    extremely interesting

  • Kenny

    Having A hard time to figure it out on my own

  • dannyR

    *Agglutinative

    Not ‘agglutinating’. This site is riddled with strange English.

  • Esther Oluwalowo

    Is That why when they try to speak english its off?

  • lily

    oh my god! i study english and korean together in this website……

  • Michelle Lampton

    I lived in Seoul for 5 years due to work and so as you can imagine, I had to learn the Korean language in a very short space of time. Just offering my advice to anyone else looking to learn this language and that is to follow the Rocket ‘Learn Korean’ program at:

    http://solution2solve.com/learnkorean

    It worked very well for me as I was completely fluent in the language in well under a year from following it and I didn’t have to pay massive teacher fees like my work originally advised to me. An absolute life saver :)…

  • Tori|Grimmie|Ed

    Being able to watch Korean dramas without English subtitles is one of my goals. Gahh I want to learn their language soooooo bad!

    • ArtisticWatermelon

      Lol its my goal to, plus listening to kpop without subtitles.