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Introduction to the Korean Language


* Korean Sentence Structure
Korean sentences consist of either “a subject + predicate (verb)”or “a subject + object + predicate (verb)”

캐럴이 가요. Carol goes.
subject + predicate
에이미가 자요. Amy sleeps.
subject + predicate
에릭이 사과를 먹어요. Eric eats an apple.
subject + object + predicate
에릭이 도서관에서 책을 읽어요. Eric reads a book in the library.
subject + object + predicate

Particles are attached to words in Korean sentences. They express the role that their respective words play in the sentence. After the subject of a sentence, the particle 이 or 가 is used. After an object, the particle 을 or 를 is used. And after an adverbial, particles such as 에 and 에서 are used.

에릭이 사과를 먹어요.
subject object
에릭이 도서관에서 책을 읽어요.
subject adverbial object

While the predicate of a Korean sentence always comes at the very end of the sentences, the order of subjects, objects, and adverbials changes pending on the intention of the speaker. Regardless of their order in the sentence, however, the role of each of these parts can still be identified because of the particle attached to it.

사과를 에릭이 먹어요.
object + subject + verb
책을 도서관에서 에릭이 읽어요.
object + adverb + subject + verb

* Conjugation of Verbs and Adjectives
One of the characteristics of Korean verbs and adjectives is that they both are conjugated according to tense, politeness level, passive and causative forms, and speech styles. Verbs and adjectives consist of a word stem and word ending, with their base forms comprised of the word stem plus 다. This form is also called the dictionary form. Accordingly, a dictionary search for such words will reveal their base forms, such as 가다(to go), 오다(to come), 먹다(to eat), and 입다(to wear). When conjugated, the word stems of verbs and adjectives do not change; rather, 다 is replaced with the appropriate form depending on the speaker’s intention.



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