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More Korean Verb Forms Besides Tenses

On Saturday, I sent out a blog that had lots of Korean verb tenses that lots of people liked, but there are other forms of the verb in Korean that aren’t tenses that are also important. If we want to use a modal in English, we add a word to the verb. If we want to make a verb negative, we just add “not,” and often use a contraction and add it to the verb. If we want to do something in English, we add a word to the verb. If we want to do lots of thing in English, we add a word. However, that is now what they do in Korean. In Korean, everything seems to be another verb form.. The verb just keeps changing form, and if you want to understand Korean, you have to learn to recognize at least some of these forms. Here are some helpful forms:

When you get to the check out stand of the store, if you need a bag, you have to ask for one. Say, “punctul jooseyo” = please give me a shopping bag. If you want 2 shopping bags, say “punctul doo ge jooseyo.”

Request form: If we want to request something in English, we just use the basic form of the word, and if we want to be polite, we put “please” before the verb, but it is a bit more complicated in Korean. Here are some examples:

Please go = kaseyo, Please eat = mokseyo, Please read = eelkseyo. please give =jooseyo, please study = konboo haseyo, please do = haseyo, please look = boseyo

If you want to negate this, put “ahn” in front of it. please don’t go – ahn kaseyo

With this one, these are the basic “yo” forms that you can use with anyone. However, they have another request form I don’t know very well that I know how to use that is considered very informal. An example of this is “please come” = eereewa. I actually have no idea how to conjugate more like this because it is so strange this comes from because “I go” is “o-wayo. ”

If you want to eat pizza, say, “peeja lool moko shipoyo.”

Want to do Form: Again, you leave the subject pronoun out and let them guess who the subject is. You only use the subject pronoun if they seem to need clarification.

want to go = kako shipayo, want to eat = moko shipayo, want to read =eelko shipyao, want to study = konboo hakoshipyao, want to do = hako shipayo, want to come = ohko shipayo, want to look = boko shipayo, want to sleep = jako shipayo, want to give = jooko shipayo

If they ask you to go to the beach, and you don’t want to go, say, “Hebyeon e kako shipji ahnayo” meaning “I don’t want to go to the beach.”

If you want to make this negative, you need to add more to the verb. I don’t want to go, you don’t want to go, he doesn’t want to go, she doesn’t want to go, we don’t want to go, they don’t want to go = kako shipjee ahnayo. don’t want to eat, doesn’t want to eat = moko shipjee ahnayo. don’t want to do, doesn’t want to do = hako shipjee ahnoyo.

If you want to make it past tense: wanted to go = kako ship ohsoyo. wanted to see = boko ship ohsoyo, wanted to come = oko ship ohsoyo

If you want to make it negative and past: didn’t want to go = kako shipjee ahnahsoyo. Didn’t wnat to eat = moko shipjee ahnahsoyo. Didn’t want to do = hako shipjee ahnansoyo.

If you want to say, “Let’s eat!” say “Mokja!” If you want to pray first, say “kido haja” meaning “Let’s pray.”

Let’s form: There are actually two for this one, one very polite you use with older people, and one you can use with your friends.

Everyday normal form: let’s go= kaja, let’s eat= mokja, let’s do = haja, let’s read = eelkja

More formal form: let’s go = kapsheeda, let’s eat = moksheeda, let’s do =hapsheeda, let’s read = eelksheeda.

“There is a car”= cha eesoyo. If you want to say you have a car, say the same thing, “cha eesoyo.” If you don’t have a car, say “cha obsoyo.”

Existence Form: There is more than one “state of being” verb in Korean. This one tells where something is located, can mean “to have,” or “there is, there are.”

is, are, am, there is, there are, have, or has = eesoyo

isn’t, aren’t, there isn’t, there aren’t, haven’t, hasn’t = obsoyo

was, were, there was, there were, had = eesosoyo

wasn’t, weren’t, there wasn’t, there weren’t, didn’t have = obsosoyo

I learned how to say “It is pretty” from listening to girls looking at flowers. They saw the flowers and began saying “yepoyo!” = “It is pretty!”, The pretty flower is red. = yepun kkot ee balkansek eeyeyo.////Photo by asim alnamat on Pexels.com

Existence form with an adjective: In English, we have separate words to describe something, but they put their adjective inside of their verb and also outside of the verb if they want.
“pretty” before a noun = yepoon,/ is pretty, are pretty = yepoyo. “big” before a noun = kun,/is big, are big = kyoyo. “tall” before a noun = kikakun,/ is tall, are tall = kikakyoyo. “spicy” before a noun – meh-oon,/is spicy, are spicy = mehwoyo. “hot” before a noun = toh-un, /is hot, am hot, are hot = tohwoyo. “cold” before a noun = chahn,/ is cold, are cold= chowoyo. “clean” before a noun =gehgut-han,/ is clean, are clean = gehgut heyo, “dirty” before a noun = doh-roh-oon/, is dirty, are dirty = dohrohwoh-yo.

If you want to make this negative, simply put “ahn” before it: it is not spicy = ahn mehwoyo. it is not pretty = ahn yepoyo.

namja eeyeyo. = it is a man.

Existence identifying a noun: Is, am, are = eeyeyo/ isn’t, am not, aren’t = anayo. the verbs are in italics below. The main verb is always at the end of the sentence.

It is a book= check eeyeyo. It isn’t a book = check anayo. I am a woman. = yoja eeyeyo. I am not a man. = namja anayo. My name is ___________. = na ooee eerum ee ____________ eeyeyo. I am American. = nanun meegookeen eeyeyo. I am not Korean. = nanun hangookeen anayo.

cheengoo nee dohwesoyo. = She is a friend, but literally “friend became.” You see, they are thinking differently than we are.

The “state of being” verb Koreans seem to really prefer, but we ignore in English: to become = doh-wey-yo (Pronunciation isn’t easy. That “doh” and “wey” kind of glide together.)

I will be a teacher = Nanun sonsengneem ee dohl koyeyo. I became a teacher. = sonsengneem ee dohwesoyo. I become a teacher. = sonsengneem ee dohweyo. I am a student. = hakseng ee dohweyo. I am a teacher. = sonsengneem ee dohweyo. It is summer. = yorum ee dohweyo.

tosokwan e kalkayo? = Shall we go to the library?

The “shall we” or “shall I” form: It is important to say that the pronoun is not included in Korean.

Shall we go? or Shall I go?= kalkayo?, shall we eat? or shall I eat? = mokulkayo?, shall we see? = bokulkayo?, shall we do? = halkayo?, shall we study? = konboo halkayo?, shall I teach? = karoochil kayo?, dureel kayo? = shall I give it to you?

She can sing well. = chal nore hal soo ees soyo.

The “can” and “can’t” form: With this form, the word for “can” = halsoo eet ta” or “halsoo ees soyo.” The form for can’t is = “hal soo obt ta” or “halsoo obso soyo.” However, these are how you add a verb:

Can you speak Korean? = hangook mal ool mal hal soo ees s oyo? –or– hangook mal hal soo ees soyo? I can speak English. = yongo lool mal hal soo ees soyo. –or– yongo mal hal soo ees soyo. Can I see? or Can I look? = bol soo ees soyo?. You can see= bol soo ees soyo. Can you cook? = yoree hal soo ees soyo? . I can cook = yoree hal soo ees soyo. Can you do it? = hal soo ees soyo? I can do it = hal soo ees soyo. I can learn it. = beyool soo ees soyo. mokul soo ees soyo? = Can you eat it?/ I can eat it = mokul soo ees soyo. Can I sit here? = yogee e anjyol soo ees soyo? / You can sit there. = yogee e anjyol soo ees soyo.

I can’t speak Korean= hangook mal hal soo obsoyo./ I can’t speak English. = yongo lul hal soo obsoyo. I can’t cook. = yoree hal soo obsoyo. I can’t eat it. = mokul soo obs soyo. I can’t see it. = bol soo obs soyo. I can’t do it= hal soo obsoyo.


I can’t do it at all and don’t want to = haji mot heyo. / I can’t cook at all and don’t want to.= yoree haji mot heyo. / I can’t speak Korean at all and don’t want to. = hangook mal haji mot heyo./ I can’t speak English at all and don’t want to.= yongo mal haji mot heyo.

I must study the Bible. = songgyeong ool kongboo heyahanda.

The “must” or “have to” form: For “must” or “have to,” remember “heyahanda.”

I must do it = heyahanda. I must study= kongboo heyahanda. I must go. = kayahanda. I must cook. = yori heyahanda. I must look or I must see = boyohanda. I must speak= mal heyahanda. I must sit=anjyoyahanda. I must sing. = nore heyahanda.

nega chakun yoja eesul dde Morocco e salasoyo. = When I was a little girl, I lived in Morocco.

A verb before “when” form: The way to say “when” is “onjey,” but this is not the same “when” as that. This is the “when” in a “when” phrase. In Korean, it is “ddeh.”

When I go = kal ddeh (coming from kada= to go), when I come = ohl dde (coming from ohda = to come), when I eat = mokul dde (coming from mokda = to eat), when I sleep= chal dde (coming from chada= to sleep), when I do = hal dde (coming from hada= to do)

past tense: kasul ddeh = When I went, oh-wahsul ddeh = when I came, mokosul dde = when I came, mogosul ddeh = when I ate, chasul ddeh = when I slept, hessul ddeh = when I did

koodul un mal hago anjyoyo. = They talk and sit.

Two verbs after another in a sentence: With this one, you are changing the verb form to put “and” after the verb. You connect two verbs by changing one of them.

I study and sleep = konboo hago chayo. I eat and walk = mogo kologayo, I go and see = kago bohwayo, I write and listen = ssugo dduloyo, kajigo eesoyo = have, but literally “hold and have.”

kopee lul mashil myeon koppe shop e kal soo eesoyo. = If you drink coffee, you can go to the coffee shop.

A verb before “if” form: There are two ways to say “if.” When you make an “if” phrase, there is an option to put “if” before the phrase for emphasis if you want, and that is the word “manyak.” However, after the “if” phrase, there is another “if” that is not optional. It is “myeon.” Remember that the pronouns are irrelevant. I have put, “I,” but it could be any pronoun and mean the same thing.

If I go, = manyak ka myeon, or ka myeon. If I eat = manyak moku myeon, or moku myeon. If I sleep, = manyak cha myeon, or cha myeon. If I do = manyak ha myeon, or ha myeon. If I study, = manyak konboo ha myeon, or ha myeon. If I swim, = manyak suyon ha myeon, suyon ha myeon.

past tense: kasu myeon = If I went. mogosu myeon = If I ate. heso myeon = if I did

Conclusion: There are so many forms of the verb in Korean that I can’t think of every one of them. I don’t even know every form they might use. My knowledge is just a basic working knowledge of Korean. I carry on conversations in Korean. I teach classes in Korean. I can follow a preacher when he speaks if he doesn’t get too complicated. I understand most of the songs we sing at church in Korean. When I was tested, I got level 2, and that is the lowest level they accept you at any university, and most universities won’t accept you with that level. Where I taught, the foreigners had to be at least level 3 on the TOPIK, Test of Proficiency in Korean. It is a good thing I don’t plan on going to school in Korea. The Korean I have studied is just to basically communicate. I often ignore their endings and just recognize the verb and guess from the context because Korean can get extremely, extremely complicated. If you look a couple of blogs back on Korean, I explained the different levels, and these each have different verb endings for these too. If you want to go to church, you need to know the high level because that is the level they use to talk about God. Everything in this blog is just the “yo” form, the form I use with most people. However, if you are too young, you may have to memorize the “subneeda” level. I was learning from my students the first year I came to Korea, and I learned it before I learned the “yo” level, but people told me I was too old to use the “subneeda” level. The “yo” level was recommended to me. If you plan to get close to someone, you may have to learn bangmal. I know about the verb forms that express punctuation, but I have never used any of them. Maybe just these few blogs about the Korean language will give you a basis to understand a little about it. I hope they helped your overall understanding.


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