Hi, I began explaining Korean grammar using the Ten Commandments yesterday. I know there are people following my blog who would like to understand Korean better, and I also know that one of the easiest ways to learn is pulling apart a text that you already know what it says in your first language. These blogs are for someone who knows a bit of Korean, and is till trying to figure it out. I will tell you from experience, it isn’t an easy language, but it is a worthwhile language to know. If you get to know a Korean, you will never be sorry.
3. 너는 나 외에는 다른 신들을 네게 두지 말라
너는 – “you,” the subject, and the person speaking is higher than you, God.
나외에는 = above me. 나 is “me.” 외 is “on” or “over” or “above.” 에 makes 외 static so that it isn’t moving. 는 at the end tells you it is an adjective phrase.
다른 – another, other
신들을 – 신 means “god.” 들 makes 신 plural, so 신들 means “gods.” 을 means that 신들 is the direct object.
네게 – to you. 네 is “you,” and 게 is “to.”
두지 말라 – 두 comes from 두다 means “put.” 지 is the thing they put just before negating a verb. 말라 means “don’t.” It is a verb that really talks down to someone. It is a command because of “라”. If you wanted to be a step kinder, say “두지 마!” If you wanted to be even kinder, say, “두지 마세요” meaning “please don’t put.”
All this means that this verse translates like this: “Don’t put other gods over me.”
4. 너를 위하여 새긴 우상을 만들지 말고 또 위로 하늘에 있는 것 이나 아래로 땅에 있는 것 이나 땅 아래 물 속에 있는 것의 어떤 형산도 만둘지 말며
너를 – you, tells you 너 is an object. In fact, it is the object of the preposition.
위하여 – for, which makes 너를 위하여 mean “for you.” 위하여 is the preposition, and 너 is the object of the preposition.
새긴 – carved. That ㄴ and the end tells you it is an adjective.
우상을 – 우상 means “idol.” 을 tells you that it is an object. In this case, it is the direct object.
만들지 말고 – 만들다 = to make. If it has that 지 instead of 다, it means that there is a negative verb ending coming. 말 comes from 마세요 or 마, meaning “don’t.”고 is the way you say “and” if there is more than one verb.
So far, we have “Don’t make for you carved idols, and..”
위로 – up, 위에 means “on” or “above,” but if you put that 로 instead of 에, it becomes “up.”
하늘에 – “in Heaven” or “in the sky.” Just 하늘 means “Heaven” or “sky.” 에 means “in,” “on,” or “at.”
있는 것 – 하늘에 있즞 것 – Things that are in Heave or the sky. 있는comes from 있다 or 있어요 which means, is located, have, has, there is, or there are. The 는 after it means that it is an adjective, and not a verb. 것 means “thing,” so 있는 것 means “thing or things located,” and 하늘에 있는 것 would mean “things located in Heaven or the sky.”
이나 – This is in this verse a couple of times. They have lots of different things they use when they list, and this is in a post position place where they would have a post position particle for listing.
아래로- 아래 means “below,” and 아래로 means “down.”
땅에 – 땅 means “land.” Again, 에 is the post position preposition that means “at,” “on,” or “in.”
있는 것 – 땅에 있는 것. This is just like 하늘에 있는 것 which means “things in Heaven or the sky,” so it means “things on the earth or the land.”
땅 아래 물 속에 – Inside the water below the earth. 속- inside. The 에 after it makes the 속 static. 물 means “water.” 물 속에 – inside the water. 아래 means “below.” 땅, again, means “earth” or “land.” 땅 아래 물 속에 있는 것 – Things that are located below, on the earth, in the water.
의 – of, or something that makes a possessive or could come after an adjective.
어떤 – any
형상 – shape or geometry
만둘지 말며- This comes from 만들다 which means “to make.” The 지 tells you something negative is coming. 말 comes from “마” or “마새요,” and all three mean “don’t.” The 며 at the end tells you that the thought will be continued in the next verse. It is like “and.” Therefore, 만들지 말며 means “don’t make, and..”
If you put this all together, the whole verse means: “Don’t make for you carved idols, and also don’t make shapes of anything from the sky or Heaven above or from the earth or land below or from the water below on the earth, and…”
In Korean, if you stop right there, you seem to be left on a cliff because the next verse continues, but since it takes time and space to explain it all, I am going to stop there. You will have to get the continuation next time. Korean can be complicated, but if you have studied enough and use a little imagination and creativity, you can figure it out. As I have said before, Korean is like working a puzzle because it is so different from English. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fun because puzzles are fun. Next time, I will do a couple more verses from the Ten Commandments.