Using the Ten Commandments to Explain Korean Grammar, part 4

I hope these blogs are helping you understand Korean grammar better. When we use the Bible to study a language, we kind of get two things in one. We not just studying grammar. We are using the Bible, so we get a little bit of Bible teaching while we are at it, and which among us wouldn’t think that learning a little bit of Bible wouldn’t be good for us? Sometimes, when I study the Bible, and I am unsure of the meaning, I look in the Bible at one of the other languages and I know, and it may be phrased differently to help me understand better. Since I understand several languages and have Bibles in several languages, I often look at all the different translations in different languages and compare them. I don’t do any Greek or Hebrew, the original languages of the Bible, but I get meanings that people from all different languages got from Greek and Hebrew, and I compare what they said. If there is a discrepancy, I go with the translations that mean more of the same thing to try to understand what I am reading. If they all translate the same way, then I have the meaning without a problem. Knowing grammar in other languages helps more than just grammar. Let’s get started on the Ten Commandments now. Today, we are doing Exodus 20: 7 & 8.

하나님의 이름을 망령되게 부르지 마네요. (Please don’t yell out God’s name in a bad spirit.)///Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Verse 7: 너는 네 하나님 여호와의 이름을 망령되게 부르지 말라 여호와는 그의 이름을 망령되게 부르니 자를 죄 없다 하지 아니하리라.

너는 – you, the subject. I know it is the subject because of the 는. I also know that someone high is speaking to someone low because of the form of “you” being used.

네 – your. If it is 내, it means “my.” There is no difference in the pronunciation of these two, but you can see the difference when they are written. At one time, they say the ㅐ and the ㅔ had different pronunciations, but they don’t anymore.

하나님 여호와 의 – God Jehova’s. 하나님 = God, 여호와 = Jehova, and 의 makes it possessive.

망령되게- “in the mode of a bad spirit.” This is basically a compound word that is used as an adverb. 망 means “bad.” 령 means “spirit.” 되게 comes from 되다, the verb meaning “to become.” However, they have made it into an adverb by putting 게 on the end of it. It is actually a pretty complicated word. +

이름을 – name, and the 을 means it is the direct object. 이름 ends with ㅁ, a consonant, so 을 is used and not 를.*

부르지 말라 – “Don’t yell” or “Don’t call out.” Sometimes, the verb here is “sing,” but it can also mean “yell” or “call out,” and in this context, to be “yell” or “call out” makes more sense. The basic verb is 부르다 which means to yell or sing. The negative is introduced by 지. Other forms of 말라 are 마 or 마세요. If you say to a child, “부르지 마,” you are talking down to the child as an adult and correcting the child saying, “Don’t yell.” If you say, “부르지 마세요, you are saying, “Please don’t yell.” However, if you have 부르지 말라, “Don’t yell” is being said like a command from a superior.

여호와 – Jehovah

그의 – his. 그 is the masculine pronoun, and 의 is a possessive, so makes it “his.”

이름을 – 이름 means “name,” and 을 means it is the direct object. (same as above)*

망령되게 – in the mode of a bad spirit (same as above)+

부르지를 -” yell,” and it is a direct object because it has 를 on the end.

죄 없다 – “to be without sin.” 죄 = sin. 없다 – to be without, to be gone, or not to have.

하지 아니하리라 – “will not do.” 하다 = to do, and, 하지 comes from that word. It has that 지 on the end that warns that something negative is coming. 아니 = no. 하리라 is like 하겠어요 or 할 거예요. They are all future tense of 하다, to do. If you were making these another tense, you would put 하지, and then you would add the negation into the verb ending. For example, 하지 않아요 means “I, you, we, or they don’t do it” or “he, she or it doesn’t do it.” That “않아요 is the way to make a verb negative. If you are using past tense, you would write 하지 않았어요 meaning “didn’t do it.” However, this verb is in future tense. When you use future tense, you have to put that negation in front of the verb instead of in the verb, and on top of that, you take a letter out of the word that negates. In simple present tense and simple past tense, you use “않아요” or “않았어요” to negate inside of the verb itself, but in future tense, you have to put that negation before the verb and take the ㅎ out of it coming up with 안니 or 안, and in this case, they used 안니. Because this verb is at the end, it is the main verbs of the sentence.

Here are some examples: 말 하지 않아요 – doesn’t, don’t speak. 배우지 않아요 – doesn’t, don’t learn. 가지 않아요 – doesn’t, don’t go.

말하지 않았어요 – didn’t speak, 배우지 않았어요 – didn’t learn, 가지 않았어요.

말겠습니다 – will not speak. 말 거예요 – will not speak. 배울곘습니다 – will not learn. 배울 거예요 – will not learn. 갈겠습니다 – will not go. 갈거예요 = will not go.

If you put all the information in this verse together in English, it can be a bit complicated, but here it goes: “You will not do: Don’t yell your God Jehovah’s name using a bad spirit. Yelling out Jehova’s name in a bad spirit is a sin.” They actually got to it in a very round about way, but that is basically what it says.

일요일에 교회에 가기는 노무 중요해요. (Going to church is very important.)//Photo by Tom Fisk on Pexels.com

Verse 8: 안식일을 기억하여 거륵하게 지키라.

안식일을 – “The Sabbath day,” and it is the direct object because it has 을 after it. 안식 means Sabbath. 안식 is actually used as a name in Korea. I learned this word by learning one of my student’s names. If you learn their names, you will be increasing your vocabulary. 일- day.

기역하여 -” remember.” 기역 is actually “remember,” and “하여” comes from “하다,” “to do.”

가륵하게 -“holy”

지키라 – “keep,” and 라 makes it a commandment of someone higher talking to someone lower.

In essence, this verse means: Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy. This is not exactly what it actually says in the English or Spanish Bibles. In both English and Spanish, they kind of explain a bit that the Sabbath day is the day that God rested, and that is why we keep it holy, but in Korean, it doesn’t say that. The Koreans who speak English often tell me they prefer the English Bible, and with this verse, I understand.

한국에 테리비젼을 보면 자주 본역 하는 사람이 새고운 이야기를 서요. 보역 하지 않아요. (If you want TV in Korea, often the translator makes up a new story. They don’t translate.) Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

In some ways, Korean can be more specific than English, and in other ways, it just isn’t specific enough. I have heard that many of the Korean translations of the Bible are actually translated into Korean from English, not from Greek or Hebrew. That may be part of the problem. I have also discovered that often, when things have been translated into Korean or from Korean into English on the TV, the translator just makes up their own story and doesn’t actually translate what the characters on the show are saying at all. If I were these people in Korea who speak English, I think I would be using the English rather than the Korean too. I translated a Korean song one day that was originally in English, but translated into Korean. When I translated the Korean version back into English, I learned that when they translated it into Korean, they just about wrote a whole different song. If you use the google translate to translate between English and Korean, be careful. They very seldom get it right. The major problem is that Korean and English are such different languages that it is really hard to change them from one to the other. One thing that helps in understanding Korean is to know the Chinese Characters, the Hanmoon, that the Koreans use. I have a friend who is a preacher and a Hanmoon professor at the university in Korea. He told me that he teaches Hanmoon to many preachers in Korea because without out, the Bible is much harder to understand. At my house, I am lucky because my daughter has studied that Hanmoon a bit, and pulls apart Koreans words using the Hanmoon to get to their original meaning to understand them. I know some Hanmoon, but I studied them as Japanese kanji, and they may be the same character with the same meaning, but have a different pronunciation in Korean. If I have trouble with a word like that, she is a much better resource for me than google translate. I have had students who have tried translating their papers with google translate from Korean to English, and they come up with gobeldy gook.

Leave a Reply