I hope you don’t get bored waiting for me to explain more Korean grammar. I have begun explaining grammar in Korean, Japanese, Romanian, and Spanish, so I alternate between which ones I explain every few days. I may speak a little of some other languages, but I don’t understand them well enough to explain their grammar. It took a lot of work for me just to be able to do what I do with language. I took French lessons when I was a little girl before I knew anything about grammar, and no one taught me to read in French, so I can’t do it in French for you. I studied Hausa when I was in Nigeria and began speaking, but no one uses Hausa outside of Nigeria, so I never used what I learned outside of Nigeria, I don’t attempt to do anything in Hausa. When I was in Hungary, I also studied a bit of Hungarian, but I wasn’t there long and didn’t learn much. I just touched the surface and could greet people and ask how much things cost. When I send out blogs about Spanish, Romanian, Japanese, and Korean, I do it because I actually know what I am talking about. If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t attempt it. I have actually wondered, since I am an English professor, how people would take to me sending out blogs about English grammar. When you explain the grammar in the Bible, it helps you understand the Bible better. For today, I will be explaining Korean grammar. We are still in chapter 13, the love chapter, and today, we will be talking about verse 12. I am going verse by verse because Korean is so different from English.
Verse 12: 우리가 거을로 보는 것같이 희미하나 그때에는 억굴과 대하여 볼 것이요. 지금은 내가 부분적으로 아나 그때에는 주께서 나를 아신 것같이 내가 온전히 알리라.
우리가 거을고 보는 것같이 희미하나 그때에는 – “At that time, we will see the same thing faintly.” 우리 is the first person plural pronoun. Because 가 comes after 우리, we know that 우리가 is the subject first person plural pronoun, so it is “we.” 거을로 means this is talking about the future. 보는 것 – 보 means “look” or “see.” 것 makes 보 a noun, and 는 connects the two words. 보는 것같이 means “like the thing that you see.” That 같이 on the end means it is like something or the same as something. 희마하나 means “faintly.” 그 means “that.” 때 can mean “when.” However, it is mostly referring to time. That is why it means “when.” Another way to say when in English is, “at that time.” The 에 means “at,” and 때 means “time,” so 그 때 에 means “at that time.” 는 on the end means that this clause is a subject. Yes, clauses and phrases can be subjects too, not just words.
얼굴과 – “face and..” 얼굴 means “face.” 과 means “and.” There are many ways of saying “and” in Korean. This one is used inside a sentence. It is not always used like the English “and.” It can connect two nouns, but doesn’t in this case. One of its functions is to connect a noun with a preposition which it does here. It must come after a word that ends with a consonant. If a word ended in a vowel, you would use the other form of this word: 와.
대하여 – “about.” This is the preposition that is connected to “얼굴” by “과.” “About the face,” however, we don’t use this word this way in English.
불 것 – “the thing you see” or “what you see.” 보다 means “to look” or “to see.” If you want to make it into a noun, you take the 다 off and put ㄹ at the bottom and add 것 which means “thing.”
이요 – “is,” “am,” or “are.” This is the verb 이다 in the “yo” form, the form that you can usually use all the time. It is not impolite, nor is it extremely formal. To make it the “yo” form, the 다 has been taken off and replace by 요. This signals the end of a sentence, so this is the main verb for the sentence. In the Bible, there is no period after this sentence, but I put it there to help you understand better.
Let’s put this sentence all together: “At that time, the thing that we will see faintly is the same as our face.”
지금은 – “now.” 지금 is actually “now.” 은 is the post position particle you put after anything that has to do with time. It must be 은 and not 는 because 지금 ends in a consonant, ㅁ. If a word ends in a vowel, use 는.
내가 – “I.” It is the subject because it has 가 after it. If you had 네가, it is pronounced the same, but it means “you.”
부분적으로 – “in part” or “partially.” If you have been reading other blogs in this series, you will recognize this word because we have had it before.
아나 – “know, but..” 아 comes from 알다 which means “know.” 나 is a post position particle that can mean “but” or “or.” This 아나 is a verb form that can be used in the middle of a sentence.
그내에는 – “at that time.” We talked about this one above because it was also in the other sentence. 그 means “that.” 때 means “time.” 에 means “at.” 는 means this is the subject.
주께서 – “the Lord.” The part of this that actually means “Lord” is 주. 께서 is a post position particle that means from.
나를 – “me” or “to me.” 나 is the first person singular pronoun, and if you put 를 after it, it makes it the direct object, and the object pronoun in English is “me.”
아신 것 – “thing that is known.” 아 comes from 알다 which means “to know.” If you want to say, “I know” and you want the “yo” form, say 알아요. 시 is there because the translator is being respectful because it is talking about the Lord. ㄴ is there because this “know” has been turned into an adjective in Korean. 것 means “thing.” In essence, the meaning is “known thing,” but we don’t phrase it that way in English. We say, “the thing that is known.”
이신 것 같이 – “like the thing that is known” or “together with the thing that is known.”
내가 – “I.” Look at the ㅐ to know it is “I” and not “you.” Look at the 가 to know it is “I” and not “me.”
오전히 – “sound” or “untouched” or “complete.” Just 온전 means “soundly.” With the 히 on the end, it becomes an adjective.
아리라 – ” will know.” This comes from 알다 which means “to know.” The form of this verb you will want to use is “알겠어요.” This verb form signals the end of the sentence. This is a verb form that speaks from above to people who are lower.
Let’s put this all together: “Now, I know in part, but at that time, I will know from the Lord the complete things that will be known to me.”
All I can say is that if you didn’t know the parts of speech and know the word order, this sentence would be almost impossible to sort out. Korean grammar can get downright convoluted for people who speak English. This is why I only do a verse at a time when I talk about Korean grammar. If you have stuck with me, we are almost finished with this chapter. The next verse is verse 13, and it ends the chapter. I will send it next time, but I won’t be finished with Korean. If you want to know a language well enough to speak, you don’t give up, and once who learn to speak, you don’t want to give up. It always takes time to begin speaking, and it seems that it takes longer for English speakers to begin speaking Korean than many other languages. For us, Korean is complicated, but it is not impossible. When my daughter went to Seoul National University to study Korean, the people who spoke English as a first language were in a minority because many native speakers of English give up before they actually begin speaking English, but if you don’t give up, it is doable. As the rector of Lucian Blaga University, Dr. Dumitru Ciocoi-Pop, used to say when I was there, everything is hard before it gets easy. And he knew because he spoke English, Romanian, Hungarian, and German and taught English Literature but Romanian was is first language. In a few days, you will get the Korean grammar of last verse of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.