Explaining Korean Grammar in the Christmas Story, After the Birth, Part 2

Well, I began a Japanese grammar blog today, and the kanji (the pictographs the Japanese use) finally got me. I got stuck, and I was tired, so I took a nap. I’m not sure if I can finish it or not. I wasn’t sure if I could do the Japanese when I began, but I decided to give it a try. I need someone who knows more to help me with the Japanese. I am so thankful that there is no kanji to deal with in Korean. At one time, there would have been, but only the scholars use it now a days, thankfully. My kanji is probably on the level of an elementary school student, but I can read all the hangul, the Korean letters. It also helps that if I happen to get in trouble in Korean, my daughter is on the highest level of Korean that a foreigner can get. I barely have enough Korean to enter the easiest university. I have taught Bible classes in Korean, but I be sure to prepare a lot to make sure I can make myself understood. When I was a student in the university, the girls in my boarding house asked me to teach a Bible class for them, and there was a huge group of them who all congregated all over the floor in my huge room. I did the best I could, but mostly had them reading. A Vietnamese girl was my roommate who could speak English, but no Japanese was my roommate, and she was thrilled with what I did and went around trying to do anything she could to help. Those Japanese girls always looked to me as a translator, but I never felt quite up to what they wanted from me, and I guess getting so stuck I went to sleep trying to understand the Japanese Bible proved what I have been trying to tell everyone about my Japanese for years that they haven’t listened to.

King Herod was an extremely bad man, but history talks about him, so that is how we know when Jesus was born. Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

As far as the story we have been studying the Korean grammar in, we have finished the birth of Jesus in chapter one of Matthew. Now, we have gone on to chapter 2. In the first verse, the magi had come from India, from the east, to Jerusalem during the time of Kind Herod. This is how we date the birth of Jesus because King Herod is written about in history books, and there were only two great registrations in that time, and King Herod was king when one of them happened. The registration is why Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem: “In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world . 2.(This was the first census that took place while Quirinus was governor of Syria.) 3. And, everyone went to his home town to register” (Luke 2:1&2). After that, Luke proceeds to tell the Christmas story. King Herod got his kingship by buying it from Mark Antony of Rome, the guy who used to hang out with Cleopatra of Egypt. Herod was king of Judea, Galilee, Iturea, and Traiconitis. Luke 1:5 says that it was during the time of King Herod that John the Baptist was born, and we all know that Jesus and John the Baptist were contemporaries born close in time. I have to correct what I said in my last blog. Jesus wasn’t born in 33 A. D. Jesus died in 33 A. D. King Herod reigned 37-4 B. C. King Herod died while Jesus was in Egypt trying to escape from Herod when Jesus was a baby. I always remember A. D. and B. C. by changing from one to the other around Jesus birth. A. D. is an abbreviation for anno Domnini in Latin. In Romanian, “ani” means “the year” and “Domnnuliu” means ” of the Lord,” so you can see how close Romanian can get to Latin. In Latin, “anni” means “the year,” and “Domnini” means “of the Lord.” B. C. is an abbreviation for “Before Christ.” We are now on verse 2 of Matthew 2.

마태복음 2:2 = 유대인의 왕로 나신이가 어디 계시냐 우리가 동방에서 그의 별을 보고 그에게 경배 하러 욌노라하니

마태복음 = “The Gospel of Matthew.” 마태 (mahtey) means “Matthew.” 복음 (bokum) means “gospel.”

Jesus was the newborn “king of the Jews.”Photo by JUAN CARLOS LEVA on Pexels.com

유대인의 왕 = “The Jew’s King.” 유대인 (yoo-deh-een) actually means “Jewish person or people). 의 (oo-ee) is like an apostrophe “s.” It is a post position particle that denotes possession. 왕 (oh-ahng) or (wahng) means “king.” The first pronunciation follows the Korean letters closer, and they don’t have a “wa.’ However, when you say it, it comes out like a “w.”

로 is a post position particle that means “through” or “by way of” or “using” or “as.” Here, it means “as.”

나신이가 = “The birth is.” 나 (nah) means “birth.” 신 (shin) is used when you are showing respect like to God or the king. 이 (ee) is a shortened form of 이다 (ee-dah) or 디예요 (ee-yeh-yo) and means “is, am, or are.” Korean has several state of being verbs, and we only have one in English “to be.” This states of being verb in Korean identifies things. 가 (gah) is the post position particle that tells you that the existence of the birth is the subject.

예수는 어니 있었어요? (Where was Jesus?) 예수는 배들레햄에 있었어요. (Jesus was in Bethlehem.)Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

어디 = “where.” 어디 is pronounced “ohdee.) Yes, this is a question word, but they don’t use it at the begiing like we do. First, they tell you what they want the location of, then they say “어디” (where), and then the verb. Example: 그의 집이 어디 있어요? (ku oo-ee jeeb ee ohdee eessoyo). 그의 (ku oo-ee) means “his.” 집 (jeeb) means “house.” 이 (ee) tells you 집 is the subject. 어디 (ohdee) means “where.” 있어요 (eesseoyo) means “is located.” We have a question order, and so do they, and it is different from ours but the same as Japanese.

계시냐 = “is.” 계시냐 (kyesheenyah) is a very respectful way to say “is, am, or are located.” Yes, it is another of Korean’s many state of being verbs. If someone asks a child if their parents are home, the chid should use this word in responding to show their parents respect. In this case, they are asking about where a king is, so they use the very respectful verb for “is, am, or are located.”

우리는 당방에서 욌어요. (We came from the east.)Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Pexels.com

우리가 = “We.” 우리 (oorre) is the plural first person pronoun. It changes according to the post position particle. The particle used here is 가 (gah) which tells you 우리 is the subject, so it is “we.” 우리는 (oo-ree nun) could also be the subject, so be translated “we..” 우리를 (ooree lul) is the direct object because of 를 (lul), so it is “us.” 우리에게 (ooree ehgeh) is actually a prepositional phrase, “to us” with the post position particle having two syllables and also being a preposition. 우리 을위하여 (oo-ree uloo-ee-hah-yo) makes 을위하여 also a preposition that means “for,” so 우리 을위하여 becomes “for us.” You see, it is according to what comes after 우리 that tells you what 우리 means.

동방 에서 – “from the east.” 동방 (dongbahng) means “the east.” There is no “the” written in Korean because Koreans really doesn’t have a word equal to “the.” 에서 (ehsoh) means “from.” 에서 (from) is the preposition, and that makes 당방 the object noun of the preposition, so 당방 에서 is the prepositional phrase, “from the east.”

으리는그의 별을 봤어요. (We saw his star.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

그의 = “his.” 그 (ku)is the second person singular pronoun. It changes according to the post position particle which is 의(oo-ee) here. 그가 (ku gah) means “he.” 그는 (ku nun) means “he.” 가 (gah) and 는 (nun) are two post position particles that tell you something is the subject, so they make 그 (ku) into “he.” 그를 (ku lul) means “him” because 를 (lul) is a post postion particle that makes 그 (ku) into a direct object. If you add 의 (oo-ee) makes 그 (ku) into “his” because anything with 의 after it uses 의 like an apostrophe “s.” 의 is a possessive.

그 벌은 노무 겼어요. (That star was really big.) Photo by Luck Galindo on Pexels.com

별을 – “star.” 별 (byeol) means “star.” 을 (ul) is the post position particle that makes “star” into a direct object. A direct object receives the direct action of the verb. The verb is the action word. To find the direct object, you ask, “What?” The next verb in this sentence is “see,” so we ask “what did they see?” The answer is, they saw “a star,” so this makes “star” the direct object that receives the action of “see.” In Korean, the 을 tells you that 별 is the direct object. It is actually easier to find the direct object in Korean than in English because they label it with a post position particle. If 를 (lul) is after a word, it is also a post position particle after a direct object. Use 을 (ul) if the word before it ends with a consonant. Use 를 (lul) if the word before it ends with a vowel.) 별 ends with ㄹ (r or l), so you have to use 을 (ul).

보가 = “See and…” 보고 comes from “보다” ( bohdah) which means “to see.” Here, the 다 (dah) has been taken off of 보다 and replaced with 고 (go). That 고 (go) is one of the many ways of saying “and” in Korean. It is used after a verb, connected to the verb, inside the sentence. There are so many ways to say “and” in Korean that I will just have to explain them to you as we see them. Never just take one word for “and” in Korean and think you can use it anywhere. It makes no sense in Korean like that. This 고 (go) can only be used the way it is used here. Here are some more examples of how it is used here: 하다 (hahdah) means “to do,” and “하고” (hahgo) means “do and…” 가다 (kahdah) means “to go,” and 가고 (kahgo) means “go and..) This form can’t be used between nouns. It also can’t be used at the beginning of a sentence.

우리는 그아기를 경배 하러 왔어요. (We came to worship the baby.)Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

그에게 – “to him.” I explained above that “그” (ku) is the masculine pronoun, and it changes slightly according to which post position particle it has after it. Here, it has 에게 (ehgeh), and I explained above that 에게 means “to.” It is a particular “to” that can only be used before a person or people. Since 에게 is a preposition, 그에세 is a prepositional phrase, and 그 is the object of the preposition which means that 그 (ku) is “him” here because “him” is the object form of our masculine pronoun.

경배 하러 = “in order to worship.” 경배 (gyeongbeh or kyeongbeh) means “worship.” That ㄱ (g or k) that begins 경배 and we see in many other Korean words is technically a “g,” but at times, the Koreans pronounce it as “k.” Often, this is like the difference in accents. If you go to the subway station in Korea, you will see written in Korean: 역(yog), but when they transcribe it into English on the way beside it, they transcribe it as “yok” because most of them say it that way. However, I have run into taxi drives that if you say it “yok,” they have no idea what you are saying. I learned the taxi drivers in Hwagok actually pronounced it “yong” and couldn’t understand you if you didn’t say it that way. You just have to listen to them often to know how to say something so they can understand it.

으리는 하나님을 예배 합니다 (We are worshiping God.) Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Also, there is more than one word for “worship,” and I learned the other word first, and then this one because the other seems to be spoken more often, although, they also use this one. A Korean taught me to say “예배” (yehbeh) for “worship,” and I think there are even more words for “worship” too. We used to sing a song in chapel often that said, “에배 합니다” (yehbeh hahbneedah) which means “we worship” or “I worship,” and it rings through my head.

The word 하러 (hahreo) after 경배 (kyeongbeh) actually changes 경배 from a noun to a verb. 하 (ha) comes from 하다 (hada) which means “to do.” 합니다 (hahbneedah) is a respectful form of 하다. 하다 is what you will find in the dictionary, and if you wanted to use an everyday level of 하다 that you could use with almost anyone, say 해요 (heh-yo). That 러 (reo) has replace 다 (dah) in 하다 in our verse. It means “in order to,” so 예배 하다 (hah 다) is “to worship,” and 하러 (hah reo) becomes “In order to worship.”

우리는 하나님에대하여 가치는 것 하러왔어요. ( We came in order to teach about God.)Photo by Abel Tan Jun Yang on Pexels.com

왔노라하니 = “came.” Koreans love to complicate everything. If I were to same “came” at the end of the sentence, I would just say, “왔어요” (wahseoyo). However, because this is the Bible, it is on the written page, and it is talking about Jesus, the king and savior, they decided to really soup up 왓어요 (wahsseoyo) and make it 왔노라하니 (wahnohrahahnee). All of these verb levels you see at the ends of the sentences in the Bible in Korean just are not used when people speak to you. If you want to learn something valuable to speak Korean, learn, “왔어요” (wahsseoyo). Since this is the last verb in the sentence,e it means that this is the main verb. of the sentence. In English, we put our main verbs right after our subject.

이 아기가 왕 이요. (This baby is the king.)Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Let’s put this verse all together:Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and came to worship him.

찰 자요 (chal chayo) -Good night. (Technically, “sleep well.:)Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

It is getting pretty late, and you have probably had enough, so I will stop here. I hope you got some good out of all this. My daughter was laughing at me saying, “Did you ever think you would find Korean easier than Japanese?” I only spent two years in Japan, but I did study it in the university. I spent fourteen years in Korea and never had the chance to take a Korean class because I was so busy teaching and all the classes met when I was teaching. However, I like to understand what is going on around me and I wanted to help my students understand English, so I studied Korean. I ended up getting the students who spoke no English at the university, and I explained English grammar to them in Korean and taught them to begin speaking English so the other foreign teachers could teach them because the other foreign teachers could speak no Korean, so they couldn’t communicate with them. I always end up being everyone’s bridge, and I was a bridge for those students to begin speaking English so they could communicate with the other foreign professors.

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