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Explaining Korean Grammar in Acts 1:4 (사도행전 1장, 4절)

It is time to talk about Korean grammar again. If you don’t read the Korean letters yet, I put the pronunciation next to everything, so you can easily know how it should be pronounced. I have done a couple of blogs about how to read Korean letters, and there are several places on the web that explain how to read them. They are not hard to learn to read at all. Before I went to Korea, I looked them up, and I learned them in one day. Korean is read by syllables. The syllables may be two letters long, three letters long, or four letters long. They begin at the top left, then proceed to the top right, and then to the bottom left, and then to the bottom right, and then you read the next syllable the same way. If you want me to explain how to read them again, put a comment telling me after this post, and I will. So far, in this chapter, we have talked about who wrote Acts (사도 행전) (pronounciation: sahdoh heng jeon) and which other book he wrote, Luke (누가복음) (pronunciation: noogahbohkum). Doctor Luke (누가) (pronounciation: noogah) wrote both of these books, and he was a doctor. He wrote the books to Theophilus. The name Theophilus means “lover of God.” This book was written after the death of Jesus in 61-63 A. D. Dr. Luke begins this book by telling us he wrote about everything that Jesus did and taught in the book of Luke. At the point we are in this chapter, he is still giving us the introduction to his book. We haven’t come to the thesis sentence yet, but I will point it out when we get there. The thesis sentence tells you in a nutshell what the rest of the book will be about. Let’s go on to Verse 4 (4 절) ( 4 jeol).

사도행전 1전 4 절: 사도와 함께 뫄이사 그들에게 분부하여 이르시되 예루살램을 떠나지 말고 내게서 들은 바아버지 께서 약속하신 것을 기다리라

사도 행전 1장 4절 = Acts of the Apostle 1:4. 사도 (sah-doh) means “apostle.” 행 (heng) means “act.” 전 (jeon) means “before.” 장 (jahng) means “chapter.” 절 (jeol) means “verse.” As you can see, “Acts” nor “Apostles” are used in the plural form like the are in English. However, that is fine in Korean. They have the counterpart in Korean for our “s” which is 들 (dul), but they rarely use it, and it considered just fine to leave it out, and we must figure out that it is plural from context. You have to figure a lot out from context in Korean, and they consider English to be very specific compared to Korean. It makes English difficult for them to get used to.

그들은 모임을 있어요. (They had a meeting.)Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

사도 와 함께 모이사 = “a meeting with the apostles.” 사도 (sah-doh) means “apostle” or “apostles,” according to the context. 와 (wah) means “and.” 함께 (hahmgeh) means “together.” When 와 (wash) and 함께 (hahmgeh) are used together like this, it means “with.” 모이사 (moh-ee-sah), at first glance, if taken out of context looks like “Moses,” but it isn’t. It actually comes from 모임(moh-eem) which means ” a meeting.” It is important to say there is not really a letter equivalent to “w” in Korean, but they use other letters and put them together to make the sound. The letters in 와 are actually “oh-ah,” but it is pronounced “wah.”

그들에게= “to them.” If you have simple, 그 (gu) or (ku), it is the third person masculine pronoun (he, him, or his, according to the post position particle), but there is 들 (dul) on the end which is that post position particle that is equivalent to our “s” that makes things plural. Therefore, 그들 (ku-dul) is the third person plural pronoun (they, them, or their, according to the post position particle.) The post position particle is 에게 (eh-geh). 에게 means “to a person.” That means that 그들에게 (ku-dul- eh-geh) means “to them,” a prepositional phrase.

분부 하여 이르시된 = “it had become partially early .” 분부 (boon-boo) means “part.” 하여 (hah- yeo), here, means “by.” 이르다 (ee-ru-dah) means “it is early.” 시 (shee) is used as a term of respect because the author was talking about Jesus. 된 (dween) is another one of the Korean state of being verbs, and there are many. This state of being verb in particular, 되다 (doh-ee-dah) means “to become.” They often use it when we would simple use “is, am, are, was, were or be” rather than “become, becomes, or became.” In the form used here, 된 (doh-een) or (dween) is used in an adjective form.

예수님이 예르사램에서 떠나지 마새라고 말했어요. (Jesus said,
“Don’t leave Jerusalem.”) Photo by BECCA SIEGEL on Pexels.com

예르사램을 = “Jerusalem.” 예르사램 (yeh-ruh-sah-lem) means “Jerusalem.” 을 (ul) is the post position particle that tells you that 에르사림 (Jerusalem) is the direct object.

떠나지 = “leave.” 떠나다 (ddoh-nah-dah) is the basic form of the verb “leave” that would be in the dictionary and in books at the end of a sentence. That 지 (jee) on the end, tells me there is a negative coming, but I don’t see it yet.

말고 = “don’t, and.” At first, this 말 (mahl) looks like “word” or “language,” but it isn’t. If you want to tell someone “Don’t do that!,” say, “하지마!” (hah-jee-mah!). This, 말 (mahl) is actually the negative we were looking for after the 지 (jee) in 떠나지 (ddoh-nah-jee). The 고 (go) on the end means “and.”

내게서 = “to me.” 내 (neh) is one way to say “I” or “me,” according to the post position particle. 게서 (geh-seoh) means “to,” so I know that 내 (neh) means “me.”

들은 = “heard.” This comes from the verb 듣다 (dud-dah). When 듣다 is conjugated, you have to change the ㄷ (d) at the bottom to ㄹ (L). I was never given a reason, but it is just a rule for this verb. The form of the verb used here is the past particle used as an adjective. The 은 (un) on the end tells you it is an adjective form of the verb. We also used the past participle as an adjective in English.

아버지는 그들을위하여 선불을 있어요. (The father had a gift for them.)Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

바아버지께서 = “from the father.” Usually, just 아버지 (ah-boh-jee) is enough to say “father.” However, there, the translated decided to use 바아버지 (bah-ah-boh-jee). 깨서(ggeh-seo) means “from.”

약속하신 것을 = “something promised.” 약속 (yahk- sohk) all by itself is a noun that means “an appointment” or “a promise.” If you put 하다 (hah-dah) on the end of 약속 (yahk-sohk), It makes it into a verb rather than a noun. If you change the 하다 (hah-dah) into 한 (Hahn) or 하는 (hah-nun), you change a verb into an adjective. If you take the 다 (dah) off the end and put 신 (sheen), it also makes it into an adjective, but makes it a respectful adjective as if you are talking about God, which they are here. This all means that 속하신 (yahk-sohk-hah-sheen) is the past particle of “promise” that can be used as an adjective “promised.” 것 (keot) means “thing.” That ㅅ (s) on the bottom of the syllable is pronounced like a “t” because of its placement. The. 것 (keot) makes 약속하신 것 (yahk-sohk-hah-sheen keot) into a noun, and it needs to be. It needs to be because 을 (ool) makes 약속 하신 것 (yahk-sohk-hah-sheen keot) into a direct object because it is the post position particle that comes after a direct object.

기다리세요 (Please wait.)Photo by abdullah . on Pexels.com

가다리라 = “wait.” 가다리다 (kee-dah-ree-dah) is the basic form of the verb “wait.” If you want to use it at the end of a sentence, say, “기다리요. ” (kee-dah-ree-yo). Here, it is the main verb of this sentence because it is the last word in Korean. The 라 (rah) on the end tells you that it is a command. We weren’t specifically given the subject, so we are going to have to guess at the subject. However, until this time in the chapter, Luke is talking about Jesus, so probably Jesus is the subject.

Let’s put this all together: In an early meeting with the apostles, Jesus commanded the apostles: “Don’t leave Jerusalem. Wait for the promised something you heard me speak about from the father.

Putting a Korean sentence in the proper order in English is like doing a puzzle. Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

Trying to put Korean in order in English to make it make sense can really tax your brain. There is such a large gap between Korean and English! I have told you that many times before. You really have to think deep to get this. I always think about all those Korean young people whose parents don’t speak English who expect them to learn to speak English. The best thing the Koreans can do to make it easier on their kids is to hire those native speakers of English to spend time with their little kids and let the kids learn it like a first language, and many of them do. The Korean government made a law that the children were not allowed to be taught English before they were good at Korean, and they have a specific age, but I can’t quite remember the age right now. It is the small elementary school student who the government is discouraging the Koreans from teaching English to. However, the parents are making sure their kids learn English anyway by sending them to private schools after school. I understand the Korean government trying to protect their language, but I also understand the parents trying to help their kids so they can make it in the this world. The Korean saying is “its a global world.” They know that Korea is just a tiny spec on the map, and if they want to make it in this world and keep a good economy, they need to learn to speak to other countries, and they try to do that with English.

This is an amazing story, so stay with me. Photo by Dids on Pexels.com

As for the verse we just talked about, Jesus told the apostles to stay in Jerusalem and wait for a gift. You will see the gift in the next chapter. This ends up being an amazing story that I have even heard people who aren’t very religious like to discuss to try to understand what happened. Stay with these blogs about Acts in Korean. You will learn not only Korean, but a very interesting story. I will unfold it step by step since we are talking about Korean grammar.


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