I am out of easy stories to tell in English, so I am going to give you a Korean traditional story and translate it to English for you. If you have been following my blogs, by now, you have a little bit of knowledge of how a Korean sentence is put together, and you can compare the sentences and find the words or grammar that you don’t know and learn them. Many traditional stories in Korean are about God, and this one talks about “the King of Heaven,” God. Besides translating the sentence, I have also given you a section of vocabulary and grammar to help you through. We will go slow. This is only the first page of the story.
Vocabulary and Grammar: 하늘 (hanul) = sky or heaven, 임그님 (eemgumneem) = king, 불로요 (boolroyo) or 불로다 (boolrodah) = call or calls, 불려 말했어요 (bolreo malhesseoyo) = caled and said, 짐승들 (jeemsungdul) = beasts or animals,
많이 (manee) = many, 좋은 (jo-un) = good, (adjective), 좋아요 (jo-ahyo) = is, am, are good (verb), 일(eel) = thing, 한 (han) = one, 짐승 (jeemsung) = a beast or an animal, 큰 (kun) = big or large, 상 (sang) = prize, reward, 내리다 (nehreedah) or 내려요 (neryeoyo) = come down, 내리고 (nehreego) = come down and, 나쁜 (nahbun) = bad, (adjective), 나뻐요 (nahbbeoyo) = is, am, are bad (verb), 에게 (ehgheh)= to a person, 벌을 (bolul) = a punishment, 내리갰노라 (nereekettnohrah) = will come down, With the 노라 on the end, it tells you that this is coming from God.,
몸 (mohm) = body, 까만 (ggahman) = black (adjective), 가치 (gahchee) = magpie, 어깨 (oeggheh) = shoulder or shoulders, 으쓱이 (ussukee) = shrugged, 며 (myeo) = and, 저는 (jeonun) = a very respectful “I.” 아짐 (ahcheem) = morning, 일찍 (eeljjeek) = early, 일어나요 (eeleonayo) = gets up, get up, wakes up, wake up, happen, happens, 일어니 (eeleonee) = gets up, get up, wakes up, wake up, happen, happens, 반가운 (banga-un) = nice, 손님 (sonneem) = guest, 찾아온다고 (chatahondahgo) = looking to come and, 미리 (meeree) = in advance, future, 알려 (alryeo) = in order to know, 알다 (aldah) or 알아요 (alah-yo) = know, knows, 주었습니다 (jooeottsubneedah) = gave, the respectufl form,
칭찬 했어요. (cheeng chahn hesseoyo) = praised, 칭찬 (cheeng chahn) = praise (noun), 칭찬 하다 (cheeng chahn hada) or 칭찬 해요 (cheengchahn heyo) = praise, praises, 아주 (ahjoo) = very, 했구나 (hettgoonah) = did, 꾸밀 수 있는 (ggoomeelsoo-eettnun) = can be decorated, able to be decorated, (adjective), 끄밀 하다 (ggumeel hada) or 끄밀 해요 (gumeel heyo) = decorate, decorates, 끔밀 할 수 있어요 (gumeel hal soo eesseoyo) = can be decorated (verb), 하얀 (hahyan) = white (adjecive), 하연 색 (hahyan sek) = white (noun), 끈울 (gunul) = strip, stripe, string, 상으로 (sahng u ro) = using a reward, 로 (ro)= using or with, the 으 (u) is there because 상 ends in a “g,” a consonant, and 로 begins iwth a consonant, and two consonants can be together, so they use 으 to separate them, 내리겠너라 (nehreekettneorah) = will come down, The 너라 on the end tells you this is said by God.
그대 (kudeh) = then, 부터 (booteo) = from, this is part of a special pair of words:무터 and 끼지 (ggahjee) which means “from —to or until…” 어깨(ohggeh) = shoulder, shoulders, 와 (wah)= and, 허리 (heoree) =head, 띠(dee) = belt, 두르게 (doorughe) – smoothly, 되었어요 (do-ee-eosseoyo) = became.
옛날에 하늘 나라 임금님이 짐승들을 불러 말했어요: (Long ago, the king of Heaven called the beasts and said:)
“좋은 일을 많이 한 짐승에게는 큰 상을 내리고 나쁜 일을 한 짐승에게 벌리 내리갰노라.” (I will pay a great reward to the beast who has done good things and punish the beast who does bad things.)
몸이 까만 까치가 어깨를 으쓱이며 말했어요. (A magpie with a black body shrugged his shoulders and said:)
“저는 아짐 일찍 일어니 반가운 손님이 찾아온다고 마리 알려 주었습니다.” (I woke up early in the morning and let everyone know in advance that a nice guest is coming.)
하늘 나라 임금님은 까치를 칭찬 했어요: (The king of Heaven praised the magpie:)
아주 좋은 일을 했구나. 몸을 꾸밀 수 있는 하얀 끈을 상으로 내리겠노라.” (“I will lower a white stripe to decorate your body.”) 까치는 그때부터 어깨와 허리에 하얀 띠을 두르게 되었어요. (the magpie, then, smoothly became with a white belt on his head and shoulders.)
This is just the beginning of the story. However, it seems that I keep finding all kinds of things that I think people who are not very acquainted with Korean yet would not understand. However, everything is here to help you understand the sentences that are in this story. This is a story from a book of Korean folk tales, and I translated it into English for you. It seems it will take several blogs to actually tell the story. However, I have learned something from my years of teaching and studying language. If you read a book and look all the words up, then at the end of that book, you know the author’s idiolect. An idiolect is the set of words, grammatical expressions, and pronunciations that make up the way someone communicates. It is unique to the author. You can’t really hear the pronunciation, but I have tried to give you an approximation. If we go ahead and go through these stories, we are learning how a Korean expresses themselves in Korean rather than how an American does which is what I was giving you before because we were going from English to Korean before. My daughter read books like this in Korean, and then she graduated to reading Korean novels. When she went to language school, they were amazed because she had such a large vocabulary in Korean. They couldn’t put her on the first level because she was much higher because she had been reading Korean books. They had to test her to know where to put her. All the other foreigners that weren’t Chinese had to start on level one. Because of the words that were similar between Chinese and Korean, the Chinese began on a higher level too, and they considered her to know as much as the Chinese did. They were amazed at how big her vocabulary was because foreigners from the west just don’t have that big of a vocabulary in Korean because their words are so different from ours. The way to overcome that is to read books in Korean. I hope you enjoy the story.