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Korean Lesson 69, Reported Speech

In English, we have two ways to express reported speech. The first one is that we say something like “he said,” and then we put his exact words inside of quotation marks. the other way is we use “he said that..,” and after this, we paraphrase what he said. I am not sure if there is only one way in Korean, but I only know one way, so I will teach you the one way. I have presented something like this in other lessons before I began these directed grammar lessons. I was trying to make it easy for everyone, so I gave it to you in the easiest form. The key to this form is 라고 (rahgho).

라고 has no meaning in English. You can think of it as a word that translates as quotation marks. The way this works is that you begin the sentence with the person who is talking. Since it is the main subject, it is better to use 이 (ee) or 가 (gah) after this subject. After that, you write the sentence of what he said. The second subject should have 은 (un) or 는 (nun) after it. When you get to the verb of what he said, you conjugate it as normally, and you have the option of leaving the final 어요 (eoyo) off or adding it before you put 라고 (rahgoh). They usually take it off, but in the earlier examples I left the 어요 on because I didn’t want anyone who didn’t know Korean well to be confused, but you are ready to see it without the 어요. After the 라고, then you write “said” meaning 마했어요 (malhesseoyo), “say? or “says” meaning 마해요 (malheyo), or one of the other forms of 말하다 (malhadah) meaning “say, speak, or talk.” You can also use this to tell what someone thinks, so you could also use one of the forms of 생각 하다 (seng gahk hahdah) which means “think.” There is another way to to tell what someone thinks I will teach you. Here are some examples of how to use 라고 (rahgoh) and express reported speech:

Jesus said that he loves us. = 예수님이 그는 우리를 사랑 하라고 말했어요. (yesooneem ee eeree lul sahrahng ha rahgoh malhesseoyo).

The middle part of the sentence is” 그는 우리를 사랑 하 (kunun ooree lul sahrahng hah) which means “he loves us.” The main subject is 예수님 (yesooneem) which means “Jesus,” and since it is the main subject, I used 이 (ee) after it. The verb that goes with the main subject is 말했어요 (mahlhesseoyo) which means “said.” The 라고 (rahgoh) comes after the middle part and before 말했어요.

The student said, “I am reading.” = 헉생 이 나는 읽고 있다고 말했어요. (hakseng ee nah nun eelkgoh eettdahgoh eesseoyo)

The main subject is 학생 (hakseng) which means “student,” so I used 이 (ee) after it. The main verb that goes with that subject is, again, 말했어요 (malhesseoyo) which means “said.” The middle part of the sentence is 나는 읽고 있다 (nah nun eelkgoh eetdah) which means “I am reading.” Yes, the 다 (dah) form is used instead of the 요 (yo) form, and since 다 and라 have the same vowels, they just leave the 라 out and use the 다 and the sentence flows like music rather than being a tongue twister. 있 (eett) ends with a consonant, so the 다 (dah) is used.

What did you say? = 뭐라고? (moh rahgoh).

I decided to include this question because you will hear it. They don’t even use the word 마했어요 (malhesseoyo) which means in a question “did say.” They have also left out “you.” Just by the simple fact that they used 라고 (rahgoh) means that 마했어요, “did say” is implied, and by the simple fact that they are talking directly to you, the “you” is also implied. The 뭐 (moh) which means “what” is also a shortened form of 무슨 것 (moosun geot) which means “what thing.” If you wanted to add everything to this question that was left out, it would look like this:

당신이 무슨 것라고 말했어요? (dahngsheen ee moosun geot rahgoh malhesseoyo).

However, as I told you before, it is better to leave the “you” out when you are speaking because the word 당신 (dahngsheen) is a “you” that makes you too familiar and often loving with he subject. And, the word 너 (neo) which also means “you” makes you too familiar or speaking down at the subject. It is better just to say what they said above or replace the “you” with the person’s name or title that you are talking to. If you don’t know it, use 성생님 (seonsengneem) which technically means “teacher,” but even if they aren’t your teacher, it is acceptable to use this word also for “you.”

I said, “I want to sleep.” = 내가 자고 십다고 말했어요. (negah jahgoh sheepdahgoh malhesseoyo)

In this one, I have not repeated “I” twice. In Korean, one “I’ will suffice for both the main subject and for the subject inside the sentence. Instead of saying 나는 (nahnun), I chose to use the 내가 (negah) form of “I” because it has the 가 (gah) that points a bit more too “I.” Again, I used the 다고 (dahgoh) instead of 라고 (rahgoh), but it means the same thing. 자고 십다 (jahgoh sheepdah) means “________want or wants to sleep.”

Examples of a verb stem ending with 하다 (hahdah):

He said, “She sings well.” = 그가 그녀는 잘 노래 하라고 말했어요. (ku gah kunyeo nun jahl nohreh hah rahgoh malhesseoyo) 하 (ha) ends in a vowel, so used 라고.)

He said, “She sang well.” = 그 가 그녀 는 잘 노래 했다고 말했어요 (ku gah kunyeo nun jahl nohreh hettdahgoh malhesseoyo) Again, 했. ends in a consonant, so used 다 instead of 라.

He said, “She will sing well.” – 그가 그녀는 잘 노래 햘것 이라고 말했어요, (ku gah kunyeo nun jal nohreh halgeot ee rahgoh malhesseoyo). This is future tense, so take note that 노래 할거싰다 (nohrehhalgeosheetdah) or 노래 할거예요 (nohre halgeoyeyo) begins the same say, but before the 라고, the 거 (geo) changes to 것 (geot), and then 이 (ee) is added.

Use these three examples for all 하다 (hahdah) verbs.

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