Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Differences Between English and Korean

Now, you can read Korean without understanding and write Korean word at least your name. All you need to do is studying grammar and make some friends in Korean. But before studying grammar, there is one more thing you should know. Differences between English and Korean. There are some differences between English and Korean. Knowing the differences helps you easily understand Korean.

Word Order

English is a subject-verb-object(SVO) language. However, Korean is a subject-object-verb(SOV) language.

* English(SVO)-Korean(SOV)
In Korean the most important elements tend to cluster to the end of the sentence. The further the word is from the end of the sentence, the less important the element is and more likely it is to be dropped. In other words, what appears at the very end of the sentence is most important. So there is a proverb that says "We do not know what Korean want to say until the end of the sentence.".

General-To-Specific Language

Korean is a “general-to-specific” or “big-to-small” language. In other words, we write(or say) general(or bigger) units before the specific(or smaller) units. When writing an address, we write the name of the country first, and then the province, city, street, house number, and the name of the receiver. When writing a date, the year comes first and then write month and the day.

* English(specific first)-Korean(general first)
Honorific Language

Korean is more honorific language than English. There are grammatical modifications when we talking to or talking about people who is older or in a higher position than us. In that cases, many things in sentences are changed. Subjects are changed, particles are changed, verbs are changed, sometimes even objects are changed. for a little while, It may be very difficult to understand for people who speak other languages than Korean. The following examples illustrate how Korean honorifics work:
"My name is andrew.". Longer one is honorific.

* Honorific form of Korean

As seen above, the referential meanings of the two sentences are the same. However, their social meanings are different. Shorter one would be rude in a formal situation if it was used by a lower-status person addressing a higher-status person.
The above examples illustrate how the use of honorifics in Korean functions as a social indicator. In addition, they demonstrate that how an utterance is said is more important than what is said.


One unique characteristic of Korean is that nouns are typically marked by particles. There is no corresponding equivalent in English. Korean has two types of particles: case particles and special particles. Case particles indicate the syntactic role of the noun to which they are attached. Case particles include 이/가(subject case particle), 을/를(object case particle), and so on.
Grammatically, since we put particles after every nouns, there is no problem when we change the placement of nouns. Sometimes, Korean sentences do not follow the SOV pattern. Korean nouns can be freely arranged in a sentence. For instance, the following six sentences are possible for the sentence “Andrew eats lunch at home.”.

* The placement of nouns can be changed.

* Click to read related posts
Grammar for Beginners
Top 11 Tips for Learning Korean
Particles Part.1 (What are the particles in Korean)
Korean Is One of the Hardest Languages to Learn (for native English speakers)

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