Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Particles Part.1 (What are the Particles in Korean)

Case and Special Particles

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. Consider the following exemplary sentence:

피터 is the subject, as it is marked by the subject particle 가. In addition, 피자 is the object, as it is marked by the object particle 를. The other type is “special particles” whose function is not to indicate syntactic roles of the noun but rather to add special meanings, such as indicating the noun as a topic of the sentence, emphasizing the singularity of the noun, and so on. Special particles include 은/는(topic particle) and delimiters such as 만(only), 도(also), and so on. Consider the following example:

Notice that 스미스 햄버거 is the subject of the sentence, since marked by the subject particle 가. while 햄버거 is not the subject but the topic of the sentence, since marked by the topic particle 는.

Characteristics of particles

There are few things to remember when using these particles. First, although particles are tightly bound to and are an integral part of the noun, they can be often omitted in colloquial usages. This omission in colloquial conversation is possible because the contextual understanding of the conversation is often sufficient to indicate the syntactic roles of the nouns being used. However, the omission of the particles is not allowed in formal written communication.
Second, because of the case particle’s role of indicating the syntactic role of the nouns, the word order can be scrambled. For instance, notice that the following two sentences have the same meaning, even if the word order of both sentences is different.

* Click to read related posts.
Grammar for Beginners
Particles Part.2 (Case Particles)
Particles Part.3 (Special Particles)

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