Clausal conjunctives are used to link two or more clauses and to add special meanings, such as simultaneous actions, contrastive actions or states, paralleling actions, and so on. Examples of English clausal conjunctives include “and,” “whereas,” “while,” and “though.”
Korean has an extensive list of clausal conjunctives that indicate various meanings, such as “and (~고),” “because/and then (~어/아서),” “while (~으면서),” “although (~지만),” “in order to (~도록),” and so forth. Korean clausal conjunctives are non-sentence-final endings, since they attach to the predicate stem of the preceding clause. Consider how the conjunctive ~(으)면서 “while” serves to connect two different clauses:
In the example above, the conjunctive ~(으)면서 attaches to the verb stem of the first clause 먹(eat) and indicates the new meaning “while” to the first clause: 팝콘을 먹어요(I eat popcorn) changes to 팝콘을 먹으면서(while eating popcorn). Notice that the conjunctive ~(으)면서 is not a sentence-final ending, since it does not end the sentence. Instead, ~어/아요 in the main clause (or the second clause) is the sentence-final ending since it attaches to the verb stem of the main clause 보(see) and ends the whole sentence. Consider another example:
The clausal conjunctive ~고(and) links two clauses: 눈이 내리다(Snow falls) and 바람이 불다(Wind blows). Again, the conjunctive ~고 ends the verb stem of the first clause 내리다(fall), while the deferential speech level ending ~습니다/ㅂ니다 ends both the verb stem of the main clause 불다(blow) as well as the whole sentence.
Some Korean clausal conjunctives may be subject to various restrictions regarding how they are used in sentences.
The first restriction concerns the tense agreement. Since a clausal conjunctive connects two different clauses, there are at least two predicates within a clausal-conjunctive sentence. In English, the tense of each clause embedded within the sentence must be the same. Consider the following example:
The above sentence is grammatically incorrect because the tense of the two predicates is not the same. In contrast to English, the tense of each clause can be different in Korean. This is possible because some Korean conjunctives are not conjugated for the tense. Consider the following examples:
Notice that both sentences are about past actions. In the first example, both the conjunctive ~지만(although) in the first clause as well as the predicate of the main clause 받다 take the past tense marker. However, in the second example, the conjunctive ~어/아서(because) of the first clause does not take the past tense marker but only the predicate of the main clause 받다.
The second restriction concerns the subject agreement. Some conjunctives can have different subjects, while some cannot. In other words, for some conjunctives, the subject of the clauses within a sentence must be the same. Consider the following examples:
In the first example, each clause has its own subject. However, in the second example, both clauses have the same subject.
The third restriction is about whether the conjunctive may be used with adjectives, copulas, and/or verbs. Some conjunctives must be used only with verbs, whereas some conjunctives may be used with verbs, adjectives, as well as copulas. For instance, the conjunctive ~지만(although) can be attached to verb, adjective, and copula stems, as shown below:
On the other hand, a certain conjunctive such as ~(으)려고(in order to) must be used only with verb stems.
The fourth restriction is that there are conjunctives that can be used for all sentence types, such as declarative, interrogative, imperative, and propositive, while some conjunctives must be used only for certain sentence types. For instance, consider the conjunctive ~(으)니까 and ~어/아서, which both mean “because/since.”
Notice that ~(으)니까 can be used for all sentence types, whereas ~어/아서 must be used only for declarative and interrogative sentences.
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