Tag Archives: Grammar

Foreign Language Tip | Do you need to know Grammar?

I think this is a question that comes up a lot when people talk about learning a foreign language and I’ve talked about it here before too. But I was recently asked this question and it was a two-part. The first part of the question, “Do you need to know grammar to understand Korean?” and the second part, “Have you studied grammar while you’ve been learning?” So I’ll answer that in two ways.

“Do you need to know grammar to understand Korean?”

It depends. It depends your answer to two questions:

  1. What are you learning Korean for?
  2. How do you plan on using what you learn?

So if you answered the questions like, “I’m learning so I can talk to relatives/friends” or “I’m learning because I’m about to travel to Korea” or “I’m learning because of kpop/kdramas”… anything along those lines, the answer is, not really. You actually really don’t need to learn anything too in depth as far as grammar goes. You only really need to learn the basics because you’re learning Korean for conversational and entertainment purposes. There’s no real reason to understand the “why” behind what you’re saying. You just need to understand what you’re saying and be able to understand contextual clues in speech and when you speech. That doesn’t require a whole lot of grammar. It’s also the reason why I stopped doing so many grammar posts because it’s not really necessary. I’ve honestly found it’s easier to pick up Korean when you focus more on what you’re saying, context, and what it means then to learn ALL of that with grammar. It just makes it so much harder.

If you answered the questions, “I’m learning Korean so I can teach/I’m a teacher in Korea now” or “I’m learning because I read a lot of books in Korean” or “I plan on writing more in Korean” then the answer is, yes, you do need to learn grammar. If you’re doing anything with writing, reading (newspaper/textbooks/etc.), teaching, then you do need to have good grasp of grammar because you’re going beyond conversational Korean. You’re going more towards the written style and a lot of what is written in Korean isn’t actually said the same way in speech. So you’re basically learning a more in depth way to say the same things only you won’t be verbally saying or reading them. This is when it’s more important to understand why you have to use specific endings or why you have add on or conjugate differently because you have to read and understand what you’re reading or you’ll have to write and your readers need to understand what you’re saying.

The reality is… and I’ve said this before but, most English speakers only know the basics of English. They don’t know in depth grammatically correct English because they don’t speak it. And it’s the same way with other languages too.

The best advice I can give to you is the same advice that was given to me… “Learn Korean the way you speak in your native language.”

Meaning, if you don’t use a PhD level vocabulary/grammar in your everyday speech in your native language, don’t try to learn it in Korean. Learn to speak conversationally and learn to speak it comfortably. Remember to “mind your manners” as well. Meaning, make sure you’re always aware of when to speak formally and informally.

And always always always… be confident! Practice! Don’t be afraid to try and make mistakes. If you put forth the effort, eventually it’ll click and you’ll be fluent before you know it!

That’s all for now!

Weekly Lesson #21 | Review: Dates, Days, and Verbs + Numbers

안녕하세요!

So we’ve gone through a lot of information! It was a lot of fun returning to things that I covered so heavily during the Grammar of the Week. For a second I had to remind myself that this was more of examples and application then just restating the same thing over and over again.

So now, before we add on to what we’ve done by discussing negation, let’s review!

Days and Dates

Remember that these are Sino-Korean numbers and that it is expressed using, 일 (day) and 월 (month).

Example: (from previous lesson)

  • 이 월 | February
  • 삼 일 | 3 days or 3rd day
  • 칠 월 구 일 | July 9th
    • The 9th day of July

오늘은 무슨 요일입니까?

  • 오늘은 무슨 요일입니까? | What day is it today?
    • 오늘은 수요일입니다. | Today is Wednesday.
  • 내일은 무슨 요일입니까? | What day is tomorrow?
    • 내일은 목요일입니다. | Tomorrow is Thursday.

Numbers and Servings

Again, Sino-Korean numbers using, 인분 (servings) and 의 (possession).

Example: (from previous lesson)

  • 인분 | three servings
  • 삼 인분 의 케이크 | three servings of cake
  • 나는 일인분의 커피를 원한다. | I want a cup of coffee.

Question and Answer

몇 (myeoch) is an interrogative word (question word) that can be used to ask different types of questions like what time, how many, or age.

  • Sino-Korean numbers
    • Usage:
      • age (세)
      • months (date)
      • temperature
      • telling time: minutes and seconds
      • money
      • phone numbers
      • any number over 100
  • Native-Korean numbers
    • Usage:
      • age (살)
      • telling time: hours
      • months (time length)
      • counters (people, objects, etc.)

Examples: (from previous lesson)

  • 몇 명을 싶니? | How many do you want?
    • 삼 인분 | three servings
  • 몇 시입니까? | What time is it?
    • 열두시입니다. | It is 12:00.

Intro to Verbs

  • Sentence structure has changed slightly here because we are adding verb ending stems to sentences. So instead of 입니다, we will be conjugated verbs.
    • 먹다 + -ㅂ니다 or -습니다
    • 마시다 + -ㅂ니다 or -습니다

Examples: (from previous lesson)

  • 엄마가 물을 마십니다. | “Mom is drinking water.”
  • 형이 바나나를 먹습니다. | The elder/older brother eats a banana. [male]
    • 오빠가 바나나를 먹습니다. | The elder/older brother eats a banana. [female]
  • 바나나를 먹습니다. | “Eat the banana.”
  • 책을 봅니다. | “Read the book.”/”Look at the book.”

Okay so that’s everything we’ve done since the last review! All of these points are important before moving on to negation so if you’re struggling with any of these concepts feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have.

Weekly Lesson #1 | 이/(그)것은… 입니까? / 이/(그)것은… 입니다. + Nationality

안녕하세요!

Okay, so when I was talking about “Weekly Lessons”, I wasn’t 100% sure how to go about this since it wasn’t necessarily my idea but I still want to try it because like I said before, the ultimate goal is to able to go outside after reading a lesson and be able to put what you’ve learned into use. The structure is a bit different than Grammar lessons so please bare with me while we adjust.

Brief overview of the lessons and then we’ll get started on this first one!

  • vocabulary that coincides with the lesson
  • conversational examples
    • statements
    • questions

Okay let’s get started! Today’s lesson is asking general questions and making general statements.

Vocabulary:

  • 사과 | Apple
  • 사람 | Person
  • 이것은… 입니까? | Is this…?
  • 그것은… 입니까?| Is that…?
  • 이것은… 입니다. | This is _.
  • 그것은… 입니다. | That is _.
  • 한국 | Korea
  • 미국 | United States

Lesson:

Questions

Remember before how we talked about forming questions? There was a structure to how to word sentences and the one we used most often was Subject-Object-Verb. Similarly to that, this is how we would work questions. In this part of the lesson, we’re asking “Is this… x?” or “Is that…x?”. We’ll also look at how to ask if someone is Korean or American.

사과 | Apple

  • 이것은 사과 입니까? | Is this an apple?
  • 그것은 사과 입니까? | Is that an apple?

사람 | Person + 한국 | Korea  + 미국 | United States

  • 이것은 한국 사람입니까? | Is this a Korean person?
  • 그것은 미국 사람입니까? | Is that an American person?

Statements

This is the part where I tell you that you’re going to do this differently right? 아니, not this time. You’re going to do the exact same thing here again.

사과 | Apple

  • 이것은 사과 입니다.| This is an apple.
  • 그것은 사과 입니다. | That is an apple.

사람 | Person + 한국 | Korea  + 미국 | United States

  • 이것은 미국 사람은 입니다.| This is an American person.
  • 그것은 한국사람은 입니다. | That is a Korean person.

Fairly simple right? How is this helpful? We’re putting all those Grammar lessons into real everyday use!

Let’s practice!

  • 이것은 우유 입니까? | Is this milk?
  • 그것은 영화를 입니까? | Is that a movie?
    • Structure doesn’t change all we did was exchange the subject for something new, 우유(milk) or 영화(movie).
  • 저 미국 사람은 선생님 입니다. | That is an American teacher.
    • All we did change 그것은 to 저(that) and add 선생님 (teacher).

Alright so that’s it for this week’s lesson! Let me know if this is helpful to you at all!

Korean – Basic Conversation [video]| [Grammar of the Week]

안녕하세요!

I stumbled on a web series that I wish I had known about a long time ago when I first started learning Korean. This is literally one of the most helpful series I have watched in a long time.

However, I’m not posting those today! I’ll post those videos this week. Because 1) I was going to do another Grammar lesson but to be honest, I really couldn’t think of anything that I haven’t already done! I was working on a whole post and got all the way to the end when I realized it was the exact same thing I did about three weeks ago! And 2) I really do like posting videos. I’m not sure if you guys figured that out yet but I love finding videos and sharing them with you guys!

Let me know if that’s super annoying and you’d prefer if I didn’t do that in the comments and I’ll definitely limit the videos I share.

For now… I’ll share this video that is basically asking general direction questions. I wanted to go over this before (and to be honest I think I already did a couple of times I can’t even remember) hopefully this is something new. I really hope that this is something new!

Not only does she say the phrase and tell you what it means but she breaks down the pronunciation extremely well.