Before you learn Korean in Singapore, there are a couple of must-know characteristics for everyone. These characteristics are especially crucial if you are in your initial stages of learning the language. Here are some traits of the language that you should know.
Bear in mind the crucial difference in Korean and English sentence structures
In English, a typical sentence is usually made up of the subject (S), verb (V) and object (O). Conveniently, the typical Korean sentence is also made up of the subject (S), verb (V) and object (O).
However, what sets an English and Korean sentence structure apart is the order of the subject, verb and object in a typical sentence. When you’re looking at English, the sentence structure is SVO (subject, verb, object) while in Korean, the order is SOV (subject, object, verb). So when you’re attempting to translate your English ideas into Korean, be sure to keep in mind this crucial information to form fluent Korean sentences!
You would use a different tone when speaking to a friend and a senior
Respect is very much part of the Korean culture, even in language use. From the way Koreans address an elder, it’s visible how there is a deep-seated belief of hierarchy and etiquette.
So if you are speaking to someone older in age or considered more superior to you, you need to use more respectful, informal speech. This would come in the form of honorific nouns and verbs. One fast rule to go about this is to add the honorific suffix -nim to any nouns and verbs. Whereas if you’re speaking to a person of your age or status, or perhaps younger, you will use an informal manner of speech.
You won’t need to worry about singular and plural nouns in Korean
This is one tip you need to speed up your Korean learning process. Most of the time, the Korean language has one vocabulary to cover both the singular and plural use. For instance, if you’re talking about a single person (yourself) and your group of friends, you would use the Korean term saram. The term saram is interchangeable between singular and plural – you won’t need to fuss over whether you’ve chosen the most precise vocabulary.
When asking a question in Korean, you don’t have to change the word order
Phrasing a question in most languages can be tricky. Typically, the speaker needs to change the sentence structure to craft his words as a question. But the Korean language is more straightforward in this case, where this rule does not apply. What you need to do essentially is this: articulate the nouns and verbs you have in mind while raising the intonation at the end of the sentence – it easily becomes a question.
You don’t need to be worried about misgendering in Korean
Relatively complex languages such as French and German have gendered nouns for both living and non-living things. This causes the formation of a sentence to be confusing: it takes time to differentiate which nouns are female and male.
But fret not, in the Korean language, there are no feminine or masculine nouns and way of speech. You won’t need to pause to think if you’ve gendered your nouns the right way!
Above are a couple of valuable tips that anyone interested in a fulfilling Korean-learning journey should know. For more practical tips and professional guidance, check the offerings by us, your one-stop for Korean courses in Singapore! Whether you’re looking for basic Korean skills, intermediate Korean skills, or even to secure a good TOPIK score, the native and highly qualified Korean teachers are sure to teach you beyond the written and spoken language.