We are so glad that you have enrolled in Foundational Korean: Grammar Basics! We hope that over the next four weeks you enjoy learning the general structures underlying the Korean language. It is this larger macro view that we hope provides you with a strong foundation for learning the individual grammar patterns and features that will allow you to communicate. Each module will provide you the necessary knowledge to understand key aspects of the language such as word order, the usage of word-class markers, morphology, etc. When you feel comfortable please also rate our course with the block on the right so we what you thought!
The Survival Korean Team
The Micro Structure of Korean Words
Korean is an agglutinating language. Wait? What? Not, it isn't a kind of food product! Compared to other languages such as those in Europe or even Chinese, Korean is characterized by its heavy use of morphology. The term for this in Linguistics is agglutinating! Thus, to better understand the many words you will eventually learn in Korean, it is very helpful to understand what morphology is, as well as what this looks like in Korean.
The Origins of Korean Words
Lexicology very broadly refers to the study of words. This can happen in extreme micro detail from looking at morphemes and phonetic segments to as broad as etymology or origin of the words themselves. In Lesson 2, we will take a crash course into the origins of Korean words to help you better understand where they come from (spoiler: most words in Korean are not "native" Korean words) to get a better social and historical perspective on the language, as well as related grammatical features that tend to be used based on the originating source.
The Order of Korean Words
Languages can be classified in many different ways. One way of doing this, however, is by word order. Generally speaking, there are 6 basic orders that any language can have: SVO, SOV, VSO, VOS, OVS, OSV. However, for reasons unknown, the human brain really, really likes to arrange language in either SVO or SOV orders - these two word orders alone account for the vast majority of human language! Korean happens to be classified as SOV and with that classification comes important grammatical features to be aware of.
Semantics and Pragmatics
The Meaning of Korean Words in Context
We understand words not only by their intrinsic meanings (i.e., water means, well, water) but we also understand the meaning of words due to context and their usage. Water, in addition to be a mineral, can also have poetic meaning based on the human experience - or in other words - context. The culture of Korea is highly contextual (when compared with Western cultures) thus a lot of meaning is derived from context. In this lesson, we will take a look at the role of culture, context, and understanding what things mean when sentences or phrases may otherwise seem so vague to Korean language learners.