Learn Korean Language Lesson 11 – Korean Subject Marker

Learn Korean Lesson 11 - Korean Subject MarkerContinue from Learn Korean Language Lesson 10 – Korean Demonstrative Adjectives – This/That/That, today we will learn Korean Subject Marker – 이/가 [ i/ga ]. The most commonly used noun particles are those used to mark the subject of the sentence and those used to mark the topic of a sentence (Korean Topic Marker). When form a Korean sentences, Korean verb comes last in Comparison of Korean and English? Hence, not like English, the order of the Korean sentence is usually: subject, object, verb.

Korean subject marker

In Korean, the subject of a sentence is designated by a subject marker 이/가. Both subject markers and topic markers are used to indicate the person or thing that is main actor or element in the sentence. The difference between subject and topics in Korean represents a distinction not directly found in English, as such, knowing understanding the difference between subject markers and topic markers is difficult for beginning Korean language learners. There are some basic principles that govern the use of each.

  • A subject marker is often attached to a noun that the speaker wishes to introduce into the conversation for the first time. It has no direct interpretation into English.
  • A topic marker is generally attached to a noun that has already been established in the conversion. The noun X-는 can be interpreted “as for  X,…”.

In a conversation that involves identifying people or things, the opening question often includes a noun with a subject marker. The corresponding response would mark the same entity with a topic marker. It’s already been established as part of the discourse. We have learned Korean Demonstrative Adjectives – 이/그/저  (this/that/that) in Learn Korean Language Lesson 10.

  • 이 것이 무엇이에요? [ i-geo-si-mu-eot-i-e-yo ] – What is this (thing)?
  • 그 것은 책이에요. [ geu-geo-seun-chaek-i-e-yo ] – That thing is a book. (As for that thing, (it) is a book.)

In most of the sentences that you will encounter at this point, there will be either a subject or a topic. It’s much less common to find both types of particles in a single sentence. There is one important exception. A sentence that include the verb 아니다 – to not be.

  • 이것은 책이 아니에요. [ i-geo-seun-chaek-i-a-ni-e-yo ] – This thing is not a book. (As for this thing, (it) is not a book.)
  • 이것은 냉장고가 아니에요. [ i-geo-seun-naeng-jang-go-ga-a-ni-e-yo ] – This is not a refrigerator. (As for this thing, (it) is not a refrigerator.)

Knowing exactly when to use one as opposed to the other takes time and experience. In the meantime, acquaint yourself with the grammatical patterns and open yourself to absorbing new intuitions about these two particles function.

Subject marker Topic marker
Ending with a vowel
Ending with a consonants

Continue to Learn Korean Language Lesson 12 – Korean Linking Verb.

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