This article is a description of the morphology, syntax, and semantics of Korean. For phonetics and phonology, see Grammar in action PDF phonology.
This article uses a form of Yale romanization to illustrate the morphology of Korean words. The Yale system is different from the Revised Romanization of Korean seen with place names. Under the version of Yale used here, morphemes are written according to their underlying form rather than their spelling in the Korean writing system or pronunciation. Korean grammarians have been classifying Korean words to parts of speech for centuries, but the modern standard is the one taught in public schools, chosen by South Korea’s 1963 Committee on Education. Each of them can be called in two different terms – Sino Korean and native Korean respectively. The 품사 pumsa, also called as 씨 ssi are themselves grouped together according to the following chart. Both cardinal and ordinal numbers are grouped into their own part of speech.
Descriptive verbs and action verbs are classified separately despite sharing essentially the same conjugation. There are also various other important classes of words and morphemes that are not generally classified among the pumsa. Korean postpositions and also known as case markers. Case clitics Both nouns and pronouns take case clitics. As with many clitics and suffixes in Korean, for many case clitics different forms are used with nouns ending in consonants and nouns ending in vowels. The topic and additive markers mark the noun phrase with case markers. They override the nominative and accusative case markers rather than being attached after those case markers.
The most basic, fundamental Korean vocabulary is native to the Korean language, e. However, a large body of Korean nouns stem from the Korean pronunciation of Chinese characters e. Many Sino-Korean words have native Korean equivalents and vice versa, but not always. The choice of whether to use a Sino-Korean noun or a native Korean word is a delicate one, with the Sino-Korean alternative often sounding more profound or refined. Pronouns change forms depending on the social status of the person or persons spoken to, e. In general second person singular pronouns are avoided, especially when using honorific forms. Third-person pronouns are not well-developed and in most cases, a demonstrative geu ‘that’ in combination of a noun such as « saram » ‘person’ or « ges » ‘thing’ is used to fill the gap.