basic korean

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Basic Korean: A Grammar and Workbook comprises an accessible reference
grammar and related exercises in a single volume.
This workbook presents twenty-five individual grammar points in lively
and realistic contexts, covering the core material which students would
expect to encounter in their first year of learning Korean. Grammar points
are followed by examples and exercises which allow students to reinforce
and consolidate their learning.
Basic Korean is suitable for both class use as well as independent study.
Key features include:
• abundant exercises with full answer key
• all Korean entries presented in Hangul with English translations
• subject index.
Clearly presented and user-friendly, Basic Korean provides readers with the
essential tools to express themselves in a wide variety of situations, making
it an ideal grammar reference and practice resource for both beginners and
students with some knowledge of the language.
Andrew Sangpil Byon is Associate Professor at the State University of
New York at Albany, where he teaches courses in Korean language and
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Other titles available in the Grammar Workbooks series are:
Basic Cantonese
Intermediate Cantonese

Basic Chinese
Intermediate Chinese

Basic German
Intermediate German

Basic Italian
Basic Irish
Intermediate Irish

Basic Polish
Intermediate Polish

Basic Russian
Intermediate Russian

Basic Spanish
Intermediate Spanish

Basic Welsh
Intermediate Welsh

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Andrew Sangpil Byon
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First published 2009
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
270 Madison Ave, New York, NY10016
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2008.
“To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s
collection of thousands of eBooks please go to .”
© 2009 Andrew Sangpil Byon
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted
or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic,
mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented,
including photocopying and recording, or in any information
storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing
from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Byon, Andrew Sangpil.
Basic Korean : a grammar & workbook / Andrew Sangpil Byon. – 1st ed.
p. cm. – (Grammar workbook series)
1. Korean language – Grammar – Problems, exercises, etc.
2. Korean language – Textbooks for foreign speakers – English. I. Title.
PL913.B96 2008
ISBN 0-203-89227-5 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN10 0-415-77487-X (pbk)
ISBN10 0-203-89227-5 (ebk)
ISBN13 978-0-415-77487-1 (pbk)
ISBN13 978-0-203-89227-5 (ebk)
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1 Reading Hangul (the Korean alphabet)
2 Characteristics of the Korean language
3 Nouns
4 Predicates and endings
5 The deferential speech level and the polite speech level
6 The subject case particle
i/ka 39
7 The special particle
nUn 47
8 Pronouns
9 Numbers, ordinals, and plural marker
tUl 65
10 Counters, question word
myOt, and some time
expressions 73
11 The
and the verb of existence and
12 Case
1 Ul/
lUl and
13 Case
2 Ui,
hago 99
14 Case
egesO, and
hant’esO 109
15 Special
1 to and
man 117
16 Special
put’O, and
kkaji 125
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vi Contents
17 Past tense and double past tense marker
18 Negation

19 Irregular
20 Expressing
-ko sip’ta and progressive
form -
-ko itta 161
21 The endings -

-(U)l kOyeyo and -

-(U)l kkayo? 169
22 Prenouns
23 Adverbs
24 The endings -
-(U)l laeyo and -
-(U)lgeyo 191
25 The suffixes -
-ket and -
-(U)si 199

Key to exercises
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Korean-as-a-foreign-language (KFL) teaching and learning in the English-
speaking world has hardly been popular among non-Koreans until quite
recently. However, the number of KFL learners has started to grow rapidly
since the latter half of the 1970s for various reasons, such as the increas-
ing visibility of South Korea on the international stage because of its fast
economic development and its democratization over the last four decades,
the continuing support from the Korean government regarding the expan-
sion of the Korean Studies program abroad, the growing importance of
the North Korean issues in contemporary global-political affairs, and the
recent growth of the Korean-American population in the USA.
In the USA alone, the number of colleges that offer KFL courses was
merely ten in 1975. However, that number has grown to over 130 in the
early 2000s. A few universities, including the University of Hawaii at Manoa
and the University of California at Los Angeles, have offered Korean
language BA, MA, and PhD programs. The number of Korean commu-
nity schools (for K-12 Korean and culture education) grew from seven in
1975 to 832 in 1996, and to over 900 in the early 2000s. In addition, over
20 public high schools have recently started to teach Korean. The Korean
language boom is not confined within the US private sector or university
settings but is found in the government sector as well. For example, US
government institutes such as the Defense Language Institute, the Foreign
Service Institute, and the Central Intelligence Agency provide intensive
Korean language training.
In recent decades the number of KFL textbooks for English-speaking
KFL classroom use has steadily increased. However, the number of KFL
study materials intended for a self-study purpose is still relatively scarce.
Furthermore, to date there has been no published KFL grammar workbook
that specifically aims at providing supplemental grammar explanations and
exercises in a single volume.
Basic Korean: A Grammar and Workbook and its sister volume,
Intermediate Korean, are intended to meet that need. The book focuses on
providing an accessible reference grammar explanation and related exercises
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viii Preface
in a single volume. It is designed for independent English-speaking adult
KFL learners who intend to maintain and strengthen their knowledge of
essential Korean grammar and for classroom-based learners who are look-
ing for supplemental grammar explanations and practices. Consequently,
this book differs from existing KFL materials whose primary purpose is to
help KFL learners acquire four language skills, such as listening, speaking,
reading, and writing, as well as cultural knowledge.
The layout of this book also differs from those of existing KFL mater-
ials. For instance, a typical KFL textbook chapter may include model
dialogues, followed by vocabulary lists, grammar explanations, cultural
notes, and exercises. In contrast, following the pattern of other Grammar
Workbooks of the Routledge series, every unit of Basic Korean focuses
on presenting jargon-free and concise grammar explanations, followed by
relevant grammar exercises.
This book has 25 units, and it does not take a functional-situational
approach in grouping and/or sequencing target grammatical points. Rather
it sequences and covers grammatical points according to their grammatical
categories (e.g., nouns, pronouns, particles, numbers, verbs, adjectives, and
so on), so that learners can use the book for reference material as well as
for practice material. The exercises at the end of each unit are designed
primarily to reinforce the target grammatical points.
All Korean entries are presented in Hangul (the Korean alphabet) with
English translations to facilitate understanding. Accordingly, it requires
that learners familiarize themselves with Hangul in Unit 1, before going
on to the rest of the book. In addition, when translating Korean entries
into English, efforts were made to reflect the Korean meaning as closely
as possible. Consequently, some learners may feel certain English transla-
tions do not reflect typical English usages. However, the direct translation
approach was employed for pedagogical purposes.
In writing this book, I have been fortunate to have the assistance
and support of many people. I would like to thank my colleagues in
the Department of East Asian Studies at the University at Albany, State
University of New York, who were supportive of this project. I am grateful
to anonymous reviewers for their constructive and valuable comments.
I would like to express sincere gratitude to Sophie Oliver for initially
encouraging this project and to the editorial and production teams at
Routledge, Andrea Hartill, Ursula Mallows, Samantha Vale Noya, and
Andrew Watts for their advice and support throughout the process. My
thanks also go to Lisa Blackwell for her careful and thoughtful copy-editing.
Finally, as always, my special thanks go to my wife, Isabel, who, with her
optimism and encouragement, makes it possible for me to do what I really
love to do. Of course, I bear all responsibility for any shortcomings and
errors remaining.
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Reading Hangul (the Korean alphabet)
The Korean writing system “Hangul” is one of the most scientific and sys-
tematic writing systems in the world. Hangul is made of an alphabet of 21
vowel and 19 consonant symbols. The system was invented in 1443 by the
King Sejong the Great and his group of royal scholars during the Chosun
dynasty of Korea (1392–1910). This unit introduces how to read Hangul.
The unit introduces individual vowel and consonant symbols and discusses
how each symbol is assembled into syllables to spell Korean words.
Hangul has a total of 21 vowel symbols. Among them are 11 basic vowel
and ten double-vowel symbols. The basic vowel symbols include:

a (as in father)

uh (as in uh-oh)

o (as in home)

oo (as in boo)

u (as in pull)

ee (as in feet)

a (as in care)

e (as in met)

we (as in wet)

wi (as in we are the world)

ui (u as in pull, followed by ee as in feet, but said quickly as one
Ten double-vowel symbols are made of either adding one more stroke to
some of the above basic vowel symbols or combining some basic vowel
symbols together. For instance, the following six double-vowel symbols
are results of adding one more stroke (adding the y sound) to the first six
vowel symbols above (e.g., adding a stroke to
“a,” you get
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Document Outline

  • Book Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • UNIT 1 Reading Hangul (the Korean alphabet)
  • UNIT 2 Characteristics of the Korean language
  • UNIT 3 Nouns
  • UNIT 4 Predicates and endings
  • UNIT 5 The deferential speech level and the polite speech level
  • UNIT 6 The subject case particleƒ
  • UNIT 7 The special particleƒ
  • UNIT 8 Pronouns
  • UNIT 9 Numbers, ordinals, and plural markerƒ
  • UNIT 10 Counters, question wordƒ and some time expressions
  • UNIT 11 The copulaƒ and the verb of existence and locationƒ
  • UNIT 12 Case particles 1ƒ
  • UNIT 13 Case particles 2ƒ
  • UNIT 14 Case particles 3ƒ
  • UNIT 15 Special particles 1ƒ
  • UNIT 16 Special particles 2ƒ
  • UNIT 17 Past tense and double past tense marker
  • UNIT 18 Negation
  • UNIT 19 Irregular verbs
  • UNIT 20 Expressing desireƒ-ko sipta and progressive form -ƒ
  • UNIT 21 The endingsƒ
  • UNIT 22 Prenouns
  • UNIT 23 Adverbs and adverbials
  • UNIT 24 The endingsƒ
  • UNIT 25 The suffixesƒ
  • Key To Exercises
  • Index
  • Colloquial Korean
  • Korean: An Essential Grammar