Thursday, May 24, 2012

새주소 Vs. 원래 주소 The New Address System Vs. The Original Address System in Korea

Old Address System in Korea

The old address system in Korea is quite confusing. Houses with similar addresses tend to be close to each other, but there is little order. When going to a new place, it is often more useful to use landmarks rather than addresses because houses are not in numerical order along the street and people do not use street names. This system was created during the Japanese colonial period and is also used in Japan to this day. It classifies areas of a city by 구 (district) and 동 (neighborhood). In rural areas, 군(district), 면 (neighborhood) and 리 (close neighborhood). Parcels of land are assigned numbers but in no relation to the street they are on.

Why Is the Old Address System so Confusing?

This is an example map with the old address on it. When they checked the land and the owner for the first time, it should have been much simpler. But for decades of years, the owner might sell some part of his property. Or several people might inherited a land with an address, and they need to give new address to those new properties or lands. In the beginning, one parcel of land might have had an address, but when it's divided to several pieces, they were numbered with dashes following the original numbers.
For example, let's assume there is a big land whose address is 617. If the owner sells a small amount of land in north, it needs to have a new address, and it becomes 617-1. If the owner were to then sell a small amount of land in south, its new address becomes 617-2. In this case, although 617-1 and 617-2 sounds very close to each other, it could be quite far from each other. You can see similar examples on the map above. Please find the address number 141. 141-3 is next to the 141-14 and 141-15.

New Address System   새주소 시스템

Korean government has been trying to promote the new address system. It's much closer to the international address system, assigning road, street and avenue names. It is still confusing because there are so many side roads and narrow allies in Korea, especially in old neighborhoods. But if you keep some concept of the size of street, it could be less confusing. The biggest road is 대로, the next is 로 and the smallest street unit is 길. If there are smaller branch streets of 길, they use the Korean alphabets - 가, 나, 다, 라, ... to name it.

Ex. 서울시 강남구 강남대로 10길 109  (십 길 백구)    
This place is in Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, There is a road whose name is 강남대로. You can guess this is a big road from the road unit, 대로. Along this big road, there is the 10th alley whose name is 10길. If you go into this alley, you will find a house with number 109.

Ex. 서울시 중구 난계로 17길 19-15  (십칠 길, 십구 다시 십오)
This place is in Jung-Gu, Seoul. There is a road whose name is 난계로. If you go into the 17th alley, there is a house with number 19-15.

Ex. 대구시 수성구 달구벌대로 323길 56 (삼백이십삼 길  오십 육)
This place is in Suseong-Gu, Daegu. There is a big road whose name is 달구벌대로. 323번길 is the 323th road along the 달구벌대로. If you go into this road, there is a house with number 56.

Ex. 서울시 중구 퇴계로 88 다길 31 (팔십팔 다 길 삽십 일)
This place is in Jung-Gu, Seoul. There is a road whose name is 퇴계로. If you go into the 88th alley, you can find another branch alley whose additional name is "다". Please remember that "다" is from 가, 나, 다, 라, 마 .....  If you go into this branch alley, there is a house with number 31.

Please see one example map with the new address. This map is the same place with the map above. As there are many alleys, it looks still confusing, but at least the numbers are in the right order.

How to Find Your New or Old Address?

The new address panel is attached on the house. If you know your old address, you can check the new one at You also can covert the new address to old address here. Their English service is not good, it might be better to use Korean.

Promoting the New Address System

Korean government is trying hard to promote this new address system. But people have been using the old system for decades years. It is very difficult to make people to use the new address system within a short time. Although many people know that the new one is more efficient, most people are still using the old system. Also, there are so many narrow allies and small street in Korea, it is still hard to find one location with a single address (though, still easier than the old system). 

What Address System Do I Need to Use???

This is my personal opinion.
I am still using the old one as are most Koreans. If you don't have passion to promote the new address system, please follow what most Korean people are using. If you use the new address system now, many people may be confused. If you feel many Koreans use the new system, then it will be the time when you can try the new system.

One tip, if you are doing something in the government office, it may be easier to use the new address system. The government is officially using the new system.

Friday, May 18, 2012

오고 있어요? / 네. 가고 있어요. Are you coming? / Yes. I am going.

오다 and 가다 are very basic Korean verbs.
오다 means to come, 가다 means to go.
In most cases, the usage of these verbs are same with English.
Let's see the example dialog.

마이크 : 이안! 어디 가요?  Ian!  Where are you going?
이안 : 도서관에 가요.  I am going to the library.

마이크 : 한국에 언제 왔어요?  When did you come to Korea?
이안 : 어제 왔어요.  I came yesterday.

In this dialog, 가다 and 오다 have exactly same meaning and usage with English.

Let's check another dialog. This conversation is on the phone.

마이크 : 지금 어디에요?  오고 있어요?  Where are you now?  Are you coming?
이안 : 네. 가고 있어요.  5분 더 걸릴 거예요.  Yes. I am coming.  It will take 5 more minutes.

It's natural to say "Yes, I am coming" in English, but not in Korean.
Many English speaking people are confused and say "오고 있어요" instead of "가고 있어요".

Let's check another dialog. You can see the similar examples in this dialog.

마이크 : 오늘 우리 집에서 파티가 있어요. 올래요?  I have a party at my house. Do you want to come?
이안 : 몇 시 까지 가야 해요?  By what time should I come?
마이크 : 7시 까지 오세요.  Please come by 7.
이안 : 7시는 너무 빨라요. 8시에 가도 돼요?  7 is too early. Is it okay to come at 8?
마이크 : 네. 8시도 괜찮아요. 8시에 오세요.  Yes. 8 is also okay. Please come at 8.

So, what is the rule? How can I choose the right one?
Let's make it simple.
This is the rule that I found. Please note that there are some exceptions, though.
You need to pay attention the subject first. If the subject is I or We and if the subject is moving, you always need to use "가다".
In other cases, it's same with English.

Ex. (나는) 몇 시 까지 가야 해요?  By what time should I come?
      (나는) 가고 있어요.   I am coming/ I am on my way.
      조금만 기다리세요. 우리는 지금 택시로 가고 있어요.  Please wait for a moment. We are coming by taxi now.


Please fill in blanks using 가다 and 오다. 

마이크 : 이안! 오늘 저녁에 뭐 할 거예요?   What will you do tonight?
이안 : 오늘 저녁에 동대문에               .      I will go to Dongdaemun in the evening.
마이크 : 왜 동대문에                 ?                       Why do you go to Dongdaemun?
이안 : 중국 식당에                  .                 I will go to a Chinese restaurant.
마이크 : 오, 맛있어요?                             Oh.. Is it delicious?
이안 : 네. 맛있어요. 같이            ?            Yes. It's delicious. Do you want to come together?
마이크 : 몇시에                ?                      What time will you go there?
이안 : 7시에                  .                          I will go there at 7.
마이크 : 7시는 너무 빨라요.                      7 is too early.
             8시까지                 ?                   Is it ok to go there by 8?
이안 : 네. 괜찮아요. 8시까지                 .   Yes. It's ok. Please come by 8.
마이크 : 알았어요. 빨리                  .         Ok. I will go quickly.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Making Adjectives from Verbs & Relative Pronouns

You can conjugate Korean verbs to change them into adjectives. Unlike most conjugation rules in Korean, the rules of making adjectives are different for action verbs and the descriptive verbs.

Action Verbs and Descriptive Verbs

Action verbs are similar to English verbs in usage. They can be translated to “to do Verb”. For example, 가다 (to go), 보다 (to see) and 공부하다 (to study) are action verbs.

Descriptive verbs on the other hand are quite different from English. The basic forms of  English adjectives need a verb in order to form a sentence. For example, pretty, beautiful, ugly and small. They are all adjectives by themselves, but they need the verb "to be" to be attached.

This is one of the big differences between English and Korean. The basic forms of Korean adjectives have similar formats with verbs. For example, 맛있다 (to be delicious), 작다 (to be small) and 예쁘다 (to be pretty) are descriptive verbs. The basic form of Korean adjectives can be translated to “to be Adjective” in English. In most cases, the conjugation rules for action verbs and descriptive verbs are same.
But, it is very different to make adjectives from verbs.

Making Adjectives from Descriptive Verbs (Present Tense)

A. Verb stem, ending with vowel + ㄴ

예쁘다 (to be pretty) > 예쁜 (pretty) > 나는 예쁜 여자를 좋아해요.  I like pretty girls.
유명하다 (to be famous) > 유명한 (famous) >  나는 유명한 사람이 아니에요.  I am not a famous person.

B. Verb stem, ending with ㅂ under-consonant : erase ㅂ,  + 운

귀엽다 (to be cute) > 귀여운 (cute) > 나는 귀여운 남자를 좋아해요.  I like cute guys.
아름답다 (to be beautiful) > 아름다운 나라에서 살고 싶어요.  I want to live in a beautiful country.

C. Verb stem, ending with ㄹ : change ㄹ to ㄴ

멀다 (to be far) > 먼 (far) > 아르헨티나는 먼 나라예요.  Argentina is a far country.
힘들다 (to be hard, difficult) > 힘든 (hard, difficult) > 선생님은 힘든 직업이에요.  Teacher is a hard job.

D. Verb stem, ending with under-consonant except ㄹ  +  은

높다 (to be high) > 높은 (high) > 홍콩에 높은 빌딩이 많아요.  There are many tall buildings in Hong Kong.
작다 (to be small) > 작은 (small) > 손이 작은 남자는 xxx도 작아요.  Guys who have small hands, also have small xxx.

E. ~있다/~없다 > ~있는/~없는

맛있다 (to be delicious) > 맛있는 (delicious) > 맛있는 피자를 먹고 싶어요.  I want to eat a delicious pizza.
재미없다 ( to be boring) > 재미없는 (boring) > 재미없는 영화를 봤어요.  I watched a boring movie.

Making Adjectives from Action Verbs (Present Tense)

A. Verb stem, ending with ㄹ : erase ㄹ + 는

팔다 (to sell) > 파는 (selling) > 핸드폰을 파는 남자를 봤어요?  Did you see the mobile phone selling guy? (Did you see the guy who is selling mobile phones)
살다 (to live) > 사는 (living) > 한국에서 사는 친구가 있어요.  I have a friend who is living in Korea.

B. Other verbs : Verb stem + 는

좋아하다 (to like)  >  좋아하는 (who/which like) > 좋아하는 사람이 있어요.  I have someone who I like.
돌아가다 (to return, go back) > 돌아가는 (returning, going back, who/which go back) > 집으로 돌아가는 사람이 많아요.  There are many people who are going back home.

Relative Pronoun

You may already realized that these adjective forms are very similar with the relative pronoun in English.
Please see the examples below.

예쁜 여자를 좋아해요.  I like pretty girls.
In this phrase, 예쁜 can be simply translated as pretty. Let's make it more complicated.

엉덩이가 예쁜 여자를 좋아해요.  I like girls whose bum is pretty.
This phrase is composed with 2 separated phrases; 엉덩이가 예뻐요 and 여자를 좋아해요.
If you change 예뻐요 to 예쁜 - the adjective of 예쁘다,  you can describe more using the relative pronoun.

Let's see more examples.
몸매가 좋다 (body shape is good) + 남자를 좋아하다 (like guys) > 몸매가 좋은 남자를 좋아해요.  I like guys whose body shape is good.
여자를 너무 좋아하다 (like girls too much) + 남자는 바람둥이다 (guys are players) > 여자를 너무 좋아하는 남자는 바람둥이예요. Guys who like girls too much are players.
나보다 무겁다 (be heavier than me) + 사람은 돼지다 (people are pigs) > 나보다 무거운 사람은 돼지예요.  People who are heavier than me are pigs.
집에 가다 (go home) + 사람은 내 친구다 (a person is my friend) > 집에 가는 사람은 내 친구예요. The person who is going home is my friend.

Exercise & Homework

1. Please change the suggested descriptive verbs to adjectives and create a phrase using it like the example below. Post your answers in the comments, or send us an e-mail, wildkorean1 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Ex. 춥다 > 추운 > 나는 추운 날씨를 싫어해요.  I dislike cold weather.

A. 덥다

B. 쉽다

C. 많다

D. 재미있다

E. 유명하다

F. 다르다

G. Create your own sentence.

2. Please change the suggested action verbs to adjectives and create a phrase using it like the example below.

Ex. 가다 > 가는 > 학교 가는 날이 언제에요?  When is the day when I go to school? (When should I go  to school?)

A. 죽이다

B. 원하다

C. 운동하다

D. Create your own sentence.

3. Please make one phrase from two phrases using relative pronoun like the example below.

Ex. 섹시한 춤을 추다 + 사람이 많이 있다 > 섹시한 춤을 추는 사람이 많이 있어요.  (There are many people who dance sexy dance.)
      맛있는 칵테일이 있다 + 술집을 가고 싶다 > 맛있는 칵테일이 있는 술집에 가고 싶어요.  (I want to go a bar which has delicious cocktails.)

A. 개고기를 먹다 + 사람이 많다

B. 스마트폰을 사용하다 + 사람이 부자다

C. 코가 크다 + 사람은 xxx 도 크다

D. 냉면이 유명하다 + 식당을 알다

E. Create your own sentence.

4. Please use suggested verbs and make a phrase  using relative pronoun like the example below. Please be creative.

Ex. 키스하다 > 내 여자친구와 키스하는 남자를 죽이고 싶어요.  (I want to kill the guy who kisses my girlfriend.)
     마시다 > 술을 많이 마시는 사람은 일찍 죽어요. (People who drinks a lot die early.)

A. 섹시하다

B. 차갑다

C. 운동하다

D. 보내다

E. Create your own sentence.