Listening to music is a catchy and fun way to learn a language. The challenge with studying music is that it is often too poetic, or the grammar isn't realistic. Fortunately, the K-Pop group 4Minute has us covered with their hit songs 오늘 뭐해 (Whatcha doing?) and 이름이 뭐예요 (What's your name?). These songs read like a conversation in a beginners Korean textbook.
This is very simple question in Korean. And it's something you could use in a real life conversation with a friend.
오늘 = today
뭐 = what
해 = present-tense conjugation of the verb 하다, which means "to do"
Notice that this sentance is missing the 요 at the end. This means the sentance is in 반말 (informal speach). You should only use this form of speach with someone you are familiar with, like your close friends.
After asking you what you are doing today, 4Minute follows up with another simple question.
이따 - later
Listen to the way they pronounce 이따. Do you hear the emphasis on the second syllable, 따? This is not just musical phrasing. This is a double consonant and is very common in the Korean language. A double consonant is pronounced with slightly more tightness than a regular consonant. One way to way to practice this is to insert a small pause before you speak the double consonant. 이 [pause] 따.
If you watch a lot of K-Dramas, you're probably familiar with the word 오빠 (brother or older male friend). This word also has a double consonant in the second syllable.
Now that 4Minute knows what you are doing today, and later, they are asking a final question about your weekend plans.
주말 = the weekend
에 = location or time marking particle
"particles" in Korean are markers that come after words to indicate the parts of speach. 에 is used to indicate that the question is about a certain time. In this case, they are asking about the weekend. 에 can also be used to indicate locations.
Some other common particles are 은/는 (topic marker), 가/이 (subject markers) and 을/를 (object) markers. Particles are a core building block of Korean grammar.
이름 = name
이 = subject marking particle
요 = politice sentence ending
In this song, 4Minute is asking your name. Since they don't know the listener's name, we can assume they don't yet have a familiar relationship with the listener and they must end their question with the polite "요". This polite form of speach is called 존댓말, and it should be used with strangers or people older than you.
The subject of this sentance is "이름" (name). We know this, because it is followed by the subject marking particle 이. 이 is only used for words that end in consonants. For words that end with vowals, use 가.
전화 = phone
번호 = number
This one is a tounge twister, if you're not used to speaking Korean syllables. It might help to listen to this playback at a slower speed.
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