Elementary Korean - Companion to Lesson 8: 다른 과목은 안 하세요?

This is a companion guide to Lesson 8: 다른 과목은 안 하세요? from the book Elementary Korean by Ross King and Jaehoon Yeon.


Dialogue 1

한글 한자 Translation
한국말 (pronounced 한:궁말) 韓國말 Korean language
N을/를 공부하다 (공부해요) 工夫하다 to study N
고려대학교 高麗大學校 Korea University
어떤 책으로 배우다 (배워요)   to learn from some book
회화 會話 conversation
(책을) 쓰다 (써요)   to use (a book)
괜찮다 (괜찮아요)   to be okay
일본말 日本말 Japanese language
아세요   honorific form of 알다 (to know)
어렵다 (어려워요)   to be difficult
과목 科目 (school) subject
과목을 들다   to listen to a subject
경제학 經濟學 economics
정치학 政治學 politics
잘 되다 (잘 돼요)   to be going well (to be unfolding well)
힘들다 (힘들어요)   to be difficult (strenuous)
멀다 (멀어요)   to be far

Vocabulary Notes

School subjects (과목) in Korean are usually formed by taking a generic word (e.g., 경제 meaning economy, 정치 meaning politics) and appending the Sino-Korean character 학 (學) meaning "study." 경제 then becomes 경제학 ("economics" or "the study of the economy") and 정치 becomes 정치학 ("politics as a school subject" or "the study of politics"). Other common topics include 수학 (mathematics), 공학 (engineering) and 문학 (literature). See more school subjects on the study page Academics - University Topics.

Honorifics are used in this dialogue (하세요/배우세요/아세요/etc.). In this dialogue, the two characters do not know each other and seem to be around the same age. They thus both need to use honorifics. The table below lists all the verbs used in honorific form in this dialogue.

Verb (infinitive) Present tense (standard) Present tense (honorifics) Example Translation
하다 해요 하세요 요즘 뭘 하세요? What do you do these days?
배우다 배워요 배우세요 어디서 한국말을 배우세요? Where do you learn Korean?
알다 알아요 아세요 일본말도 아세요? Do you know Japanese too?
듣다 들어요 들으세요 못 들으세요? Can you not hear (it)?
되다 돼요 되세요 잘 되세요? Is it going well?

Dialogue 2

한글 한자 Translation
여보세요?   Hello? (on the phone)
교환원 交換員 telephone operator
국립극장 [궁닙극짱] 國立劇場 National Theater (of Korea)
말씀하다   Honorific form of 말하다
부탁하다   to ask for a favor
성함 姓銜 (your) name (honorifics)
신용카드 信用카드 credit card
번호 番號 number
알아듣다   to catch (a person's words, the meaning)
통화하다 通話하다 to talk over the telephone

Vocabulary Notes

This dialogue is a conversation between Eunice and a phone operator. Since they do not know each other and are speaking on the telephone, they both need to use honorifics. 

The two women both say 말씀해 주세요. 말하다, conjugated as 말해요 in the present tense, means "to speak." When using honorifics, i.e. when talking to somebody esteemed, 말해요 becomes 말씀하세요, used in line 2 of the dialogue (in this context, it means "Please speak" and is a conventional sentence said by telephone operators). In most cases, when requesting information from the other speaker, "말씀해 주세요" needs to be used instead of "말씀하세요" because it makes the request softer. "말씀해 주세요" is using 말씀하다 combined with the honorific 주세요 from 주다. Be careful not to say "말씀하셔 주세요" (X); the honorific form needs to be applied only on the last auxiliary (주세요), and never say "말해 주세요" (X) because it is not using the honorific form of 말하다; the only correct sentence is "말씀해 주세요." See other verbs that have different honorific forms.

국립극장 (National Theater) is a compound word. 국립 means National as in "nationally established," it can be also used to talk about universities and other public institutions. For example, 서울대학교 or 부산대학교 are both 국립 대학 (public universities), as opposed to 고려대학교 (Korea University) which is a 사립 대학 (private university). The vocabulary list for Chapter 8 in the book lists other similar qualifiers.

Be careful at the pronunciation of 국립 (it should be pronounced 궁닙). The pronunciation rules in Chapter 4.5 explains the transformation that occurs: 국립 → 국닙 → 궁닙. Other words that follow the same pronunciation change include 독립 (→동닙, independence) or 학리 (→항니, theory/scientific principle).