If you talk to native Koreans, you can easily notice that they don’t use plural forms. For example, if I saw many books, then I’d certainly say ‘there are many book’, not ‘books’. Then, doesn’t it mean that Korean language has pluralization? What does the real Korean language do?
Korean language & Plural
The Korean language prefers not to use plural forms. It doesn’t mean we don’t have plural forms, we just don’t use it often. So, say ‘5 book’ instead of ‘5 books’, ‘3 car’ instead of ‘3 cars’.
Using plural forms even makes the speech sound weird. Because the default option of the Korean language about plural is ‘don’t use’.
Plural Form in Korean Language
The Korean language does have plural forms. It’s a suffix -들. Then why do we need it if we don’t have to use it often? It’s because native Koreans
The Korean language uses the plural form to emphasize the amount. Plural forms is often used with words such as ‘really’, ‘so’, ‘fucking’ lol.
However, oddly, 사람들 is natural to use. It doesn’t sound emphasized or anything. It’s just natural. But you have to remember, native Koreans mostly don’t use plural forms except for 사람들 (people)
Make It Perfect
Just like that we don’t have to pluralize everything, there are more differences between Korean language and English for pluralization. Let’s check the differences.
- As it’s already mentioned, you don’t always have to pluralize words. Actually, using singular form is more natural even when you mean plural things. By the way, the formality of conversation doesn’t matter.
- If you use 들 especially for non-living things such as books, pencils, computers, it often can be very unnatural. That seems odd but true. Try to say ‘저는 컴퓨터들이 많아요 (I have a lot of computers)’, it will make Koreans uncomfortable. Use it for Koreans’ internal suffering 😂😂😂
- However, if you use to emphasize the sentence especially with adverbs such as ‘really’. Then it makes using plural more natural
- When every single word is unnatural in the plural form. 사람들 is the only natural plural word. Well… society and people are always important in any language, aren’t they?
I just told you that native Koreans tend to avoid using 들. However, there is the only condition that Koreans don’t avoid using it. The condition is plural pronouns.
Don’t get confused, left words are already plural but you can add 들 to emphasize or poetic. If I say ‘우리들’, then it feels like it has more stronger nuance for the group.
1st person pronoun with honorific
1st person plural pronouns with honorifics are quite similar to singular pronouns. it also uses ‘저’ in them. It doesn’t have a different subject pronoun so they all are 저희. It’s much easier to learn and use than singular pronouns.
저희는 저녁 먹으러 가요
We are going to have dinner
준 선생님은 저희를 잘 가르쳐주세요
Teacher Jun teaches us well (I hope)
Did you know you can skip some parts in Korean sentences and it works just fine even when you skip a subject or an object? How is that possible? Let’s jump into the next tutorial and find out! And if you enjoyed this tutorial, please, join us in Patreon and makes us keep going!
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- Carly Sisson
- Lev Izraelit
- Tuoc Phan
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