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As someone who just started learning from here, I'm slightly confused as to see this if im just a beginner beginner and im starting from scratch so i don't know much. Is there something i should do before i start this? Should i learn the Korean alphabet or something? Help.
I'm a begginer as well, but before I started learning from Duolingo I was watching KoreanClass101's videos on YouTube to learn hangul. They even made a playlist only for the alphabet so you wont have to scroll through all the videos to find the hangul learning videos. I also got myself a notebook and wrote down the words and sentences they were mentioning and then translated them so I know around 20-30 words/sentences already. Its unnecesarry to write in a notebook and write down the sentences (it will help you a lot though) but I'd definetely recommend to watch their videos about the Korean alphabet aka Hangul. It should be really easy once you get into it :)
I highly recommend http://koreanwikiproject.com/, it teaches you not only the characters but the variations in pronounciation (such as ㅅ being s, sh or even t) depending on the syllable. It definitely helped me a lot with these first Duolingo lessons.
Also, if you're into podcasts, a great resource is http://talktomeinkorean.com/. The hosts are fun and chill and they still manage to teach you things. It comes with a PDF so you can see the words they're teaching written out.
For any confusion out there:
이 is used before nouns. For example, 이아이 means this child. It is not used alone. The version to use when alone is 이것. For example, 이것 아이 means this child. Other valid translation (when used alone) for 이 is tooth and two. Without context, 이 can be all.
The hangul video is down the page in the 6th row, but this page is a source for many Korean youtube sites. Up above closer to the beginning of this thread there is a more direct link plus 2 more to help in learning hangul in less than an hour.
Fun way to learn the alphabet, and then he has 60 short videos to supplement DL.
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24886787 for more references on Hangul.
And the Korean word for "tooth" is pronounced with just one vowel -- it's as short as the English word "a" (as in "a bear") or "I" (as in "I am happy"), which are also just one sound each.
So the Korean word for tooth is written simply 이 and pronounced more or less like the name of the English letter E.
If you just see 이 without context, then it could be either of them.
Otherwise, you have to use context.
If a baseball player says, "My bat is missing", it means something different than if a vampire says, "My bat is missing".
If you have a complete Korean sentence, you will have to see whether it says, for example, "이 book" (probably "this book") and "my 이" (probably "my tooth") -- that sort of thing.
Romanization has nothing to do with translation. It is simply a means of helping learners identify the sounds of the Korean letters at the very beginning. Once the hangul alphabet is mastered, one should adapt their keyboard to use hangul, and never use romanization again. It slows learning the language and impedes proper pronunciation.
/i/ is the sound it makes.
"this" is one of the words that sound like /i/ in Korean.
So 이 is pronounced /i/ and means "this" (and "tooth" and one or two other things).
A bit like the English word "I" which is pronounced 아이 (like "eye") and means 나 ("me; the person who is speaking")
Much as the English word "I" is just one syllable long, Korean also has words that are just one syllable long -- even ones with just one vowel sound, like English "I".
lee or this?
"Lee" (the Korean family name), "two" (the number), and "this" (the demonstrative determiner) are all pronounced the same way in Korean and are thus all written the same way: 이
You must be familiar with the concept of homographs from English, e.g. "bat" (1 - wooden stick for hitting a baseball; 2 - flying mammal, like a mouse with wings) or "like" (1 - find something pleasant: I like birds; 2 - similar to: it flies like a bird).
Korean also has homographs.
So some words will have multiple correct translations.
Korean is not like Chinese -- it doesn't use "characters" that have a meaning of their own.
Korean uses an alphabet, and so a written word only represents a certain pronunciation.
In this case, 이 is pronounced "i" (more or less like "ee" in the English word "bee").
That's not just a sound but there are Korean words pronounced like that, including the word for "this".
Or in other words, the Korean word for "this" is 이.
이 does not mean "I" as in "the person who is talking to you right now".
It's a syllable that is pronounced a bit like the name of the letter E in English, so in transcription, 이 is i since the letter i is used for that vowel sound when writing Korean in Roman/English letters.
Korean doesn't really distinguish between singular and plural in grammar, so "this" and "these" are the same word, 이 (pronounced pretty much like the name of the letter E in English).
이 also means tooth. Two words that are pronounced the same.
Like how "bat" in English can be a wooden stick for hitting a ball, or a flying mammal: two words that are pronounced the same.
Or if you were wondering how something that's just one vowel sound can be a word, consider the English word "eye" -- it's spelled with three letters but pronounced with just one vowel sound.
The same word can have multiple meanings.
Consider the meaning of the word "like" in these two sentences:
- Time flies like an arrow.
- Fruit flies like bananas.
In the first case, "like" is a preposition meaning "similar to" -- Time flies in a way that is similar to how an arrow flies.
In the second case, "like" is a verb meaning "be fond of, appreciate" -- fruit flies like to eat fruit such as bananas.
So also in Korean -- 이 is not only a noun "tooth" and a demonstrative "this" but also a subject marker.
In "Jimin-i babo", it's the subject marker (which doesn't get translated into Engish). In "i babo", it's the demonstrative (this idiot).
So you have to look at the sentence to see which meaning is intended.
Like with the word "like" in my two example sentences above.