Translation:The pencil is a thing.
Someone on the discussion board for another question said that the other ending we have been seeing is a topic marker, so until told otherwise, I am going to assume that this is a subject marker.
는/은 is topic marking particle.
이/가 is subject marking particle.
Usually topic and subject is the same thing in other languages. So for beginner learner, just get to use it for a moment.
Thank you very much for your clarity. All of us who have looked at Japanese will probably be thinking of the distinction between wa and ga. If anyone here knows whether the Korean suffixes are used very differently from the Japanese particles, I'm sure we would all be very interested in knowing that and very grateful.
Yes, me too. I started paying attention to the answers ;d And meanwhile doing a wider research on grammar on some wonderful websites about korean ^^
Yes, it is. For mobile apps, you can use Lingodeer for more in-depth learning compared to Duolingo. Also, it can help you to improve your pronunciation as the speaker is a native korean.
On youtube, a search will find many that are taught by Korean speakers. Often I use TalktomeinKorean, koreanclass101, and more. There's Go Billy, Go! taught very well by an American living in Korea. He interviews those other Korean speaking youtubers plus posts dialogues focused on culture. Sidebar: i just discovered SNL (Saturday Night Live) Korea, and talk, music, plus news and variety shows on youtube by MBC America, JTB, SBS. These sometimes are captioned in English, Spanish, Thai, and Tegulu. Of course, sometimes the shows use slang but it's a good way to hear how real people pronounce words.
So basically 연필이 = a pencil (is...)/pencils are 연필가 = the pencil (is)/the pencils are
The first one is talking about a pencil in general (topic) and the second one is talking about that pencil
I know nothing about Korean, but the topic and subject markers seem to be functioning something like the Japanese topic and subject markers, so I may be able to clear this up. First, I think you may have a Korean problem here, as the Wikipedia article on Korean postpositions tells me that 이 and 가 are both the subject marker, just that the former is for words that end in a consonant and the latter for words that end in a vowel. The topic marker is 은 after a vowel and 는 after a consonant. So, the difference between topic marker and subject marker is not the difference between definite and indefinite (a pencil and the pencil), nor does it have to do with all pencils. It has to do with its role in the sentence. If it is marked with the subject marker, then it is always what we would think of as the subject of the sentence. If it is marked with the topic marker, it may often be what we would think of as the subject, but it could be what we would think of as the object or even something else, like the time it happened. I often think about the Japanese topic as something separated from the rest of the sentence in English by a comma. For instance, in "My sister is a teacher," my sister is the subject. I could also say "My sister, she is a teacher," where my sister is the topic, but maybe the subject, grammatically, is she. I could also say "My sister, I love her," in which my sister would still be the topic, but she is the object, not the subject, of the verb. Now, most often, I think the topic is also going to be the subject, and the choice of using the subject or topic marker is a very subtle stylistic choice (my sister, who is fluent in Japanese, cannot tell me often why she chooses one over the other), but once again, if it has the subject marker, it is saying this is the subject (like the nominative case in many Indoeuropean languages), while if it has the topic marker, it is simply saying this is what the sentence is typically about. Now, once again, I don't know anything more than you do specifically about Korean, and the Wikipedia article I mentioned only uses examples where the topic is also the subject, but if it functions like Japanese, which in this case I think it might, then that is the distinction.
Yes, 이 is a subject marker. 이 is used following a consonant, so that's why it is 연필이.
가 is also a subject marker, but it follows a vowel. Example: 여자가
I really hope they will implement some way to see the word on its own, in stead of glued to the verb. That way I can practice the prononciation.
"Action" just means the verb. The verb in this case is to be. The "action" in this sentence is "to be" (or "to be a thing").
Tip: In spoken conversations topic markers are not used a lot and only function to stress the significance of something. Also, Koreans don't really consider "입니다" to be a verb in the same way that we do in English. Instead, it's called a copula and attaches itself onto different words at the end of a sentence, which is why there is no space. Its meaning when translated is still "to be", however.
The tips and notes always refer to the copula as "~이다." I assume that means "~" can stand in for different things in different circumstances, but I have only seen "입니다." Are there other possibilities that mean different things (differing tense, formality, or anything else)?
물건 means thing. 입니다 is from the verb 이다, which means "to be". In the example 이다 is in its polite and formal form, 입니다, which means "it/he/she is"/"they are" etc.
So altogether it's 물건 + 입니다 = a thing it is / it is a thing.
So, do you know whether it is usual not to make a break between the thing it is and the formal verb to be, like this? Is it really conceived of by Koreans as one word?
I don't think I've ever seen space between the noun and the verb. It's only written as one word "물건입니다".
This website lists how to space words, it says do not insert space before verb 이다 : http://www.sayjack.com/blog/2010/06/04/spacing-in-written-korean/
Thank you. That looks like a useful site for all three major East Asian languages.
To be = 이다,
ㅂ니다 is used to make a formal sentence.
이다 + ㅂ니다 = 입니다 (= to be in a formal form) Note: 다 in 이다 is omitted (it is the rule, you will find verb with 다 ending in dictionary)
Thank you both, haidarahhusain and charmantMode. I understand the cultural sensitivity around such a comparison, but I now have a much better understanding, because I can compare these forms to the Japanese -masu, da, and desu.
What is the difference between "pencil is a thing" and "the pencil is a thing" in korea?
I got the answer wrong because my only option was "things" instead of thing.
I just know that 입니다 is how you should finish a sentence that indicates the verb "to be".