"A cute boy reading a book"

Translation:책을 읽는 귀여운 남자아이

October 10, 2017

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So... "《book-reading cute》 boy" because all of the words (book-reading, cute) are used as adjectives?


Yeah, the English sentence is wrong for the purpose of this session. "Reading" is a verb, but in the Korean sentence it's being treated as an adjective. Should be "a book-reading, cute boy".



▪book-reading: adjective

▪who reads (is reading) a book: defining relative clause, aka dependent adjective clause. These clauses function as adjectives

▪reading a book: participial clause (phrase), aka reduced adjective clause functions exactly as its full form ie as an adjective.

In short, all three structures are acceptable.

(2) aim of this sentence: to show us (students) that a korean relative clause (ie one defines by a pronoun - that, who, which, whom, whose or an adverb - when, where, why) always precedes the head-noun like an adjective does; whereas in English, such clause goes after the head-noun. eg.

the reason 'why they left' = '그들이 떠난' 이유

the place 'where he rests' = '그가 쉬는' 곳

the time 'when flowers bloom' = '꽃이 피는' 시간

the man 'that reads books' = '책을 읽는' 남자 etc.

And as you have rightly observed, a Korean relative clause is literally an adjective. It does not need a relative pronoun or adverb to connect it to the head-noun.


So woukd i translate this as 'Reading a book is a cute boy'? This sentence confused me as i wasnt sure which part to start with


There's no verb here; this is just explaining how participles and adjectives are used in relation to a noun


They are really pushing the boundaries of English to teach Korean with this one


is it safe to say that a noun always goes after the words that describe it?


Correct. Just like in English.


Well, mostly like English. In English, you can have adjectival phrases go after a noun "boy /who is cute/”. It seems that all modifiers (adjectives) go before the noun in Korean, though.


It's a book-reading, cute boy.


Wow the structure of this sentence still makes no sense to me even after reading all the comments. I don't see a participle anywhere in this sentence.


Why is "귀여운 책을 읽는 남자아이" not an acceptable answer?


Because that would be "a boy reading a cute book". The adjective has to go directly before the noun it describes.


Strange. So how do we say "a boy reading a cute book".

Although there is no set rules on how to order different types of adnoun in Korean, I tend to agree with @samisuncreative in this case

책을 읽는 귀여운 남자아이 = 귀여운고 책을 읽는 남자아이 (*add '-고' to the attributive adjective to separate it from the relative clause, if order is to be switched around)


Why is 귀여운 남자아이 책을 읽는 not right?


Because that means the cute boy IS reading a book.

The way this sentence is structured is making use of the lesson for this course, which is verb modifiers.

There is only one noun here, and that is 남자아이. The others are treated as adjectives because of the presence of 는/은.

(책을 읽는) - means reading a book. Combining it with our noun, it will be: 책을 읽는 남자아이 - or, a boy reading a book (is......). This whole thing is a noun still. (귀여운) - means cute (as an adjective, rather than a verb). The verb form of this is 귀엽다, followed by whatever verb ending you want.

Combining all of them will yield: (책을 읽는) (귀여운) 남자아이..... (Book-reading) (Cute) Boy - which can be followed by 는/은 or 가/이, depending on the nature of the noun, if it's a subject or a topic.

Some above are asking why 귀여운 책을 읽는 남자아이 is not possible. That's because, as some have already said above also, is that the cute now pertains to the book. A cute book - 귀여운 책, and the whole sentence translating to the "The boy reading a cute book............"


To avoid ambiguity in the case of multiple adjectives, English uses "comma" to separate them.

Korean uses the suffix -고. So 귀여운 can be used before 책을 읽는 as long as -고 is added i.e.

귀여운고 책을 읽는 남자아이 =

Cute, book-reading boy =

Cute boy reading a book


Why isn't the verb at the end of the sentence?


There's no verb here; this is just explaining the structure that a participle (verb acting as a noun [책을 읽는] comes before an adjective [귀여운])


My brain! This makes no sense.


what... this doesn't make any sense


Alright let me see if im understanding this modifier thing properly.
책을 읽는 귀여운 남자아이 - A cute boy reading a book
Where ‎‎‎‎‎‎[ ] symbolizes a modifier

Does this mean that modifiers can stack?
eg. A cute-fast-smiling boy reading a book - 책을 읽는 귀여운 달리는 웃는남자아이
Is this correct or nonsense? If it is the latter, id appreciate the enlightenment


Yes. The stacking system applies to adjectives, like it does to verbs because Korean adjectives are basically verbs.

For clarity, you could use the connective particle 고 (attached to the verb stems) to separate the adjectives (just like the 'commas' in English).

책을 읽고 귀엽고 빠르고 뚱뚱하고 웃는 남자아이.


책을 읽는 귀여운 여자 입니다

[deactivated user]

    You dont need the space between 여자 and 입니다


    It says correct answer is 책... but here it says 책을... I've seen a lot of this discrepancy. I can't tell which one is right, or if both are.

    1. 책을 2. 읽는 3. 귀여운 4. 남자아이

    2. A cute 4. boy 2. reading 1. a book


    How would you know which to prioritize when translating into korean? I entered "귀여운 책을 읽는 남자아이" since in english the adjectives are written from the most "vague" to most specific and "reading a book" seems pretty specific to me. I was wrong. Please help


    Note that in "귀여운 책을 읽는 남자아이" the adjective "귀여운" is describing the noun "책을" which translates to "cute book". This makes the translation of your answer as "The boy reading a cute book"


    Your answer is now accepted-oct.2018 I answered the same way and was accepted


    As punctuation marks are not the strong point in Korean language, to avoid confusion a suffix -고 usually is added to the end of each adjective/verb stem. -고 will act as an English comma.


    책을 읽는 귀여운 남자아이 = 귀엽고 책을 읽는 남자아이 = Cute boy reading a book

    Without -고, there might be ground for misunderstanding as VonGodinez has rightly pointed out.


    In English "a cute boy" would be more likely to mean "an attractive young-adult man" — is it the same in Korean? Or does 남자아이 always refer to a child?


    남자아이 doesn't provide the correct adjective for the specific "《cute boy》translation that you're looking for.

    남자 (man) + 아이 (child) = hence, it's translated as a boy.


    why do i have to put 책을 읽는 before 귀여운 instead of 귀여운 before 책을 읽는


    I'm struggling. Why is it 책을 읽는 and not 읽는 책을 I really can't tell when the modifier comes before or after the noun.


    In Korean, the verb always goes last. If you were writing a sentence with 읽다 as the main verb, you would put 책을 before 읽다, and it's the same way with any verbs in Korean, including modifiers. The objects always go before the verb.


    Korean adjectives are in verb form so shouldn't the same rule for listing multiple verbs (clauses) apply to adjectives as well? i.e -고 (and) added to Verb Stem of preceding adjective (adjectival verb).

    책을 읽고 귀여운 남자 아이 = cute boy reading a book


    Why was my answer 괴여운 책을 읽는 남자아이 accepted? I realized a bit too late that I got it wrong but duolingo marked it correct?


    Adjective ordering restrictions are virtually non-existent in East and South Asian languages (although adjectives of origin seem to take priority in most of the cases, but that's another matter).

    This feature probably applies to Korean to some extent.

    My guess is the machine translation tool would read 귀여운 책을읽는 소년 as [귀여운] [책을읽는] 소년 = [cute] [that is reading a book] lad [On dealing with the relative clause apart] --> cute lad (that is) reading a book = A cute lad reading a book.

    This would explain why it marked your answer as 'Correct'. (Your answer might be ambiguous, but not wrong.)

    If you were to write 귀여운책을 읽는 소년 (no space between 'cute' and 'book') the program would read this as "A lad reading a cute book" and would definitely fault you.

    Any feedback from DLG monitors or Korean natives/experts are always more than welcome.


    This makes no sense to me at all..


    how are we supposed to know the order? come on now....


    Usually, Korean uses the suffix "-고" to separate multiple adjectives (similar to the use of commas in English cf. https://www.quora.com/What-does-this-sentence-imply-The-panda-eats-shoots-and-leaves).

    Failing that, in order to save any ambiguity, participial or phrasal adjectives generally take precedence to simple adjectives. Still, it would be advisable to use -고 between phrasal adjectives too.

    In this example, you could use either

    책을 읽고 귀여운 남자아이

    책을 읽는 귀여운 남자아이

    귀엽고 책을 읽는 남자아이

    or at the very least

    귀여운, 책을 읽는 남자아이 (using the Western punctuation mark "comma")

    But not

    귀여운 책을 읽는 남자아이, as this reads A boy reading a cute book.


    Am I missing something? 귀여운 남자아이 책을 읽는. Cute describes the boy, and he is reading a book. I am afraid I am missing something that should stand out saying all of these are adjectives for the boy, and not a sentence adj, noun, object, and verb.


    In Korean, attributive adjectives always go before the noun they modify.

    귀여운 [adj.] = (that is) cute

    책을 읽는 [phrasal adj.] = (that is) reading books = (that is) book-reading

    남자아이 [noun] = boy


    A cute boy reading books

    = A book-reading, cute boy

    = 책을 읽는, 귀여운 남자아이





    Jin reading a book


    I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the sentence structure of this language but this was hard

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