"A cute boy reading a book"
Translation:책을 읽는 귀여운 남자아이
Not quite fair to say. It depends more on the construction.
I get your point though -- that it's like in English where:
When treated as adjectives (aka, words that modify noun) they come before. When treated as stative verbs (I am happy, as an example), they come last, and are inflected as a verb.
That does happen to mimic English, as you said, but is incidentally incomplete, because not all adjectives will precede, some will be seen as stative verbs, as we have seen :)
(Just wanting to clarify!)
Because cute and read both end with the adjective modifier neither are being used as verbs But the example sentence uses reading as a verb. I think one or the other needs to be changed in order for this to make sense. Otherwise people are just memorizing the answer and not the actual grammar rules
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.
Alright let me see if im understanding this modifier thing properly.
귀여운 남자아이 - A cute boy reading a book
[ ] symbolizes a modifier
Does this mean that modifiers can stack?
eg. A cute-fast-smiling boy reading a book - 책을
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.
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.