Korean 7 - Reading 7 - Food - verbs with consonant stem

We still have one group of vowel clusters to tackle... Let's do one of them right now:

워 = weo

u + eo = weo

Just try to memorize the picture

We need this vowel cluster for one important word:

뭐 = mweo = what

Did you spot that I replaced the no-consonant sign by the consonant = m ?

Do you remember this word ?

이 = i = this

이 나비 = i nabi = this butterfly

Easy isn't it :D I think we had that in lesson 1. But let's build up on this now.

이것 = i-geo (the third letter (here s) is often mute if there isn't another syllable or word that follows)= this (thing)

We need this when we want to use 'this' without a noun.

이 alone can be used for this butterfly, this car, this house... but not if we want to say: This is a butterfly, this is a car, this is a house... In Korean we need to say instead: This thing is... and therefore we need to use


This seems a good spot to throw a topic marker in. This means I am pointing to some object I want to talk about. And that is what topic markers are for. They kind of give a title to our discussion. It is a concept used in many Asian languages. I will give you a more detailed explanation one or two lessons from now. Just accept for now that some words end in -eun/-neun.

So with your gracious permission, I will change our 이것 = i-geo to:

이것은 = i-geos-eun Now as something follows our syllable the 's'of 것 is pronounced.

But we still need something more: a verbform:

이에요/ 예요 - i-e-yo / ye-yo - am /is/are (remember there is only one verbform for all persons)

i-e-yo comes after a consonant whereas yeyo follows a vowel.

also i-e-yo spells with an ㅔ= e (one horizontal line), whereas ye-yo spells with a ㅖ = ye ( two horizontal lines)

our butterfly - na-bi ends in a vowel, so it is followed by ye-yo, which is directly attached to the word.

이것은 나비예요.- i-geos-eun na-bi-ye-yo. - This is a butterfly.

Let's look at a word ending in a consonant:

가방 = kabang is a bag.

가방이에요. ka-bang-i-e-yo - It's a bag.

이것은 가방이에요. i-geos-eun ka-bang-i-e-yo. - This is a bag.

Did you notice this ? 나비예요 means: It is a butterfly. But if I don't add additional information it could also mean: I am a butterfly. / You are a butterfly. /We are butterflies./ Let's be a butterfly ! / Is it a butterfly?

In a conversation usually the context is clear. So you don't always need to add additional pronouns. It is actually rather redundant to do so. Korean people like to leave out whatever they can...

We haven't really used our new question word yet... Do you remember it ?

mweo - what ?

We have now all the elements to ask: What is this?

이것은 뭐예요 ? I-geos-eun mweo-ye-yo ? (mweo ends in a vowel, so it takes yeyo - but this whole 'i-ye-yo-vs.-yeyo-thing' is merely a matter of facilitating pronunciation.

And as I mentionned earlier, we can leave out unnecessary pronouns, we even can drop 'i-geo'.

뭐예요 ? Mweo-ye-yo ? What is it ?

So let's have a little discussion...

But first I give You a new word:

syllable block 56

mul - water (remember ㄹ is only 'l' at the end of a word. If we add 'i-e-yo' to 'mul' our 'l' turns into a 'r': mur-i-e-yo)

So here's our conversation:

이것은 뭐예요?


뭐예요? 물이에요?


Could you follow?

i-geos-eun mweo-ye-yo? - What is this?

Mur-i-e-yo. - It's water.

Mweo-ye-yo? Mur-i-e-yo? - What is it? Water?

Ne. Mur-i-e-yo. - Yes. It's water.

Ok. Let's do something exciting. Let's learn two very helpful verbs.

먹다 meokk-ta ( the combination of 'k' at the syllable end + 'd' at syllable start turns into 'kkt') to eat

and 마시다 ma-shi-da to drink.

Now this new verbs have one important difference to the ones we have studied earlier: their stem does not end in 'o' or 'a'.

ka-da = to go

po-da = to see

To form their conjugated form, we replaced the infinitive marker 'da' by the polite 'yo'.

ka-yo = I go / pwa-yo = I see

For all verbs with a stem ending in something other than -o or -a we need to replace 'da' by 'eo-yo' (어요)

meokkta becomes meog-eo-yo - 먹어요 - I eat.

ma-shi-da becomes ma-shi-eo-yo however shi-eo contracts to shyeo - 셔

which gives us 마셔요 = ma-shyeo-yo (speak: ma-sheo-yo)

Ok enough of all this theory. Let's come to some real important stuff:

맥주를 마셔요. - maeg-ju-reul ma-shyeo-yo. = I drink beer.

Under 16 please scroll down until the juice part ! :D

뭐 먹어요? mweo meog-eo-yo? = What are you eating?

To be 'politically' correct I should have added the object ending - eul to our question word mweo - 뭐 which on top of it spells in formal writing with an unpronounced 's' (무엇).

So the whole word would turn into:

무엇을 = mu-eos-eul

However in spoken language it is quite common to drop object endings and mweo is quite acceptable.

비빔밥을 먹어요. Pi-bim-pab-eul meog-eo-yo. = I eat Bibimbap.

Do you know what that is ? One of my favourites. You absolutely must try that one. Just look at it. It is:

맛있어요 - ma-shiss-eo-yo = it is delicious.


In order to be able to choose between things you might need the word: 또는 = ttoneun = or

As you can see we are having a double 'd' in there. Double characters are usually inaspirated (no air coming out of your mouth.) Don't worry too much at this stage. We will look at them later in one go. There are only 5 of them.

Now how about closing this lesson with giving you a list of food and drinks to play with...

음식 eum-shik = food

pap = (cooked) rice

고기 kogi = meat

감자 kam-ja = potato

국수 kug-su = noodles

소금 so-geum = salt

후추 hu-tchu = pepper - Doesn't that sound like a sneeze ? :D

두부 tubu = tofu

오이 o-i = cucumber

설탕 seol-tang = sugar -- Here we are getting a real 't' (not just a 'd' trying to be a 't' :D)

ㅌ = t

과차 kwa-tcha = cookie, any kind of baked snack, also chips (crisps)

김치 kim-tchi

You know what kimchi is, right? It is that kind of stuff that knocks me off my pants when I innocently open the fridge in the morning to get some milk for my coffee, not knowing that someone has left an opened package behind... I have heard that Koreans have a seperate kimchi refrigerator. If ever you smelled it, you would know why :D But it's delicious. It is a kind of fermented cabbage not so much unlike German Sauerkraut, but much stronger in flavour and smell. Let me show you a picture.


Let's have some drinks:

우유 u-yu = milk

tcha = tea

Sorry guys, no coffee yet for you. We are still lacking a letter... also coke is on hold:D But I'll let you have some green tea and some juice instead.:)

녹차 nok-tcha = green tea

주스 ju-seu = juice

Well that gives you already quite a range of food experience. Remains to wish you a happy meal. Korean people would say before a meal:

잘 먹겠습니다 tchal meog-ge-seum-ni-da = (I will eat well)

This is very polite to say, especially when you are invited.