Sunday 18 December 2011

It's Been A Long Time

While I'm thinking what I should write for this dusty blog, my mind wanders to one of the frequent sentence used to open a blog post: it's been a long time. Some people apologize, some people explicitly state that they will not apologize for their absence. As reader, at the first sign of absence explanation I'll mostly jump to the second paragraph. So, when it's my turn to make such post like this one, I decided to make this first paragraph empty and meaningless (yeah, as if my other writing is full of wisdom ㅋㅋ).

     오랜: long-time    

When I'm reading a blog post, I subconsciously read it aloud in my head with the intonation and all that. In an English or Indonesian post, sometimes I can 'listen' to the expression. For example the sentence "it's been a long time" can be written as "it's been a long time, you know?" or "oh! it's been a long time!". The additional words "you know", "oh" along with the question and exclamation mark give the sentence a tone of surprise or assuming agreement. Similar case in Indonesian: "Udah lama kan ya?" or "Udah lama ya!". Between the words and punctuation, I think puctuation has heavier role in setting the tone in written sentences.

In Korean, besides word and punctuation, the tone in writing (am I using the word 'tone' correctly?) can also be set by verb endings. I love Korean verb endings because they bring something fresh to my previous knowledge of languages.

It's been a long time.

It's been a long time, you know.

wah! It's been a long time!

The verb ending -잖아요 is used when the speaker assumes the listener will agree with the speaker's statement while the -네요 ending is used to express impression or surprise. These two endings seem to be able to make my written sentences look cleaner. I can decrease the number of other-than-period punctuation usage because as far as I check, I can use period at the end of the sentence and the assuming agreement (-잖아요) and surprise expression (-네요) still can be grasped. 

오랜만이잖아??????????? 잘 지낸 것 맞지???????????  벌써 12월이네!!!!!!
It's been a long time, huh??????????? You've been fine, right??????????? It's December already!!!!!!
I'm not saying that besides period, other punctuation should be exterminated, the exagerration above is completely my fault. The same sentence "오랜만이잖아? 잘 지낸 것 맞지? 벌써 12월이네!" will work wonderfully. 

I think I have brought this point up because sometimes I see punctuation abuse in written sentences, either in chatting, tweets, blog posts, etc. I am one of the culprits, too. I guess I just want to be as expressive as I can since the reader will not be able to listen to my voice or read my facial expression or body language. ㅋㅋ 

Anyway, I'll put this to my bucket of reasons why I think Korean is an amazing language. There are verb endings like -잖아요 and -네요 that have tone/expression (?) crafted in them. It's pretty handy(네요)!


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