What if English had Korean grammar?

This is a short, useful insight into how Korean sentence structure and grammar works.


I love this! Great video, thanks for sharing!
Reminds me of the word order in Polish sign language :upside_down_face:
More or less the same thing.


I keep on seeing these types of video on my tiktok. It’s educating, and at the same time funny, because in english it doesn’t make any sense :sob:


Here’s a new clip highlighting what the subject-object-verb order of Korean sounds like when expressed in English.


Even though I knew the word order in Korean before you (and mirjam) posted these videos here, it somehow hits differently when you see this word for word translation. These videos make me smile every time I watch them. They are lovely. Languages and different ways people communicate in across different cultures never cease to amaze me. Humans are just wonderful beings :yellow_heart::hand_with_index_finger_and_thumb_crossed:

PS This also nicely shows why songs should probably not be subbed in Korean dramas when we only hear one or two words in-between a dialogue — this will surely result in lines that are very different from a whole, logical line, because we will only hear the English “end” of the line :sweat_smile:


Hi Ashley,

It’s good to see you :slight_smile:

These little TikTok clips really intrigue me. The language flow makes so much more sense to me when I can see the English word-for-word translation.

And you’re absolutely right about the song lyrics. As these clips highlight, it’s not until the end of the sentence where the verb occurs that translation is possible. So interpreting a lyric mid-phrase is fraught with linguistic dangers! Until you mentioned it, this was something that had never occurred to me.


Ohhh, I ran into one of these videos on Instagram the other day. It was very interesting. As I understand it, it seems the verb goes at the end? This has inspired me to do some more exploring on Korean sentence structure. As both a linguist and language nerd, language syntax is always really interesting to me. :smile:



In both Korean and Japanese, they say, “I eat 3 apples” like this:

I apple 3 ones eat.

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Ohhh, that’s very interesting. So, basically something like Subject + Object + Modifier + Verb, from what I can see. It reminds me a little of the German verb at the end rule and the French adjective after the noun. The one fun fact I randomly found out during university from one of our textbook examples is that apparently adverbials also always come first in Japanese, if they’re in the sentence. I also once saw a comparison with syntax structure in English and the sentence structure is so vastly different. It was really interesting to note. I’m curious how Mandarin is in comparison to Korean and Japanese. When I was little, I was told that apparently there are no verbs in Mandarin. However, at the time, since I was little, I kind of took it literally, but now, I assume what they’d meant is that perhaps they’re not the typical verb forms I might have been used to, since they do have some way to express actions, of course. Ever since then I’ve been really curious about their verb forms, but I’m trying to hold back on learning Mandarin grammar, since I started learning some through an app for fun and I want to first learn some phrases without the actual grammar. I want to avoid that typical FL journey we all tend to have in schools where we get grammar thrown at us, so later on in life we know how sentences should be, but we lack the words to actually say them. But I’m determined to find out at some point what “no verbs” was supposed to mean. :joy: