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Conversation 3: Who's that?

Mark and Minjun are sitting in a classroom. While they are waiting for a lecture, Seoyeon, who is a friend of Minjun, is just walking into the classroom.

마크: 민준 씨, 저 분 알아요?

민준: (Indicating Seoyeon) 저 사람이요? 네, 물론이죠.

마크: 저 분이 누구예요?

민준: 서연 씨예요. 저는 경제학과 2학년이에요. 하지만 서연 씨는 신입생이에요.

마크: 와, 정말 예뻐요…

민준: 서연 씨 남자친구도 진짜 멋있어요.

Mark: Minjun, do you know that person?

Minjun: (Indicating Seoyeon) Her? Yes, of course.

Mark: Who is she?

Minjun: It's Seoyeon. I'm a second year economics student. (But) Seoyeon is a first year.

Mark: Wow, she is really pretty...

Minjun: Seoyeon's boyfriend is also really good-looking.

Vocabulary and notes

사람 person is replaced by 분 which belongs to the Formal Style, when the person is not known. Here Mark doesn’t know her and so uses 분, but Minjun does, so he uses 사람.

알아요 know. In the dictionary, you would look for 알다. The main rule for forming the Polite Form is to knock off the 다 of the Dictionary Form and add 어요 to the stem. If, however, as here, the stem has an ㅏ or an ㅜ in its last syllable, you have to add 아요 instead: 알아요. Strangely, Korean has a separate verb "not to know”: 모르다. Although some verbs ending in 르다 obey the 어/아 rules mentioned above for making the Polite Form, most 르 verbs are like 모르다 and you end up with the ㅡ (eu) dropping and a double ㄹ, in this case: 몰라요.

이요 is used to pick something up in the last sentence, rather like English “you mean”. If the noun it’s being added to ends in a consonant, 이 gets dropped.

물론 of course

이죠 This is a colloquial contraction of 이지요 (이에요 + 지). Adding 지 usually means “isn’t it, doesn’t it”, etc. in English, but here the meaning is weaker; it’s just looking for the other person’s agreement.

지만 (connecting word) but

경제학과. 경제 economics + 학과 department = ‘economics department’. 경제학 means ‘the study of economics’. Similarly: 경영학과 business department/school, 정치학과 politics department, 언어학과 linguistics department, etc.

-학년 ‘academic year’. Used for 1st year to 4th year students in universities in Korea. Like most Sino-Korean words, it is preceded by Sino-Korean numerals, e.g., 일 one, 이 two, 삼 three, 사 four.

신입생 newly enrolled first-year students

 경제학과 2학년이에요 하지만 서연 씨 신입생이에요. Notice how 는 indicates the contrasting topics in the two sentences.

와, 정말 예뻐요. 와 wow. 정말 really. 예뻐요 pretty. The Dictionary Form is 예쁘다. Note how ㅡ (eu) drops out when 어요 is added.

서연 씨(의) 남자친구. 서연 씨의 ‘Seoyeon’s’ + 남자 boy + 친구 friend = ‘Seoyeon’s boyfriend’. 의, pronounced /에/ in colloquial speech, is similar to ‘s in English, although it is often dropped, as here, in colloquial speech. It may also be ‘of’ in English, but Seoyeon then comes first in Korean and last in English: 서연 씨(의) 남자친구 ‘the boyfriend of Seoyeon’. So it is safer to think of 의 as 's. See also Noun (의) Noun in 5.5 in Elementary Korean).

진짜 (conversational) really. Somewhat stronger than 정말.

멋있어요 stylish, good-looking; wonderful