[Korean] Punctuation Usage in Written Korean

I’ve been noticing more and more the differences in punctuation in Korean and English. I think I have picked up on some differences I wanted to check here to understand better what I’m looking at.

Somethings I’ve Noticed So Far (may or may not be accurate):

  • Periods ( " . " ) instead of commas before quotes rather than colons (" : " )/ commas (" , "):

그러다 올초 해외 출판사들과 미팅을 갖는데 이렇게 얘기하더라고요. “우리나라는 일요일에 책을 출간하지 않는다.”

(Human Translation: Then, earlier this year, I had a meeting with the publishers overseas, who mentioned: “In our country, we don’t publish books on Sundays.” )

  • Not always Using punctuation marks at the ends of sentences:

여기서 새로운 나실 하나를 발견했습니다

(Human Translation: I just found out an amazing thing!)

  • All caps of Titles (depending on Writer/Publisher/Captioner/etc.):


Note: Includes observations from articles (Weverse, so far) and subtitles.

I’ll add more if I notice any more, but does any Korean Language Learner or Native Korean Speaker whose mother tongue is Korean know of any differences in the use of punctuation in Korean? Sometimes, telling where a complete sentence should be marked can be tricky.

And it’s just handy to learn more about how Korean is written beyond the Korean Characters.

Thanks in advance for any insights you’re able to share!

Highlighted Replies:

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Something to note here is that Korean wasn’t made with punctuation in mind. Indeed, many older texts were written with little to no punctuation, it is only recently that western style punctuation was included into Korean. And such, most Koreans don’t seem to internally associate punctuation into their spoken language whereas this is often the case with English speakers.


Thank you for taking the time to make that note, @TerraEarth!

So, in a sense—and on a related question—would maybe changing punctuation to make the LingQ reader split sentences for Korean more accurately work without impacting the meaning?

I always worried about doing that and potentially distorting the meaning since, for English, punctuation is so important/tied to meaning.

As I mentioned, knowing how much of a target text to include is tricky. And sometimes a human translation will include more text (to more accurately convey meaning) than a machine translation, so I thought I would ask.

Thank you again! :smiley:

i’m not sure what you mean by “changing punctuation.” Also, what does it matter how LingQ splits questions? are you specifically alluding to the sentence reader mode? What certainly is important is learning Korean the way Koreans use it - so we shouldn’t really be changing anything about the original text. Why would we? After all, the Korean we have to learn is the Korean of Koreans, not the Korean of language learners.

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This is an excellent point! Thank you for making it :smiley:

When you import text (for a new lesson), the LingQ importer splits sentences based on punctuation: . (period) ? (question mark), etc.

Punctuation that is usually seen at the end of sentences (at least for the English Language).

An Example:

So often, when I import Korean text like:

LingQ will split the sentence into two sentences like this:

그러다 올초 해외 출판사들과 미팅을 갖는데 이렇게 얘기하더라고요.

“우리나라는 일요일에 책을 출간하지 않는다.”

Rather than keeping the text together in examples like these, LingQ reads the periods " . " in the sentence and splits it into two sentences.

A member of LingQ support also advised to insert end-of-sentence markers (i.e., punctuation) for importing text.

Edit: So modifying the sentence markers would look something like this (for the above example):

Changing the period to a colon:

그러다 올초 해외 출판사들과 미팅을 갖는데 이렇게 얘기하더라고요: “우리나라는 일요일에 책을 출간하지 않는다.”


Changing the period to a comma:

그러다 올초 해외 출판사들과 미팅을 갖는데 이렇게 얘기하더라고요, “우리나라는 일요일에 책을 출간하지 않는다.”

So the LingQ keeps the text together as one “complete thought.”

But I’ve avoided doing that to focus on reading Korean the way Koreans use it.

I just take the extra time manually combining those sentences that LingQ splits when importing them so far.

Because of your excellent point above, I’m inclined to continue avoiding modifications of the end-of-sentence markers (punctuation).

I hope this makes more sense! Sorry for the initial confusion @TerraEarth :purple_heart:

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Yeah, it would be very nice if the import function for Korean was made to understand sentence final verb endings. Especially when importing from YouTube, a lot of perfectly-made subtitles have no punctuation, and LingQ unfortunately doesn’t know how to distinguish sentence endings automatically (even though I’d think this would be doable!)

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Rooster Playlist Importer Premium added support for some common Korean sentence endings. I’m still trying to do some research—in between regular TL studies—to provide feedback on the types of more common endings to put into this feature (as I noted that I’m still a beginner), but it makes me excited about the possibilities!

Something I noticed about programs that support a wide variety of languages is that language-specific changes/changes that may only affect a handful of languages (in comparison to the current catalog of languages) are much slower or don’t tend to happen as often.

Even the transliteration feature—which I don’t use—took a while to implement (and still has some bugs for those who don’t want to use it). Still, even that feature aids language learners across more languages than having a “Korean sentence endings splicer” feature.

So, it’s not likely that LingQ will implement anything like it soon since it “only” affects Korean Language Learners.