Word Order in English and Korean

One of the first challenges I encounter as a native English speaker learning Korean is that the word order is different.

In English, we say Subject Verb Oject. John kissed Mary. In Korean, the verb comes at the end of the sentence. Subject Object Verb. John Mary kissed.

While searching for information about the standard sentence patterns of English and Korean, I came across a site with English grammar. It showed the standard Subject-Verb-Object sentence structure and also derivations from that sentence structure. http://www.rit.edu/ntid/rate/sea/processes/wordorder/grammatical/deviations

I included the link because I thought it might help people learning English to see examples of word order of sentences.

Interestingly, deaf people have trouble with sentences that are not in the Subject Verb Object format. Apparently, being able to hear spoken English “allows hearing learners, over a relative short period of time, to acquire all of the simple and complex structures of the language naturally and effortlessly.”

From the National Technical Institute of the Deaf website:
“Research has shown that deaf students are generally more successful in producing and comprehending English sentences that conform to the basic SVO word order pattern and less successful in producing and comprehending English sentences that deviate from SVO word order. In fact, the more a sentence deviates from SVO word order, the greater the difficulty it poses for deaf students. This difficulty can have a major impact on students’ reading and writing skills and therefore a major impact on academic success.”

The take away I get from this is that I should be listening to lots of Korean to get a sense of the simple and complex structures of the language.

If anyone knows where I can read more about sentence word order in English or Korean sentences, let me know. Thanks.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you might want to consider picking up an introductory textbook in general linguistics, or in syntax in particular, which is the area of linguistics that deals with sentence structure.

However, I would avoid over-complicating things. Just accept that there are a wide variety of ways that languages structure themselves. Korean and English happen to have a lot of differences. Give yourself time to get used to them. Eventually, the Korean way of structuring things will seem normal.


"Interestingly, deaf people have trouble with sentences that are not in the Subject-Verb-Object format. "
There are a lot of so-called ‘SOV’ languages in the world. I wonder if sign languages in different countries follow the same word order as that of the corresponding spoken language. Are you talking about the sign language in English-speaking countries?

I was surprised to learn sign languages are different in other parts of the world. I thought without words, the signs would be universal.

I can’t spell. This is what my dictionary says. It is an American spelling, don’t know if it is different in Britain or elsewhere.

Country = a nation => countries
county = small division of nation (the domain of a count) => counties

Origin of COUNTY

Middle English counte, from Anglo-French cunté, counté, from Medieval Latin comitatus, from Late Latin, office of a count

Berkshires is a county of Massachusetts. Unites States of America is a country.

Even within the English-speaking world there are variations of SL, I have been told. Recently a simplified version for children has been developed here in the UK, Makaton. Wonderful!