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Why does 먹다 take 냐고 instead of 느냐고 in the sentence (according to the Korean University Korean Dictionary)

그는 선미에게 아직도 회를 안 먹냐고 물으며 웃었다.

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In short, (action) verbs officially take -느냐고 and adjectives take -냐고; however unofficially, they both can take -냐고. See Quoting Different Endings: ~자고, ~(으/느)냐고 for a more in-depth explanation.

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  • How it is possible to make it to the dictionary if it unofficial as you said? Jun 14 '17 at 9:22
  • I probably should have said "colloquial" or "informal" and dictionaries do have example sentences of each of those. Jun 15 '17 at 5:38
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I've been speaking Korean for ~40 years, and 먹냐(고) being wrong is news to me. Trust me, no Korean living in 2017 will have an issue with "아직도 회 안 먹냐?"

"아직도 회를 안 먹(느)냐고 물었다" is fine both with or without "느", although I think "먹냐고" is more commonly used.

In fact, ending a sentence with -느냐 is really old-fashioned. If you say "아직도 회 안 먹느냐?", most Koreans would wonder why you're talking like some old man in folk tales.

  • And, yes, there are some prescriptivists who have the gall to tell all Koreans how everybody is using our own language wrong except for themselves. If you are a language learner, I guess sometimes it can be confusing. Hopefully you could find a good textbook that tries to give a balanced account, not some obsolete version of Korean dreamed up by old scholars.
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  • Thank you very much for your valuable input to the question. Jun 14 '17 at 20:12
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"I don't know about the rule.. but in real life, you can always omit '느' from '느냐고'. (of course not backward)" <-- it's wrong information. sorry.


after 동사, you should use '-느냐'
after 형용사, you should use '-(으)냐'
thus '먹냐' is incorrect word. (but people in real life doesn't matter, actually.)

However, after 동사 + '-으시-' '--' '--', you can use either '느냐' or '냐'

Here are some examples.

[case of 동사 + '-었-'] (싸웠다 = 싸우 + 었 + 다)
"왜 싸웠냐고 묻잖아!"
"왜 싸웠느냐고 묻잖아!"

[case of '-었-'] (했다 = 하 + 었 + 다)
"그녀는 왜 그런 일을 했냐고 물었다"
"그녀는 왜 그런 일을 했느냐고 물었다"

[case of 동사 + '-겠-']
"얼마나 외로웠겠느냐"
"얼마나 외로웠겠냐"

[case of 동사 + '-으시-' or '-겠-'] (싶으셨 = 싶+ 으시 + 었)
"너를 두고 떠나고 싶으셨겠느냐"
"너를 두고 떠나고 싶으셨겠냐"


just for notice, this is the origin of -냐고 and -느냐고.
~느냐? + ~라고 = ~느냐고
~냐? + ~라고 = ~냐고

-느냐?(-냐?) is '의문형 문장종결어미(interrogative final endings)'.

-라고 means that the sentence before -라고 is quoted.

Mother told me that she lied to me
엄마가 나에게 거짓말을 했다 말했어

this is why -느냐고(-냐고) is deeply related to those final endings -느냐(-냐).
on the other hand, -고 is not that important. because you can simply change the ending -느냐?(-냐?) into -느냐고(-냐고).

할아버지가 얼마나 외로웠겠느냐?
형은 할아버지가 얼마나 외로웠겠느냐고 말했다.


Reference :

“그쪽은 날 언제 봤다고 꼬박꼬박 말꼬리를 잘라 먹냐.” 이처럼 구어체에서는 ‘먹느냐’ 대신 ‘먹냐’를 많이 쓴다. 이 경우 글쓴이도 ‘먹냐’가 ‘먹느냐’보다 좀 더 자연스럽게 느껴진다. 하지만 현행 문법 규정으로 보면 ‘먹냐’는 바른말이 아니다.

‘느냐’와 ‘냐’는 그 구분이 모호해 흔히 혼용해 쓴다. 하지만 글을 쓸 땐 이들을 구분해야 한다. ‘표준국어대사전’은 ‘느냐’를 ‘있다’ ‘없다’ ‘계시다’의 어간이나 동사 어간 뒤에 붙여 쓴다고 규정하고 있다. 따라서 “지금 무엇을 먹느냐?” “안에 누가 있느냐?” 따위로 써야 한다.

.....

동사 뒤에는 ‘느냐’, 형용사 뒤에는 ‘(으)냐’를 써야 한다. 그런데 ‘느냐’와 ‘냐’ 중 아무것이나 써도 무방할 때가 있다. 바로 ‘-으시-’ ‘-었-’ ‘-겠-’ 뒤에 붙을 경우이다.

.....

Original Link: http://news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?artid=201303202148265&code=990100#csidx88cc46d66a13bfd9946f6ef88f0634c

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  • So you are saying that 냐고 can also be attached to a 동사 with a slight difference in the meaning. I would really like to know more about this. Jun 14 '17 at 13:22
  • @HusainAbdali sorry. that was completely wrong information. I just edited in detail.
    – MrTanorus
    Jun 14 '17 at 17:02

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