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Context:

I am in a coffee shop and it's rainy outside and I just saw a woman walking downstairs (outside) with her umbrella open.

As exercises I'd like to try to translate:

A woman is walking downstairs with her umbrella open.

My attempt for the bit "A woman is walking downstairs":

여자가 아레층로 걷고 있어요

Is it correct? If it is not how to correct? if it is correct how do I attach the additional clause "with her umbrella open".

I don't know how to translate that bit.

1 Answer 1

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  • 여자가 아레층로 걷고 있어요 => 여자가 아로 걷고 있어요.

로 comes after a syllable ending with a vowel or the consonant ㄹ (회사로, 겨울로), and 으로 after a syllable ending with the rest of the consonants (아래층으로, 집으로). This is purely for phonetic reasons, not unlike English speakers adding "s" to "chance" but "es" for "kiss" to pluralize them.

Also note that 내려가다 (to go/walk down) might work better because simple 걷다 sounds like taking a leisurely stroll which is not the case here.

  • Adding "with her umbrella open"

This is ㅁ special case of participle phrase (similar to "her umbrella opened"), and there is no corresponding construct in Korean since Korean has no such concept. There are, however, verb ending forms that can express similar ideas (verb endings do most of the phrasing in Korean).

Two common such endings which can create English participle-like constructs are:

  1. VERB-고. The -고 ending implies a state established in the beginning and maintained.
  2. VERB-면서 or VERB-며. These implies some action continuously happening throughout.

"with her umbrella open" suggests the umbrella was already open and she's just carrying it in that state, so it fits the #1 case. We can thus phrase it like 우산을 펴고, where 펴다 means to open a folded thing, like a book or umbrella.

So the whole sentence might be constructed as:

  • (어떤) 여자가 우산을 펴고 아래층으로 내려가고 있어요. (어떤 would add the sense of "a" or "a certain")

Here are more examples of the two kinds of participle-like Korean verb forms.

  • 나는 버스를 타고 인천으로 갔다 = I went over to 인천 riding a bus.
  • 동생은 책을 펴 놓고 자고 있다 = My bro is asleep with the book open.

  • 어떤 아이가 울면서/울며 집앞에 왔다 = A kid came to my house crying.
  • 비가 오면서 한쪽에는 해가 나왔다 = While raining, the sun is out on one side.

You can see the first two sentences indicate a state (you get on a bus or open a book once in the beginning), whereas the last two show continuous action (crying or the rain falling).


[Edit] Further explanation on -고.

No, the -고 examples I gave are not using it as clausal connectors of one thing and then another. It represents one earlier established state continuing as the basis (or just a parallel thing) of another action.

The first one represents an action sequence, like 한 시간 동안 공부하고 잠을 잤다, whereas the second one is a "participating/underlying" condition (this is not an establish term, and it is a similar notion as a participle phrase/clause). The action sequence case is more common, and some books and sites might only give you that explanation, but the fact is that this participating condition is also a common usage. It is beneficial to be aware of it too.

Here's a dictionary page with more examples (#2 is the "sequence" and #3 the "participating condion") - https://krdict.korean.go.kr/dicSearch/SearchView?wordMatchFlag=N&currentPage=1&mainSearchWord=-%EA%B3%A0&sort=W&searchType=W&proverbType=&exaType=&ParaWordNo=78583&divSearch=search&deleteWord_no=&nationCode=&returnUrl=&downloadInfo=&downloadInfoText=&downloadGubun=&downloadType=&downloadItemList=&downloadMultilanList=&priMoveUrl=&blockCount=10

One thing to note is that the two usages above are not always sharply distinguished. 여자가 우산을 펴고 아래층으로 내려가고 있어요 is one such case. You can think of it as action sequences too. If you make it 우산을 들고, however, it gravitates toward the participating condition case because 들고 가다 is commonly used for carrying something. So the connotation can vary with the verb in use too.


As for "A woman with open umbrella is walking down the stairs" vs "A woman is walking down the stairs", you can phrase them maintaining the difference too.

A woman with open umbrella is walking down the stairs = 우산을 펴든 여자가 계단을 내려가고 있어요.

우산을 펴든 modifies 여자, like "a woman [who held an open umbrella]".

펴들다 is the same as 펼쳐서 들다 (literally "open and hold" but more like carry in open form). Given no words like "with", this is how we express it.

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  • Would this sentence have the exact same meaning? 여자가 우산을 편 채로 아래층으로 내려가고 있어요.
    – user17915
    May 29, 2023 at 6:11
  • It is similar, but -ㄴ 채로 emphasizes or highlights it more. For example, if someone runs out of the house in underwear, you would say 속옷을 입은 채로 달려 나왔다 to suggest that it is extraordinary. Other than this aspect, they have a similar meaning.
    – Tony
    May 29, 2023 at 8:14
  • @Tony in your sentence 여자가 우산을 펴고 아래층으로 내려가고 있어요 I am more tempted to translated it as "A woman with open umbrella is walking down the stairs" (I think the meaning is what I was trying to convey). I wonder if you can clarify a bit the of 펴고. In this context are you using it as "clausal conjunction"? (like I eat and drink and sleep)? Or is it a different grammar concept? I am trying to make sure I understand the grammar of your sentence in terms of something I studied already or if this is something new I need to look into. May 29, 2023 at 8:29
  • If my interpretation of 고 is correct I would be specific in the sequence. You're saying that first a women opened her umbrella and then walked down the stairs. I think however the emphasis in this case is more put into the two actions happening in sequence rather than two states being together (according to my grammar reference at least). On the other end you're saying also that 고 implies a state as well so maybe there's an emphasis on that as well. May 29, 2023 at 8:37
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    채로 (or just 채 sometimes) is most often used in the past tense (or completion) form -(으)ㄴ 채로, as in 점심도 안 먹은 채(로) 고객 회사에 가야 했다. Next to that, the present tense -는 채(로) is also heard, like 아이를 자는 채(로) 옮기는데도 깨지 않는다 (I am moving the child as she iss sleeping but she still doesn't wake up). -던 채(로) (past tense with implied duration and no sense of completion) is also common, as in 잔디를 깎던 채로 놓아 두고 외출했다 (I went out leaving behind the grass in the middle of mowing). Other tenses are not common.
    – Tony
    May 29, 2023 at 16:30

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