Korean Mindmap

When I first started reading Korean books, I didn’t always recognize names. I’m better about it now, but sometimes I still ask Good Man for help. I’m currently reading 어린이를 위한 오바마 이야기 and several nights ago, I came across “대현이가 또박또박 열등감의 의미를 설명했다.”

“Is that a name?” I asked, pointing to 대현이가.”


“대현이?” 대 is not a Korean last name I’d ever heard.

“No,” Good Man said, “대현.”

“Why is there an 이가?”

“It’s the subject marker.”

“Why isn’t it just 이?” 이 is used after syllables ending with a consonant, and 가 with names ending in a vowel.

“It makes the word flow better. We do it sometimes.”

I shook my head and said, “That does not fit into my Korean Mindmap, I will forget you said it and make Korean bend to my will.”

Tonight we video chatted with Mother. I asked her when you would use both 이 and 가. The expression Mother gave me told me that she was going to have a hard time explaining it, too.

Mother claimed it was used in big groups. I asked if that was “Mother Grammar.” She laughed and said yes.

Mother and Good Man talked a bit and finally decided that 이가 can be used when:

No family name is used
The name ends in a consonant
When talking to someone else of the same age or younger
Usually spoken, but can be written
Usually casual
Can replace -씨 as a title

I’m not sure that actually answered my questions, but as my Korean Mindmap grows, so will my understanding of using 이 and 가 together.