It rained all day here in Valencia.  On a rainy day like this, Koreans remember “비처럼 음악처럼 (Like Rain, Like Music),” sung by 김현식, a legendary underground singer who sang with his amazing husky voice and forthright tone in the 1980’s, mostly for public concerts only.  When he was hospitalized for a liver disease, he even sang for other patients until the last moment of his short life.  His love songs became even more famous after his death, and are still actively sung by other professional singers.   

Translating this famous classic song still loved by so many people, I wanted to point out a couple of “unchangeable facts” about Korean word order that you can practice: 

  1. In Korean, an object always comes before the verb [ Poems are an exception ].  This is a challenge for English speakers, since the object always comes after the verb in English, unlike some other languages where objects in a subordinate clause or at least object pronouns often precede the verb. 
  • 난 당신을 생각해요 [ Object (당신을) + Verb (생각해요) ] = I think of you [ Verb (think) + Object (of you) ]
  1. Korean subordinate clauses are formed by the ending of the verb, which comes always at the end of the subordinate clause.  This is the opposite to many other languages where a subordinate clause always starts with a conjunction such as “Because …,” “When …,” “Since …” etc. 
  • 비가 내리고 음악이 흐르면 [ … 흐르-(Verb) + 면 (Connective Ending) ] = When rains falls and the music flows, [ When (Conjunction) … , ]
  • 당신이 떠나시 그 밤에 [ 당신이 (Subject) + 떠나시- (Verb) + 던 (Relative clause ending; Past) + 그 밤에 (Noun + Particle) ]  = On that night when you left [ On (Preposition) + that night (Noun) + when (Relative pronoun) + you (Subject) + left (Verb) ]

Without verbally explaining mesmerizing details here, I chose to use the video to demonstrate the typical difference in word order using the song lyrics.  김현식’s song is beautifully slow and repetitive –  perfect for studying Korean!  So, first read the basic vocabulary list shown below.  Then sit back and relax, and listen to the color-matched words sung with his amazing emotive voice!  After watching them carefully till the end, you will be able to visually feel the structural pattern of Korean word order.   Visual recognition of the word order is the first step to fluently speaking in Korean.

Vocabulary List:

rain;  비가 내리다 rain falls;  비가 오다 it rains

음악 music 

흐르다 flow;  흐르 When …. flows, / If … flows, 

생각해요 think 

떠나다 leave 


왔어요 came 

오늘 today; 오늘 today, too

비를 맞다 get rained on; caught in the rain

하루 one (entire) day 

그냥 just; without doing anything

보내다 let go; spend 

아름다운 beautiful 

-같은  -like

이야기 story 

-처럼 like …

너무 too; so much 

아프다 hurt; 아픈 painful, hurtful

-기 때문에 because … 

그렇게 like that, such, so 

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