Episode from the podcastTalk To Me In Korean

TTMIK Level 7 Lesson 19

Released Thursday, 12th January 2012
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In this lesson, let’s take a look at how to make reported questions in Korean. Reported questions are questions within sentences such as, “I asked him when he was going to finish his work”; “He asked me how old I was”; etc. In writing, you can quote the actual questions word for word, but when you speak with others, it is more natural to form reported question sentences. Let’s learn how to do that in Korean.

To make a reported question, you use the ending -냐고 [-nya-go] and add a question-related word.

Verb stem + -냐고 + Question related word

Examples of question related words
1. 묻다 [mut-da] = to ask
2. 물어보다 [mu-reo-bo-da] = to ask
3. 말하다 [ma-ra-da] = to say
4. 질문하다 [jil-mun-ha-da] = to ask a question

Examples of reported questions
= Are you a student?

→ 학생 + -이 (verb stem) + -냐고
→ 학생이냐고
→ 학생이냐고 물어봤어요.
= They asked me if I was a student. / I asked her if she was a student.

= What is it?

→ 뭐 + -이 (verb stem) + -냐고
→ 뭐(이)냐고 → 뭐냐고
→ 뭐냐고 물어봤어요.
= She asked what this is. / I asked what it is. / They asked what that is.

누가 그렇게 말했어요?
= Who said so?

→ 누가 + 그렇게 + 말하 (verb stem) + -았/었/였 (past tense suffix) + -냐고
→ 누가 그렇게 말했냐고
→ 누가 그렇게 말했냐고 물었어요.
= I asked who said so. / They asked who said such a thing.

* After a noun, you need to add 이다 (= to be) to make it a verb, but when the noun ends with a vowel and without the last consonant, you can omit -이. For example, 누구 is followed by 이다, but when also followed by -냐고, it changes to 누구냐고 instead of 누구이냐고.

Sample Sentences
1. 몇 시에 올 거냐고 물어보세요.
[myeot si-e ol geo-nya-go mu-reo-bo-se-yo.]
= Ask him what time he will come here.

2. 왜 안 왔냐고 물어봤는데, 대답을 안 해요.
[wae an wat-nya-go mu-reo-bwat-neun-de, dae-da-beul an hae-yo.]
= I asked him why he didn’t come here, but he won’t answer.

3. 저한테 어디 가냐고 말했어요.
[jeo-han-te eo-di ga-nya-go ma-rae-sseo-yo.]
= He asked me where I was going.

4. 저는 몇 살이냐고 물어보는 게 제일 싫어요.
[jeo-neun myeot sa-ri-nya-go mu-reo-bo-neun ge je-il si-reo-yo.]
= I hate it the most when people ask me how old I am.

5. 저도 가야 되냐고 물어봐 주세요.
[jeo-do ga-ya doe-nya-go mu-reo-bwa ju-se-yo.]
= Please ask them if I have to come along, too.
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