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Verb + 자

Discussion in '한국어 (Korean)' started by idialegre, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. idialegre Senior Member

    Hamburg, Germany
    USA English
    In the following sentence, I don't understand the grammatical function of 자 in 잦아들자.

    "물론이죠," 나는 심장이 쿵쾅거리는 것이 잦아들자 톤을 가다듬고 다시 대답했다. "뭔데요?"

    I understand that the sentence basically means something like, " 'Of course," I answered, trying to reply in an even voice, even as my heart was pounding and sinking." But I can't figure out how it fits together grammatically. Could anyone explain???
  2. Kross Senior Member

    I think 자 here is used to show the shift of his/her heart beating status from working very fast to working slowly. ~할 때(when) can replace the 자 spot like 잦아들었을 때. So I'd translate the example in English as follow: "Of course", When the beating of my heart became slower, I cleared my throat and answered again. "What is that?"
  3. idialegre Senior Member

    Hamburg, Germany
    USA English
    Thank you, Kross. Does 자 generally signify a change of status? Could you give me a few other examples?
  4. Kross Senior Member

    idialegre, please ignore what I said before. I have just received a more reliable answer from 국립국어원 (the government body that defines the Korean language). They say that 자 here functions as a connecting particle(연결어미). As it literally implies, it helps make a smooth shift from action A (his/her hear beating became normal) to action B(clearing his/her throat and answering).
    For example:
    까마귀 날자 배 떨어진다. (When a crow starts to fly, a piece of pear drops from the pear tree) 자 here helps connect one action with another.

    (source: https://twitter.com/urimal365/status/476163171783163905 )
    '-자'는 '한 동작이 막 끝남과 동시에 다른 동작이나 사실이 잇따라 일어남을 나타내는 연결 어미'입니다. #의미
  5. idialegre Senior Member

    Hamburg, Germany
    USA English
    OK, I will ignore what you said! :D Thanks for the update!
  6. kenjoluma Senior Member

    ~자, also used as "~자마자" which further stresses the rapid shift from Action A to Action B, is somewhat similar to "once".

    Once A, B (happens).

    심장이 뛰는 것이 잦아들자(마자), 난 대답했다. (Once my heart stops stomping, I replied...)

    One tip for you: I believe you already were sure "-자" was an suffix (an ending). In that case, you can naver it (http://endic.naver.com/?sLn=kr) or daum it (http://dic.daum.net/index.do?dic=kor) with a hyphen before the ending. I prefer Naver because if you put an hyphen before any ending, then Naver will show you the affixes (endings) first on top. http://krdic.naver.com/search.nhn?query=-자&kind=keyword In the link here, you'll see six "-자"s on top. Some are categorised "접사" and the others "어미". There is a slight difference between [접사] and [어미]. Let's say 접사 is for nouns, while 어미 is for verbs, for now. '잦아들다' is a verb, so you'll see '-자' in '잦아들자' is a 어미. Boom! You have three left, "-자 #26", "-자 #27", "-자 #25. In this case, what you are looking for is #25. (http://krdic.naver.com/detail.nhn?docid=31469000)

    PS. Sadly those three different 어미 '-자's are equally used in daily conversation.
  7. idialegre Senior Member

    Hamburg, Germany
    USA English
    Kenjoluma, thank you for that very helpful answer! I know "~자마자", but I didn't know that it sometimes appears simply as "~자."

    Thanks also for the tip about Daum and Naver. I do consult them, but my Korean is not always good enough to understand the explanations. That's why it's so helpful to have it explained to me in English by a native Korean speaker.

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