Monday, July 27, 2009

Why do Koreans say 같은 양의 물 instead of 같은 양인 물?

I was doing some research and came across the expression 같은 양의 물, which means "the same amount of water." For some reason, it got me wondering why Koreans say 같은 양의 물 instead of 같은 양인 물. They say 같은 양이다 (the same amount), so why not 같은 양인 물? I searched Google for "같은 양인 물," but got not even one hit. Even when I tried searching on 양이 같은 물, I got only one hit. What's the deal?

Whenever I see the possessive marker 의 in a phrase, it makes me think it might be a Koreanized form of a Japanese or English phrase, and I try to change it into what I think would be a more traditional style of Korean by removing the 의. For example, if I saw the phrase 같은 나이의 사람, I would want to change it to 같은 나이인 사람 or 나이 같은 사람, but according to Google, 같은 나이의 사람 is more popular with Koreans. What's the deal?

I think more and more Koreans are using 의 phrases because more and more Koreans are studying English, and 의 phrases seem to be a more direct translation of English "of" phrases. For example, 같은 양의 물 is a word-for-word translation of the English phrase," the same amount of water": 같은(the same) 양(amount) 의(of) 물(water).

I am not sure, but it seems like 의 is killing off traditional Korean expressions, like a weed kills off flowers in a garden. Maybe phrases like 같은 양의 물 (the same amount of water) and 같은 수의 물건 (the same number of items) are correct, but there is something about 의 that makes me dislike them.


  1. 그렇죠. 한국은 명사와 명사 사이에 "
    의"를 생략하는 일이 많습니다.
    "나이 같은 사람"의 구글검색결과가 적은 이유는 문법적으로 불완전해 보이기 때문이라고 생각합니다. 한국인이 저 문장만 보면 "사람A와 사람B의 나이가 같다."를 말하는 거라고 이해는 할 수 있겠지만요.
    "나이가 같은 사람" 이라고 하면 완전한 문장이 될 것 같아요. 구글에서도 검색결과가 많이 나오네요. :)

  2. That is very interesting about the possessive marker 의 making you think of Japanese or English influence. Why is that? Do possessive markers not exist or what other form do they take?