Old KoreanEdit

Alternative formsEdit

  • 非冬 (*ANtol) (different logogram, gugyeol variant depending on Chinese original text)
  • 不等 (*ANtoL)


Potentially a compound of *an (ancestral negating root) + *to (semantically light noun meaning "objective fact", whence Middle Korean ᄃᆞ (to)) + *-ㅣ/r (some kind of suffix). Compare Old Korean 毛冬 (*mwotol).


不冬 (*ANtol)

  1. not; negates a verb
    • c. 965, 均如 (Gyunyeo), “恒順衆生歌 (Hangsunjungsaeng-ga)”, in 均如傳 (Gyunyeo-jeon) [Works of Gyunyeo]:
      therefore it withers not
    • c. 1170, Interpretive gugyeol glosses to the Avatamsaka Sutra, vol. 35:
      *SA-ho-l ANtol ho-l-tye
      One will not discard
      (N.B. Gugyeol glyphs are given in non-abbreviated forms.)

Usage notesEdit

Like Middle and Modern Korean, Old Korean had two forms of verbal negation: a short form, in which the negating adverb 不冬 simply precedes the main verb, and a long form, in which 不冬 negates the verb (*hoy-, to do) similar to English do-support. In Middle and Modern Korean, the short form negates only the verb, while the long form negates the entire clause to which the verb belongs. Currently discovered data is insufficient to say whether this was also true of Old Korean.

The Old Korean long-form negation was different from the Middle Korean form. In Old Korean, it took the following form *-l ANtol ho, as seen in the following hypothetical example with the verb 慕理 (*KUli-, to long for):

  • 慕理不冬爲如*KUli-l ANtol hoy-tato not long for

In Middle Korean, it usually took the form -ti ani ho-.

  • 그리디 아니 ᄒᆞ다kuli-ti ani ho-tato not long for

In Modern Korean, 아니 ᄒᆞ다 (Yale: ani hota) has merged into the single auxiliary 않다 (anta):

  • 그리지 않다geuriji antato not long for

See alsoEdit

  • 不知 (*ANti) (nominal negator)
  • 毛冬 (*mwotol) (marker of inability)
  • 不只 (*ANTOk) (marker of inability)


  • 박지용 外 (Park Ji-yong et al.) (2012) 향가 해독 자료집 [A Sourcebook of Hyangga Interpretations], Seoul National University, pages 92, 145
  • 이용 (Yi Yong) (2003), “釋讀口訣에 나타난 不定詞의 機能에 대하여 [On the functions of the negative particles in interpretive gugyeol]”, in Gugyeol Yeon'gu, volume 11, pages 249–273