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Koreans are very proud of their language. It is spoken by approximately 90 million people worldwide and is the official language in South Korea, North Korea and certain provinces in China (even though there are dialectic differences). Koreans will appreciate it if you make an attempt to use their language, especially when in informal situations.

Korean is an honorific language, meaning you will use different verbs or nouns depending on the status of the person you are talking to.

Manywords in the Korean language can be classified as loan words or derived from other foreign languages. Only about 35% of the words are actually fully Korean while others can be classified as Sino-Korean and loan words, the majority of which come from English. The North Korean regime has a policy that has attempted to eliminate as many foreign loanwords as possible, as well as older terms of Chinese origin. Western loanwords are also being dropped.


Helpful Phrases:

Welcome 환영합니다 (hwangyong-hamnida)
Hello (General greeting) 안녕하십니까 (annyeong-hasimnikka) – f
안녕하세요 (annyeong-haseyo) – inf
안녕 (annyeong) – inf
Hello (on phone) 여보세요 (yeoboseyo)
How are you? 어떻게 지내세요?
(eotteohke jinaeseyo?)
Reply to ‘How are you?’ 잘지내요 (jal-jinaeyo)
Long time no see 오랜만이다 (oren-manida)
What’s your name? 이름은 무엇입니까?
(ireum-eun mueo-simnikka?) – inf
성함이 어떻게 되십니까?
(sungham-ee uttoke-daesipnika?) – f
My name is … 제 이름은 … 입니다 (je ireum-eun … imnida)
Where are you from? 어디서 오셨어요?
(eodi-seo osyeosseoyo)
I’m from … 저는 … 에서 왔어요
(jeo-neun … eseo wasseuyo)
Pleased to meet you 만나서 반갑습니다
(mannaseo bangap-seumnida) – f
만나서 반가워요
(mannaseo bangawoyo) – inf
Good night 안녕히 주무십시요 (annyeong-hi jumusipsio) – frm
잘자 (jal jja) – inf
(Parting phrases)
안녕 (annyeong)
안녕히 계세요 (annyeonghi gyeseyo) – you are leaving
안녕히 가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo) – you are staying
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
건배 [乾杯] (geonbae) – lit. “dry glass
위하여 (wihayeo)
Yes 네 (ne)
예 (ye)
No 아니요 (aniyo)
Maybe 아마도 (amado)
I don’t know 나도 몰라 (nado molla)
I understand 알았어 (alasseo)
아랐어요 (alasseoyo)
I don’t understand 모르겠습니다 (moreuge-sseumnida)
Please write it down 적어 주세요! (cheogeo juseyo!)
Excuse me 실례하겠습니다 (shill-e-hagessseumnida)
실례합니다 (shill-e-hamnida)
How much is this? 이게 얼마예요? (ige eolmayeyo?)
Sorry 미안합니다! (mian-hamnida) – f
죄송합니다 (joesong-hamnida) – vf
미안(해) (mian(hae)) – inf
Please 부탁합니다 (butakamnida)
Thank you 감사합니다 (kamsa-hamnida) – frm
고맙습니다 (komap-sumnida) – frm
고마워 (komawo) – inf
Reply to thank you 아니에요 (ani-eyo)
Where’s the toilet? 화장실이 어디예요? (hwajangshil-i eodi-yeyo)