Top 10: Korean Expressions You Should Know

July 16, 2015



0. Learn how to Read Korean
This will make your life infinitely easier if you live in Korea. There is a great cartoon which claims to teach you how to read Korean in 15 minutes. 


1. Hello/Goodbye

안녕하세요 / ahn-nyeong-ha-say-yo = Hello

안녕히가세요 / ahn-nyeong-hee-ga-say-yo = Goodbye (speaking to someone who is leaving)
** Remember: "가" / ga means to go. You are literally saying "Go in peace."

 안녕히계세요 / ahn-nyeong-hee-gay-say-yo = Goodbye (speaking to someone who is staying)
** You are literally saying "Stay in peace."


2. Thank you

감사합니다 / gam-sa-ham-ni-da = (formal, general)
고마워요 / go-ma-wuh-yo = (polite, amongst friends)


3. Yes/No

네 / ne = Yes
아니요 / a-ni-yo = No


4. Sorry

미안해요 / mi-ahn-hey-yo
죄송합니다 / je-song-ham-ni-da = (more formal)


5. Excuse Me

실례합니다 / sil-rye-ham-ni-da = (when passing through a crowd or interrupting to speak)
저기요 / jeo-gi-yo = (getting the attention of a waiter/waitress/stranger) 


6. Giving directions to a taxi

____ 가주세요 / ga-ju-say-yo = Please take me to ____. 

Example: 
버스 터미날 가주세요 / buh-seu te-mi-nal ga-ju-sey-yo = Please take me to the bus terminal


7. How much does this cost?

얼마예요? / eol-ma-yey-yo?


8. Numbers

There are two number systems in the Korean language and each are used for different purposes:

Sino-Korean Numbers (money, phone numbers, etc...)
1 일 / il 
2 이 / ee
3 삼 / sam
4 사 / sa
5 오 / oh
6 육 / yuk
7 칠 / chil
8 팔 / pal
9 구 / gu
10 십 / ship
11 = 십(10) + 일 (1) = 십일 / ship-il
20 = 이 (2) + 십 (10) = 이십 / ee-ship
37 = 삼(3) + 십 (10) + 칠 (7) = 삼십칠 / sam-ship-chil
100 백 / baek 
1,000 천 / cheon
10,000 만 / man

Native Korean Numbers (counting objects, speaking about age, etc...)
1 하나 / ha-na
2 둘 / dul
3 셋 / set
4 넷 / net
5 다섯 / da-seot
6 여섯 / yeo-seot
7 일곱 / il-gop
8 여덟 / yeo-deol
9 아홉 / a-hop
10 열 / yeol
11 = 열 (10) + 하나 (1) = 열하나 / yeol-ha-na
19 = 열 (10) + 아홉 (9) = 열아홉 / yeol-a-hop 
20 스물 seu-mul


9. Eating

While these expressions aren't necessary in most Western cultures, you'll hear them (and perhaps consider using them) in Korea.

맛있어요 / ma-shi-sseo-yo This is delicious

잘 먹겠습니다 / jal meok-kess-seum-ni-da I will eat well (before eating)

잘 먹었습니다 / jal meok-eoss-seum-ni-da I ate well / Thank you for the food (after eating)

10. I don't know/I don't understand/I don't speak Korean well

잘 모르겠어요 / jal mo-leu-gess-eo-yo I don't know

이해가 안 돼요 / ee-hey-ga an-day-yo  I don't understand

한국말 잘 못해요 / han-guk-mal-jal-moht-hey-yo I don't speak Korean well

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