Updated date:

Korean Phrases You Should Know Before Going to Korea

Author:
Cherry Blossom in Seoul

Cherry Blossom in Seoul

About Korean Language

Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea. There are about 80 million Korean speakers in the world. In South Korea, the language is referred to as “Hahn goo guh” while in North Korea, the language is most often called “joh suhn mahl”. Generally, Korean language can be spoken in 3 forms : formal polite, informal polite and casual forms, depending on the situation.

English Proficiency in South Korea

Not many Koreans speak fluent English. Though the younger generations are catching up fast on learning English, many of them are still struggling to speak due to lack of English language immersion in their country. To make the matter worse, they speak Korean English with Korean accent, adding extra syllable to original English. For example, to pronounce the work "cheese", they pronounce it as "chee - sir". For the word "toliet", they will pronounce it as "toilet - the" emphasizing on the "t" sound.

Considering travellers' basic needs in Korea such as :

- how to get from one place to another

- asking for direction to go to toilet

- basic greetings to have simple chat with the locals

I have listed down the basic and commonly used sentences you will need when travelling to Korea.

Basic Essentials For non-Korean speaking Travellers

EnglishKorean

Hello

ahn hyuhng hah seh yo

Good Morning / Day / Night

ahn hyuhng Hashim-neeka

Goodbye

ahn nyuhng hee gah seh yo

Yes

neh

No

ah nee yo

Ok

Joh ssum nee dah

Please

boo tah kahm nee dah

Thank you

gahm sah hahm nee dah

You're welcome

chuhn mah neh yo

toilet

hwah jahng seel

Where is the toilet ?

hwah jahng seel uh-dee eet-ssum-nee-kkah

Help

doh wah joo sehyo

Where is ......... ?

......... uh-dee eet-ssum-nee kkah ?

male

namseong

male toilet

namseong hwa jahng seel

female

yeh-sung

Excuse me

shee lay hamnida

I'm sorry

Mian Hamnida

How much ?

Ol-ma Ee-yo

My name is .........

Choe Huhn ....... imnida

Korean Swear Word

Some people believe the faster way to learn a language is to pick up the wear words. Well, just don't get into trouble with them :

korean-phrases-you-should-know-before-going-to-korea

More fascinating discovery about South Korea

  • South Korean Culture in Business World
    While South Korean technology and entertainment industry swept the world with Korean wave, many are not aware of some ugly sides of Korean Culture, especially in the business industry.
  • The Dos and Don’ts, Dining Etiquette and Table Man...
    South Koreans practise some quite interesting dining etiquette. It would be useful know the dos and don'ts while dining with Koreans so as to avoid embarrassing scenes or committing offending behaviour.
  • Younger Generation and Graduates in South Korea pref...
    Youth unemployment in South Korea has become a more serious issue when the graduates only wish to work in Korean conglomerates companies, that offer higher salary and better working conditions.
  • Best Romantic Korean Drama Series
    Korean has produced quite a number of romantic drama in year 2010. Without arranging in particular order, below is the list of Korean romantic drama series in 2010 which have been rated most popular.
  • List of Good Looking Korean Drama Actors
    Some Korean drama actors are so picture perfect. Most of them can only speak Korean language; they can't speak English, Chinese, Japanese or other Asian languages, but they are driving these Asian female fans crazy. Their fans are counted in millions
  • Modern Inspirational Korean Quotes
    Modern Korean quotes are inspirational and refreshing. Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-half is good. You cannot deny that high-tech is progress. We need it for jobs. Yet if you make only high-tech, you make war. So we must h
  • Jang Geun Suk (Jang Keun-Suk) - A Talented Korean Ac...
    A hardworking and talented Korean artist, who can speak Japanese, Englisgh, Jang Geun Suk has won many awards across Asia – Japan, Taiwan, and China, for his acting and singing. Here is an autobiography of him.
  • Close To You ........ A Korean Love Poem
    There's no such thing as the perfect guy. And there's no such thing as the perfect girl. But only a less than perfect guy And a less than perfect girl can make a perfect love.
  • A Jige Discovery Experience in Bukchon Hanok Village...
    What is Jige ? I saw this really unique back-carrier during my visit to Seoul. It was displayed at the entrance of Bukchon Hanok Village, an exquisite Korean traditional village with 600 years history. The Korean called it “Jige”, originated...
korean-phrases-you-should-know-before-going-to-korea
Famous Korean Girl Group

Famous Korean Girl Group

korean-phrases-you-should-know-before-going-to-korea

Comments

Naim H from Dhaka on August 29, 2015:

hi, how have you been? i am a fan of korean drama/films and i have been watching them for the last 5 years, i have watched recent korean popular drams like the heir, rosy lovers, good doctors, high society etc. i like korean way of telling stories. I knew some of the phrases you mentioned here, but never knew the actual spelling lol. Great hub indeed. Gamsamnedaaah!!