Korean Learners From Japan, Malaysia

어디예요 – Eo-di-ye-yo…? – Where is the…? Unless you’re a hermit, chances are you will definitely use this phrase at some point, at the very least to find the hwajangsil (bathroom). You can also use it to locate an item at the supermarket, find the nearest subway station, or to track down a good noraebang […]

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Korean Learner From Washington, D.C., the US

죄송합니다/미안합니다 – Jweo-song-ham-ni-da./Mi-an-ham-ni-da. – I’m sorry. There are two ways to be apologetic in Korean. The first is an “I’m sorry I bumped into you” sort of apology, while the latter is more of a “I’m really sorry I forgot about your birthday, please forgive me”, kind of apology.

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Korean Learner From Germany

잠시만요 – Jam-shi-man-yo. – Excuse me./Just a moment. Literally, “little time stop”, use this to get the attention of others, ask them to move out of the way or tell them to wait. If you’re trying to get off an elevator, for example, but no-one’s moving. Use this phrase to politely maneuver your way through […]

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Korean Learner From Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

밥 먹었어요? – Bap meo-geo-seo-yo? – How are you? Literally meaning, “Did you eat rice?” this phrase is used to show your concern for someone’s well-being. In Korea, food – in particular, rice – is central to the culture and was not always so easy to come by. While Korea has an abundance of food […]

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Korean Learner From Madrid, Spain

감사합니다 – Kam-sa-ham-ni-da. – Thank you. This is probably the most important expression to learn during your Korean travels. Use it exactly as you would its English equivalent. Don’t understand what the smiling halmeoni (grandmother) sitting next to you on the subway is saying? It’s probably a compliment; smile and say thank you.

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Korean Learner From San Francisco, the US

반갑습니다 – Ban-gap-sum-ni-da. – Nice to meet you. Just like its English equivalent, this expression should be used whenever you find yourself suddenly introduced to a new face. In formal settings, this expression is usually accompanied by a bow and a handshake to show respect.

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Korean Learner From Germany

안녕하세요 – An-nyeong-ha-se-yo. – Hello. Although straightforward, this expression is a necessary inclusion and is without doubt the most common phrase anyone in Korea will use. There are dozens of variations to account for slightly different situations and levels of respect, which can get fairly complicated for the non-Korean speaker. The trick is to say […]

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