Basic Korean Phrases for Dummies

koreaIf you’re traveling to Korea, you’ll need to know how to say some basic things as it’s not guaranteed that everyone you meet will be able to speak English. Korean is itself not too difficult a language to learn. The biggest barrier for most people seems to be the script, but that’s not an issue once you sit down to learn it. It’s all very logical and is based on easy to remember syllable sounds that are a combination of a consonant and a vowel. You can learn the script literally in a few days, then it’s just a matter of practice to read it and write it.

Another difficult part of Korean is that it uses several thousand Chinese characters, commonly known as kanji. These are of course more difficult to learn, but they’re not impossible. They’re much harder to write though. They are often used in Korean to represent ideas or concepts, such as ‘love’, ‘hate’, ‘happiness’ and so on.


Some common greetings in Korean:

good morning/afternoon        annyong haseyo
good evening                annyong hashimnikka

goodbye                    annyonghi kasayo

good night                annyonghi jumushipsiyo


How are you?                Ch’oum poepgetsumnida.

My name is___                Chonun ______ imnida.

How are you? (informal)        Ottoshimnikka?

Hello? (phone)                Yoboseyo?

Common Phrases

Do you speak English?        Yeongeorul malsum halsu isseoyo?

Yes                        Ne

No                        Aniyo

Thank you                Kamsahaimnida

Sorry                    Mianhamnida


1        hana            11        yol-hana

2        tul            12        yol-tul

3        set            13        yol-set

4        net            14        yol-net

5        tasot            15        yol-tasot

6        yosot        16        yol-yosot

7        ilgop            17        yol-ilgop

8        yodolp        18        yol-yodolp

9        ahop            19        yol-ahop

10        yol            20        sumul

30        sorun        40        mahun

50        shween        60        yesun

70        irun            80        yodun

90        ahun            100        baek

200        ee-baek        1000        ch’eon

10,000    man            100,000    ship-man

1,000,000        baek-man

This is just a few of the most important words and vocabulary to get you started in Korean. There are many resources available online to learn the language properly for your trip to Korea.

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