Korean Language

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Useful Korean words..

A collection of useful phrases in Korean with audio recordings for most of them.

Click on any of the (non-English) phrases that are links (blue) to hear them spoken. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

To see these phrases in many other languages click on the English versions. If you’d like to see these phrases in any combination of two languages, try the Phrase Finder.

Key to abbreviations: frm = formal, inf = informal

English 한국어 (Korean)
Welcome 환영합니다 (hwangyong-hamnida)
Hello (General greeting) 안녕하십니까 (annyeong-hasimnikka) – frm
안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo) – inf
안녕 (annyeong) – inf
Hello (on phone) 여보세요 (yeoboseyo)
How are you? 어떻게 지내세요? (eotteohke jinaeseyo?)
안녕하셨습니까? (an nyeong ha siut seum ni ka?)
Reply to ‘How are you?’ 잘지내요 (jaljinaeyo)
Long time no see 오랜만이다 (orenmanida)
What’s your name? 이름은 무엇입니까?
(ireumeun mueosip nikka?) – inf
성함이 어떻게 되십니까?
(sungham ee uttoke daesipnika?) – frm
My name is … 제 이름은 … 입니다 (je ireum-eun … imnida)
Where are you from? 어디서 오셨어요?
(eodiseo osyeosseoyo)
I’m from … 저는 … 에서 왔어요
(jeoneun … eseo wasseuyo)
Pleased to meet you 만나서 반갑습니다 (mannaseo bangapseumnida) – frm
만나서 반가워요 (mannaseo bangawoyo) – inf
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
안녕하십니까 (annyeong hashimnikka)
좋은 아침 (joheun achim)
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
안녕하십니까 (annyeong hashimnikka)
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
안녕하십니까 (annyeong hashimnikka)
좋은 저녁 (joheun jeonyeok)
Good night 안녕히 주무십시요 (annyeong-hi jumusipsio) – frm
잘자 (jal jja) – inf
Goodbye
(Parting phrases)
안녕 (annyeong)
안녕히 계세요 (annyeonghi gyeseyo) – you are leaving
안녕히 가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo) – you are staying
Good luck! 행운을 빌어요 (haeng un eul bil eo yo) – frm
행운을 빈다 (haeng un eul bin da) – inf
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
건배 [乾杯] (geonbae) – lit. “dry glass
위하여 (wihayeo)
Have a nice day 좋은 하루 되세요 (joeun haru dweseyo)
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokkesseumnida) – before a meal
잘 먹었습니다 (jal meogeosseumnida) – after a meal
맛있게 드세요 (masitkke deuseyo)
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
잘다녀오십시오! (jalda nyeoo sip sio!)
I don’t know 나도 몰라 (nado molla)
I understand 아랐어 (araso)
아랐어요 (arasoyo)
I don’t understand 모르겠습니다 (moreugesseumnida)
Please speak more slowly 천천히 말씀해 주세요 (cheoncheonhi malssuemhae juseyo)
Please say that again 다시 한번 말씀해주시겠어요?
(tashi hanbŏn malssŭmaejushigessŏyo?)
Please write it down 적어 주세요! (cheogeo juseyo!)
Do you speak Korean? 한국말 하실 줄 아세요? (hangukmal hasil jul aseyo?) – frm
한국말 할 줄 아니? (hangukmal hal jul ani?) – inf
Yes, a little
(reply to ‘Do you speak …?’)
예, 조금요 (ye, jogeumyo) – frm
응, 조금 (eung, jogeum) – inf
How do you say … in Korean? … 를 한국말로 어떻게 말해요?
(… reul hangukmal-lo eotteoh-ge maraeyo?)
Excuse me 실례하겠습니다! (shillehagessumnida)
How much is this? 이게 얼마예요? (ige eolmayeyo?)
Sorry 미안합니다! (mianhamnida) – frm
죄송합니다 (joesonghamnida) – vfrm
미안(해) (mian(hae)) – inf
Please 부탁합니다 (butakamnida)
Thank you 감사합니다 (kamsahamnida) – frm
고맙습니다 (komapsumnida) – frm
고마워 (komawo) – inf
Reply to thank you 아니에요 (anieyo)
Where’s the toilet? 화장실이 어디예요? (hwajangsiri eodiyeyo)
Do you come here often? 자주 이리하십니까? (jaju ilihasibnikka?)
I miss you 보고싶다 (bogoshipda)
I love you 사랑해 (sarang hae)
Go away! 저리 가세요! (juri gaseyo)
Leave me alone! 혼자 내버려 두십시오! (honja naebeoryeo dushipshio)
Christmas and New Year greetings 즐거운 성탄절 보내시고 새해 복 많이 받으세요
(jeulgeoun seongtanjeol bonaesigo saehae bok manhi bateusaeyo)
Easter greetings 행복한 부활절이 되시길
(haengpoghan puhwarcheori toesikir)
Birthday greetings 생일 축하합니다 (saeng-il chukha hamnida) – frm
생일 축하드립니다 (saeng-il chukha deurimnida) – frm
생신 축하드립니다 (saengsin chukha deurimnida) – frm
생일 축하해 (saeng-il chukha hae) – inf
One language is never enough 한 가지 언어는 충분하지 못 해
(han gaji eon-eoneun chungbunhaji mos hae)
언어 하나론 부족해
(eoneo hanaron bujokhae)
My hovercraft is full of eels
Why this phrase?
내 호버크라프트는 장어로 가득 차 있어요
(Nae hoebuhkeurapeuteuneun changuhro kadeuk cha isseyo)

 

Korean   한글자모 / 조선글 Notable features of Hangeul

  • Type of writing system: alphabet
  • Direction of writing: Until the 1980s Korean was usually written from right to left in vertical columns. Since then writing from left to right in horizontal lines has become popular, and today the majority of texts are written horizontally.
  • Number of letter: 24 (jamo): 14 consonants and 10 vowels. The letters are combined together into syllable blocks. For example, Hangeul is written: 한 (han) = ᄒ (h) + ᅡ (a) + ᄂ (n) and 글 (geul) = ᄀ (g) + ᅳ (eu) + ᄅ (l)
  • The shapes of the the consontants g/k, n, s, m and ng are graphical representations of the speech organs used to pronounce them. Other consonsants were created by adding extra lines to the basic shapes.
  • The shapes of the the vowels are based on three elements: man (a vertical line), earth (a horizontal line) and heaven (a dot). In modern Hangeul the heavenly dot has mutated into a short line.
  • Spaces are placed between words, which can be made up of one or more syllables.
  • The sounds of some consonants change depending on whether they appear at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a syllable.
  • A number of Korean scholars have proposed an alternative method of writing Hangeul involving writing each letter in a line like in English, rather than grouping them into syllable blocks, but their efforts have been met with little interest or enthusiasm.
  • In South Korea hanja are used to some extent in some Korean texts.
  • Used to write: Korean, and , a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken on Buton Island in Indonesia.

The Hangeul alphabet (한글)

Consonants (자음/子音)

Korean consonants

The double consonants marked with * are pronounced fortis. There is no symbol in IPA to indiciate this.

Vowels (모음/母音)

Korean vowels

Note on the transliteration of Korean

There are a number different ways to write Korean in the Latin alphabet. The methods shown above are:

  1. (first row) the official South Korean transliteration system, which was introduced in July 2000. You can find further details at
  2. (second row) the McCune-Reischauer system, which was devised in 1937 by two American graduate students, George McCune and Edwin Reischauer, and is widely used in Western publications. For more details of this system.

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