TALK TO ME IN KOREAN: ESSENTIAL PHRASES THAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
Korean is an intimidating language for Westerns, but in reality, it’s not as hard as it seems.
Rich and intricate, the Korean language is inviting, and an enjoyable learning experience for those interested.
If you want to go beyond “hello” (안녕하세요 – annyeonghaseyo), check these essential phrases and get a head start on your Korean lesson.
Just be warned—the Korean language has multiple variations according to formality, so these phrases are the standard version.
1. “My name is (_____)”
Korean: 제 이름은 (_____) 이에요
Transliteration: je ireumeun (_____)ieyo
If you are visiting Korea or interacting with Koreans in another context, you are probably meeting new people. Subsequently, introducing yourself is essential.
2. “Nice to meet you!”
Korean: 만나서 반가워요
Transliteration: mannaseo bangawoyo.
After introductions, expressing your joy at meeting someone new is a universal sign of politeness and friendliness, so give it a go!
3. “I don’t speak Korean well”
Korean: 한국말 잘 못해요
Transliteration: hangugmal jal moshaeyo.
If you are checking this article, odds are you are not fluent at Korean just yet. This phrase, then, it’s essential to let others know about your mastery of the language.
4. “Do you speak English?”
Korean: 영어 할 수 있어요?
Transliteration: yeong-eo hal su iss-eoyo?
As much as you’d like to speak Korean, things can get complicated when you’re a beginner. Asking someone if they speak English could reduce the language gap, and make communication easier.
5. “Have you eaten?”
Korean: 밥 먹었어요?
Transliteration: bab meogeosseoyo?
While this may seem like a random question, asking if you’ve eaten is the Korean equivalent of asking how you are doing. It expresses concern and interest in the other person’s wellbeing.
6. “Thank you!”
Few things are as universal as gratitude, but it always helps a bit if you can express it in the native language. It’ll bring a smile to their lips, and you’ll stand out!
7. “Where is the bathroom?”
Korean: 화장실은 어디에 있어요?
Transliteration: hwajangsil-eun eodie iss-eoyo?
Thankfully, humanity devised universal signs that indicate where the bathroom is. However, you never know what might happen—learn this phrase, it’ll help if you find yourself in a pinch.
8. “Please go to (_____)”
Korean: (_____) 으로 가주세요
Transliteration: (_____) euro gajuseyo.
If you are visiting Seoul, traveling in a taxi is efficient and virtually inexpensive. This phrase is essential if you wish to give instructions to your driver, just replace the space with the name of your destination!
9. “Enjoy your meal!”
Korean: 맛있게 드세요.
Transliteration: mas-issge deuseyo
Not all the phrases you need to know are essential for getting around in Korea—some of them just express joy and friendliness. This is one of such, and its main appeal is the friendliness and warmth it transmits when sharing a meal with someone.