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Useful Korean Phrases You Need To Learn

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Exploring in a foreign land like South Korea can be quite challenging especially if you don’t know some useful Korean phrases. In this article, we will explain and suggest some useful conversational sentences which you can use to make your trip much easier!

Knowing useful Korean phrases are really important because these can help break language barriers as well as help the local you’re talking to have a better grasp of what you’re trying to say. As much as English is a universal language, we can’t really control the amount of English skills the person we are talking to has, no matter what country you’re traveling to. Might as well adapt to their own culture right?

Some Tips Before Learning The Language

Before learning useful Korean phrases, it’s important to take note of some little details, especially with regards to pronunciation, grammar, and the like.

  • Observe how they talk. In Korean language, there are some words that are pronounced differently compared to how we speak in English. Sometimes, a slight change in pitch can already alter the meaning of the world so be careful!

  • Know the letters. By knowing the letters, you’ll be better in pronouncing consonants which are often silent or unheard especially in slang conversations. Through this, you’ll understand the person you’re talking to better, and won’t confuse it for other words with different meanings.

  • Be respectful! Korean culture is one of the main Asian countries which really values respect. Be careful in talking or approaching them because a wrong gesture may lead to a misunderstanding.

Phrases You Need To Know

● 안녕하세요 (An-nyeong Ha-se-yo) – Hello or Goodbye: In Korea, ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’ is only one word. This phrase is one of the basic things to know especially in greeting people on the street, bidding farewell to someone who helped you, or simply greeting someone you’re about to talk to.

● 감사합니다 (Kam-sam-ham-ni-da) – Thank you: Like in any other country, knowing how to thank the people around you is very important. Gratitude is important to most Koreans, and knowing the basic thank you’s can really be useful especially in initiating conversations with locals.

● 어디예요 (o-di-ye-yo) – Where is _____?: As a tourist, it’s important to know the right way of asking questions. By knowing this basic question, you’ll be able to ask properly to locals when you’re looking for a particular place, item, landmark, or person.

● 오른/왼/직진 ( O-reun/wen/jik-jin) – Right/Left/Straight: Should I turn left? Right? Or go straight? It’s understandable that if you’re a tourist, your Korean might not be as fluent as the locals. However, by mastering these Korean translations of the basic directions, you can help locals have an easier time in communicating and pointing out certain areas to you.

● 한국말 잘 못해요 (Han-guk-mal jal mot-hae-yo) – I’m not good with speaking in Korean: Let them know! If you’re a tourist, sometimes, the locals won’t notice right away. By saying this phrase, you’re warning the locals you’re talking to to take it easy in speaking in Korean with you. Through this, they can have an idea on how they’ll communicate with you so that you’ll understand them and it won’t be too overwhelming for you.

Are there any phrases you think you need to know? If you’re still hesitant, try buying an English-Korean translation book or be ready with your Google search so that when you need to ask a question, it will be much easier to communicate. Are you excited for your Korean adventures? Happy traveling!


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