What is Korean?
Korean shares words with Japanese. Those words come from Chinese characters. If you speak Chinese or Japanese you will learn words quicker. If you speak Japanese, the word order is exactly the same. A Japanese can read Korean and translate each word and the sentence will make perfect sense, and vice-versa. Now there are 2 closely related languages, eh?!
There are also words which are pure Korean. The Koreans call those words 순 한국말 which means pure korean.
Korean is SOV order (subject-object-verb) unlike English and chinese which are SV0.
Meanings are communicated by endings on verbs, whereas in English the meaning often comes from different verb tenses. The use of tense is limited in Korean.
Koreans can do anything you can imagine -- and more -- by changing the ending on a verb. I want to make some kind of joke about it. There are soooo many!
Unfortunately, the language is very different from anybody non-Japanese has experienced before. For us, we have to learn impossible-to-translate connotations and differences in meaning depending on the social status of the speaker or listener, the degree of certainty being conveyed, the degree of politeness, and confusing grammer. I'm sorry to say that, but I believe Korean is difficult and those are a few of the reasons.
Learning Hangul is easier than learning Japanese, but i recommend everyone to memorize it. Since Atra gave you the link on pronunciation and pronouncing the Hangul characters, these words and phrases are just a piece of cake.
Actually, you can just select on the language jump and click the useful expressions you like. So feel free to do so.
Another site for understand Hangul better:
This site has vocabulary lists, particles, verbs, grammer etc.
There are lots of word lists and phrases on this site as well as a forum for locating a Korean Language Exchange partner:
Yet another website with lots of language aid available. I think the lessons on this page are easy to use and quite interesting:
An introduction to Korean, especially the 한글 (The Korean Alphabet):
Short list of some "useful" phrases
Really nice set of lessons. The whole website is quite good actually. One might be able to get a pen-pal here.
Seriously ugly drawing of a person on the body parts page lol. This is all the same material as on another site mentioned above but I can't remember which now.
This site has some really good Korean learning GAMES! :D
LEARN ALPHABETS HERE:
TEACHES YOUR COMPUTER HOW TO TYPE KOREAN! :D
Korean Alphabet (Hangeul)
Most English speakers think Korean has thousands of characters, like Chinese, but it actually has a very simple and logical alphabet, which you can learn in a few minutes. The alphabet was invented in 1443 during the reign of the Great King Sejong. There are 14 basic consonants and 10 basic vowels. Letters that have similar sounds also have similar shapes, so it is easy to learn.
The letters are grouped into syllable blocks containing an initial consonant (which may be silent or double), one or two vowels (below or to the right), and sometimes a final consonant (below).
You can hear how the letters are pronounced on other web sites, such as :
Now, see if you can "decode" these words:
NOW Try to write your name in Korean. Then look up your name here:
You can find a lot more Korean on the web. Even if you are like me and don't know any Korean words, you can have still have fun "decoding" some words in a Korean text, such as words borrowed from English, the names of famous people, place names, and product brand names.
The Korean alphabet : 한글
ㄱ g,k // ㄴ n // ㄷ d,t // ㄹ r,l // ㅁ m // ㅂ b,p // ㅅ s // ㅇ ng // ㅈ j // ㅊ ch // ㅋ k // ㅌ t // ㅍ p // ㅎ h
ㄲ kk // ㄸ tt // ㅃ pp // ㅆ ss // ㅉ jj
ㅏ a // ㅓ eo // ㅗ o // ㅜ u // ㅡ eu // ㅣi // ㅐae // ㅔ e // ㅚ oe // ㅟ wi
ㅑ ya // ㅕ yeo // ㅛ yo // ㅠ yu // ㅒ yae // ㅖ ye // ㅘ wa // ㅙ wae // ㅝwo // ㅞ we // ㅢ ui
Korean Vowels and Consonants 한글의 자모
Hangeul 한글, the Korean alphabet consists of forty letters.
(Listen to them here and practice first, then come back and read this. )
Twenty-one of these represent vowels (including thirteen diphthongs), and nineteen represent consonants. Twenty-four are basic, while the others are compounds of the basic letters.
I love the fact that it doesn’t treat me like an absolute idiot that couldn’t spend the hour it took to learn 한글, so there’s not a bit of romanization (thank GOD~!!).
Q:So, is learning hangul the korean writing system really that easy?
A:To answer, let's first look at how it looks.
the korean names for them are:
ㄱ(기 역) ㄴ(니 은) ㄷ(디 귿) ㄹ(리 을) ㅁ(미음)
ㅂ(비 읍) ㅅ(시 옷) ㅇ(이 응) ㅈ(지 읒) ㅊ(치 읓)
ㅋ(키 읔) ㅌ(티 읕) ㅍ(피 읖) ㅎ(히 읗)
ㅏ(아) ㅑ(야) ㅓ(어) ㅕ(여) ㅗ(오)
ㅛ(요) ㅜ(우) ㅠ(유) ㅡ(으) ㅣ(이 )
The names for 된소리 which means a doubling of the consonants are as follows:
ㄲ(쌍기역) ㄸ(쌍디귿) ㅃ(쌍비읍) ㅆ(쌍시옷) ㅉ(쌍지읒)
breakdown into vowels and consonants
There are 21 Vowels in korean that's called 모음(홀소리)
ㅏ ㅓ ㅗ ㅜ ㅡ ㅣ ㅐ ㅔ
ㅑ ㅕ ㅛ ㅠ ㅒ ㅖ
ㅘ ㅙ ㅝ ㅞ ㅚ ㅟ ㅢ
there are 19 Consonants. 닿소리 is what they call their consonants. They are divided into 3 kinds:
1) The basic ones are called 예사소리
ㄱ ㄴ ㄷ ㄹ ㅁ ㅂ ㅅ ㅇ ㅈ ㅎ
2) Then there are ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ are called 거센소리
ㅊ ㅋ ㅌ ㅍ
When you make those sounds you exhale or puff like when you make the P sound in English.
3) and the combination ones are called 된소리
ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅆ ㅉ
Now, you have to practice. The best site I know of for hangul learning is
Here is a pronunciation guide to adjoining consonants
(You need to register though)
Here is a writing guide like stroke direction that kind of stuff. :
Here is a pronunciation guide with sound clips and even videos which show the lip positions when you go and make the sounds
Don't worry, as a foreigner, the pronunciation of those will take you a lifetime. some people say they can hear the difference, but many Korean people themselves can't so don't lose any sleep!
So, my conclusion, is that the alphabet is easy. It's hard to pronounce correctly. However, it's not hard to remember which is the p sound and which is the d sound and which vowel is A sound and which is i sound generally pretty easily. However, you have to practice reading with a korean to learn the pronunciation, and I could never imagine a foreigner saying Korean pronunciation is easy!
Korean Words that i know so far XD:
kamsahamnida/kumawoo (thank u)
saranghaeyo/saranghamnida (i love u)
dongsaeng (lil bro/sis)
bogoshipho (i miss u)
jal ja (sleep well/gdnite)
Hello (when picking up the phone).
Good bye (when you, the guest, are leaving).
Good bye (when you, the host, are bidding your guests good bye).
It's all right.
[Annyeong-haseyo. Mannaseo ban-gapsseumnida. Jeoneun Bill Smith-rago haeyo.]
ello. It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Bill Smith.|
[Jeoneun IBM Seoul jisa-esoe geunmuhago isseoyo.]
I am currently working at the Seoul Branch of IBM.
[ Jeoneun miguk sikago-eseo wasseoyo.]
I’m from Chicago, in the U.S.A.
[ Han-guge on ji ilnyeon dwaesseoyo.]
It' s been about a year since I arrived in Korea.
[Anaewa du aiga isseoyo.]
I have a wife and two children.
[Jeoneun golpeuwa tenisseu deung spocheureul joaheyo.]
I love sports, especially golf and tennis.
[Jeoneun han-gugul cham joahaeyo.]
I enjoy living in Korea.
[Jayeondo areumdapkko saramdeuldo cham chinjeol-haeyo.]
It has some beautiful nature and the people are friendly.|
Vocabulary and Expressions
[sogaehada] To introduce oneself
[Mannaseo ban-gapsseumnida.] It's a pleasure to meet you.
[Jeoneun 000rago haeyo.] My name is
[geunmuhada] To work
[miguk] The United States of America (U.S.A)
[Sikago-eseo wasseoyo.] I am from Chicago.
[ilnyeon] One year
[joahada] To enjoy
[chinjeol-hada] Friendly (kind)
[Biga naerigo, barami bureoyo.]
It's rainy and windy.
It's a little cloudy.
[Gureumi mani kkyeosseyo.]
It's very cloudy.
It's very foggy.
[Eottaeyo?] How is it?
[bi(ga) naerida] Rainy/It's raining.
[Baram(i) bulda] Windy
[nun(i) naerida] Snowy/It's snowing.
[jom heurida] A little cloudy
[an-gaega jaukhada] Very foggy
[eotteolkkayo?] What will it be like ?
[ilgi yebo] Weather forecast
[malgeul kkeoraeyo] It will be clear.
[heuril kkeoraeyo] It will be cloudy.
[yuramseon] Cruise boat/ship
[tada] To ride
[chuptta] To be cold
[Chu-uljjido mollayo.] It may be cold.
[gajyeogada] To take
[gwaenchanayo] That's alright
[deowi] Hot weather
[Annyeong-haseyo. Jumal jal bonaesyeosseoyo?]
Hello. Did you have a nice weekend?
[Jumal jal bonaesyeosseyo?] Did you have a nice eekend ?
[chin-gurang] With a friend
[bukansan] Bukhan mountain
[deungsanhada] To hike
[joahada] To like/to enjoy
[gajang] The most
[je-il] The best
[ibeon jumal] Last weekend
[yeong-hwa(reul) boda] To see a movie
[jaemi itta] Good
[yeong-hwa gamsang] Watching movies
cool = meot jyeo
cute = guiyeowo
wierd = isanghe
interesting = jaemitsseo
red = palgan
kiss = popo
morning = achim
money = don
beautiful = areumdaun
pretty = yeppeun/yeppeuda
idea/thoughts = saenggak
really (wat u like) = nomu
come back = dora wa
popular = inkigayo
cold = chupda
teacher = seonsaengnim
cat = goyangi
apeurudo = in the future
yeolshimi = do the best
[Geureom, jeohi jibe oseyo. Naeiri je saeng-iriyeyo.]
Then I’d like to invite you over to my place. It’s my birthday tomorrow.
[A, geuraeyo. Myeossijjeume galkkayo?]
Oh really ? What time should I get there?
[Ibe majeusiljji moreugesseoyo.]
I hope you enjoy the dinner.
Happy birthday to you.
Sarang-haneun Cheolsussi-ui saeng-il chukahamnida.]
Happy birthday, dear Cheolsu. Happy birthday to you.
Days of the week
monday - woryoil
tuesday - hwayoil
wednesday - suyoil
thursday - mogyoil
friday - geumyoil
saturday - toyoil
sunday - iryoil
Months of the year
january - irwol
february - iwol
march - samwol
april - sawol
may - owol
june - yuwol
july - chirwol
august - parwol
september - kuwol
october - siwol
november - sibirwol
december - sibiwol
똑바로 가다 [ttokpparo gada]Go straight ahead.
오른쪽으로(왼쪽으로) 가다 [oreunjjogeuro(oenjjogeuro) gada]Go right(go left)
횡단보도를 건너다 [hoengdanbodoreul geonneoda]Cross the crosswalk.
돌아가다 [doragada]Go back.
옆 [yeop]next to
앞 [ap]in front of
Yoboseyo - Hello
Chonmaneyo - You're welcome!
Annhonghi Gaseyo - Goodbye
Naeil Bayo - See you tomorrow!
Sylle Hamnida - Excuse me
Mian Hamnida - I'm sorry
Mulon Imnida! - Of course!
Dowa drilkayo - Can I help you?
Dowa Juseyo - Please help me
Kamsa Hamnida! - Thank you
Ulmayeyo? - How much?
Harin Opsoyo? - No discount?
Mul Juseyo - Water, please
Mat iseyo! - It's delicious
Bae buloyo. - I'm full
Bae gapayo. - I'm hungry
Joayo! - All right/Okay
Gapsida - Let's go!
Andeo - No way!
Ye - Yes
Anio - No
Upsoyo - None
Yukwan - Passport
Don - Money
Pengipio - Ticket
Annyong hashim nikka!-Good morning!
Kamsahamnida!-Thank you! (Also Komapsumnida!)
Tangshin-un arumdapgunyo.-You are beautiful
Myot shi imnikka?-What time is it?
Yongorul hashimnikka?-Do you speak English?
Ye-Yes(often said as Nay)
Ne, jom hamnida-Yes, a little.
A, ne!-oh yes!
Mullon animnida!-Of course not!
Kurok'e hage ssumnida.-I'll do it.
Ch'on manui malssumimnida-You're welcome/Don't mention it (Also Chonmaneyo)
Mianhamnida-Excuse me....(I think?)
Mianhaeyo-I'm sorry..(I think?)
Yomnyo mashipshio-Never mind
Ajik-Not yet ( Alsdo Ajik an toe otssumnida)
Kapshida-Let's go (Also Kaja)
Cho'um poepkessumnida-I'm pleased to meet you
To oshipshiyo-Please come again
kajima : dont go
tteonajima : dont leave
hajima : dont do it
keokjeong hajima/keok jeong ma : dont worry
duryeoweo hajima : dont be afraid
uljima : dont cry
itjima : dont forget
[there's a lot more . just remember , if there's 'jima' it means 'dont']
dorawa : come back
[neol] pilyohae : i need you
[neol] weonhae : i want you
neon naekkeo ya ! : ur mine ! [xD]
isseo : there is
eobseo : none
halsu isseo : can do it
halsu eobseo : cant do it
kalsu isseo : can go
kalsu eobseo : cant go
ha : do
ka : go
ttaemune : because of
nal ttaemune : because of me
neol ttaemune : because of you
na : i , me
neo : you
cheoreom : like
babo cheoreom : like a fool
michinum : crazy [boys]
michinyeon : crazy [girls]
micheosseo ? : are u crazy ?
michigettne : makes me crazy
deul : plural form
saram : person
saram deul : people
counting and numbers
Pure Korean Numbers
3 셋 but 세 시 ( 3 o'clock)
4 넷 but 네시 (4 o'clock)
8 여덟 (the final ㅂ is not pronounced, so it sounds like 여덜) (also, do not confuse this with 여든 which is pure korean for 80 ... as in, 80 years old, e.g. 여든까지)
9 아홉 (나는 열아홉살 - I am 19)
20 스물 (I am 23 years old --- 나는 스물세살이다)
30 서른 (I am 37 -- 나는 서른일곱살이에요)
80 여든 !
Sino - Korean Numbers
watch her fingers and try to do that, that's harder than learning the numbers :)
100 백 one hundred
1,000 천 one thousand
10,000 만 ten-thousand
백만 1,000,000 one million
천만 10,000,000 ten million
일억(億) 100,000,000 100 million
십억 one billion 1,000,000,000
* 십억 is important because that's considered 1 million dollars and that is the landmark figure for all of us in terms of personal wealth.
백억 10,000,000 ten billion
천억 100,000,000 one hundred billion
일조(兆) 1,000,000,000 one trilllion
* 1 경(京) = 1 0000 조 = 1016
reading money and big numbers
만원 == 10,000 won ~ 10 USD
Note that we do not say 일만원 just 만원
Recommendation: When talking money in Korea, just make it easy and say 10 to mean both 만원 and 10 USD. You can forget about all those big numbers that way. it works on the street and with foreigners and your Korean friends alike.
the names for thousand, hundred, ten thousand etc already have the #1 in them, so 일백 is just 백 일천 isjust 천 일만 is just 만.
십만: 100,000 ~ 100 USD
백만: one million; 1,000,000 Won ~ 1,000 USD
My monthly salary is 2.2 million ~ 2,300 USD
천만원: 10,000,000 Won ~ 10,000 USD
I can buy this officetel for 육천만원 ~ 60 thousand dollars
1억: 100,000,000 which is hundreds of thousands of dollars
... yes, for 억 we need the 일
육억: 600,000 USD
10억: one million USD or 1 billion WON.
above the 10억 I really don't know those very clearly .... but there is 백억, 천억 .... and then ..............
when 노태우 was president of Korea, he wriggled another 1천6백억원 in tax income from Hyundai group. How many dollars is that? 1천6백억
6백억: 60,000,000,000 ten billion
1천백억 is 160 billion won. divide by roughly 1,000 gives 160 million dollars.
엊그제 a few days ago
어제 = yesterday
오늘 = today
내일 = tomorrow
모레 = the day after tomorrow
진갑 is the 61st birthday
고희 is the 70th
칠순 is also seventieth birthday though. it can also mean 70 days.
a number of days
It’s very complicated
one minute 일 분
one hour 한 시간
one month 한 달, 일 개월
two months 두 달, 이 개월
There are still more words to know.
one day 일 일, 하루
two days 이 일, 이틀
3 days 삼 일, 사흘
4 days 사 일, 나흘
5 days 오 일, 닷새
6 days 육 일, 엿새
7 칠 일, 이레
8 팔 일, 여드레
9 구 일, 아흐레
10 십 일, 열흘
There are whole bunch of these kind of words.
so just to make it easy and simple, use the former ones.
1 year 일 년
2 years 이 년
1 lifetime 한 평생
하루 one day
이틀 two days 이틀간
사흘 three days
나흘 four days
닷새 five days
엿새 six days
이레 seven days
열흘 ten days
이월 삼일 = February 3rd
일월, 이월, 삼월, 사월
These counters are used for the calendar months. I.e.
삼월 오일 = March 5th
일개 월, 이개 월, 삼개 월, 사개 월
These are used for duration or length. I.e.
내가 이개 월동안 한국말을 공부했어요. I studied Korean for 2 months.
한달, 두달, 세달, 네달
These are used just like the above, only with pure Korean numbers. I.e.
내가 두달동안 한국말을 공부했어요. I studied Korean for 2 months.
일년, 이년, 삼년, 사년
Years are probably the easiest to work with in Korean. These can be used for counters of years such as duration or length or the date year. The following are a few examples.
내가 일년동안 한국말을 공부했어요. I studied Korean for one year.
내가 2003년에 한국말을 공부했어요. I studied Korean in 2003.
내가 2003년부터 이년동안 한국말을 공부했어요. I studied Korean starting in 2003 for 2 years.
한살, 두살, 세살, 네살, 다섯 살, 여섯 살
This is the non-honorific way to count someone's age.
내 나이가 열여덟 살 입니다. I am 18. (My age is 18.)
육십세, 칠십세, 팔십세, 구십세
This is the honorific way to count someone's age.
내헐머니의 연세가 구십세 이십니다. My grandmother is 90.
Notice here that 연세 is used instead of 나이. That's because the honorific word for age is, in fact, 연세.
아침 열한시 이십오분 = 11:25am
Korean time is a pain at first, but you get used to it very quickly. All you have to do is use pure korean as the hours and sino korean as the minutes. It may sound confusing but it will come naturally later. Here are a few more examples.
두시 삼십사분 = 2:34
네시 오분 = 4:05 (Notice that the ㅅ drops on 넷, the same thing happens when using 셋. Also, 하나 becomes 한, and 둘 becomes 두 as you can see in the above examples)
한시간, 두시간, 세시간, 네시간, 다섯시간
This is used for duration. I.e.
내가 두시간후에 도착할겁니다. I'll arrive in 2 hours.
내가 두시간동안 공부했어요. I studied for two hours.
You can never use sino korean numbers with the hours. However, the minutes are as follows.
일분, 이분, 삼분, 사분
These are used just like the hours, only with sino korean numbers.
Also, as a side note, Koreans use the word 반 (half) representing 30 minutes. For example, 두시간 반 = two and a half hours (2hours 30 minutes). But for the sake of education I'll give some examples still.
삼십분동안 공부했어요. I studied for 30 minutes.
Also, the word for seconds is 초. Use it exactly as you would minutes.
other time constructions
지난해 말부터 since the end of last year
작년 상바기 the second half of last year
연초 the beginning of the year
먼저께 the other day, some time/days ago
Basic Korean Phrases
gahm-sah-hahm-ni-da. Thank you.
chon-mahn-eh-yo. You're welcome.
sil-le-hahm-ni-da. Excuse me.
jwe-song-hahm nida. I am sorry.
ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo. Good morning.
ahn-nyong-hee ga-se-yo. Good-bye.
Korean Phrases for Meeting and Greeting
yong-o-rul hahl-jool asim-ni-ka? Do you speak English?
jeo-nun han-kook-o-rul jo-gum-bah-ke mo-tahm-ni-da. I only speak a little Korean.
song-ha-mi o-teo-ke dwe-si-ji-yo? What is your name?
je-i-rum-eun Mee-Young im-ni-da. My name is Mee-Young.
ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo? How are you?
neh jal-i-soum-ni-da. I'm fine, thank you.
gahm-se-hahm-ni-da. I'm fine, thank you.
mahn-na-bwep-ge dwe-o-seo bahn-gahp-soum-ni-da. I am very glad to meet you.
jal mo-dara dut-ge-soum-ni-da. I don't understand.
mo-ra-go greo-shut-ji-yo? What did you say?
jom-chon-chon-hee mahl-soum-hae joo-se-yo? Can you speak more slowly?
choong-boon-hee i-hae-hah-go i-soum-ni-da. I understand perfectly.
yong-o-rul hahl-jool a-se-yo?
Do you speak English?
Store Clerk jwe-song-hahm-nida.
yong-o-rul hahl-jool mo-rum-nida.
I do not speak English.
Young-Sook: jo-do han-koo-go-rul jo-gum-ba-ke motam-nida.
Unfortunately, I only speak a little Korean.
Store Clerk: gewn-chan-soum-nida.
That's all right.
I understand you.
N/I/SS/J, I'm on 30/64 of the long drama! ♥