South Koreans are speaking “Korean”, a unique language and they have also unique Korean alphabet called “Hangeul”. Hangeul, not like Chinese or Japanese, is phonetic. However, to learn speaking Korean would take time and effort for foreigners.
These days South Koreans, especially youngsters are much more exposed to foreign languages including English compared to their elders. Therefore if you speak English in the streets in South Korea you will have less embarrassment compared to years ago but if you know some useful phrases in Korean it will definitely help.
Here are some useful and simple expressions in Korean:
- "Yogi" > here (useful when you ask a taxi to stop "here")
- “Orun Tjok” > right side
- ”Woen Tjok" > left side
- "Olmayaeyo?" > how much is it?
- "Issoyo?" > do you have (this, it)?
- “Obsoyo” > don’t have (this, it)
- “Daebak” > Great, Wonderful!, Surprising!
- “Boolgeum” > Hot Friday, Friday fever
- “Gamsa hamnida” > thank you
Some simple English words and names are understood easily:
- Hyatt Hotel = Hyatt Hotel
- Airport = Airport
- Taxi = Taxi
- TV = television
- Air con = air conditioner
- Supermarket = supermarket
Last update: 26 February 2020