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Key Korean Phrases: Introducing Yourself in Korean

Today, we’re going to study key phrases for introducing yourself in Korean. This article is aimed toward beginners, but it’ll be a good review for intermediate learners as well.

Table of Contents

  1. Identifying Yourself
  2. Placing Yourself in Society
  3. Sharing Personal Details
  4. Culture Insights
  5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

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1. Identifying Yourself

1- Stating your Name

In a Formal Setting

안녕하세요, 반갑습니다. 저는 000이라고 합니다.
annyeonghaseyo, bangapseumnida. jeoneun 000irago hamnida.
“Hello, nice to meet you. My name is 000.”

This is the most basic self-introduction in Korean and can be used in any situation, such as introducing yourself to your new classmates or colleagues, and to any strangers. It’s important to know how to introduce yourself in Korean formally, so that you can give a good first impression to those you’ll live and work with.

Say “Hello” and “Nice to meet you.” And then replace “000” with your name. If you don’t know how to write your name in Korean, ask our teachers on our Korean Names page! You won’t get very far in Korea without talking about your name in Korean!

Alternatively, you can say:

  • 제 이름은 000입니다.
    • je ireumeun 000imnida.
    • “My name is 000.”
  • 저는 000이라고 합니다.
    • jeoneun 000irago hamnida.
    • “I call myself 000.”

These are the two most commonly used phrases in Korea. There’s not much difference in these two phrases, so feel free to choose the one you like most.

Example:

  • 소연: 안녕하세요, 반갑습니다. 저는 박소연이라고 합니다.
    • Soyeon: annyeonghaseyo, bangapseumnida. jeoneun baksoyeonirago hamnida.
    • Soyeon: “Hello, nice to meet you. I am Park Soyeon.”
  • 수지: 안녕하세요, 반갑습니다. 이수지입니다.
    • Sooji: annyeonghaseyo, bangapseumnida. Lee Soojiimnida.
    • Sooji: “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Lee Sooji.”

In Korea, you need to say your family name first, followed by your given name. For example, if your family name is Jackson and your first name is Michael, you’ll need to say “Jackson Michael” in Korea, since Koreans address their family name first. Also, if you want to make sure that everyone hears your name clearly, say your family name first, pause, then state your last name.

Example:

  • 안녕하십니까, 제 이름은 잭슨 마이클이라고 합니다.
    • Annyeonghasimnikka, je ireumeun jaekseun maikeurirago hamnida.
    • “Hello, my name is Michael Jackson.”
  • 안녕하십니까, 제 이름은 스미스 윌입니다.
    • Annyeonghasimnikka, je ireumeun seumiseu wirimnida.
    • “Hello, my name is Will Smith.”
In an Informal Setting

안녕, 만나서 반가워. 000이라고 해.
annyeong, mannaseo bangawo. 000irago hae.
“Hello, nice to meet you. I’m 000.”

It’s also good to know how to introduce yourself in Korean casually. This casual self-introduction is used when you introduce yourself to friends, or someone who’s younger than you. You can’t use this phrase in a formal setting.

Alternatively, you could say:

  • 내 이름은 00이야.
    • nae ireumeun 00iya.
    • “My name is 00.”
  • 난 00야.
    • nan 00ya.
    • “I’m 00.”
  • 난 00이야.
    • nan 00iya.
    • “I’m 00.”

When to Use 야 or 이야:

To distinguish when to use 야 (ya) and 이야 (iya) when introducing yourself in Korean is very simple. However, many Korean learners struggle to use the appropriate subject marker. The rule is very simple: When a word ends with a consonant, 이야 (iya) is added and when a word ends with a vowel, 야 (ya) is added.

Here are a couple of examples of what we mean:

  • 에밀리 (emilli) or “Emily” ends with a vowel (ㅣ), therefore 야 (ya) is added.
    • 난 에밀리야. (nan emilliya.) or “I’m Emily.”
  • 셴셴 (syensyen) or “Shenshen” ends with a consonant (ㄴ), therefore 이야 (iya) is added.
    • 난 셴셴이야. (nan syensyeniya.) or “I’m Shenshen.”

Example:

  • 소연: 안녕, 난 박소연이야. 만나서 반가워.
    • Soyeon: annyeong, nan Park Soyeoniya. mannaseo bangawo.
    • Soyeon: “Hello, I’m Soyeon Park. Nice to meet you.”
  • 수지: 안녕, 반가워. 이수지라고해.
    • Sooji: annyeong, bangawo. Lee Soojiragohae.
    • Sooji: “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Sooji Lee.”

More and more Korean learners make their own Korean name. You can make your Korean name based on your birthday on KoreanClass101. Please check it out!

2- Nationality

When learning how to introduce yourself using Korean, it’s important to know how to describe your nationality. To do this, attach the suffix 사람 (saram) meaning “person” to your country in Korean:

저는 00사람입니다. [Formal]
jeoneun 00saramimnida.
“I am 00.”

For example:
저는 한국 사람입니다. [Formal]
jeoneun hanguk saramimnida.
“I am Korean.”

To say that you are Korean, simply attach the suffix 사람 (saram) meaning “person” to 한국 (hanguk) meaning “Korea.” The resulting clause, 한국사람 (Hanguksaram) translates literally to “Korea person.” Alternatively, you can say 한국인 (Hangukin). The word 인 (in) meaning “person” is derived from the Chinese character 人 and has the exact same meaning as 사람 (saram). So, all you need to do is attach the suffix 인 (in) meaning “person” to 한국 (Hanguk) meaning “Korea” which results in 한국인 (“Korean”). If you’re not sure how to say your country in Korean, you might find vocabulary for nationalities useful.

Examples:

  • 저는 말레이시아 사람입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoneun malleisia saramimnida.
    • “I am Malaysian.”
  • 나는 말레이시아 사람이야. [Informal]
    • naneun malleisia saramiya.
    • “I am Malaysian.”
  • 저는 일본 사람입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoneun ilbon saramimnida.
    • “I am Japanese.”
  • 나는 일본 사람이야. [Informal]
    • naneun ilbon saramiya.
    • “I am Japanese.”
  • 저는 프랑스 사람입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoneun peurangseu saramimnida.
    • “I am French.”
  • 나는 프랑스 사람이야. [Informal]
    • naneun peurangseu saramiya.
    • “I am French.”

Alternatively, you could say:

You can also say 한국에서 왔습니다. (hangugeseo watseumnida.) which means “I came from Korea.” All you need to do is add your country, followed by 에서 왔습니다 (eseo watseumnida) meaning “I came from.” For example, to say that “I came from England,” England is 영국 (yeongguk) in Korean, therefore you could say:

저는 영국에서 왔습니다. (jeoneun yeonggugeseo watseumnida) which translates to: “I came from England.”

Examples:

  • 저는 미국에서 왔습니다.
    • jeoneun migugeseo watseumnida.
    • “I came from America.”
  • 저는 싱가포르에서 왔습니다.
    • jeoneun singgaporeueseo watseumnida.
    • “I came from Singapore.”

Here’s a list of vocabulary for countries. Learn how to say your country in Korean and introduce yourself to others!

3- Age

저는 00살입니다.
Jeoneun 00salimnida.
“I am 00 years old.”

저는 (jeoneun) is a formal way to say “I am” in English. 살 (sal) means “age” and 입니다 (imnida) means “to be.” For example, if you’re twenty-one years old, you say:

저는 스물한살입니다. (jeoneun seumulhansarimnida.) in Korean.

Did you know that international age and Korean age are different? To find out your Korean age, use our Korean Age Calculator, and learn how to say how old you are in Korean. Talking about your age in Korean is a fairly important skill to learn!

Another way of stating your age is:

  • 저의 나이는 00 입니다. [Formal]
    • jeoui naineun 00 imnida.
    • “My age is 00.”
  • (나는) 00살이야. [Informal]
    • (naneun) 00sariya.
    • “My age is 00.”

The sentence structure is the same for this phrase. Insert your age in Korean and you’re done! For example, if you’re twenty-one years old, the phrase becomes 저의 나이는 스무살입니다 (je naineun seumusarimnida).

1988년생입니다.
cheonpalbaekpalsip-pallyeonsaengimnida.
“I was born in 1988.”

Here’s another way to state your age in Korean. If you don’t want to say your age out loud, or if you’re not sure about your Korean age, just let the listener figure out your age on their own by using this phrase:

  • A: B씨는 몇 살이에요?
    • A: Bssineun myeotsariyeyo?
    • A: “How old are you, B?”
  • B: 저는 한국나이로 스무살입니다.
    • B: jeoneun hangungnairo seumusarimnida.
    • B: “I’m twenty years old in Korean age.”
  • C: D씨는 몇년생이에요?
    • C: Dssineun myeonnyeonsaengiyeyo?
    • C: “What year were you born, D?”
  • D: 1990년생 이에요..
    • D: cheongubaekgusimnyeonsaeng ieyo..
    • D: “I was born in 1990.”


2. Placing Yourself in Society

1- Information About Your Family

우리 가족은 모두 4명입니다.
uri gajogeun modu nemyeongimnida.
“There are four members in my family.”

Talking about your family in Korean is essential, and this is the simplest way to introduce your family. 명 (myeong) is the counter for people (informal). 분 (bun) is a formal counter for people, but we don’t use this to count family members. Let’s say that you have five family members. The phrase should be:

우리 가족은 모두 5명입니다 (uri gajogeun modu daseonmyeongimnida).

You may also want to extend the sentence by adding the name of a family member. For this, we have a list of family members which will come in handy. Also, note that we have different ways of referring to sisters and brothers based on the gender of the speaker.

Examples:

If you’re female and have a younger brother and an older brother, you should say:

  • 우리 가족은 모두 5명입니다.
    저의 아버지, 어머니, 오빠와 남동생, 그리고 저입니다.
    • uri gajogeun modu daseonmyeongimnida.
      jeoui abeoji, eomeoni, oppawa namdongsaeng, geurigo jeoimnida.
    • “There are five family members.”
      “There are my father, mother, older brother, younger brother, and me.”

If you’re male and have an older brother and an older sister, you should say:

  • 우리 가족은 모두 5명입니다.
    저의 아버지, 어머니, 형과 누나, 그리고 저입니다.
    • uri gajogeun modu daseonmyeongimnida.
      jeoui abeoji, eomeoni, hyeonggwa nuna, geurigo jeoimnida.
    • “There are five family members.”
      “There are my father, mother, older brother, younger sister, and me.”

Alternatively, you can say:

  • 저의 가족은 아버지, 어머니 이렇게 3명이 있습니다.
    • jeoui gajogeun abeoji, eomeoni ireoke semyeongi itseumnida.
    • “In my family there are three: my father and my mother.”
  • 우리 가족은 아버지, 어머니, 오빠 그리고 저를 포함해 4명입니다.
    • uri gajogeun abeoji, eomeoni, oppa geurigo jeoreul pohamhae nemyeongimnida.
    • “In my family there are four people including me: my father, my mother, my older brother, and me.”


3. Sharing Personal Details

1- Describing Hobbies

Talking about your hobbies in Korean is one of the most interesting topics you may cover, so let’s take a look at some examples of how to introduce this in Korean.

~ 이/가 취미에요.
~ i/ga chwimieyo.
“My hobby is ~.”

When to use 이 or 가:

You may be bewildered by these two subject markers: -이 (i) and 가 (ga). Many Korean learners struggle to use the appropriate subject marker. Don’t worry though, it’s very simple: Just remember that when a word ends in a consonant, 이 (i) follows the word. When a word ends in a vowel, 가 (ga) is added to the word. For example, 독서 (dokseo) or “reading a book” ends in a vowel (ㅓ), therefore 가 (ga) needs to be added. So the sentence becomes 독서가 취미에요. (dokseoga chwimieyo.) meaning “My hobby is reading.” Here’s another example: 수영을 하는 것 (suyeongeul haneun geot) or “to swim” ends in a consonant (ㅅ), therefore 이 (i) is added after 수영. The sentence should be 수영을 하는 것이 취미에요. (suyeongeul haneun geosi chwimieyo.) meaning “My hobby is swimming.”

Examples:

  • 독서가 취미에요.
    • dokseoga chwimieyo.
    • “My hobby is reading.”
  • 운동이 취미에요.
    • undongi chwimieyo.
    • “My hobby is working out.”

Alternatively, you can say:

  • ~ 을/를 좋아해요
    • ~ eul/reul joahaeyo.
    • “I like ~”

Examples:

  • 책 읽기를 좋아해요.
    • chaek ilgireul joahaeyo.
    • “I like reading a book.”
  • 수영을 좋아해요.
    • suyeongeul joahaeyo.
    • “I like swimming.”
  • 영화보기를 좋아해요.
    • yeonghwabogireul joahaeyo.
    • “I like watching movies.”

Sometimes just addressing your hobby may not be enough, and you may need a more detailed explanation regarding your hobby. KoreanClass101 has a vocabulary list for hobbies and weekend activities.

2- Pets

(저는) 강아지를 키우고 있어요.
(jeoneun) gangajireul kiugo isseoyo.
“I have a dog.”

Literal translation of 키우고 있어요 (kiugo isseoyo) is “I am raising ~” in English. To say that you have a dog, which is 강아지 (gangajir) or “a puppy” in Korean, add the word in front of eul kiugo isseoyo, as shown above.

If you have more than one pet, you need to know how to say the numbers. Koreans use different counter words for various topics, such as animals, objects, and so on. For animals, we say the number in Korean followed by 마리 (: mari) which is the counter for animals.

For example:

  • 한 마리 (han mari) — “one animal”
  • 두 마리 (du mari) — “two animals”
  • 세 마리 (se mari) — “three animals”
  • 네 마리 (ne mari) — “four animals”
  • 다섯 마리 (daseon mari) — “five animals”
  • 여섯 마리 (yeoseon mari) — “six animals”
  • 일곱 마리 (ilgom mari) — “seven animals”
  • 여덟 마리 (yeodeol mari) — “eight animals”
  • 아홉 마리 (ahom mari) — “nine animals”
  • 열 마리 (yeol mari) — “ten animals”

Let’s say you have a dog and two cats, the phrase would be:

강아지 한마리와 고양이 두마리를 키우고 있어요.
gangaji hanmariwa goyangi dumarireul kiugo isseoyo.
“I have a dog and two cats.”

More examples:

  • 고양이 두마리를 키우고 있어요.
    • goyangi dumarireul kiugo isseoyo.
    • “I am raising two cats.”
  • 토끼 세마리를 키우고 있어요.
    • tokki semarireul kiugo isseoyo.
    • “I am raising three rabbits.”
  • 햄스터 한마리를 키우고 있어요.
    • haemseuteo hanmarireul kiugo isseoyo.
    • “I am raising a hamster.”

Alternatively, you could say:

  • 집에 강아지 한마리 있어요.
    • jibe gangaji hanmari isseoyo.
    • “I have a dog at home.”

집에 (jibe) means “at home” and 있어요 (isseoyo) means “there is” in English. The direct translation is “There is a dog at home,” meaning the person has a dog at his or her house as a pet. You can use this phrase to explain that you own a pet.

If you want to know how to say “your pet” in Korean, we have a vocabulary list for animals in Korean, so feel free to check it out. With all of this information, you shouldn’t have any problems talking about your pets in Korean!

3- Your Current Interests

K-pop에 관심이 많아요.
keipabe gwansimi manayo.
“I have a great interest in K-pop.”

When you introduce yourself in Korean, you may want to talk about your interests. 관심 (gwansim) means “interest” and 많아요 (manayo) means “(there is) a lot” in Korean—by combining these two words, the phrase becomes 관심이 많아요 (gwansimi manayo), meaning “I am very interested in…” in English. In addition, you can only use a noun or noun phrase for this phrase.

Examples:

  • 시사 프로그램에 관심이 많아요.
    • sisa peurogeuraeme gwansimi manayo.
    • “I am interested in current affair.”
  • 뉴스에 관심이 많아요.
    • nyuseue gwansimi manayo.
    • “I have a great interest in news.”
  • 한국어 공부에 관심이 많아요.
    • hangugeo gongbue gwansimi manayo.
    • “I have a great interest in studying Korean.”

In addition, you could easily extend the phrase by adding more information.

Examples:

  • 방탄소년단에 관심이 있어서, 그룹 멤버들의 사진을 모우는 것을 좋아합니다.
    • bangtansonyeondane gwansimi isseoseo, geurup membeodeurui sajineul mouneun geoseul joahamnida.
    • “I am interested in BTS, so I like collecting pictures of each member.”
  • 동물에 관심이 많아서, 동물의 사진을 찍는 것을 좋아합니다.
    • dongmure gwansimi manaseo, dongmurui sajineul jjingneun geoseul joahamnida.
    • “Since I have a great interest in animals, I like taking pictures of animals.”
  • 뉴스에 관심이 많아서 매일 밤 뉴스를 보고 있습니다.
    • nyuseue gwansimi manaseo maeil bam nyuseureul bogo itseumnida.
    • “Since I have a great interest in news, I watch the news every night.”


4. Culture Insights

1- Bowing is Important

When learning how to introduce yourself in Korean, expressions are only part of the equation. Keep in mind that bowing is a big part of Korean culture, since Koreans bow in every situation. Hence, it’s considered good manners. When you plan to visit South Korea, the first thing you need to learn is when to bow according to the situation you’re in. In addition, if you want to learn more about Korean etiquette, we have an article that explains Seven do’s and don’ts in Korea which explains in detail things that you need to know before traveling to Korea.

2- Be Careful when You Make Eye Contact

It’s alright to make eye contact when you’re speaking with people around your age. However, it’s NOT okay to make direct eye contact with people of higher status or someone older than you. In many countries, such as America and European countries, making eye contact is a friendly way to connect with people. However, Koreans will interpret it differently, thinking that you’re trying to overpower them.


5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

Let’s review what we discussed. We explained to you about how to introduce yourself in Korean. While the phrases we introduced are for beginners, intermediate learners can also use this article to review what they’ve learned so far. In addition, we have an article on ten lines that you can use when introducing yourself, so feel free to use our free materials.

KoreanClass101 offers a variety of free study materials online. We also have teachers standing by to answer your questions about Korean. So if you have any questions regarding Korean grammar, expressions, or even cultural insights, create your lifetime account today, so that you can get access to our forums or even receive answers from our teachers regarding any questions you may have during your Korean studies.

Good luck with studying Korean! Be sure to practice introducing yourself in Korean using our examples of how to introduce yourself in Korean, so that you can master it in no time!

Log

Hyeon Chung Il: Memorial Day in Korea

Each year, Koreans observe their Memorial Day in commemoration of all their fallen soldiers. Memorial Day in Korea is similar to the U.S. Memorial Day, though of course with its own cultural nuances (such as the South Korean Flag meaning in ceremonies).

At KoreanClass101.com, we hope to make learning about Korean culture and holidays both fun and informative, because this may be the most vital step in being able to master the language. That in mind, keep reading for more information on Memorial Day (South Korea).

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

1. What is Memorial Day to Koreans?

Have you ever heard of Memorial Day in the United States of America? It’s a day to remember those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

In Korea, there is also a day like U.S. Memorial Day, known as Korean Memorial Day (Hyeon Chung Il). In Korea, in order to honor those who lost their lives for the country, the month of June has been known as the Month of Defense of Korea and Patriots and Veterans every year since 1954.

2. When is Memorial Day in Korea?

Memorial Day on June 6

For this holiday in Korean, June 6 is when South Korea celebrates its Memorial Day.

3. Reading Practice: How is Korean Memorial Day Celebrated?

How do Koreans commemorate this June 6 holiday in Korea? Read the Korean text below to learn about the traditions that accompany Korean Memorial Day, and find the English translation directly below it.

이 때가 되면 많은 사람들이 서울에 있는 현충원을 방문합니다. 국립 서울 현충원은 나라를 위해서 목숨을 잃은 분들이 묻힌 곳인데요. 6월 6일이 되면 이곳 현충원에 독립유공자와 국군 유가족, 대통령 그리고 국가 주요 인사들이 모여서 현충일 추념식을 갖습니다.

특히 현충일 추념식 중간에 순국선열을 위해서 묵념을 하는 시간이 있는데요. 이 때에는 현충원 뿐만 아니라 전국 여기저기에서 사이렌이 울리고, 전국에 있는 모든 사람들이 함께 묵념을 합니다. 사람들은 1분간 묵념을 하면서 고인의 명복을 빌게 됩니다. 또한, 서울 광화문로와 같은 전국의 주요도로에 다니는 모든 차량도 이 1분간은 잠깐 정지하게 됩니다.

현충일이 되면 초등학교나 중학교에서도 현충일과 관련된 다양한 행사가 열립니다. 특히 현충일 글짓기 행사와 포스터 그리기 행사가 대표적인데요. 이 행사에 참가한 학생들은 한국전쟁 때 나라를 위해서 싸웠던 국군 장병의 모습을 그리고, 지금도 휴전선 근처에서 나라를 지키고 있는 군인들에게 감사의 마음을 담은 글을 적습니다.

여러분 그거 아세요? 지금도 한국은 휴전 중이기 때문에, 아직도 휴전선 근처에서는 크고 작은 전투들이 종종 일어나고 있습니다. 그래서 최근까지도 적지 않은 국군장병들이 나라를 위해서 싸우다 목숨을 잃는 경우가 종종 생기는데요. 이렇게 목숨을 잃거나 다친 사람들을 한국 사람들은 “국가유공자”라고 부릅니다.

On this day, a lot of people visit Seoul National Memorial Cemetery in Seoul. Seoul National Memorial Cemetery is the burial site of those who lost their lives for their country. On June 6th, a ceremony that honors the veterans of Korean Memorial Day is held with the bereaved families of the dead soldiers, the contributors to independence, the President, and the National Key Personnel.

In particular, there is a moment of silence in the middle of the ceremony on Korean Memorial Day, to honor the Patriotic Martyr. During the moment of silence, a siren sounds across the country as well as in the Cemetery, and everyone in the country observes a moment of silence. For one minute of silence, people pray for the repose of the deceased. Also, all vehicles on the main roads of the country, such as Gwanghwamun ro, stop for one minute for the moment of silence.

When Memorial Day is drawing near, a variety of associated events take place in elementary and junior high schools. In particular, there are representative events such as creative writing and poster drawing on Korean Memorial Day. Students who participate in these events draw the soldiers who fought for the country during the Korean War, or write to the soldiers who still defend the country near the Military Demarcation Line, to express their gratitude to them.

Did you know that large and small battles are still often happening around the Military Demarcation Line despite Korea being under a flag of truce? So, until recently, a considerable number of soldiers have lost their lives during the fight for their country. Korean people call those who lose their lives or were injured “men of National Merit” (gukgayugongja).

4. Why June 6th?

Silent Tribute by Candlelight

Do you know why Memorial Day (Korea) is on June 6th?

In Korea, a year is divided into twenty-four. In those twenty-four divisions, June 6th is the first day of the ninth period. And since old times, various sacrifices have been made on this day. That’s why the South Korean government set June 6th as Korean Memorial Day (Hyun Choong Il) when the government decided the Memorial Day in 1954.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Korean Memorial Day

South Korean Flag

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Memorial Day in South Korea!

  • 현충일 (hyeonchungil) — “Memorial Day”
  • 태극기 (taegukgi) — “Flag of South Korea”
  • 묵념 (mungnyeom) — “silent tribute”
  • 애국 (aeguk) — “patriotism”
  • 국군 (gukgun) — “national army”
  • 애국가 (aegukga) — “national anthem”
  • 순국 선열 (sunguk seonyeol) — “martyr”
  • 목숨 (moksum) — “life”
  • 6월 6일 (yuwol yugil) — “June 6th”
  • 영웅 (yeongung) — “hero”
  • 명복 (myeongbok) — “happiness in the next world”
  • 호국 (hoguk) — “defense of one’s country”
  • 국립 서울 현충원 (gungnip seoul hyeonchungwon) — “Seoul National Cemetery”
  • 조의 (joui) — “mark of respect to the dead”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Korean Memorial Day vocabulary list. Here, each word is listed alongside an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about Memorial Day in Korea? Does your country observe a Memorial Day? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about the culture of Korea, its history, and of course the Korean language, visit us at KoreanClass101.com! We believe that language-learning should be both fun and informative, something to look forward to and a steady path toward your goals. There’s something here for every learner, from free Korean vocabulary lists, insightful blog posts like this one, and an online community forum to discuss lessons with fellow students. You can also begin using our MyTeacher program by upgrading to Premium Plus!

We hope that you took away something valuable from this article, and that you’ll continue to immerse yourself in everything Korean with us. Your hard work will pay off, and we’ll be here for every step of your Korean-learning journey!

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Best Korean TV Shows to Learn Korean

When it comes to learning a language, everyone wants to know what the best way to learn that language quickly is. It’s the same for our Korean learners; they want to know how to study the Korean language effectively. Here, we’re going to give you some tips on how to do this—namely through watching the best Korean variety shows.

Watching Korean TV shows can be a very useful supplement for Korean learners because some of the TV shows are very entertaining, and will give you opportunity to learn phrases that are commonly used in Korea. Moreover, watching TV shows with subtitles in Korean will certainly help you improve your vocabulary and your ability to understand the language. Today, KoreanClass101 will introduce ten famous Korean TV shows to help you learn Korean effectively.

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Table of Contents

  1. Benefits of Watching Korean TV Shows
  2. How to Practice Korean While Watching Korean TV Shows
  3. 10 Korean Variety Show Recommendations
  4. How to Study the Korean Language with KoreanClass101

1. Benefits of Watching Korean TV Shows

So, what are the benefits of watching Korean TV shows? If you’re a Korean language learner, it may be challenging for you to learn Korean by watching Korean variety shows, therefore it’s strongly recommended to learn from basic Hangul and learn how combinations of different consonants and vowels make the sounds. Start off by studying basic Hangul and slowly move onto learning other basic expressions such as self-introductions. If you’re an intermediate learner, you’ll find that Korean TV shows are a great source to use to practice speaking, reading, and listening. Also:

  • It’s entertaining and is one of the best ways to learn Korean.

Each South Korean TV show has its unique style. Therefore, depending on your interests, you can improve your vocabularies and expressions from TV shows. For example, if you want to understand how Koreans tease each other and want to learn more about Korean humor, watching Radio Star may help you meet your goals.

Also, the expressions that you learn in school may not be used in daily life in Korea, so if you want to learn “Real Korean Language” including slang words (e.g.일욜 or “shorten words for Sunday”), then the Korean reality show called 나 혼자 산다 (na honja sanda) or “I Live Alone” may help you understand how Koreans express themselves in daily life.

  • You’ll stay in touch with the trends in Korea.

South Korean TV shows always invite various celebrities, from singers, actors/actresses, comedians, and even Hollywood celebrities! For example, when a new film is released, you’ll most likely see celebrities from that film in these popular Korean variety shows. If you watch Korean TV shows, you’ll definitely be in touch with the most current trends.

2. How to Practice Korean While Watching Korean TV Shows

Everyone has their own techniques for studying Korean. Here are some of the most popular methods:

  1. Write down words or expressions that you don’t understand.
  2. Practice speaking and pronunciation repetitively.
  3. Replay the show, but focus on mimicking the words and annotations.

And so on. There are more techniques that you can help you learn Korean effectively and efficiently. If you have your own Language Learning Strategies, they’ll certainly help you study smarter and faster than others.

Let’s take a look at our list of famous South Korean TV shows. We’ve prepared a brief explanation of each TV show; if you’re interested to know even more details, click on the title of the show, and it will direct you to the Wikipedia page.

3. 10 Korean Variety Show Recommendations

So what are the most famous variety shows in Korea? We looked at Korean variety show ratings and now we’re going to introduce ten famous Korean TV series to help you learn Korean!

1- 라디오 스타 (radio seuta) — “Radio Star”

Radio Star

Korean TV show information:
Period: 5/30/2007 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: MBC

Why should you watch this Korean series?
Radio Star is a South Korean talk show hosted by Kim Gook-Jin, Yoon Jong-Shin, Kim Gura, and Cha Tae-hyun. The first episode aired on the 30th of May, 2007. Radio Star invites four to six guests every week for the talk show, and most of the time the hosts ask difficult questions that cause panic in the guests. Guests are aware of this, so they usually answer the questions in a humorous way, which is the whole point of this talk show.

Due to the nature of the talk show, top celebrities aren’t fond of being featured here. However, some less-famous celebrities became extremely popular after showing up on this Korean TV show because of their sense of humor, as well as their interesting and personal stories.

Korean TV show website: http://www.imbc.com/broad/tv/ent/goldfish/
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch some videos here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 알아서 좋은 인연이 들어와요. (araseo joeun inyeoni deureowayo.)
    • “A good relationship will naturally come to you.”
  • 내가 번 돈 내가 안 쓰면 누가 꼭 쓴다. (naega beon don naega an sseumyeon nuga kkok sseunda.)
    • “If I don’t spend my own money, someone else will spend it all.”
  • 큰 일보다는 사소한 일에 신경을 많이 써라. (keunil bodaneun sasohan ire singyeongeul mani sseora.)
    • “Pay attention to small things not only to big things.”

Must-know Korean vocabularies:

  • 좋은 인연 (joeun inyeon) : “a good relationship”
  • 들어오다 (deureooda): “to come in”
  • 안 쓰다 (an sseuda) : opposite meaning of 쓰다 (sseuda) meaning “to use”
  • 번 돈 (beon don): “money earned by hard working”
  • …보다는 (…bodaneun): “…rather than”
  • 사소한 일 (sasohan il): “a mere trifle”
  • 신경 쓰다 (singyeong sseuda): “to show concern”
  • 많이 (mani): “much; lots; plenty”

2- 나 혼자 산다 (na honja sanda) — “I Live Alone”

I Live Alone

Korean TV show information:
Period: 3/22/2013 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: MBC

Why should you watch this Korean series?
It’s a South Korean television entertainment program aired every Friday from 11:10 pm to 12:50 am. I Live Alone broadcasts famous celebrities’ everyday lives, such as what they do and eat at home and their daily schedule including who they meet and so on. You’ll be surprised to see how transparent they are, and eventually you’ll come to realize that even the lives of famous celebrities are somewhat similar to our own. What makes this TV show popular in South Korea is that we can really relate to some of the personal troubles that these famous celebrities go through (e.g. dealing with debts, the death of a beloved pet, etc.).

Korean TV show website: http://www.imbc.com/broad/tv/ent/singlelife/index.html
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch some videos here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 클락션은 싸움만 만들 뿐. (keullaksyeoneun ssaumman mandeul ppun.)
    • “You will most likely end up in a fight when you honk too much.”
  • 욕심이 많아지면 행복하자는 소원을 빈다. (yoksimi manajimyeon haengbokajaneun sowoneul binda.)
    • “When you become greedy, you end up making a wish to be happy.”
  • 초심을 잃지 말자. (chosimeul ilchi malja.)
    • “Let’s not forget our humble beginnings.”

Must-know Korean vocabularies:

  • 클락션 (keullaksyeon): “Honk; Klaxon”
  • 싸움 (ssaum): “fight”
  • 만들다 (mandeulda): “to make”
  • 욕심 (yoksim): “greed”
  • 많아지면 (manajimyeon): “to pile up”
  • 소원을 빌다 (sowoneul bilda): “make a wish”
  • 초심 (chosim): “one’s first intention”
  • 잃다 (ilta): “to lose”

3- 런닝맨 (reonningmaen) — “Running Man”

Running Man

Korean TV show information:
Period: 7/11/2010 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: SBS

Why should you watch this Korean series?
Running Man is an SBS Korean variety show, and is one of the longest-running Korean game shows in South Korea. The rule of the game is that Running Man contestants wear a nametag on their back while playing the game. Their main goal is to take off all the contestants’ nametags until one person is left. It may sound easy, but it’s not, because contestants also need to perform various tasks in order to win the game and sometimes you have no choice but to betray your own team. This survival game is very addictive and entertaining! Also, it’s a Korean variety show that invites and features a lot of idols from all over the world.

Korean TV show website: http://programs.sbs.co.kr/enter/runningman/
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch some videos here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 포기하는 거야, 지금? 뭐가 그렇게 무섭다고 도전을 안해 (pogihaneun geoya, jigeum? mwoga geureoke museopdago dojeoneul anhae)
    • “Are you giving up, now? Why are you not even challenging yourself.”
  • 카메라 앞에서는 무엇을 해도 용서가 되지만 카메라가 꺼졌을 때에도 똑같이 행동하면 안된다 (kamera apeseoneun mueoseul haedo yongseoga doejiman kameraga kkeojyeosseul ttaeedo ttokgachi haengdonghamyeon andoenda)
    • “Whatever you do in front of the camera, you will be forgiven, but you should not act the same when the camera is turned off.”

Must-know Korean vocabularies:

  • 포기 (pogi): “give up”
  • 무섭다 (museopda): “scared”
  • 도전 (dojeon): “challenge”
  • 용서 (yongseo): “forgiveness”
  • 행동 (haengdong): “behavior”

4- 대국민 토크쇼 안녕하세요 (daegungmin tokeusyo annyeonghaseyo) — “Hello Counselor”

Hello Counselor

Korean TV show information:
Period: 11/20/2010 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: KBS2

Why should you watch this Korean series?
대국민 토크쇼 안녕하세요 (“Hello Counselor”) aims to help people take down communication barriers by sharing their personal life stories. The hosts try to evaluate the situation that a person’s going through and give advice. The hosts and guests try to do this is the most humorous way possible. At the end of the show, people on the stage vote on whether the problem which was addressed is severe and needs some “real” help or not. This Korean TV show invites many idols and famous celebrities, too.

Korean TV show website: http://program.kbs.co.kr/2tv/enter/hello/pc/
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch some videos here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 여러분의 말 못할 고민을 응원해 드립니다. (yeoreobunui mal mothal gomineul eungwonhae deurimnida.)
    • “We will support your worries.”
  • 육아는 도와주는 게 아니라 같이 하는 것. (yuganeun dowajuneun ge anira gachi haneun geot.)
    • “Parenting is not helping, it is doing together.”

Must-know Korean vocabularies:

  • 여러분 (yeoreobun): “everybody”
  • 말 못할 (mal mothal): “something that you cannot say to people”
  • 고민 (gomin): “worries”
  • 응원 (eungwon): “cheering”
  • 육아 (yuga): “infant care”
  • 도와주다 (dowajuda): “to support”
  • 같이 하는 것 (gachi haneun geot): “to do things together”

5- 언프리티 랩스타 (Eonpeuriti Raepseuta) — “Unpretty Rapstar”

Unpretty Rapstar

Korean TV show information:
Period:1/29/2015 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: Mnet

What is it about?: 언프리티 랩스타 (Eonpeuriti Raepseuta) or “Unpretty Rapstar” is a rap competition reality show in South Korea, featuring only female rappers. One thing about this show that’s interesting is that in the first few episodes, show contestants introduce themselves through the same beat. Contestants need to win missions such as stage performance or “do diss” battle, in which contestants battle one-on-one with another rapper. This Korean competition TV show was famous already, but it became even more popular after the appearance of Jessi.

Korean TV show website: http://mnettv.interest.me/unprettyrapstar3/main
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch some videos here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 너희가 뭔데 날 판단해? (neohuiga mwonde nal pandanhae?)
    • “Who are you to judge me?”
  • 각오 단단히 하고 나와라 아님 나 못이길테니까. (gago dandanhi hago nawara anim na mosigiltenikka.)
    • “Brace yourselves, everybody or you will not win me.”
  • 우린 팀이 아니야 이건 경쟁이야 (urin timi aniya igeon gyeongjaengiya)
    • “We are not a team. This is a competition.”

Must-know Korean vocabularies:

  • 우린 (urin): “we are”
  • 판단하다 (pandanhada): “judge”
  • 각오 (gago): “determination”
  • 아님 (anim): short for 아니다 (anida) or “not”
  • 팀 (tim): “team”
  • 이건 (igeon): “this is”
  • 경쟁 (gyeongjaeng): “competition”

6- 냉장고를 부탁해 (Naengjanggo-reul Butakhae) — “Please Take Care of My Refrigerator”

Please Take Care of My Refrigerator

Korean TV show information:
Period: 11/17/2014 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: JTBC

Why should you watch this Korean series?
Are you into cooking shows? Do you want to enjoy watching top chefs in Korea competing against each other by using limited resources from the fridge of a famous celebrity? 나의 냉장고를 부탁해 (Naengjanggo-reul Butakhae) or “Please Take Care of My Refrigerator” is a Korean cooking show starring various chefs and celebrity guests.

The really fun part of this show is that you’ll get to see a celebrity’s fridge—INSIDE. What better way to get a glimpse of the lifestyle of a celebrity? In this Korean reality show, two hosts open the fridge and investigate inside. The guests will come up with a theme for the cooking competition and the chefs have to cook the desired dishes within a limited amount of time with the ingredients available from the fridge. The host will taste the dishes and will decide who wins that cooking competition.

Korean TV show website: http://tv.jtbc.joins.com/replay/pr10010331/pm10026684
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch some videos here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 가끔 음식 먹다 보면 엄마가 생각나나 봐요? (gakkeum eumsik meokda bomyeon eommaga saenggangnana bwayo?)
    • “Sometimes when you eat food, does this remind you of your mom?”

Must-know Korean vocabularies:

  • 가끔 (gakkeum): “sometimes”
  • 엄마 (eomma): “mother”
  • 생각나다 (saenggangnada): “to think”

7- 비정상회담 (Bijeongsanghoedam) — “Abnormal Summit”

Abnormal Summit

Korean TV show information:
Period: 7/07/2014 ~ 12/04/2017
Channel: JTBC

Why should you watch this Korean series?
비정상회담 (Bijeongsanghoedam) or “Abnormal Summit” is a South Korean TV show on JTBC which was aired on the 7th of July in 2014. It’s a debate show where people from different countries gather to discuss a topic in Korea. You’ll be surprised to see how fluent their Korean is; this TV show is a great source to learn many expressions in Korean.

Also, since it’s a debate show, it’s fascinating to see contestants with completely different views about a topic and debate passionately. A new guest is invited (usually a famous Korean celebrity or politician) every episode to introduce the debate topic. This TV show ended in 2017, and there is no set date for a new season. You can watch this Korean TV show on Netflix.

Korean TV show website: http://tv.jtbc.joins.com/nonsummit
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch some videos here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 자기가 좋아하는 일을 하세요. (jagiga joahaneun ireul haseyo.)
    • “Do what you love.”
  • 성공이 무엇인지 한 가지로 정의 된 것은 없습니다. (seonggongi mueosinji han gajiro jeongui doen geoseun eopseumnida.)
    • “There is no universal definition of ‘success.’”

Must-know Korean vocabularies:

  • 좋아하는 일 (joahaneun il): “self-imposed work”
  • 성공 (seonggong): “success”
  • 무엇 (mueot): “what”
  • 정의 (jeongui): “definition”
  • 없다 (eopda): “there is no…”

8- 미스터리 음악쇼 복면가왕 (Miseuteori Eumaksyo Bokmyeon-gawang) — “King of Mask Singer”

King of Mask Singer

Korean TV show information:
Time: Sundays @ 4:50 pm
Period: 4/05/2015 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: MBC

What is this Korean reality show about?
미스터리 음악쇼 복면가왕 (Miseuteori Eumaksyo Bokmyeon-gawang) or “King of Mask Singer” is a
Korean singing show. Contestants wear a mask in order to hide their identity from the audience and the judges of the show. Since the singers cannot be identified, you’re better able to really enjoy the pure talent of the contestants.

Each round, two contestants compete against each other in three elimination rounds. Losing contestants will reveal their identity by taking off their masks while singing their last song, and this is one of the most exciting parts of the show! If you’re into K-pop singers and would like to listen to some extreme talent, this show is for you! Also, they use many adjectives to describe their feelings and to give feedback about the singing, so you’ll learn many vocabularies while you enjoy listening to some of the most beautiful voices in Korean culture.

Korean TV show website: http://www.imbc.com/broad/tv/ent/sundaynight/

YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? Here’s the video of BTS Jungkook in the show.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 엄청 떨려요. (eomcheong tteollyeoyo.)
    • “I am tremble.” (Or “I’m really nervous.”)
  • 반전을 거듭하는 무대 (banjeoneul geodeupaneun mudae)
    • “repeated twists in the stage”

Vocabularies:

  • 엄청 (eomcheong): “very”
  • 떨리다 (tteollida): “tremble”
  • 반전 (banjeon): “twist”
  • 거듭하다 (geodeupada): “repeat”
  • 무대 (mudae): “stage”

9- 프로듀스 48 (peurodyuseu 8) — “Produce 48”

Produce 48

Korean TV show information:
Period: 6/15/2018 ~ 8/31/2018
Channel: Mnet

What is this Korean competition TV show about?
If you’re interested in competition TV shows that introduce you to the journey of how a Korean idol is made, this TV show is for you. This show is a Korean music show and is an ongoing competition where contestants ultimately aim to be in a girl group in the end.

Contestants need to be able to dance and sing very well, and also need to receive many votes from the audience in order to continue in this competition. The newest season has 96 contestants from South Korea and Japan, and the contestants from Japan are from a famous J-Pop idol group called AKB48.

Korean TV show website: http://produce48.mnet.com/pc/main
YouTube video: Do you want to watch just a little bit of the show? You can watch the videos here:

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 그때의 나는 작은 왕관의 무게도 너무 버거워서 도망치고 싶었다.
    • “At that time, I wanted to flee because the weight of the small crown was too heavy.”
  • 하기 싫으면 안 할 거예요? 수업받기 싫으면 나가요.
    • “Are you not going to do it if you don’t want to? If you do not want to take classes, get out.”

Vocabularies:

  • 그때 (geuttae): “that time”
  • 왕관 (wanggwan): “crown”
  • 버겁다 (beogeopda): “be beyond one’s capacity”
  • 도망가다 (domanggada): “run away”
  • 수업 (sueop): “course”

10- 세상에 나쁜 개는 없다. (Sesange nappeun gaeneun eopda.) — “There are No Bad Dogs in this World.”

Two Dogs Biting a stick

Korean TV show information:
Period: 4/09/2015 ~ present (as of 2019)
Channel: EBS

What is this Korean TV series about?
You’ve probably seen many dog training-related TV shows in your own country; there are many dog training TV shows such as It’s Me or the Dog by a trainer named Victoria Stilwell or Dog Whisperer with Ceasar Milliam. If you’re a big fan of these TV shows, this one’s for you.

This Korean TV show is the latest Korean shoㅈ. 세상에는 나쁜 개는 없다 (sesangeneun nappeun gaeneun eopda) is a dog training Korean reality TV series run by a Korean dog trainer, 강형욱 (ganghyeonguk). Every episode he introduces cases and how to solve the problems presented. You can learn training tips as well as Korean!

Korean TV show website: http://home.ebs.co.kr/baddog/main
YouTube video: Do you want to learn how to train your dog while learning Korean? You can watch a video of this Korean TV reality show from here.

Korean phrases and quotes:

  • 최선을 다해 반려견을 사랑해주세요. (Choeseoneul dahae ballyeogyeoneul saranghaejuseyo.)
    • “Please do your best to love the dog.”
  • 강아지가 제일 좋아하는 사람은 백수다. (Gangajiga jeil joahaneun sarameun baeksuda.)
    • “Dogs love unemployed owner the most (since they stay at home all the time).”

Vocabularies:

  • 최선 (choeseon): “the best way”
  • 반려견 (ballyeogyeon): “a pet”
  • 사랑하다 (saranghada): “to love something or someone”
  • 강아지 (gangaji): “a dog”
  • 백수 (baeksu): “unemployed”

4. How to Study the Korean Language with KoreanClass101

Apart from watching TV shows in Korean, there are many other ways that you can improve your Korean. Here, you can learn the top ways to practice your Korean reading skills. We understand that learning a new language isn’t easy and it can be frustrating when you have a difficult time memorizing words. People have different techniques for memorizing vocabulary words and KoreanClass101 has prepared a number of techniques for remembering words. You can access all of these materials mentioned above for free.

KoreanClass101 offers the world’s largest study materials available online for you to study whenever you want, at your own pace. Learn Korean lessons with KoreanClass101 today.

What’s your favorite South Korean TV show? Leave a comment below and share why you like the TV show.

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April 19 Revolution in Korea: Student Protest Movement 1960

Do you know what political events happened in Korea after the Korean War ended? Although there was a lot of economic development, there was also a period of dictatorship. There were also various democratic groups that resisted the dictatorship.
In this lesson, you’ll learn about the civil Korea Revolution on April 19th that rose against the corrupt political power in the 1960s. As you’ll see, for Korea, 1960 was a year of great significance.

One of Korea’s most significant events, the Korean 1960 Revolution on April 19 is a vital piece of knowledge in your Korean learning journey. It will both open your eyes to Korea’s vast history and allow you to better understand its modern culture. So let’s get started!

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1. Reading Practice: What is April 19th Revolution Day in Korea?

So, what is April 19 Revolution Day in Korea? Read the Korean text below to find out (and you can find the English translation directly below it).

한국전쟁이 일어난 다음 한국에서는 이승만 대통령 정권이 시작됩니다. 하지만 한국전쟁 이후 이승만 대통령은 12년간 장기집권을 하게 되고, 독재 정권 아래서 여러가지 부정부패 문제가 일어나게 되었는데요. 결국 1960년 3월에 있었던 재선을 위한 선거과정에서 선거개표를 조작하였고, 이 사실이 세상에 알려지게 됩니다.

그 전부터 독재정치에 불만을 가졌던 사람들이 이 부정선거를 계기로 여기저기서 시위를 하기 시작합니다.

1960년 4월 초, 부정선거 사실이 알려진 뒤 가장 먼저 마산에서 시위가 일어났습니다. 하지만 당시 정부는 경찰과 폭력배를 시켜서 시위대를 무자비하게 진압하게 됩니다. 이러한 폭력적인 대처에 화가 난 시민들은 결국 전국 각지에서 시위를 하게 되는데요. 서울에서는 고려대학교 학생들을 중심으로 4천여명의 학생들이 모여서 국회의사당까지 걸어가며 시위를 하게 됩니다. 하지만 평화적으로 이루어졌던 시위를 끝내고 학교로 돌아던 학생들이 폭력배들에게 맞아서 큰 부상을 당하게 되면서 국민들의 불만은 최고조에 달합니다.

시민들과 학생들은 결국 ‘이승만 하야와 독재정권 타도’라는 구호를 외치며 더욱 큰 시위를 열게 됩니다. 이 시위를 진압하는 과정에서 또 다시 수많은 사람들이 다쳤음에도 시민들은 끝까지 자신들의 뜻을 굽히지 않았습니다. 그리고 4월 19일에 대규모 시위가 일어나게 됩니다.

이날 이후 결국 이승만대통령은 한국을 떠나 하와이로 망명을 가게 되었습니다. 시민들의 힘으로 독재정치를 내보낸 419 혁명은 한국 현대역사의 첫 민주주의 혁명으로 기록되고 있습니다.

After the Korean War broke out, Ri Seungman began his rule as president. After the war, he was in power for twelve years, and there was a lot of corruption under his dictatorship.

Finally, in the reelection of March 1960, the fact that the votes were being controlled became known to the world.

People who had complaints about the dictatorship prior to that started holding demonstrations here and there.

After the election fraud became known at the beginning of April 1960, the first demonstration occurred in Masan city. But the government ordered police and organized crime groups to mercilessly suppress the demonstrations. Citizens, angered by this rather violent way of handling the demonstrations, started demonstrating all over the country. In Seoul, a group of about 4,000 students, mostly from Korea University, began protesting in front of the National Assembly Building. The students finished the protest peacefully and returned to school, where they were beaten by organized crime groups. This was the peak of the citizens’ dissatisfaction. Students and citizens began protesting more while yelling, “Resign Ri Seungman and Overthrow the Dictatorship!” College professor groups and scholars alike gathered and demanded Ri Seungman’s resignation. Despite the method of suppressing the protests and how many people were injured, their will didn’t falter. And so, on April 19th, they had a large-scale protest.

After that day, Ri Seungman left Korea and was exiled to Hawaii. 419 Revolution Day, when the dictatorship was overthrown by the people’s power, was the first democratic revolution recorded in recent Korean history.

2. When is the April Revolution of Korea Celebrated?

Bastille Day

Each year, Koreans celebrate April 19th Revolution Day on—you guessed it—April 19 on the solar calendar, in commemoration of April 19, 1960.

3. How is the Korea 1960 Revolution Celebrated?

Performing a Demonstration

On April 19th, many people visit the 419 National Cemetery to honor the people who struggled for democracy.

There’s a 419 revolution memorial tower inside the cemetery. On 419 Revolution Day, people visit that tower and remember the people who were hurt and gave their lives for democracy leading up to the April 19, 1960 Korean Revolution.

4. Additional Information: More Special Days

419 Revolution Day is on April 19th of the solar calendar. In addition to 419 Revolution Day, there are a few other special days with their date in the name. Do you know which days those are?

Like 419 Revolution Day, there are a few other days with their date in the name. There’s the day marking the start of the Korean War on June 25th, which is called “625.” There’s also the pro-democratic resistance day on May 18th, called 518 Revolution Day.

5. Must-know Vocab

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for April 19th Revolution Day in Korea!

  • 학생 (haksaeng) — “student”
  • 교수 (gyosu) — “professor”
  • 피해자 (pihaeja) — “victim”
  • 민주주의 (minjujuui) — “democracy”
  • 시위 (siwi) — “demonstration”
  • 시민 (simin) — “citizen”
  • 분노 (bunno) — “anger”
  • 이승만 정권 (iseungman jeonggwon) — “Syngman Rhee government”
  • 혁명 (hyeongmyeong) — “revolution”
  • 하야 (haya) — “resignation”
  • 대통령 (daetongnyeong) — “president”
  • 국가 유공자 (gukga yugongja) — “men of national merit”
  • 독재정권 (dokjaejeonggwon) — “dictatorial government
  • 4.19 혁명 (sailgu hyeongmyeong) — “19th April of Bastille Day”
  • 불법 (bulbeop) — “illegality”

To hear each of these words pronounced, visit our 419 Revolution vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

As you can see, April 19 Revolution Day in Korea is a significant holiday that commemorates a pivotal time frame in Korea’s history. We hope you enjoyed learning about the 1960 Korean student revolution and its commemoration with us!

Is there a Revolution Day in your own country? How is it celebrated? Let us know in the comments!

For even more information on Korean culture and the Korean language, visit us at KoreanClass101.com and set up your account today! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Korean learners. With a Premium Plus account, you can also take advantage of our MyTeacher program, and learn Korean one-on-one with your own personal Korean teacher.

Learning a new language can be a staggering task, but it’s completely worthwhile. Know that your hard work and determination will pay off, and one day you’ll speaking, reading, and writing Korean like a native! We wish you the best in your language-learning journey!

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10 High-Rated Korean Dramas to Improve Your Korean

Must-Watch Korean Dramas

There are many Korean dramas available for you to watch online, but how do you know if the drama is good or not? Based on the data, we’ve prepared a list of the top ten highest-rated Korean dramas in 2018. We’d like to introduce each drama and how to study the Korean language by watching these Korean dramas. We’ve written down a small part of the script from each drama for you so that you can have a glimpse of the language (e.g. the show’s Korean level, if and how they use informal language or jargons, and so on).

Some Korean dramas use jargons from law, some use rich vocabulary to describe the taste and texture of foods. Some Korean dramas use lots of slang words as well. Nevertheless, using a Korean drama to study the language is a great way to enjoy a great Korean drama while learning more about the Korean culture as well as conversational Korean.

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How to Learn Korean Using TV Dramas

There are many ways to study the language, and using TV shows is one of the most effective ways to broaden your vocabulary, as well as work on pronunciation and accent. In addition, you’ll be able to have a closer look at Korean culture and improve your listening skills.

In order to work on your Korean while watching TV dramas, find a spare notebook so that you can write down new words, slangs, sentences, and dialogues that you want to study. After that, try to memorize them so that you can practice them next time you’re chatting with Korean-speaking friends.

Also, stop the show and repeat the sentences or phrases after the actors, or even at the same time. This is an effective way of working on your pronunciation skills and improving your accent.

1. 미스터 션샤인 (miseuteo syeonsyain) — “Mr. Sunshine”

This drama is a story that you’re guaranteed to love. The story centers on a young boy who traveled to the United States during 1871 and returned back to Korea as a United States Corps officer. He meets and falls in love with the daughter of an aristocrat. (Wikipedia)

This drama became popular even before the episodes were released because the story was written by one of the top South Korean screenwriters, named 김은숙. She wrote many popular Korean television dramas, such as 파리의 연인 (Lovers in Paris [2004]), 시크릿 가든 (Secret Garden [2010]), 태양의 후예 (Descendants of the Sun [2016]), 도깨비 (Guardian: The Lovely and Great God [2016-2017]), and many more. This show’s production quality is extremely beautiful as well, so if you appreciate the beauty of cinematography, this drama is for you.

Quote:
※ The story takes place during the late 1870s, and therefore characters speak old Korean language, which sounds a little different compared to our current Korean language.

애신: ‘러브’가 무엇이오 (‘reobeu’ga mueosio)
유진: 한데 그건 왜 묻는 거요 (hande geugeon wae munneun geoyo)
애신: 하고 싶어 그러오. (hago sipeo geureoo.)
벼슬보다 좋은 거라 하더이다 (byeoseulboda joeun geora hadeoida)
유진: 뭐 생각하기에 따라서. (mwo saenggakagie ttaraseo.)
한데 혼자는 못하오. (hande honjaneun mothao.)
함께할 상대가 있어야 해서 (hamkkehal sangdaega isseoya haeseo)
애신: 그럼 나와 같이 하지 않겠소. (geureom nawa gachi haji anketso.)
내 총도 쏘는데 (nae chongdo ssoneunde)
유진: 총 쏘는 것보다 더 어렵고, (chong ssoneun geotboda deo eoryeopgo,)
그보다 더 위험하고, (geuboda deo wiheomhago,)
그보다 더 뜨거워야 하오 (geuboda deo tteugeowoya hao)
애신: 꽤 어렵구려 (kkwae eoryeopguryeo)

Translation:
A: “What is ‘love?’”
Y: “Why do you ask about ‘love?’”
A: “Because I want to do it. I heard that it is better than working in a government.”
Y: “Well, it depends, but you cannot do it alone. You need a partner.”
A: “Then, would you like to do it with me? I’m good at shooting guns.”
Y: “It is more difficult than shooting guns, more dangerous and it must be hotter than that.”
A: “It sounds really difficult.”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

벼슬 (byeoseul): “government position.” Modern Korean word is 정치 (jeongchi)
한데 (hande): “but; however.” Modern Korean word is 하지만 (hajiman)
상대 (sangdae): “a partner”
(kkwae): “quite; rather; fairly”
어렵구려 (eoryeopguryeo): “It sounds/seems difficult.” Modern Korean phrase is 어렵군요 (eoryeopgunyo)

2. 내 아이디는 강남미인 (nae aidineun gangnammiin) — “Gangnam Beauty”

This story is centered around a character named Kang Mirae, who decides to get plastic surgery after being bullied for being ugly. At her university, she’s teased as the “Gangnam plastic surgery monster.” This story covers her journey to recover self-esteem as she gets to know Do Kyungseok. (Wikipedia)

The original version of this story is available on Webtoon, Naver. If you’re interested in reading the cartoon version with much simpler Korean phrases, you can start off with the Webtoon version first.

Quote:
※ This drama is a great way to learn conversational phrases and slangs in Korean.

강미래: 네가 내 일에 자꾸 엮이는 거 같은데,
(nega nae ire jakku yeokkineun geo gateunde)
말 안 했으면 좋겠어
(mal an haesseumyeon jokesseo)
도경석: 왜 했냐. 왜 고쳤냐고, 얼굴
(wae haennya. wae gochyeonnyago, eolgul)
강미래: 알잖아. 내 옛날 얼굴.
(aljana. nae yennal eolgul.)
내가 수아처럼 예뻐지자고 한 것도 아닌데
(naega suacheoreom yeppeojijago han geotdo aninde)
평범한 정도로 못 되는 얼굴이 있어.
(pyeongbeomhan jeongdoro mot doeneun eolguri isseo.)
도경석: 너 남들 얼굴에 급 매기냐.
(neo namdeul eolgure geup maeginya.)
얼굴이 아니라 질 떨어진 마인드를 수술하지 그랬냐.
(eolguri anira jil tteoreojin maindeureul susulhaji geuraennya.)

Translation:
Gangmirae: “It seems that you constantly get involved in my business.
I do not think you should be talking to me.”
Dogyeongseok: “Why did you do it. Why did you do a plastic surgery.”
Gangmirae: “You know my face before.
I didn’t want to be as pretty as Sooa,
but my face was not pretty enough.”
Dogyeongseok: “Are you giving scores to faces of others.
You should have done a surgery to fix on your mind, not your face. “

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

엮이다 (yeokkida): “be involved in”
평범하다 (pyeongbeomhada): “ordinary; common; normal”
했냐 (wae haennya): “Why did you do it?”
~처럼 (~cheoreom): “as~as”
떨어지다 (jil tteoreojida): “poor quality”
수술 (susul): “surgery; operation”

3. 서른이지만 열일곱입니다 (seoreunijiman yeorilgobimnida) — “Thirty But Seventeen”

Gong Woojin, who is now thirty years old, works as a set designer. Due to his past experience, he has difficulty maintaining relationships with others. Woo Seori, seventeen, fell into a coma due to an accident. Thirteen years later, she wakes up from her coma. However, her mental age is still that of a seventeen-year-old, but she is now thirty years old. This story is about how these two characters get involved with each other and fall in love along the way. (Wikipedia)

One of the main characters is played by a famous actress in South Korea, named 신혜선 (Shin Hyesun) whose previous appearance in Korean dramas was in 푸른 바다의 전설 (Legend of the Blue Sea). It’s believed that if she is in a drama, it’s guaranteed to be a good story. This drama has several great actors and actresses, so you’ll definitely enjoy this one!

Quote:
서리: 아, 부모님은 14살 때 돌아가셨어요. 터널 붕괴사고로 갑자기.
(Seori: a, bumonimeun 14sal ttae doragasyeosseoyo. teoneol bunggoesagoro gapjagi.)
그 후론 외삼촌 외숙모랑 같이 산 거고.
(geu huron oesamchon oesungmorang gachi san geogo.)
유찬: 아… 근데 외삼촌분은 왜 그렇게 급하게 집을 파셨을까요?
(Yuchan: a… geunde oesamchonbuneun wae geureoke geupage jibeul pasyeosseulkkayo?)
서리: 나도 궁금해 미치겠어요.
(nado gunggeumhae michigesseoyo.)
여기 계속 살고 계실 줄 알았는데…
(yeogi gyesok salgo gyesil jul aranneunde…)
경찰서 가도 해줄 수 있는 게 없다고 하고,
(gyeongchalseo gado haejul su inneun ge eopdaego,)
친구들도 어디로 갔는지 모르겠고…
(chingudeuldo eodiro ganneunji moreugetgo…)
내가 아는 사람들이 전부 세상에서 사라져 버린 느낌이에요.
(naega aneun saramdeuri jeonbu sesangeseo sarajyeo beorin neukkimieyo.)

Translation:
Seori: “Ah, my parents passed away when I was 14. Suddenly from collapse accident.
After that I lived with my uncle and aunt.”
Yuchan: “Ah… But I wonder why did your uncle sell the house so suddenly?”
Seori: “I want to know too and it’s driving me crazy.
I thought he would still be living here…
The police said there was nothing they could do,
I don’t know where my friends are…
It feels like everyone I know in this world have disappeared completely.”

Vocabulary”
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

부모님 (bumonim): “parents”
돌아가시다 (doragasida): “pass away”
붕괴사고 (bunggoesago): “collapse accident”
경찰서 (gyeongchalseo): “police station”
전부 (jeonbu): “all”
느낌이에요 (neukkimieyo): “feels like”

4. 김비서가 왜 그럴까 (gimbiseoga wae geureolkka) — “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?”

This drama is a love story between a vice chairman of a major cooperation, Lee Young-joon, and his secretary, Kim Mi-so. After working with Lee Young-joon, the secretary, Kim Mi-so decides to resign her position and their love story begins from there. (Wikipedia)

The story is based on a web novel, written by Jun Kyung-yoon. Later on, the story was published again as a web cartoon. Also, this drama inspired in many young audience members a sense of style similar to Kim Mi-so’s.

Quote:
박서준: 그만하자
(Bakseojun: geumanhaja)
이러다 또 싸우게 되면 어떡해
(ireoda tto ssauge doemyeon eotteokae)
기껏 화해했는데
(gikkeot hwahaehaenneunde)
그리고 너무 예뻐서
(geurigo neomu yeppeoseo)
더 이상 화를 낼 수는 없군
(deo isang hwareul nael suneun eopgun)

Translation:
Bakseojun: “Let’s stop
What happens if I fight again
We just made up with each other
And because you are too pretty
I cannot be angry to you anymore.”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

그만하다 (geumanhada): “stop”
(tto): “again”
기껏 (gikkeot): “at the most; at best”
~와 화해하다 (~wa hwahaehada): “make up with somebody”
예쁘다 (yeppeuda): “to be pretty”

5. 라이프 (raipeu) — “Life”

This South Korean drama was written by 이수연 (Lee Soo-yeon), whose most famous Korean drama series previously was 비밀의 숲 (Stranger [2017]). There are two very famous main actors in this drama, who are 이동욱 (Lee Dong-wook) and 조승우 (Cho Seung-woo). To give you an idea of where these two actors appeared in the past: 이동욱 (Lee Dong-wook)’s previous appearance in Korean drama was in 도깨비 (Guardian: The Lovely and Great God) and 조승우 (Cho Seung-woo)’s previous appearance in Korean drama was in 비밀의 숲 (Stranger [2017]).

This story is a medical drama dealing with power struggles within the hospital. Ye Jin-Woo (Lee Dong-Wook) is a doctor in the emergency medical center at Sangkook University Hospital. He has a warm heart and charisma. Koo Seung-Hyo (Cho Seung-Woo), on the other hand, is the president at Sangkook University Hospital, and tends to be cool-headed and ambitious. (Asianwiki)

Quote:
※ Do you want to practice your pronunciation with the script below? Watch this video and practice speaking.

왜 이 길을 택했냐는 질문이 그 다음이더군요.
(wae i gireul taekaennyaneun jilmuni geu daeumideogunyo.)
사람 살리는 방법을 죽도록 공부했으니까
(saram sallineun bangbeobeul jukdorok gongbuhaesseunikka)
그리고 용기가 없어서.
(geurigo yonggiga eopseoseo.)
내 눈앞에서 사라지는 생명을 외면할 용기가 없어서.
(nae nunapeseo sarajineun saengmyeongeul oemyeonhal yonggiga eopseoseo.)

Translation:
“The next question is why I chose this road.
I studied how to save people from death.
And I do not have the courage.
I do not have the courage to turn away the life that disappears before my eyes.”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

택하다 (taekada): “choose”
질문 (jilmun): “question”
그리고 (geurigo): “and”
용기 (yonggi): “courage”
눈앞 (nunap): “before one’s eyes”
외면하다 (oemyeonhada): “turn one’s face away; look away”

6. 라이프 온 마스 (raipeu on maseu) — “Life on Mars”

Have you seen Life on Mars? This is a remake version of the British drama, Life on Mars.

Quote:
증거, 과학수사 뭐 법대로 하면 좋지.
(jeunggeo, gwahaksusa mwo beopdaero hamyeon jochi.)
그런데, 그런 것들 다 따지다가 사람이 죽어 나가요.
(geureonde, geureon geotdeul da ttajidaga sarami jugeo nagayo.)

Translation:
“Evidence, scientific investigation well it’s good if we abide by the law.
But, as we caught up in following all these rules, innocent people are dying.”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

증거 (jeunggeo): “evidence; proof”
과학수사 (gwahaksusa): “scientific investigation”
그런데 (geureonde): “but; however”
사람 (saram): “human”
죽어 나가다 (jugeo nagada): “die”

7. 친애하는 판사님께 (chinaehaneun pansanimkke) — “Your Honor”

This drama tells the story of identical twin brothers who have the same level of intellect, but lead entirely different lives. (Wikipedia)

Quote:
일단 반성문은 50장 정도로 가시죠.
(ildan banseongmuneun oo-ship jang jeongdoro gasijyo.)
판사가 일주일에 처리하는 사건만 100개가 넘는데,
(pansaga iljuire cheorihaneun sageonman Baek gaega neomneunde,)
반성문이 얼마나 많이 들어오겠어요?
(banseongmuni eolmana mani deureoogesseoyo?)

[skip]
시작합시다!
(sijakapsida!)
아아아! 판사 존경해요?
(aaa! pansa jongyeonghaeyo?)
판사도 알아요, 자기 존경 안하는거.
(pansado arayo, jagi jongyeong anhaneungeo.)
근데 다 무슨 존경하는 판사님이야?
(geunde da museun jongyeonghaneun pansanimiya?)
읽나? 안 읽지! 첫 줄부터 거짓말인데.
(ingna? an ilji! cheot julbuteo geojinmarinde.)
받아 적으세요. 친애하는 판사님께!
(bada jeogeuseyo. chinaehaneun pansanimkke!)
아 좋은 말이에요. 그냥 받아쓰셔!
(a joeun marieyo. geunyang badasseusyeo!)

Translation:
“Firstable, let’s start off with 50 letters of apology
There are over 100 cases a judge handles in a week,
Can you imagine how many letters of apology comes in?
Let’s start!
Ah! Do you respect a judge?
Any judges already know, they are not respected.
But why do you say that you respect judges?
Do you read? No you don’t! Because it is a lie from the first line.
Write it down, Dear Judge!
Oh good. Just write this down!”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

일단 (ildan): “first; at first”
반성문 (banseongmun): “letter of apology”
판사 (pansa): “judge”
처리하다 (cheorihada): “treat; handle”
존경 (jongyeong): “respect”
거짓말 (geojinmal): “lie”

8. 식샤를 합시다 3 (siksyareul hapsida 3) — “Let’s Eat 3”

This is the Korean drama that will make you hungry. They’ve just started airing season three of this TV drama, and if you love Korean food, it’s strongly recommended to watch from season one. Apart from well-known traditional Korean foods such as 비빔밥 (bibimbap), 불고기 (bulgogi), and 떡볶이 (Tteok-bokki), you’ll see many Korean foods that you’ve never seen before.

The story centers around two main characters named Goo Daeyoung (played by Yoon Doo-joon) and Lee Jiwoo (played by Baek Jin-hee). Thirty-something Goo Daeyoung struggles with his life. In order to heal his wounds, he decides to go on a journey to revisit the food that he loved in his twenties with his classmate, Lee Ji-woo. (Wikipedia)

Quote:
※ Do you want to practice your pronunciation with the script below? Watch this video and practice speaking.

대영: 야이 니들끼리 다 먹으면 어떻게
(Yundujun: yai nideulkkiri da meogeumyeon eotteoke)
친구: 야 물 부어서 다시 먹으면돼지, 이렇게
(Chingu: ya mul bueoseo dasi meogeumyeondwaeji, ireoke)
대영: 싱거워지잖아 그러면!
(Yundujun: singgeowojijana geureomyeon!)
지우: 아 됐다.
(Baekjinhui: a dwaetda.)
대영: 어? 뭐하는거야?
(Yundujun: eo? mwohaneungeoya?)
지우: 이러면, 부대찌개로 바뀌면서 간도 맞다. 먹어봐라
(Baekjinhui: ireomyeon, budaejjigaero bakkwimyeonseo gando matda. meogeobwara)

Translation:
Daeyoung: “What the… How did you eat all of them (without me?)”
A friend: “Well, we can eat more if we pour water, like this.”
Daeyoung: “If you do that it (the Kimchi soup) is going to be bland!”
Jiwoo: “Hey, stop.”
Daeyoung:“Ah? What are you doing?”
Jiwoo: “If we do like this, the soup is going to become sausage stew and it taste just right. Try it out.”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

붓다 (butda): “pour”
이렇게 (ireoke): “like this”
싱겁다 (singgeopda): “insipid; not properly salted”
그러면 (geureomyeon): “and, then, if you do”
부대찌개 (budaejjigae): “Sausage Stew”
간이 맞다 (gani matda): “be well seasoned”

9. 너도 인간이니? (neodo inganini?) — “Are You Human?”

Oh Laura is a scientist who was forced to separate from her son named Nam Shin. In order to cope with her loss, she builds various AI robots of her son, naming them Nam Shin one, two, and three. Nam Shin Three was sent to a corporation in order to protect the real Nam Shin’s position, because the real Nam Shin is in a coma. Meanwhile, Kang Sobong is hired as Nam Shin Three’s bodyguard. However, she starts to fall in love with him. (Wikipedia)

Quote:
남신3: 왜 나한테 거짓말했죠?
(namsin3: wae nahante geojinmalhaetjyo?)
회사 간다고 해놓고 병원에서 엄마 만났잖아요.
(hoesa gandago haenoko byeongwoneseo eomma mannatjanayo.)
인간 남산이 한국에 온 것도 말해주지 않았죠.
(ingan namsani hanguge on geotdo malhaejuji anatjyo.)
지영훈씨는 믿어도 되는 인간인가요, 아닌가요?
(jiyeonghunssineun mideodo doeneun inganingayo, aningayo?)
영훈: 뭘 착각하나 본데, 그쪽은 진짜 신이가 아니에요.
(yeonghun: mwol chakgakana bonde, geujjogeun jinjja siniga anieyo.)
날 믿든 안 믿든 내가 시키는대로만 해요.
(nal mitdeun an mitdeun naega sikineundaeroman haeyo.)
뭐하는겁니까 지금?
(mwohaneungeomnikka jigeum?)
남신3: 행동 모방학습.
(haengdong mobanghakseup.)
방금 지영훈씨 행동을 따라 해봤어요.
(banggeum jiyeonghunssi haengdongeul ttara haebwasseoyo.)
할 말이 남아서요.
(hal mari namaseoyo.)

Translation:
Namsin3: “Why did you lie to me?
You told us that you will go to work, but you met my mum instead.
You didn’t even tell me that human (real) Namsin is in Korea.
Should I trust you or not?”
Yeonghun: “I think you are confused, you are not real Sin (casual way to call Namsin)
(I don’t care) whether you trust me or not. Just follow my order.
What are you doing now?”
Namsin3: “Behavioral imitation learning
I tried to mimic your behaviour because I still have more to say.”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

거짓말 (geojinmal): “lie”
인간 (ingan): “human being.” Synonyms — 사람 meaning “a person”
착각하다 (chakgakada): “confused; mistaken”
시키다 (sikida): “to order”
지금 (jigeum): “now; right now”
모방 (mobang): “imitation.” Synonyms — 따라하다 (ttarahada) meaning “to mimic”
학습 (hakseup): “study; learning”

10. 시간 (shigan) — “Time”

Soo-Ho (played by Kim Jung-Hyun) is the CEO of a restaurant and the son of a family that runs the large company W. Because of him, Ji-Hyun’s (played by Seohyun) life is ruined. Ji-Hyun used to have a bright personality and easily socialized with others; however, after she lost her younger sibling, everything is changed.

The female lead is played by a member of Girls’ Generation. After they decided to disband the group, Seohyun changed her career to become an actress, and this is her eighth appearance in Korean drama. Her previous appearance was in 도둑놈, 도둑님 (Bad Thief, Good Thief [2017]).

Quote:
※ Do you want to practice your pronunciation with the script below? Watch this video and practice speaking.

지현: 무슨일이십니까 고객님
(Jihyeon: museunirisimnikka gogaengnim)
수호: 너 시력이 몇이야?
(Jeonghyeon: neo siryeogi myeochiya?)
지현: 네?
(ne?)
수호: 번호판 안보이냐고!
(beonhopan anboinyago!)
지현: 죄송합니다. 제가 안내를 잘못해드렸습니다.
(joesonghamnida. jega annaereul jalmothaedeuryeotseumnida.)
저쪽으로 가시면됩니다.
(jeojjogeuro gasimyeondoemnida.)
수호: 수신호는 왜 안해
(susinhoneun wae anhae)
수신호를 해야 할 거 아냐 혹시 나 지금 무시하는 거야?
(susinhoreul haeya hal geo anya hoksi na jigeum musihaneun geoya?)
수호: 사랑이 가득한 더블유 백화점에 오신것을 환영합니다.
(sarangi gadeukan deobeullyu baekwajeome osingeoseul hwanyeonghamnida.)
행복한 쇼핑 되십시오.
(haengbokan syoping doesipsio.)
행복은 개뿔
사람1: 미친거 아냐?
(saram1: michingeo anya?)
수호: 방금 뭐라고 그랬어?
(banggeum mworago geuraesseo?)
지현: 그게..
(geuge…)
사람1: 저 고객님 그게
(jeo gogaengnim geuge)
수호: 이젠 별게 날 무시하네?
(ijen byeolge nal musihane?)
지현: 너무한거 아니에요
(neomuhangeo anieyo)
지금 사람이 넘어진거 안보이시냐구요
(jigeum sarami neomeojingeo anboisinyaguyo)
수호: 지금 나한테 화내는거야?
(jigeum nahante hwanaeneungeoya?)
지현: 그럼 이 상황에서 화가 나지 안나겠어요?
(geureom isanghwangeseo hwaga naji annagesseoyo?)
사람이 넘어졌으면 괜찮댜고 물어보셔야죠.
(sarami neomeojyeosseumyeon gwaenchantyago mureobosyeoyajyo.)
그게 최선의 도리 아닌가요?
(geuge choeseonui dori aningayo?)

Translation:
Ji-Hyun: “How can I help you, sir?”
Soo-Ho: “How good is your sight?”
Ji-Hyun: “I beg your pardon?”
Soo-Ho: “Don’t you see my license plate?”
Ji-Hyun: “I’m sorry. I gave you the wrong directions.
VIP customers can go that way.”
Soo-Ho: “What about your hand signals?
You have to signal us so we can go.
Are you looking down on me?”
Ji-Hyun: “Welcome to W department store full of love.
Please have a great time shopping.”
Soo-Ho: “Great time? What a joke.”
Person 1: “Is he crazy?”
Soo-Ho: “What did you just say?”
Ji-Hyun: “Well…”
Person 1: “I… Actually, it.”
Soo-Ho: “Even things like these are looking down on me now.”
Ji-Hyun: “You are being too harsh
can’t you see that you made her fall?”
Soo-Ho: “Are you getting mad at me?”
Ji-Hyun: “Who wouldn’t get mad in this situation?
If someone fell, you should ask if they’re okay.
That’s common sense.”

Vocabulary:
※ Click on a word to listen to the Korean pronunciation.

무슨일이 십니까? (museuniri simnikka?): “What’s the trouble?”
고객님 (gogaengnim): “customer”
시력 (siryeok): “eyesight”
무시하다 (musihada): “ignore”
번호판 (beonhopan): “number plate”
수신호 (susinho): “hand signal”
백화점 (baekwajeom): “department store”
넘어지다 (neomeojida): “fall”
화내다 (hwanaeda): “angry; get mad at”
도리 (dori): “duty”

How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn Korean

KoreanClass101 has interesting and culturally relevant lessons that are easy to listen to. You can learn Korean with our mobile apps, desktop software, and websites with free Korean lessons, vocabulary list, word of the day, core 100 Korean words, and much more available for you to study in your free time.

Our goal is to make sure that our students are motivated to study and master Korean. Therefore, we’ve prepared free Korean lessons for you.

  • For an absolute beginner, here you can learn the Korean Alphabet, Hangul with a Korean teacher, and download free Korean study materials.
  • For beginner to intermediate learners, here you can improve your vocabulary.
  • For fun seekers, here you can learn how to write your name in Korean, and even create your own Korean name.

Do you have more questions about the Korean culture, language, or even the Korean dramas discussed in this blog post? Leave us a comment below, or use our forum. We hope you enjoyed our list of the top ten highest-rating Korean dramas, and we truly hope that you can master the language!

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How to Find a Job in South Korea

Working abroad is a great way to explore and immerse yourself in the local culture. Many Korean learners want to work in South Korea, and the number of foreigners who are employed by a Korean company is increasing every year. There are a few things that foreigners finding jobs in Korea need to know, so we’ve put together this guide for you.

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Table of Contents

  1. Benefits of Working in Korea
  2. The Most Popular Jobs in Korea
  3. Visa Requirements to Work in Korea
  4. Do I Need to Speak Korean to Work in South Korea?
  5. Popular Korean Job Hunting Sites
  6. Quick Tips for Korean CV and Resume
  7. Most Common Job Interview Questions in Korea
  8. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Finding a Job in Korea


1. Benefits of Working in Korea

So what’s the benefit of working in Korea? Many people wonder how much their income would be, but it totally depends on your work experience and the company you work for. So it’s important to consult with a recruiter if you want to know the average income you can expect in a specific position or an industry you wish to work in.

1- Overseas Work Experience

Working abroad gives you many benefits in your career development, as many companies appreciate candidates with abroad work experience. Korea has its unique working system and environment, and therefore by working and living in Korea, you’ll definitely enjoy your stay.

2- Korean Leisure Culture

There’s a lot to do for fun in South Korea and you can enjoy many leisures at a low cost. To give you a better idea of what to expect when working and living in Korea, we’ve explained in detail about how much it costs to live in Korea (focusing on Seoul). Feel free to read it.

3- Low Crime Rate

Korea possesses one of the lowest crime rates in the world. CCTVs are installed on every corner of every street and inside buildings. You’ll see a police car driving around the streets at night, and there’s even a free service, for women, where two volunteer workers walk home with you at night.


2. The Most Popular Jobs in Korea

We know it can be stressful searching for foreigners-friendly jobs in Korea, so we thought we’d put together a quick list of the most popular ones. One of the most common jobs that foreigners do in South Korea is teaching a language, especially English, due to high demand. Moreover, you can also find an office job in Korea. If you’re planning to stay in Korea for a year and want to find a part-time job in Korea, this is also a viable option. Below is a quick overview of the most famous jobs that foreigners do in South Korea:

Students Raising Hands

1- Language Teaching Jobs

If you’re a native English speaker who wants to have a career in teaching, finding a job will be a lot easier for you in Korea. There are many advantages of being a language teacher. Firstly, the majority of companies will provide free accomodation and take care of the visa process, meaning you don’t need to worry too much about the initial hiring process period. Some companies even provide free lunch as well. The pay for language teaching jobs in Korea is very decent, usually ranging between 2,000,000 KRW ~ 3,000,000 KRW, depending on your professional experience.

However, depending on which school you work for, you need to understand that working hours may not be flexible. For example, you may be expected to only teach grammar for the whole day, or be required to do extra activities like field trips or orchestral activities with the Korean students. So do check what your responsibilities are going to look like before applying for a job.

Researcher

2- Office Jobs

If you work at an office, you’ll have international experience. There are many international companies in South Korea that are aggressively hiring foreigners or 교포 (gyopos) also known as “Korean diaspora.” So if you’re qualified for a position, you’ll definitely be considered as a potential candidate. Moreover, if you work at a global company, many Korean employees are bilingual or multilingual, making it much easier for you to work on projects with them.

However, to find employment in Korea, it’s important to note that the majority of office jobs require fluency in Korean if your first language is not Korean. Therefore, you may struggle to find a job in Korea if you cannot speak Korean. You have to have a way to prove that you can speak the language, such as a TOPIK score or a Korean language school certificate.

If you’re an intermediate to advanced Korean speaker, or majored in Korean at a university in your country, you’ll be able to find many jobs available for you in Korea, such as translation jobs (Korean-to-English translation jobs are in demand) or language-related positions at a startup company or even global companies since these companies aggressively seek out bilingual candidates.

In contrast to language teaching jobs, many companies won’t provide free accomodation.

3- Blue-Collar Jobs

Jobs in the blue-collar industry such as automotive, chemical, electronic, and steel are of high employment need in Korea. Also, jobs like cleaning or farming are also highly in demand.

As these jobs usually don’t require Korean language skills or other specialized skills, they are perhaps the easiest way for foreigners to get a job. Many companies are foreigners-friendly and depending on the company you work for, accommodations may be provided. Finding a foreigners-friendly blue-collar job is similar to finding other work in Korea, so try to search blue-collar jobs with these keywords:

  • 공장 (gongjang) or “factory”
  • 화장품 공장 (hwajangpum gongjang) or “cosmetics factory”
  • 제품 생산직 (jepum saengsanjik) or “product production”
  • 단순포장 (dansunpojang) or “simple packing”
  • 야간 청소 (yagan cheongso) or “night shift cleaning”
  • 농장일 (nongjangil) or “working at a farm”

4- Health-, Science-, and Technology-related Jobs

Recently, more and more doctors from overseas are working in South Korean hospitals. Also, if you’re an engineer, many international companies, especially in the IT industry, hire foreign candidates in South Korea.

Going to Work


3. Visa Requirements to Work in Korea

We’re sure you know already that there are visa requirements for foreigners to work in Korea. There are many visas that you can choose from, and therefore it’s important for you to research each visa. Depending on the employment position in South Korea, you’ll need to acquire an appropriate visa in order to continue working and living in South Korea:

1- E2 Visa (The Standard English Teaching)

Career choice with E2 visa holders: Private schools, public schools, and language institutions.

2- E1 Visa (Similar to the E2 Visa)

Career choice with E1 visa holders: Any recognized Korean colleges and universities .

3- E5 Visa (Professional Employee)

Career choice with E5 visa holders: Corporations.

4- F3 Visa (Direct Family Member)

Career choice for F3 visa holders: Since this is an extended tourist visa, you’re not allowed to work in South Korea.

5- F4 Visa (For Korean Americans, Korean Canadians, etc.)

Career choice for F4 visa holders: You have the same rights as Korean citizens, therefore you can work in any business or organization in South Korea.

6- E7 Visa (12-month Working Holiday Visa)

Career choice for E7 visa holders: Depends. If you can speak Korean, you can work at a restaurant, shopping stores, and so on. If you cannot speak Korean, it may be difficult for you to work in a service industry.

The eligibility of each visa varies depending on your objective in working in South Korea. For this reason, if you’re uncertain which visa to obtain, consult with the South Korean embassy, or consulate in your home country or with your new employer. Also, make sure to apply two to three months early for a smooth visa process. Then, you’ll have fewer worries regarding finding a job in Korea.

Seoul


4. Do I Need to Speak Korean to Work in South Korea?

Korean language skill requirements completely depend on the company you’re applying for. However, if you can prove your language skills, you’ll definitely have an advantage above others applying for the same job. As for Korean skills, you’ll be asked to present a TOPIK test result (Test of Proficiency in Korean—website) or a certificate from 어학당 (eohakdang) which is a Korean language school that you went to.

For language teaching positions, you may need to be able to speak some Korean in order to communicate with students who otherwise would struggle to understand you. In addition, you’ll have a closer relationship with your students if you can speak Korean.

As for corporations, you do need to present proof that you can speak Korean. They don’t expect you to speak Korean fluently, but they’ll definitely appreciate and consider you more as a potential employee, since having a certificate or a TOPIK result demonstrates how ambitious you are to work in South Korea.

If you’re interested in finding the right Korean language institution for you, here’s a list for you to look at.

Website


5. Popular Korean Job Hunting Sites

There are many websites that you can use to find a job in South Korea. In general, these are the most popular Korean job searching websites for finding a job in Korea.

1- General Job (Available in English)

  • PeoplenJob — only international corporations in Korea
  • Indeed — for any corporation positions
  • Linkedin — for any corporation positions
  • Robert Walters — for any corporation positions
  • Craigslist — mainly English teaching jobs or waiter and waitress positions

2- General Job (Available only in Korean)

  • JobKorea — small to large corporations in Korea
  • Saramin — small to large corporations in Korea
  • Incruit — small to large corporations in Korea
  • Designerjob — for graphic designers
  • Mediajob — for video editors, writers, and so on

3- Part-time Job Search

  • 알바천국 — only available in Korean
  • 알바몬 — only available in Korean
  • Craigslist — mainly English teaching jobs or waiter and waitress positions
  • Apply Offline — this is explained below in “Others”

4- Community

5- Others

  • Volunteering in Korea
    • Language Exchange: Whether you want to make friends or gain teaching experience, if you speak English or any other popular languages (e.g. French, Japanese, Chinese, and so on), you can volunteer at a language exchange cafe. There are many language exchange events organized in South Korea, especially in Seoul and Busan. Your main duty is to converse with language learners in a casual and comfortable environment. If you search for language exchange events in South Korea, you can easily find many events, but if you’re not familiar with this, start off with Meetup Korea. All you need to do is select the location (e.g. Seoul, Busan, etc.) and go through the list of weekly events in your area.

      Also, depending on the time and the location, you may meet more university students or professional workers. Volunteering is a great way to make friends and consult about your career plans in Korea.

    • Other volunteering work: There are many volunteer groups organized by foreigners in Korea. Several locals and foreigners participate and do many activities together, therefore it’s a great opportunity to make friends while helping others who are in need. Here’s a list of volunteer groups:
  • Job Fair in Korea
    • Korea organizes a job fair annually, targeting foreigners in Korea. All of the companies that come to this job fair are foreigner-friendly, so keep an eye out for it. You can search for keywords like 외국인 취업박람회 (oegugin chwieopbangnamhoe) meaning “Job fair for foreign residents” or 외국인유학생 채용박람회 (oeguginyuhaksaeng chaeyongbangnamhoe) meaning “Job fair for international students” to find the date and the time. There will be many corporations offering job positions and internships for foreigners. Make sure to print your resume and your cover letter before attending the job fair.
  • Check Vacant Positions on a Website
    • You can always directly apply at the company you wish to work for. Many companies have a “career” page that lists all the open positions, so if you have some specific companies in mind, try to visit their websites and submit your application.
  • Apply offline
    • When finding a job in Korea, you can also apply offline if you want to find a part-time job, such as a waitress/waiter or cashier. If you’re looking for a part-time job in Korea, applying directly at the place is the best and quickest way to find a job. To do this, look for 스태프모집 (seutaepeumojip), 일할 사람 구함 (ilhal saram guham), 사람구함 (saramguham), or 직원구함 (jigwonguham) on the entrance of a shop. They usually put the hourly rate and preference, too. You do need to have a resume prepared and in-hand when you apply offline. As for larger corporations, applying offline is very rare. It’s recommended to submit the application directly to the company’s website or through recruiters.

Resume


6. Quick Tips for Korean CV and Resume

In Korea, you need to prepare 이력서 (iryeokseo), which is a Korean version of a resume. [image]. In addition, you’ll also need to write a 자기소개서 (jagisogaeseo) or “cover letter.” You can download a free template online or purchase the resume and cover letter documents at a convenience store. Below are some Korean job application tips that we think you’ll find useful.

1- Korean Resume Tips

Korean Resume Photo

You’ll need to attach a profile picture at the top right corner on the first page. Your profile picture for your resume is one of the most important elements of the resume, so try to get your pictures taken by a professional photographer in Korea. Koreans always wear a black business suit to look professional and your professional picture will most likely be photoshopped. This is because when your resume is handed to a potential employer, the first thing they’ll look at is your picture, and so it’s important to have a nice picture of yourself. The first impression matters in the business world, and this is no different in South Korea.

Education History

You need to arrange all of your education chronologically and you’ll also need to provide the year and the month of your graduation and entrance into schools. So try to write them down and save them somewhere in your drive. You’ll find this list helpful when finding a job in Korea.

2- Writing a Cover Letter in Korea

Koreans call the cover letter a 자기소개서 (jagiseogaeseo) or “self-introduction letter” [image] and Koreans usually write about the following:

  • 성장과정 (seongjanggwajeong) — Talk about your growth process
  • 학창시절 (hakchangsijeol) — Talk about your education
  • 성격소개 (seonggyeoksogae) — Talk about your personality
  • 지원동기 및 포부 (jiwondonggi mit pobu) — Talk about why you applied for this job and what you want to do

You can modify the topics if you want. When you write your self-introduction letter, make sure to emphasize your strengths and how your skills will benefit the company.

3- At the Interview

You need to:

  • Arrive for the interview 10 to 15 minutes early.
  • Print your resume and your cover letter and bring them with you.
  • Prepare the interview answers in Korean and English.
  • Bow to an interviewer and be polite!


7. Most Common Job Interview Questions in Korea

There’s not much difference when it comes to the job interview questions in Korea. Depending on which corporation you want to work for, the interview process may take two weeks to three months. Also, if you wish to apply for large corporations in Korea such as 삼성 (Samsung), 현대 (Hyundai), 엘지 (LG), or 대우 (Daewoo), you’ll take an examination which consists of testing your language ability and mathematical skills. For example, as for Samsung, once your job application (your cover letter and your resume) is submitted through their website, you’ll have a chance to undertake an exam called 삼성직무적성검사 (samseongjingmujeokseonggeomsa) called GSAT, which is an abbreviation for “Global Samsung Aptitude Test.” Normally, the exam is scheduled during the weeknd, and you can even take the exam in English. If you pass this exam, you’ll have the opportunity to go to the next round which involves group and individual interviews.

If you’re not sure what the interview process is going to be like, Koreans usually share their interview experiences online, such as on Specup, so if you’re confident in speaking Korean and want to find a job in Korea, take advantage of online community websites too.

The interview is one of the trickiest and most stressful activities in the hiring process. Since you can’t predict what kind of questions you’ll be asked, it’s important to prepare as many anticipated questions as possible with the appropriate answers.

Let’s have a look at common interview questions in Korea:

  • 자기소개를 해보세요. (jagi sogaereul haeboseyo.) — “Introduce yourself.”
  • 왜 저희가 당신을 고용해야 한다고 생각하십니까 ? (wae jeohuiga dangsineul goyonghaeya handago saenggakasimnikka?) — “Why do you think that we should hire you?”
  • 한국말 할 수 있나요? (hangungmal hal su innayo?) — “Do you speak Korean?”
  • 우리 회사에 대해 어떻게 알고 있나요? (uri hoesae daehae eotteoke algo innayo?) — “How did you find out about our company?”
  • 지금의 직장을 왜 그만두려고 합니까? (jigeumui jikjangeul wae geumanduryeogo hamnikka?) — “Why do you want to quit your current job?”
  • 5년 후의 당신의 모습은 어떨것 같나요? (onyeon huui dangsinui moseubeun eotteolgeot gannayo?) — “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  • There are many more questions you can expect to hear. However, be careful with the question below in particular:

  • 당신의 강점과 약점은 무엇인가요? (dangsinui gangjeomgwa yakjeomeun mueosingayo?) — “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
    • This question is often asked in South Korea. They want to know your weaknesses and if you can’t turn your weaknesses into something positive, you’ll end up giving a negative impression to the interviewer, so be careful with this question. It’s vital to give a good answer to this question when looking for employment in Korea.

In addition, they’ll usually go through your resume and ask many questions on the basis of your work experience. So try to come up with as many questions as possible and prepare the answers in Korean and English.


8. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You

The most important point is that there are many ways to find jobs in Korea, but if you speak the language, you’ll be able to find a job that you really like. Being able to speak Korean will definitely give you some advantages.

Also, before jumping into learning Korean, you’ll need to find someone who can support you, like a Korean native speaker and someone who can provide appropriate language study materials. In your case, they have to be related to finding a job in Korea.

MyTeacher at KoreanClass101 can definitely help you with business Korean and give practical advice on finding a job in South Korea. So why not sign up for a lifetime account today, assess your Korean language level, and have your own personalized learning program based on your needs?

We hope today’s lesson gave you some insight on working and living in Korea, and that our job application tips help you succeed and land your dream job. Thanks for reading and best of luck!

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How to Say I Love You in Korean - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in Korean could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your Korean partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At KoreanClass101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your Korean lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make Korean dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. Korean Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. Korean Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn Korean Faster?

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your Korean love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the Korean word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these Korean date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

Korean Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • 저랑 저녁 먹으러 가실래요?
  • Jeorang jeonyeok meogeureo gasillaeyo?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in Korean is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • 이번 주말에 시간 어때요?
  • Ibeon jumare sigan eottaeyo?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • 저랑 데이트하실래요?
  • Jeorang deiteuhasillaeyo?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • 내일 몇 시에 만날까요?
  • Naeil myeot sie mannalkkayo?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • 어디서 만날까요?
  • Eodiseo mannalkkayo?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • 멋져요. (to men) 예뻐요. (to women)
  • Meotjjeoyo. Yeppeoyo.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • 정말 귀여워요.
  • Jeongmal gwiyeowoyo.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • 여기 어때요?
  • Yeogi eottaeyo?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your Korean language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • 또 볼 수 있을까요?
  • Tto bol su isseulkkayo?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • 어디 다른 데 갈까요?
  • Eodi dareun de galkkayo?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • 좋은 데 알아요.
  • Joeun de arayo.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • 집까지 태워다 줄게요.
  • Jibkkaji taewoda julgeyo.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • 오늘 저녁 즐거웠어요.
  • Oneul jeonyeok jeulgeowosseoyo.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • 언제 다시 볼 수 있어요?
  • Eonje dasi bol su isseoyo?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • 전화할게요.
  • Jeonhwahalgeyo.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the Korean phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in Korean below!

Date Ideas in Korean

museum

  • 박물관
  • Bangmulgwan

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • 촛불 저녁 식사
  • chotbul jeonyeok siksa

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • 동물원에 가다
  • dongmurwone gada

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • 긴 산책을 하다
  • gin sanchaegeul hada

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • 오페라에 가다
  • operae gada

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • 아쿠아리움에 가다
  • akuariume gada

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • 해변을 걷다
  • haebyeoneul geotda

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • 소풍을 가다
  • sopungeul gada

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • 함께 요리를 하다
  • hamkke yorireul hada

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • 저녁 먹고 영화 보다
  • jeonyeok meokgo yeonghwa boda

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in Korean

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in Korean - think how impressed your date will be!

4. Korean Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in Korean yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in Korean? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your Korean love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in Korean

I love you.

  • 사랑해요.
  • Saranghaeyo.

Saying ‘I love you’ in Korean carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • 당신은 나에게 무척 소중해요.
  • Dangsineun naege mucheok sojunghaeyo.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • 나랑 사귈래?
  • Narang saguillae?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • 정말 아름다우세요.
  • Jeongmal areumdauseyo.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in Korean, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • 나는 너를 친구 이상으로 생각해.
  • Naneun neoreul chingu isangeuro saenggakae.

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the Korean dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • 백 개의 심장도 너를 향한 내 모든 사랑을 담기에는 너무 모자랄거야.
  • Baek gaeui simjangdo neoreul hyanghan nae modeun sarangeul damgieneun neomu mojaralgeoya.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • 사랑은 그저 사랑이다. 절대 설명 될 수 없다.
  • Sarangeun geujeo sarangida. Jeoldae seolmyeong doel su eopda.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • 정말 잘생기셨어요.
  • Jeongmal jalsaenggisyeoseoyo.

Ladies, this phrase lets your Korean love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • 나는 너에게 반했어.
  • Naneun neoege banhaeseo.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • 당신 덕분에 난 더 좋은 사람이 되고 싶어졌어요.
  • Dangsin deokbune nan deo joeun sarami doego sipeojyeoseoyo.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your Korean girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • 당신이 하는 모든 일이 사랑으로 행해지기를.
  • Dangsini haneun modeun iri sarangeuro haenghaejigireul.

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • 내 사랑 당신은 내 행복의 근원이에요.
  • Nae sarang dangsineun nae haengbogui geunwonieyo.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • 말은 당신을 위한 내 사랑을 설명 할 수 없습니다.
  • Mareun dangsineul wihan nae sarangeul seolmyeong hal su eopseumnida.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • 우리는 천생연분이야.
  • Urineun cheonsaengyeonbuniya.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • 만약 이 글을 읽는 동안 누군가에 대해 생각하고 있었다면, 당신은 분명 사랑에 빠졌습니다.
  • Mannyak i geureul ingneun dongan nugungae daehae saenggakago iseotdamyeon, dangsineun bunmyeong sarange ppajyeotseumnida.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. Korean Quotes about Love

Korean Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your Korean lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in Korean that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

Korean Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your Korean lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the Korean custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

Korean Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • 우리 얘기 좀 하자.
    • Uri yaegi jom haja.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • 네가 아니야. 나야.
    • Nega aniya. Naya.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your Korean lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • 난 그냥 이런 종류의 연애를 위한 준비가 안 됐어.
    • Nan geunyang ireon jongnyuui yeonaereul wihan junbiga an dwaesseo.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • 우리 그냥 친구하자.
    • Uri geunyang chinguhaja.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in Korean, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • 우리에게 휴식이 필요하다고 생각해.
    • Uriege hyusigi piryohadago saenggakae.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • 너는 내게 과분한 사람이야.
    • Neoneun naege gwabunhan saramiya.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • 우리는 다른 사람을 만나기 시작해야 해.
    • Urineun dareun sarameul mannagi sijakaeya hae.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • 내 공간이 필요해.
    • Nae gonggani piryohae.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • 우리 진도가 너무 빠른 것 같아.
    • Uri jindoga neomu ppareun geot gata.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • 나는 일에 집중해야 해.
    • Naneun ire jipjunghaeya hae.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • 나는 너에게 충분하지 않아.
    • Naneun neoege chungbunhaji ana.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • 난 그냥 너를 더 이상 사랑하지 않아.
    • Nan geunyang neoreul deo isang saranghaji ana.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • 우리는 그냥 서로 안 맞아.
    • Urineun geunyang seoro an maja.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • 이게 최선이야.
    • Ige choeseoniya.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • 우리는 멀어졌어.
    • Urineun meoreojyeosseo.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn Korean faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. KoreanClass101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the Korean language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn Korean Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your Korean speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    KoreanClass101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you Korean, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn Korean even faster.

    2- Having your Korean romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced Korean language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive Korean lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your Korean partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why KoreanClass101 helps you learn Korean Even Faster when you’re In Love

    Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to be a Good Lover in Korean

    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking Korean is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at KoreanClass101 is translated into both English and Korean. So, while your partner can help you learn Korean faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with Korean Culture
    At KoreanClass101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Korea. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your Korean partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic Korean Phrases
    You now have access to KoreanClass101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your Korean soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    Korean Honorific Titles: Oppa, Unni, Hyung, Nuna & more

    Whether you’re the youngest or oldest person in a group, you’re expected to behave in a certain way in South Korea. For example, it’s important to show respect to someone who is older or of higher status than you by following expected protocol. This blog will guide you through how to use Korean honorific names and offer you cultural insights, so that you don’t offend Koreans next time you travel to South Korea!

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    1. Master List of Korean Honorific Titles

    Before we begin, did you know that Korean and International age are different? Try to calculate your 한국 나이 (“Korean age”) the way that Koreans would. Also, keep in mind that there’s numerous ways to address someone who is older than you.

    Definition of Each Korean Title:

    • 오빠 (oppa)
      • Literal meaning: “older brother”
      • Is also used to call: A male friend or a male sibling who’s older than you (as a female)
      • Is used by: A younger female to call an older male friend or sibling
      • Example: 정국오빠, 사랑해요! (Jungkook oppa, saranghaeyo!)
    • (hyeong; hyung)
      • Literal meaning: “older brother”
      • Is also used to call: A male friend or a male sibling who’s older than you (as a male)
      • Used by: A younger male to call an older male friend or sibling
      • Example: 정국형 (Jungkook hyung)
    • 언니 (eonni; unnie)
      • Literal meaning: “older sister”
      • Is also used to call: A female friend or a female sibling who’s older than you (as a female)
      • Used by: A younger female to call an older female or sibling
      • Example: 수지언니 (Sooji unnie/eonni)
    • 누나 (nuna; noona)
      • Literal meaning: “older sister”
      • Is also used to call: A female friend or a female sibling who’s older than you (as a male)
      • Used by: A younger male to call an older female or sibling
      • Example: 수지누나 (Sooji noona/nuna)
    • 선배 (sunbae; seonbae)
      • Literal meaning: “senior”
      • Is used to call: A female or male student who’s older than you at school/university
      • Used by: A younger female or male student
      • Example: If you’re a senior at a university and your friend is a freshman, you’re 선배 (sunbae/seonbae) to them.
      • Opposite word of 선배 (sunbae; seonbae) is 후배 (hu-bae)
    • 후배 (hubae; hoobae)
      • Literal meaning: “junior”
      • Is used to call: A female or male student who’s younger than you at school/university
      • Used by: An older student to call someone who’s younger than him/her
      • Example: If your friend is a freshman at a university and you’re a senior, your friend is 후배 (hu-bae).
      • Opposite word of 후배 (hu-bae) is 선배 (sunbae; seonbae)
    • 동생 (dongsaeng)
      • Literal meaning: “younger sibling”
      • Is used to call: A younger male or female sibling or any friend who’s younger than you (as a female/male)
      • Used by: An older male/female or an older sibling to one who’s younger than them
      • Side note: You don’t use this word when you call them. Call them by name.
      • Example:
        • 걔는 내 여자친구가 아니야. 그냥 아는 동생이야.
        • Gyaeneun nae yeoja chinguga aniya. Geunyang aneun dongsaengiya.
        • “She’s not my girlfriend. She’s just a younger friend I know.”
    • 여동생 (yeodongsaeng)
      • Literal meaning: “younger sister”
      • Is used to call: A younger female sibling or any female who’s younger than you (as a female/male)
      • Used by: An older male/female or an older sibling to a female who’s younger than them
      • Side note: You don’t use this word when you call them. Call them by name.
      • Example:
        • 내 여동생 소개할게; 이름은 김수진이야. 수진아, 인사해.
        • Nae yeodongsaeng sogaehalge; ireumeun Kim Sujiniya. Sujina, insahae.
        • “Let me introduce my sister; her name is Kimk Sujin. Hey Sujin, say hi.”
    • 남동생 (namdongsaeng)
      • Literal meaning: “younger brother”
      • Is used to call: A younger male sibling or any male who’s younger than you (as a female/male)
      • Used by: An older male/female or an older sibling to call a male who’s younger
      • Side note: You don’t use this word when you call them. Call them by name.
      • Example:
        • A: 준철이 어디 있어? (Juncheori eodi isseo?) “Where is Juncheol?”
        • B: 아, 내 남동생? 지금 피씨방에 있어. (A, nae namdongsaeng? jigeum pissibange isseo.) “Ah, my brother? He is at PC bang.”
    • (ssi)
      • Literal meaning: “Mr./Miss/Mrs.”
      • Is used to call: Someone whom you need to show some respect to
      • Used for: Business environment
      • Example: 소희씨 (Sohuissi)
    • (nim)
      • Literal meaning: “Mr./Miss/Mrs.” (It’s more polite and respectful than 씨[ssi])
      • Is used to call: Someone whom you need to show some respect to
      • Used for: Business environment
      • Example: 소연님 안녕하세요 (Soyeonnim annyeonghaseyo)
    • 어머님 (umonim; eomeonim)
      • Literal meaning: 어머니 (eomeoni) “mother”
      • Is an honorific form of 어머니 (eomeoni) “mother”
      • Is used to call: A mother-in-law or your acquaintance’s mother
      • Used by: female/male
      • Synonyms: 엄마 (eomma) A casual way to say “mother”
    • 아버님 (abunim)
      • Literal meaning: 아버지 (abeoji) “father”
      • Is an honorific form of 아버지 (abeoji) “father”
      • Is used to call: A father-in-law or your acquaintance’s father
      • Used by: female/male
      • Synonyms: 아빠 (appa) A casual way to say “father”
      • Example: 좋은 말씀 감사합니다! (Joeun malsseum gamsahamnida) “Thanks for your kind words!”
    • 아주머니 (ajumoni)
      • Literal meaning: “middle-aged woman; madam”
      • Is used to call: A woman in her forties to sixties
      • Used by: female/male
      • Synonyms: 아줌마 (ajumma) A casual way to say 아주머니 (ajumoni)
      • Although 아줌마 is commonly used in daily life (compare to 아주머니) , it may offend some women. Therefore, if you’re not sure how to draw the attention of a middle-aged woman, just attract her attention by saying 죄송한데요… (Joesonghandeyo̷ ;) “Excuse me.”
    • 아저씨 (ajusshi)
      • Literal meaning: “middle-aged man; mister”
      • Is used to call: A man in his forties to sixties
      • Used by: female/male
      • Example: 아저씨, 이거 얼마예요? (Ajeossi, igeo eolmayeyo?) “How much is this?”
    • 할아버지 (halabuji)
      • Literal meaning: “grandfather”
      • Is used to call: An old man over seventy years old
      • Used by: female/male
      • Example: 할아버지 편찮으세요? (Harabeoji pyeonchaneuseyo?) “Are you feeling okay, grandfather?”
    • 할머니 (halmeoni)
      • Literal meaning: “grandmother”
      • Is used to call: An old woman over seventy years old
      • Used by: female/male
      • Example: 할머니, 새해 복 많이 받으세요! (Halmeoni, saehae bok mani badeuseyo!) “Happy New Year, grandmother!”
    • 아가씨 (agassi)
      • Literal meaning: “young lady; miss”
      • Is used to call: A young lady who isn’t married yet
      • Used by: older people
      • Example: 아가씨, 혈액형이 뭐예요? (Agassi, hyeoraekyeongi mwoyeyo?) “What is your blood type?”
    • 이모님 (imonim)
      • Literal meaning: “my aged aunt”
      • Is used to call: A woman in her fifties to sixties
      • Used for: Restaurants in the casual atmosphere
      • Used by: female/male
      • Example: (at a restaurant)
        • 이모(님)! 여기 소주 한 병 주세요!
        • Imo(nim)! Yeogi soju han byeong juseyo
        • Imo(nim)! Please give me a bottle of Soju!”

    Korean Friends

    To add a Korean title is very easy. What you need to do is ask a person’s Korean age and her/his name. After that, just add Korean honorifics after their names. For example:

    • 철수 (Chulsoo) + 형 (hyung) = 철수 형 (Chulsoo hyung)
    • 지민 (Jimin) + 오빠 (oppa) = 지민 오빠 (Jimmin oppa)
    • 효린 (Hyorin) + 언니 (unnie) = 효린 언니 (Hyorin unnie)
    • 현아 (Hyuna) + 누나 (noona/nuna) = 현아 누나 (Hyuna noona/nuna)

    In general, don’t use 여동생 (yeodongsaeng) or 남동생 (namedongsaeng) to call someone who’s younger than you. Call them by their name, such as 지민아 (jimina), 혜지야 (hyejiya). If you don’t have a Korean name, there won’t be any 아 or 야 after your name, so it will be only 제이슨 (jeiseun), 테레사 (teresa), 민탕 (mintang), 리하오 (rihao). For those who don’t know how to write your own name in Korean or want to have a Korean name, KoreanClass101 has a page dedicated to writing Korean names. In Korea, when you meet someone for the first time, the conversation below is often:

    소희: 소연 씨는 한국 나이로 몇 살이에요?
    Sohee: Soyeon ssineun hanguk nairo myeot sarieyo?
    “How old are you Soyeon?”

    소연: 한국 나이로 25살이에요.
    Soyeon: Hanguk nairo 25 sarieyo.
    “I am 25 years old (Korean age).”

    소희: 아, 난 올해 26살인데!
    Sohee: A, nan olhae 26 sarinde!
    “I see, I am 26 years old!”

    소연: 아, 그렇군요, 앞으로 소희언니라고 부를게요.
    Soyeon: A, geureokunyo, apeuro sohuieonnirago bureulgeyo.
    “I see, I will call you Sohee unnie from now on.”

    A. Cultural Insight: What it Means to be Older

    In Korea, age is important and addressing someone with an appropriate title is crucial. Also, you need to show respect to someone who is one year older or even just a few months older than you. This might sound crazy at first, but if you happen to be older than other fellows, there are many benefits you can enjoy:

    Korean Culture

    1- Benefits of Being Older in Korea

    1. You can order 동생 (dongsaeng) “young fellows” to do things for you.
    If you’re older (either 오빠/형 oppa; hyung/hyeong or 언니/누나 unni/unnie; noona/nuna) and want to ask someone to bring you something or do things for you, you’re allowed to do this simply because you’re older. You can request simple tasks such as bringing you the phone (if it’s far from you), buying some food for you from the supermarket, and many other small tasks that you don’t want to do.

    2. Others will show respect to you by bowing to you.
    Koreans don’t wave or shake hands to say hello or goodbye to their seniors. You need to bow to elders to show courtesy. Also, did you know that there are different degrees of the bow to show politeness? A fifteen-degree bow is a very common way of greeting elders, and a forty-five-degree bow is to show the highest degree of politeness. Pro tip: Pay attention to 한국 드라마 (hanguk deurama) “Korean dramas.”

    3. People will speak to you with formal language.
    Do you know how to say a formal and informal “hello” in Korean? You can not say 안녕 (annyeong)—which is an informal greeting in Korean—to someone who is older than you. 안녕 (annyeong) is used when you’re speaking with someone of the same age or someone who is younger than you. If you want to greet an older person, you need to use formal language. In this case, you need to say 안녕하세요 (annyeong haseyo) which is a formal greeting in Korean.

    Let’s see if you can distinguish the difference:

    A: 효린아, 안녕. 주말 잘 보냈어?
    Hyorina, annyeong. Jumal jal bonaesseo?
    “Hello, Hyorin. How was your weekend?”

    B: 효린 언니/누나, 안녕하세요. 주말 잘 보내셨어요?
    Hyorin unni/unnie; noona/nuna, annyeonghaseyo. Jumal jal bonaesyeosseoyo?
    “Hello, Hyorin unnie. How was your weekend?”

    Which sentence uses formal language? Which one uses informal language? That’s right. A is informal language and B is formal language. Here’s another example. Let’s say that you’re working on a group assignment and you found out that you’re the youngest in the group. Which expression is most likely used by you?

    A: 나 지금 어디 빨리 가야 해서, 나중에 얘기하자.
    Na jigeum eodi ppalli gaya haeseo, najunge yaegihaja.
    “Sorry, I have to go somewhere quickly, let’s talk later.”

    B: 선배님, 그럼 연락처 알려주시겠어요?
    Seonbaenim (or Sunbaenim), geureom yeollakcheo allyeojusigesseoyo?
    “Okay, seonbaenim (or Sunbaenim), can I have your contact number?”

    Korean Girl

    2- Disadvantages of Being Older in Korea

    However, regardless of how you can take advantages of these things mentioned above, there are also downsides about being older in a group:

    1. You are expected to pay for the lunch/dinner.
    Have you ever heard someone say 내가 한턱 쏜다! (Naega hanteok ssonda) or 내가 쏠께 (Naega ssolkke)? It means “This is on me!” and these expressions are often used in South Korea, so it’s good to memorize them. You may be expected to pay for many activities such as lunch, dinner, movies, and so on if you’re older, and this is accepted in the workplace as well.

    (You ordered some food at a café and 선배님 wants to pay for you.)

    선배: 내가 오늘 한턱 쏜다!
    Naega oneul hanteok ssonda!
    “Today, it’s all on me!”

    후배: 우와, 선배님 짱! 감사합니다!
    Uwa, sunbaenim jjang! Gamsahamnida!
    “Wow, thank you, sunbae (or seonbae)!”

    2. You need to lead the group.
    People show a decent respect to you, follow your orders, use formal language, and even bow to you when greeting. It does feel great, right? However, did you know that they expect you to show a strong leadership in return? Also, if they trust you, they will come to you to receive advice as well. So be prepared for it!

    3. It might become difficult for you to make friends.
    When you take advantage of your power, it may be fun for you in the beginning, but be prepared for consequences. No one wants to be with someone who likes controlling people. So be cautious of your actions.

    B. Cultural Insight: What it Means to be Younger

    Korean Child

    If you’re younger or the youngest in a group, there are a number of things you’ll need to do for older people, including:

    1- Use formal language/bow every time you meet them.
    As explained above, you need to show respect to someone who is older or who has higher status than you. This may be challenging at first if you’re not used to it, but using appropriate Korean honorific titles is important in South Korea, so do your best to use these! Also, show some respect by bowing to them. There may also be times where you have to follow their orders even if you don’t want to, but it really depends on the person, so don’t worry too much about this.

    A lot of students who are learning Korean struggle with 존댓말 (jondaenmal) “formal language,” but don’t worry, it takes time to get used to these Korean honorifics. If you’re able to use Korean honorific expressions when speaking to people in Korea, they will be surprised at first (because you’re fluent in Korean!) but they’ll also show great respect to you in return. Let’s try to learn a few different Korean honorifics:

    - When you speak to a professor:
    교수님, 집에 고양이 키우고 계세요? (formal language)
    Gyosunim, jibe goyangi kiugo gyeseyo?
    “Professor, are you raising a cat at home?”

    - When you speak to a male who’s older than you
    지민오빠, 집에 고양이 키우고 계세요? (formal language)
    Jimin oppa, jibe goyangi kiugo gyeseyo?
    Jimin oppa, are you raising a cat at home?”

    - When you speak to someone who’s the same age as you
    영웅아, 집에 고양이 키워? (informal language)
    Yeongung-a, jibe goyangi kiwo?
    Yeongung, are you raising a cat at home?”

    2- Unless they allowed you to do so, never use informal language.
    Not all Koreans strictly follow this rule as more and more people in Korea want to establish close relationships with others of different ages and backgrounds. Some 형 (hyeong; hyung), 누나 (noona; nuna), 오빠 (oppa), 언니 (unnie; unni), and 선배 (sunbae) allow 남동생 (namedongsaeng), 여동생 (yeodongsaeng), 후배 (hubae; hoobae) to speak 반말 (banmal) “informal language” in order to build a closer relationship with them and to erase hierarchy. However, it’s important to understand that you can’t use 반말 (banmal) unless you have been told to do so. If you start speaking informal language suddenly, there is a high chance that you’ll offend them.

    2. Business/Work Titles

    Korean Greeting

    We’ve learned from the list of Korean honorific titles that if there’s someone who is older or has higher status than you at work, he or she will most likely call your name by [name]씨. There are many other titles that you can use in the workplace. For instance, if you want to call your colleagues and superiors, you can use [name]님 or [name]대리님 or another work title accordingly.

    Here’s a list of commonly used work titles in Korea (ordered from higher status to lower status):

    Title Romanization Meaning
    회장님 hoejang-nim “Chairman(woman)”
    사장님 sajang-nim “President” or “CEO”
    전무이사님 jeonmuisa-nim “Sr. Managing Director”
    상무이사님 sangmooisa-nim “Managing Director”
    이사님 isa-nim “Director”
    부장님 bujang-nim “Division Head”
    차장님 chajang-nim “Vice Head of a Division”
    과장님 gwajang-nim “Head of a Unit”
    대리님 daeri-nim “Assistant Manager”
    팀장님 timjang-nim “Team Leader”
    사원 sawon “Employee”

    If you want to call someone from your work, simply add an appropriate title after his or her name.

    For example:

    • 윤서 대리님 (yunseo daerinim)
    • 민경 과장님 (mingyeong gwajangnim)
    • 민호 이사님 (minho isanim)

    Keep in mind that not all Korean companies strictly follow these rules. Other (foreign) companies 외국계 회사 (oegukgye hoesa) “a foreign-affiliated firm” or start-up companies use either English names or 님 to everyone to allow for flat organization.

    3. Be Careful When You Use Korean Honorific Titles!

    Korean Flag

    It can be difficult to learn at first because there are many rules that you need to remember. Here are some tips for you to memorize so that you don’t make these mistakes in the future!

    To call a taxi driver:
    - Don’t: 택시기사씨 (taeksigisassi)
    - Do: 택시기사님 (taeksigisanim); 기사님 (gisanim)

    To call an old lady:
    - Don’t: 아주머니씨 (ajumonissi); 아줌마씨 (ajummassi)
    - Do: 아주머니 (ajumoni), 아줌마 (ajumma)

    To call an old man:
    - Don’t: 아저씨씨 (ajusshissi); 아저씨님 (ajussinim)
    - Do: 아저씨 (ajusshi)

    To call a grandfather:
    - Don’t: 할아버지님 (halabujinim)
    - Do: 할아버지 (halabuji)

    4. KoreanClass101 Can Help You Improve Your Korean

    KoreanClass101 has a lesson that discusses Korean honorifics in detail, so please check out our free Korean lesson “Show People Respect with Korean Honorific Speech.”

    Even if you can read and understand Korean well, it can be problematic if you can’t pronounce the language properly. We have a free lesson on “How to Sound Like a Native: Korean Pronunciation” as well, so please check it out!

    If you have any questions regarding the Korean language, culture, and more, check out our KoreanClass101 forum.

    감사합니다 (polite form of “thank you” in Korean). We hope that you learned a lot of Korean honorifics today! Go put them to good use on your next visit to Korea!

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    The 6 Dialects of South Korea and Ways to Distinguish

    Depending on where you’re from in South Korea, people speak with a different accent. This is called 방언 (bangeon) or 사투리 (saturi) in Korean. Also, the Korean language that you learn is standard Korean language, which is the Gyeonggi dialect. We won’t go into too much detail about how Gyeonggi dialect and the standard Korean language differ, since this is a very complicated topic. Instead, we’re going to introduce something more interesting; we’re going to introduce six different dialects in South Korea and how you can distinguish between them.

    The important message to you is that we don’t expect you to memorize the different dialect usage. Just note that there are different dialects in South Korea and that they sound different. Once you know these dialects, your trip will be more interesting since you’ll be able to recognize the different sounds and accents.

    Table of Contents

    1. 경기 방언 (Gyeonggi dialect)
    2. 강원 방언 (Gangwon dialect)
    3. 충청 방언 (Chungcheong dialect)
    4. 경상 방언 (Gyeongsang dialect)
    5. 전라도 방언 (Jeollado dialect)
    6. 제주 방언 (Jeju dialect)

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    1. 경기 방언 (Gyeonggi dialect)

    Seoul

    경기 방언 (gyeonggi bangeon), or the Gyeonggi dialect, is used in a number of areas in South Korea and is concentrated in Seoul and Incheon. This dialect is the standard language that you’ll learn when you study Korean, and it’s used in most of the TV shows, radio stations, news channels, and so on. Everyone in Korea will understand this dialect, even if the person whom you’re speaking to uses a different dialect.

    Let’s listen to 경기방언: Just to give you an idea of what the gyeonggi dialect (a.k.a. Seoul dialect) sounds like, you can watch this video.

    1- Characteristics of Gyeonggi dialect:

    1 - They change ㅗ sounds to ㅜ
    Example:

    • 먹고 싶다 (meokgo sipda) or “I want to eat” -> 먹구 싶다 (meokgu sipda) or “I want to eat”
    • ~하기도 하다 (~hagido hada) or “sometimes I~” -> 하기두 하다 (~hagidu hada) or “sometimes I~”

    2 - You add an extra consonant such as ㄹ to a word
    Example:

    • 이거로 (igeoro) or “this one” -> 이걸로 or 이걸루 (igeollo or igeollu) meaning “this one”

    2. 강원 방언 (Gangwon dialect)

    Korean Flag

    강원 방언 (Gangwon dialect) is spoken in 강원 (Gangwon) which is located in Northeast South Korea. This place is famous for having many mountains and forests. Also, the Pyeongchang Olympic was hosted in this province in 2018.

    Let’s listen to 강원 방언 (Gangwon dialect): Pay attention to the grandmother in this video, as she speaks with a very strong 강원 (gangwon) dialect.

    1- Characteristics of 강원 방언 (Gangwon dialect):

    1 - They pronounce ㅆ as ㅅ
    Example:

    • 쌀 (ssal) meaning “rice” -> 살 (sal)
    • 싸움 (ssaum) meaning “fight” -> 사움 (saum)
    • 쓰레기 (sseuregi) -> 스레기 (seuregi)

    2- They changeㅏ to ㅓ at the end of a sentence
    Example:

    • 합시다 (hapsida) meaning “let’s do this” -> 합시더 (hapsideo)
    • 남자 (namja) meaning “man” -> 머스마 (meoseuma)

    3 - They use various words at the end of a question, such as -나, -노, -고, -가, and so on
    Example:

    • 비 와? (bi wa?) meaning “is it raining?” -> 비오나? (biona?)
    • 누구 책이야? (nugu chaegiya?) meaning “whose book is it?” -> 누 책인고? (nu chaegingo?)
    • 어디가? (eodiga?) meaning “where are you going?” -> 어데 가노? (eode gano?)

    2- Example of 강원 방언 (Gangwon dialect):

    강원방언 (Gangwon dialect) is underlined in these example sentences.

    • 여러분께 알려드립니다.
      yeoreobunkke allyeodeurimnida.
      “I would like to make an announcement to you.”
      여러분들인데 알코 디레요. (yeoreobundeurinde alko direyo.)
    • 큰일났어요.
      keunillasseoyo.
      “We have a problem.”
      클나싸요. (keullassayo.)
    • 어디 계십니까?
      eodi gyesimnikka?
      “Where are you?” (honorific expression)
      어데 간? (eode gan?)
    • 그것은 무엇입니가?
      geugeoseun mueosimniga?
      “What is this?”
      그건 머인? (geugeon meoin?)
    • 지금까지 잤어?
      jigeumkkaji jasseo?
      “You slept until now?”
      여적 잔? (yeojeok jan?)
    • 저기 있는 저 아이는 누구입니까?
      jeogi inneun jeo aineun nuguimnikka?
      “Who is the child over there?”
      쟈는 누꼬? (jyaneun nukko?)
    • 어머, 어떡하면 좋아!
      eomeo, eottekhamyeon joa!
      “Oh my goodness, what should I do!”
      우아노! (uano!)

    3. 충청 방언 (Chungcheong dialect)

    Korean Alphabet

    The 충청 방언 (Chungcheong dialect) is commonly used in many regions of South Korea, mainly concentrated in 충청북도 and 충청남도, which are both located right below 서울 경기도.

    Let’s listen to 충청 방언 (Chungcheong dialects): Are you interested in what 충청 방언 sounds like? Listen to the dialogue of these two MCs in this video. The lady in the red dress speaks the standard Korean language and the man on the left speaks with a very strong 충청 방언 (Chungcheong dialect).

    1- Characteristics of 충청 방언 (Chungcheong dialects)

    1 - If the last word of the sentence ends with ㅐ or ㅔ, it changes to ㅑ
    Example:

    • 피곤해 (pigonhae) meaning “I feel tired” -> 피곤햐 (pigonhya)
    • 뱀 (baem) meaning “snake” -> 뱜 (byam)
    • 뱀에게 물렸대 (baemege mullyeotdae) meaning “someone was beaten by a snake” -> 뱜한태 물렸댜 (byamhantae mullyeotdya)

    2 - If the last word of a sentence ends with 야, it changes to 여
    Example:

    • 아니야 (aniya) meaning “be not” -> 아니여 (aniyeo)
    • 뭐야? (mwoya?) meaning “what is it?” -> 뭐여 (mwoyeo)

    2- Example of 충청 방언 (Chungcheong dialects)

    Let’s look at some more examples. (We underlined the Chungcheong dialect examples for you.)

    학교에서 (hakgyoeseo) “at school”
    A: 왜그래 뭐 화나는 일 있어?
    A: waegeurae mwo hwananeun il isseo?
    A: “What’s the matter?”
    A: 왜 그랴? 뭐 씅깔나는일 있어? (wae geurya? mwo sseungkkallaneunil isseo?)

    B: 아침에 버스 놓쳐서 택시타고 왔어
    B: achime beoseu nochyeoseo taeksitago wasseo.
    B: “Yeah, I missed the bus so I took a taxi this morning.”
    B: 어, 아침에 버스 뼈서 택시타고 왔어. (eo, achime beoseu ppyeoseo taeksitago wasseo.)

    A: 근데 태산이는?
    A: geunde taesanineun?
    A: “But where is Taesan?”
    A: 근데 태산이는? (geunde taesanineun?)

    B: 응, 머리에 돌 맞아서 입원했대.
    B: eung, meorie dol majaseo ibwonhaetdae.
    B: “Yeah, he was hospitalized because he was hit by a stone on his head.”
    B: 응, 대굼빡에 독짝 맞아서 입원했댜. (eung, daegumppage dokjjak majaseo ibwonhaetdya.)

    A: 그래?
    A: geurae?
    A: “Really?”
    A: 기여? (giyeo?)

    4. 경상 방언 (Gyeongsang dialect)

    Busan

    The 경상 방언 (Gyeongsang dialect) is commonly used in the Gyeongsang region of South Korea. Cities that use this dialect are Busan, Daegu, and Ulsan.

    Let’s listen to 경상 방언 (Gyeongsang dialect): Watch this video of two people with different dialects. The guy on the left speaks 경기 방언 (gyeonggi bangeon) or the “Gyeonggi dialect” and the lady on the right speaks with the 전라 방언 (Jeolla dialect). Can you hear the difference?

    1- Characteristics of 경상 방언 (Gyeongsang dialect)

    1 - There are a number of words that they change:

    • 으 becomes 어
    • 의 becomes 에
    • 그 becomes 거
    • ㅚ becomes ㅐ
    • ㅟ becomesㅣor ㅡ

    Example:

    • 저쪽 위에 있다. (jeojjok wie itda.) meaning “It’s over there.” -> 저짜 우에 있데이. (jeojja ue itdei.)
    • 왜 안 되냐? (wae an doenya?) meaning “Why can’t I?” -> 와 안대노? (wa andaeno?)
    • 뒤에 있다. (dwie itda.) meaning “It is behind you.” -> 디에 있다. (die itda.)

    2 - They shorten sentences
    Example:

    • 뭐라고 했니? (mworago haenni?) meaning “What did you say?” -> 뭐라카노? (mworakano?)
    • 왜 그러십니까? (wae geureosimnikka?) meaning “Why?” -> 와 그라노? (wa geurano?)
    • 가 버려라 (ga beoryeora) meaning “go away” -> 가뿌라 (gappura)

    3 - Sentences that end with ~다 become ~데이
    Example:

    • 같이 합시다. (gachi hapsida.) meaning “Let’s go together.” -> 같이 합시데이. (gachi hapsidei.)
    • 내가 왔다. (naega watda.) meaning “I am here” -> 내가 왔데이. (naega watdei.)

    4 - Interrogative sentences that end with ~니 become ~나, ~노, ~고, or ~가
    Example:

    비 오니? (bi oni?) meaning “Is it raining?” -> 비 오나? (bi ona?)
    누구 책이니? (nugu chaegini?) meaning “Whose book is it?” -> 누 책이고? (nu chaegigo?)
    어디 가니? (eodi gani?) meaning “Where are you going?” -> 어데 가노? (eode gano?)

    2- Example of 경상 방언 (Gyeongsang dialect)

    Let’s look at some more examples. (We underlined the Gyeongsang dialect examples for you.)

    • 아이구 셔
      aigu syeo
      “How sour it is”
      아구 샤구랍어래이~ (agu syagurabeoraei~)
    • 제대로 해라.
      jedaero haera.
      “Do it properly.”
      단디 해라이. (dandi haerai.)
    • 괜히 이렇게 해놨네
      gwaenhi ireoke haenwanne
      “I should not have done like this”
      맥지 이캐놨네 (maekji ikaenwanne)

    5. 전라도 방언 (Jeollado dialect)

    Hangul

    Let’s listen to 전라도 방언 (Jeollado bangeon): This is a commercial video aired in South Korea. Listen to the lady in this video; she speaks with a Jeollado dialect.

    1- Characteristics of 전라 방언 (jeolla bangeon)

    1 - They add ~잉, ~부러, ~ 쟤, and so on, at the end of a sentence
    Example:

    • 그렇습니다.
      geureoseumnida.
      “Yes it is.”
      그라죠잉~ (geurajyoing~)
    • 추천을 하세요
      chucheoneul haseyo
      “Recommend”
      추천 하쇼잉! (chucheon hasyoing!)

    2 - They have many exclamatory expressions

    • 어머 -> 오메. 왐마
    • 저기요 -> 아야
    • 어떻하지 -> 어찌아스까나
    • 그래서 -> 근디

    3 - They use 거시기 (“thing”) a lot
    Example:

    • 아 왜 그 왜 있잖아. 그 아이의 이름이 기억나지가 않아…..
      “You know that person. I can’t remember the name of that person.”

      내가 어제 거시기랑 거시가 하다가 가 거시기한데 거시기했는데
      naega eoje geosigirang geosiga hadaga ga geosigihande geosigihaenneunde
      아따 거 머시기 있냐, 그놈아 이름이 기억이 안나부러….
      atta geo meosigi innya, geunoma ireumi gieogi annabureo….

    2- Example of 전라 방언 (jeolla bangeon)

    Here, as always, the jeolla bangeon is underlined in the examples below.

    • 너 그거 좀 버리지 않을래?
      neo geugeo jom beoriji aneullae?
      “Can you throw this away?”
      너 그것좀 찌끄라뿌러야? (neo geugeotjom jjikkeurappureoya?)
    • 지금 당장
      jigeum dangjang
      “Immediately”
      시방 (sibang)
    • 빨리
      ppalli
      “Quickly”
      아따 싸게싸게 댕겨오쇼 (atta ssagessage daenggyeoosyo)
    • 조금 (jogeum)
      “A little of”
      쪼깨 (jjokkae)

    6. 제주 방언 (Jeju dialect)

    Jeju

    제주 방언 (jeju bangeon) meaning “Jeju dialect” is only spoken on the Jeju Island. Jeju Island is located in the southwest coast of South Korea and takes about 45 minutes to travel to from Seoul by an airplane. The Jeju dialect is one of the most difficult dialects to understand in South Korea, because they have their own language. Therefore, Koreans from different regions have difficulties trying to understand Jeju dialect.

    Let’s listen to 제주 방언 (Jeju bangeon): Have a listen to this conversation between these two males in this video. It’s about a miscommunication between Jeju local and non-Jeju local at a military base, and you’ll be able to distinguish who’s from Jeju instantly, by listening to the conversation.

    1- Characteristics of 제주 방언 (Jeju bangeon):

    If you want to know how the Jeju dialect is different from the standard language, here’s an explanation of characteristics of the Jeju dialect.

    1 - Jeju dialect is perhaps the most difficult dialect in South Korea, since it has its own language
    Example:

    • 어서 오십시오 (eoseo osipsio) meaning “Welcome to” -> 혼저 옵서 (honjeo opseo).
    • 와서 보고 가세요 (waseo bogo gaseyo) meaning “Please come and have a look” -> 왕 봥 갑서 (wang bwang gapseo)

    * You will see a message saying 혼저 옵서 (honjeo opseo) on the wall when you land in the Jeju airport, so pay close attention to it next time you’re traveling to Jeju Island.

    2 - They tend to combine words at the end of a sentence
    In Jeju, they combine the last two words, so instead of ~었니, it becomes ~먹언.
    Example:

    • 밥 먹었니? Meaning “Did you have some food?” -> 밥 먹언?
    • 이거 했어? -> 이거 핸?
    • 알았어 -> 알안

    2- Example of 제주 방언 (Jeju dialects)

    Here are some examples of the Jeju dialect, compared to the standard. The Jeju examples are underlined.

    • 여기서 서울에 전화할 수 있지요?
      yeogiseo seoure jeonhwahal su itjiyo?
      “Can I call Seoul from here?”
      여기서 서울더레 해집주양? (yeogiseo seouldeore haejipjuyang?)
    • 어디서 오셨습니까?
      eodiseo osyeotseumnikka?
      “Where are you from?”
      어디서 옵데가? (eodiseo opdega?)
    • 조금만 계십시오.
      jogeumman gyesipsio.
      “Please wait a moment.”
      호꼼만 이십서게. (hokkomman isipseoge.)
    • 차를 타고 가세요.
      chareul tago gaseyo.
      “Go there by car.”
      차탕갑서 (chatanggapseo)
    • 오천 원입니다.
      ocheon wonimnida.
      “It is 5,000 won.”
      오천 원마씀. (ocheon wonmasseum.)
    • 어제 영화 뭐 봤어?
      “What movie did you watch?”
      제 영화 뭐 봔?

    7. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

    Lastly, let’s compare dialects!

    Dialect “Welcome” “Grandmother”
    경기도
    (gyeonggido)
    어서오세요.
    (eoseooseyo.)
    할머니
    (halmeoni)
    강원도
    (gangwondo)
    어여 오드래요.
    (eoyeoodeuraeyo.)
    할머이
    (halmeoi)
    충청도
    (chungcheongdo)
    빨리 와유.
    (ppalli wayu.)
    할매
    (halmae)
    경상도
    (gyeongsangdo)
    퍼뜩 오이소.
    (peotteuk oiso.)
    할무이
    (halmui)
    전라도
    (jeollado)
    언능 오랑께요.
    (eonneung orangkkeyo.)
    할매
    (halmae)
    제주도
    (jejudo)
    혼저 옵서예.
    (honjeo opseoye.)
    할망
    (halmang)
    Dialect “Mother” “I am sorry”
    경기도
    (gyeonggido)
    어머니
    (eomeoni)
    죄송합니다.
    (joesonghamnida.)
    강원도
    (gangwondo)
    어머이
    (eomeoi)
    미안 하우다.
    (mian hauda.)
    충청도
    (chungcheongdo)
    엄니
    (eomni)
    죄송해유.
    (joesonghaeyu.)
    경상도
    (gyeongsangdo)
    어무이
    (eomui)
    죄송합니데이.
    (joesonghamnidei.)
    전라도
    (jeollado)
    어머이
    (eomeoi)
    죄송혀라.
    (joesonghyeora.)
    제주도
    (jejudo)
    어멍
    (eomeong)
    죄송허우다.
    (joesongheouda.)


    In summary, we had a look at six different dialects in South Korea. The fact is, South Korea has more than six dialects. What we introduced today in this article are the most famous dialects in Korea. Since you learned how to distinguish each dialect, you’ll be able to spot the different dialects next time you watch a Korean drama or movie!

    In addition, KoreanClass101 has many study materials that you can download for free. Also, have you come across any Korean words that you don’t know? Look them up in the KoreanClass101 dictionary with free audio for you to practice pronunciation! We’re here to help you improve your Korean, so feel free to use our website anytime.

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    6 Common & Crazy Rules About School in South Korea

    Whether you’re planning to teach English at a public or private school in South Korea, once you start teaching English at school, you’ll definitely notice that there are many differences between Korea and your country. You may find this article helpful if you want to know six vital Korean school rules along with the important cultural insight of each rule. Let’s have a look at Korean school rules with KoreanClass101!

    School

    1. 6 Korean School Rules that You Need to Know

    1- You Don’t Go to School on Saturdays, But You are Expected to do Yaja

    Students used to go to school on Saturdays; this was simply to maximize the study time. However, this law changed in 2000, meaning that students don’t go to school on Saturdays anymore in South Korea.

    Although you no longer need to go to school on Saturdays, you are expected to attend 야자 (yaja). This is an abbreviation for 야간자율학습 (yaganjayulhakseup) meaning “Night self-learning” which is a self-learning program held at school. This system used to be mandatory back in the old days, however nowadays students can choose whether to do 야자 (yaja) or not. What you need to do during 야자타임 (yajataim) or “night self-learning time” is to study in a quiet classroom. You can do your 숙제 (sukje) or “homework,” or work on the areas that you need to improve on by planning your own study strategy.
    Also, if your friend is good at a subject that you’re not so good at, she or he can teach you the subject during 야자타임 (yajataim) as well. If you’re in the last year of high school or middle school, you’ll most likely do 야자 (yaja) voluntarily.

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    • 야자 (yaja): “night self-learning” [Image]
    • 야자타임 (yajataim): “night self-learning time”
    • 숙제 (sukje): “homework”

    2- You Need to Take Off Your Shoes when Entering the School

    When you enter a house in South Korea, you must take off your shoes before entering the house. This principle applies to schools in South Korea as well. Once you enter the school, you must take off your shoes and wear 슬리퍼 (seullipeo) meaning “slippers” or 실내화 (sillaehwa) meaning “indoor shoes.”
    신발장 (sinbaljang) or “the shoes cabinets” are placed by the entrance of the school building. This is done in order to keep the floor clean. If you forget to wear 슬리퍼 (seullipeo) or 실내화 (sillaehwa)—because you washed them at home, for example—you’ll most likely lose a few points for not abiding by the school rule.
    Depending on the school, the choice of the slipper or indoor shoe design or model differs. Therefore, it’s important to wait until the school announces which model and design you need to wear. In order to ensure purchasing the right indoor shoes, you’ll need to go to 문방구 (munbanggu) or the “stationery store,” which is located right outside the school, to purchase these models.

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    • 슬리퍼 (seullipeo): “slippers” — [Image]
    • 실내화 (sillaehwa): “indoor shoes” — [Image]
    • 신발장 (sinbaljang): “shoes cabinet”
    • 문방구 (munbanggu): “stationary store” — Synonym is 문방구점 (munbanggujeom)
    • Do you want to improve your vocabulary skills? Download our free PDF Lessons.

    Check Uniform

    3- Teachers and 선도부 (seondobu) will Stand at the Doorway to Check Your Uniform

    Imagine every time you enter the school door, there’ll be about five to six students, and a teacher, who will look at each student from head to toe to ensure they’re wearing their uniform properly. It does sound scary, doesn’t it?

    Most of the time, the teacher who does this is 체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim) or a “physical education teacher” (a.k.a. the scariest teacher at school) and called 학주 (hakju), short for 학생주임 (haksaengjuim). Also, the students who are doing this are either 반장 (banjang) meaning “class president” or 부반장 (bubanjang) meaning “class vice president” from the final year of school. They are the most respected students among others because they are known as the top students and called 선도부 (seondobu) or 바른생활부 (bareunsaenghwalbu) meaning ‘leading group’ literally which is similar to a student council.

    They’ll check each student for the following:

    • Isn’t wearing any 악세사리 (aksesari) or “accessories,” including invisible plastic earrings
    • Isn’t wearing any 화장 (hwajang) or “makeup,” including whitening sunscreen
    • Is wearing hair style that’s in line with the school rules
    • Length of the skirt is below knees

    The rules differ depending on which school you go to; some schools may be a lot stricter than other schools, especially if you go to only girls’ or boys’ school. Also, if you neglect to follow a rule, you’ll end up losing points, which will affect your final score at the end of the semester or year. Some things that may cause you to lose points are:

    • If you wear earrings, piercings, bracelets, and so on: -5 points
    • If you’re not wearing your nametag: -3 points
    • If you wear makeup: -5 points
    • And the list could go on

    This is just to give you an idea of how students lose their marks; these points differ depending on the school. You don’t want to lose marks for small things like this, so students do their best to follow the rules. During the final exams, students become extremely sensitive to their grades; therefore, sometimes a teacher will make them run the 운동장 (undongjang) or “schoolyard” a number of times for punishment, instead of making them lose points.

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    • 선배 (seonbae): “one’s senior in school; senior”
    • 체육선생님 (cheyukseonsaengnim): “physical education teacher”
    • 악세사리 (aksesari): “accessories”
    • 화장 (hwajang): “makeup” — Synonym is 메이크업 (meikeueop)
    • 반장 (banjang): “class president”
    • 운동장 (undongjang): “playground”

    Choose Seat

    4 - Your Height Matters when it Comes to Choosing a Seat

    Depending on which city you’re from, the number of students in a class differs, ranging from 15 to 35 students. Did you know that you can’t sit anywhere you want to at any school (accept universities) in South Korea? Each student is allocated to a seat and this is done by how tall you are compared to other students. The method for doing this is that students need to line up in order of height. Then, each student will be seated in their height order. Those who are shorter end up sitting in the front row, and those who are taller end up sitting in the last row.

    In addition, you’ll have a personal 출석번호 (chulseokbeonho), meaning “attendance number” literally, throughout the year and this is done by height order as well. For example, if there are 35 students in your class and you’re the shortest, then your number will be 번 (ilbeon) meaning “number 1” and if you’re the tallest, your personal number will be 삼십오번 (samsibobeon) meaning “number 35.”

    It’s important to remember your personal number because teachers call you by either your name or your personal number. For example, let’s say you’re in a 수학교실 (suhakgyosil) or “math class” and the teacher wrote down two mathematical equations to be solved by students. Today is 8월 15일 (parwol siboil) meaning “August 15th”; who will most likely go to the front and solve the questions? That’s right. The two students whose personal numbers are number 8 and 15.

    Also, the teacher may order students to do something, such as cleaning or other tasks, by 짝수 (jjaksu) or “even numbers” and 홀수 (holsu) or “odd numbers” as well. Therefore, having your personal number is very important at school. Also, keep in mind that you’ll receive a different number every year.

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    • 수학 (suhak): “math”
    • 교실 (gyosil): “class”
    • 8월15일 (parwol siboil): “August 15th”
    • 짝수 (jjaksu): “even numbers”
    • 홀수 (holsu): “odd numbers”
    • KoreanClass101 has a free lesson on how to calculate numbers in Korean.

    No Dating Your Schoolmate

    5- No Dating Your Schoolmate

    Teachers believe that dating in school will affect students’ study, therefore dating your schoolmate is not allowed during your studies. This may not be obvious if you attend only girls’ or boys’ high school, but if you attend co-schools, you’ll need to be extra careful not to get caught. Dating your schoolmate is a serious issue at school, resulting in 징계 (jinggye’) meaning “disciplinary punishment” or 퇴학 (toehak) meaning “expel from school.”

    81% of middle and high schools don’t allow students to date anyone in South Korea. Unfortunately, dating in school is perceived as unethical behavior. Schools sometimes survey students to report students who are dating in school secretly, and they will be rewarded. Also there was a big issue in 2011, when a school surveyed the students to report same-sex dating.

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    • 학교 (hakgyo): “school”
    • 연애 (yeonae): “dating”
    • 징계 (jinggye): “disciplinary punishment”
    • 퇴학 (toehak): “expel from school”

    Bathroom

    6- You Need Permission to go to the Bathroom and Must Take Your Own Sanitary Products

    When you want to go to the 화장실 (hwajangsil) or “bathroom,” you need to ask permission from a 선생님 (seonsaengnim) or “teacher.” All you need to do is raise your hand to catch attention from the teacher and ask whether you can go to the bathroom. Unless you’re in the middle of an exam, most of the time the teachers will let you go to the bathroom.

    Here’s the phrases you can use:

    선생님, 화장실 가도 돼요?
    Seon-saeng-nim, hwa-jang-sil gado dwae-yo?
    “Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?”

    Also, there’s no 휴지 (hyuji) or “toilet paper” available at school, therefore it’s your responsibility to bring your own sanitary products to South Korean schools. But don’t worry; you can easily find toilet paper in your classroom that you can use. (Yes, we use toilet paper for many purposes, such as blowing our nose or wiping dirty stuff off the desk, and so on.)

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    • 화장실 (hwajangsil): “bathroom”
    • 선생님 (seonsaengnim): “teacher”
    • 휴지 (hyuji): “tissue” — Synonym is 두루마리 휴지 (durumari hyuji) meaning “toilet paper”

    Bow

    2. Bonus Rules: An Old Rule and Additional Rules

    1- Students Used to Bow to a Teacher Every Class

    This rule became prohibited a few years ago, but students used to bow to a teacher in every class, before and after the class in school. Students were expected to sit and prepare a textbook and a notebook on the desks before class. Unlike some countries where students need to move from class to class for their subjects, students in South Korea have their own classroom for themselves, which means that teachers need to move around instead.

    When a teacher arrived to a classroom, 반장 (banjang) or “class president” would stand and say 차렷 (charyeot) meaning “attention” loudly so everyone can hear. Then the class president will either say 인사 (insa) meaning “greet” or 경례 (gyeongnye) meaning “salute.” Then everyone has to say 선생님 안녕하십니까 (seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka) meaning “hello teacher” before the class, and 선생님 안녕히 가십시오 (seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio) “goodbye teacher” after the class.

    However, this was banned recently because people believed that this was too conservative and it doesn’t help a teacher and the students establish a good relationship.

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

    2- And there are Many More Rules

    There are many more rules that South Korean students need to abide by:

    • You Cannot Alter the Length of a Skirt or the Width of a Pair of Pants

    • 치마길이 (chimagiri) or “the length of skirt” has to cover half the knee; if it’s shorter than this, you’ll get in trouble. However, this really depends on the school. These days, students can alter their school uniforms to suit their body shape.

    • You Must Wear what the School Tells You to

    • There are three ways to wear your school uniforms in South Korea. The default school uniforms are 동복 (dongbok) or “winter uniform” and 하복 (habok) “summer uniform.” In between, there’s 춘추복 (chunchubok) or “spring/autumn uniform.” Normally, each uniform has its set duration, so even though the weather becomes extremely hot, if you’re in the period of wearing 동복 (dongbok) or “winter uniform,” you have to wear the winter uniform.

    • The School will Decide which Hairstyle to do

    • Nowadays, students are allowed to do many different hairstyles. Girls can dye their hair, curl their hair, and untie their hair. Compare this to the old times when every girl had to have short hair, which must not grow longer than 3 cm (1.2 inches) below their ears.

      Boys can grow their hair longer than they could a few decades ago, when every boy had to shave their hair completely. This rule also depends on which school you go to; some conservative schools still follow the traditional way of hairstyle. 두발자유화 is something that Korean students are fighting for, as they believe that free hairstyle will allow them to express who they are, and this topic is still in debate.

      Some schools still follow the traditional ways of disciplining students and this can be problematic for some students. Although the majority of Koreans have naturally black hair, there are some exceptions; there are people with natural brunette and even light brown hair, almost blond. Others have naturally curly hair. Unfortunately, those students will have to abide by the rule by straightening their hair or dying it black, although they were born this way.

    Vocabulary List
    ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

      치마길이 (chimagiri): “the length of skirt”
      (dongbok): “winter uniform”
      (habok): “summer uniform”
      춘추 (chunchubok): “spring/autumn uniform”
      두발자유화 (dubaljayuhwa): “liberalization of the hair code”

    Bow

    3. Nevertheless, We are Getting Better!

    Things have changed a lot. Students don’t go to school on Saturdays anymore, and haven’t since 2000. 야자 (yaja) used to be mandatory for everyone in middle and high school, but now students can decide whether they want to attend it or not. Students’ hairstyles were limited too, and students with brunette hair had to dye it black just because it was the school rule. But this doesn’t apply to schools anymore. There used to be school corporal punishment, but it’s prohibited now. Many school rules have been changed and there will still be more rules to be changed in the future.

    4. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

    KoreanClass101 is here to help you learn not only the Korean language, but also Korean culture. Therefore, our study materials aren’t simply teaching you how to memorize Korean; we’re also focused on providing study materials for students to learn the language in a fun way, and most importantly, provide the most relevant cultural insights.

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